There are many fitness trackers that double up reasonably well as smartwatches, and many smartwatches include enough health and fitness monitoring functionality to make them usable as fitness trackers. In fact, the lines that once tightly divided smartwatches and fitness trackers have been blurred considerably; most devices are now a healthy mix of both. This made the low-cost smartwatch segment particularly interesting, as several brands such as Fire-Boltt, Noise, Zebronics, Realme and Xiaomi now have interesting options for less than Rs. 5,000
The product I’m reviewing here is a smartwatch in the traditional sense, but it has fitness and health tracking capabilities that can set it apart from the competition. The NoiseFit Active smartwatch is priced at Rs. 3,999 in India and has useful features like heart rate and blood oxygen tracking, exercise and sleep monitoring and the ability to show notifications from your smartphone right on your wrist. Is this the best affordable smartwatch you can buy right now? Find out in this review.
NoiseFit Active Design
The NoiseFit Active has a round dial with a 1.28 inch TFT-LCD touchscreen. The dial’s smooth matte finish and smooth black border keep the focus on what’s on the screen. There are two buttons on the right side. The top button is to turn on, to open the app menu and go home, while the bottom one opens and activates training modes. Other than that, navigation is fully touch-based, with swipes and taps to move and select specific options.
The bottom of the watch has the contact points for the charger and optical sensor for heart rate and SpO2 measurements. The casing is made of plastic, which also keeps the NoiseFit Active light and comfortable, weighing just 45g. The smartwatch is 5ATM water resistant and therefore can be used safely in most water exposure situations.
While my rose gold review unit looked decent enough, the gray, black and blue color choices look a little better in my opinion. You get a 22mm rubber strap included with the watch; it’s comfortable, fully waterproof and can be easily replaced with any standard 22mm strap.
The screen has a resolution of 240×240 pixels and can be woken up with a gesture of lifting your wrist or pressing one of the buttons; strangely, tapping the screen doesn’t work. The smartwatch uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity and supports smartphones running iOS 9 and above or Android 4.4 and above.
The included charging cable snaps onto the NoiseFit Active’s charging points magnetically, but doesn’t stay in place very securely; even the slightest movement can move the charger out of place, so I had to handle the watch carefully while charging. The other end plugs into a USB Type A port and can therefore be used with most existing chargers and even computers.
NoiseFit Active software, interface and application
Like many of the budget smartwatches available today, NoiseFit Active runs a custom operating system that is designed to work with its round screen and controls. It has a simple interface, and all apps and screens can be accessed with a few button presses or swiping from the home screen. The UI includes a notification drawer, a quick settings screen, graphs for fitness parameters and an exercise tracking menu. The app drawer shows some pre-installed apps for the various tracking functions in NoiseFit Active.
There is also a ‘Breathe’ app for guided breathing and basic tools like stopwatch, stopwatch, alarm clock, music remote control, weather report, phone finder and smartwatch Settings menu. You cannot install any additional apps on your device, but NoiseFit Active can read and display notifications from various apps on your smartphone, including WhatsApp, Gmail, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, to name a few.
Although it took me a while to get used to, I was finally able to navigate the interface without too many errors and quickly access what I needed. The default watch face was my favorite as it shows a lot of relevant information besides the time, such as day and date, battery level, heart rate, steps taken, calories burned and distance covered. You can choose from the 50 or more watch faces available in the NoiseFit app and also scroll through some of them on the watch itself to find one you like.
NoiseFit Active pairs with the NoiseFit app, available for Android and iOS. I used a OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition for my review and pairing the smartwatch with the app was an easy process that didn’t take long. Once paired, I was able to adjust the settings, change the watch faces, view exercise and fitness tracking charts, and update the smartwatch firmware.
The app is very well designed. It syncs data regularly and reliably sends the correct notifications to the smartwatch. While you can see tracking graphs on the watch itself, they are much better presented and easier to see on your smartphone.
NoiseFit Active performance and battery life
Most budget smartwatches tend to focus on a specific feature, and NoiseFit Active has fitness and health tracking at the forefront. This is a capable smartwatch, but it doesn’t have the ability to function as a hands-free device for your smartphone the way Fire-Boltt Talk can, and it only shows notifications from compatible apps in addition to caller ID.
That said, the interface is designed to put health and fitness features within reach, making this smartwatch more suitable for users with active lifestyles. As I mentioned, I really liked the watch’s standard dial, which offers a clear, modern display of important data such as heart rate, steps, battery level and more.
The two main health parameters measured by NoiseFit Active are your heart rate and SpO2 level, and the device provided accurate readings for both in normal use, when compared to a standard fingertip pulse oximeter and an Apple Watch Series 5. During training, heart rate readings took a while to register and were occasionally inaccurate at first, before finally stabilized at precise levels.
When manually counting 1,000 steps, NoiseFit Active recorded about 1,040 steps, representing a margin of error of about four percent. That’s not too bad, but it’s a little higher than competitions like Fire-Boltt Talk and Fire-Boltt Beast, which both have smaller margins of error of about 2-3 percent.
At longer distances, that margin of error increased to about seven percent when comparing its measurements with those of the Apple Watch Series 5. The NoiseFit Active recorded about 7,600 steps, while the Apple Watch Series 5 measured 7,100 steps, with both the watches worn on my wrists simultaneously. That margin of error is a little high, even for a budget smartwatch or fitness tracker.
Sleep tracking is pretty decent, but calorie and distance values are essentially estimates based on counted steps. The timer, alarm, and timer apps worked as expected. Workout tracking includes specialized modes of walking, running, cycling, elliptical, swimming, mixed workouts, and even yoga and cricket. I was able to test the walking, running and elliptical modes, and the readings seemed a little overestimated, as in the case of the pedometer.
The NoiseFit Active’s battery life is particularly good for an economical smartwatch, with the device’s 320mAh battery powering it for seven days of regular use before needing to recharge. He was always connected to the paired smartphone during this period. It took about three hours to fully charge the NoiseFit Active when plugged into my laptop’s USB port, and Noise recommends that you don’t use a fast charge adapter to avoid battery damage.
While a low-cost fitness monitor like the Mi Band 6 might seem like the most sensible option for fitness-minded users, options like the NoiseFit Active have some appeal. For a little more money, NoiseFit Active looks better, has a bigger screen and offers much more of a smartwatch experience.
The heart rate and SpO2 monitoring are decent, but the pedometer has a larger margin of error for recording steps than competing products in this price segment. On the bright side, good design and comfort, decent software, stable connectivity and a very good battery life largely make up for it. NoiseFit Active is a valid option to be considered for less than Rs. 5,000