As usual with Nothing products, they promise a good design and beautiful software experience. To this, they have delivered. At the moment it functions more as a good fitness tracker with watch features rather than its marketed “smartwatch”. It has some work to do on the software side, but it has the hardware to deliver. As Nothing keeps listening to its community and bringing out updates, I am sure it will become better. As of now, it is really good for measuring health activities such as heart rate, oxygen levels, stress levels, sleep tracking and getting notified about notifications on your watch. As it is way cheaper than its competitors, it is impressive what they have achieved. If you do not want to spend too much, then it would have been an easy recommendation if everything worked fine. I would wait till all the software issues are ironed out or look for an alternative if you do not have the patience. Unless you want to support the idea of an affordable smartwatch and a community-driven company, then definitely go for it!
It came in minimal and welcoming packaging, which is recyclable just like the CMF earbuds. This was lovely to see again as it feels like Nothing is taking steps to be environmentally friendly.
The design of the watch looks familiar to the Apple watch. As it is way cheaper than an Apple watch, it uses plastic on the bottom of the sensors and a light aluminium alloy housing. This made it feel very lightweight and you barely notice it on your wrist. I know some people like a hefty watch so you can feel you’re wearing it, however, I use the watch more as a tool to track activity and see notifications. Therefore, the lightweight was very welcoming. Although the light feeling makes it feel less durable, however, for the week I have used it, it felt very sturdy and long-lasting keeping its sleek look.
The dark grey colour with the dark grey wristband looked nice and subtle. I was afraid that it would be too big for my wrist, as I have very small wrists, but it fit just about perfectly. Nothing has done a great job with the design, especially for its price range.
The screen feels snappy and scrolling through the screens feels smooth. The screen itself gets pretty bright, but it has no auto adjustment of the brightness, you will have to do it manually. There is a wide variety of watch faces to choose from, which have the common Nothing theme and CMF colours. As of this moment, there are no community-made watch faces but hopefully, that will be added soon.
The haptic motor feels decent. I prefer to leave on the standard setting as the strong setting feels too rattly and too much, making it feel cheaper for no reason. It is perfect for the alarm as it is strong enough to wake me up subtly. Also, the notification is subtle enough to notify me of any incoming messages.
The most important bit of the watch is its capability of tracking activity and exercises. It has a lot of exercises to track allowing you to track most of the activities you would do. It’s always clearly displayed while for example running outdoors. It gave a very clear view of the pace, time, calories burned and distance run. A nice addition would be the customisability of the exercise faces so that I would be able to add my speed instead of calories burned for example. This was possible with the Samsung Watch Active that I have used previously. Also, being able to swipe right or left to get to my music would be ideal!
As for how accurate the tracking was, I was not sure. When running I had Strava on my phone and tracking on my watch. My watch specifically had issues with connecting to GPS and this might have contributed to the discrepancies between the two. It constantly displayed a too-slow pace and also was about 400m off compared to my Strava. I have tried troubleshooting the GPS location issue, but it did not work until I realised that it was due to a densely built area. I live in London and that will be an issue a lot of the time, which is ironic for a company based in London. Hopefully, there will be a fix soon enough.
The heart rate and oxygen levels seem to be as accurate as my Samsung Active Watch, which was pleasant. It gives a real-time measurement of both so not in weird intervals, which is amazing as it also allows for my stress levels to be measured in real-time and accurately. Also, the sleep tracking was accurate and gave me plenty of information and readings about my core, deep and REM sleep patterns. Overall, I was really happy about the health monitoring of the watch.
When it comes to counting steps, I am a bit sceptical of how it works. I do not see real-time steps being added as with my Samsung Active Watch. The steps are only added to the count in batches after having walked around first. It is also slightly less compared to my Google Fit readings, but Google Fit is also not super good at counting them so I trust the watch more.
It is also important to notice that it does not have automatic activity detection tracking such as for running or cycling. It would again be a great feature to add to this watch to fully deliver on its activity-tracking capabilities.
The battery seems to be very long-lasting. Previously I had to recharge my watch daily and I stopped night tracking because of that. However, with this one, I can keep it on for 4-5 days straight comfortably without recharging. I was pleasantly surprised as it tracks my blood, steps, oxygen levels and stress levels at all times and my always on display too. For this price, it felt refreshing.
This watch was also marketed to be a good call machine. So far, people seemed to hear me well and the tiny speaker in the watch is audible enough. A great feature when your phone is away!
Software and app
The design and experience using the software on the watch are good. It looks clean and it is just plain and simple. Very pleasant to use and just not too much. If my Samsung Active had the same design in mind, it would have been awesome.
However, Nothing has some work to do on the function side of the watch software. Getting to the music screen takes unnecessarily long. The music screen seems unfinished with the volume bars going into the speaker icon. Adding a custom music screen that I can just quickly swipe right to would be great.
Additionally, custom screens like Samsung does with Spotify/Strava or a favourite apps screen would help the efficiency of using the watch.
Furthermore, the CMF watch app has to be on at all times on your phone for a lot of functionality to be working. If not, then I don’t get notifications on my watch (they’re also displayed way too short, increasing the time would be great and also with the name of the person sending the message in WhatsApp, in general its compatibility with WhatsApp needs to be better), cannot control the music on my phone through it, and the Find my device just prompts me to open the app on my phone first, which kinda defeats its purpose. I had the background functionality on, but it didn’t seem to make a difference. This was never an issue with my Samsung watch so hopefully this can be resolved through software updates.
One last bit that would make this the best smartwatch beating its expensive competitors would be a way to sync data to Google Fit with health sync or some sort of integration with Google Fit. I am sure a lot of people want that and it can be done through software. Nothing has been very good at listening to community feedback and delivering quality updates, so I am sure this watch will have a bright future ahead. This is their first attempt and for their first watch product, it already feels like a joy to use it.