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Monday, 19 August 2019

Productivity On the Move Microsoft Surface Go Review

If you agree, and are looking for a fitness tracker or smartwatch to start your journey, but are limited by a budget, the Noise ColorFit Pro is good band with some smartwatch features. For a price of Rs 2,999, it comes with a decently large display and features including blood pressure and SpO2 monitoring, so in this review, we’ll see if it’s good enough to be your gym partner.

noise colorfit pro review

Noise is an Indian company primarily known for its value-for-money audio products but also has a lot of super affordable gadgets including action cameras, wireless chargers, cases etc. It also has a wide catalog of stylish smartwatches, which appear to offer a good bang for your buck. After using the Noise ColorFit pro for almost 20 days, this is my review of the fitness band. But before starting, let’s take a look at the specs.
Noise ColorFit Pro Specs
Display    1.22 inches IPS LCD color display
Water-resistance    3ATM or 30m (100 ft)
Bluetooth    Bluetooth 4.1
Sensors    Heart rate sensor, Gyro sensor, BP monitor
Weight    ~58g (with strap)
Battery    150mAh Li-ion
Price    Rs. 2,999 (Amazon)
Noise ColorFit Pro: What’s in the Box

Inside the box of the Noise ColorFit Pro, you will get the following objects:

    Noise ColorFit Pro fitness band
    USB charging clip
    User manuals and warranty pamphlet

noise colorfit pro review

While the box is pretty basic, the fitness band itself is switched on while inside the box and stares at you through the transparent cover on top. At first, it might it appear to a sticker but after taking note of the company’s confidence in the battery makes me feel optimistic about it too.
Noise ColorFit Pro Build and Design

The Noise ColorFit is a very plain looking fitness tracker with a 1.2-inch color display. The body is made out of a zinc magnesium alloy with a satiny black surface that can be easily mistaken for smooth and good quality plastic. The screen does not support touch and the only way to navigate through the menu and interact with the options is the capacitive circular button. I’ll talk more about how to use the button in the Performance section.

noise colorfit pro review

The display is covered under a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 and has a curvature of 2.5D. While Noise claims that the display is scratch-proof, the review unit did get a few scratches – although it looks spotless from a distance. However, the display easily captures smudges and fingerprints, so all that scratch resistance is not very effective.

noise colorfit pro review

On the back side is the heart rate sensor and the electrodes for attaching the charger. The charger is like a clamp and holds the fitness band in position while charging. This clamp reinforces the magnetic connection between the charger’s pins and the conducting dots on the back of the fitness band. Besides that, there is no other button on the sides.

noise colorfit pro review

Noise ColorFit Pro uses rubber straps which can be bent, stretched, and twisted and even then, there’s no sign of wear. You can also remove these straps and replace them with any standard watch strap that fits. While the Noise ColorFit Pro’s design already appears inspired by the Apple Watch, you can pay Rs 800 extra to get a strap resembling the Nike Sport Bands for Apple Watch to make it more suggestive.

noise colorfit pro review

The fitness band also comes with an IP68 rating which means that it can be worn in the shower and won’t be tarnished by sweat or rain. It is rated for usage at up to 3ATM or roughly 30 meters (~100 feet) suggesting you can take it out for a swim and use the dedicated swimming mode for tracking your activity.

noise colorfit pro review

Along with the strap, the Noise ColorFit Pro weighs 58 grams and while it does not feel very heavy or hefty, the weight can be linked to the bigger than usual screen in the price bracket. However, it does not feel as thin or light as fitness bands like the Mi Band 2 or 3, or the recently launched Honor Band 4.

noise colorfit pro review

Overall, the build is pretty solid and while the design may not be very attractive, it is doable, especially for the Noise ColorFit Pro’s price. The ability to use standard watch straps is a big advantage for anyone who wants to customize the appearance of the watch. Lastly, you should get used to the weight of the fitness band in no time.
Noise ColorFit Pro Display

noise colorfit pro review

Noise ColorFit Pro is equipped with a 1.22-inch 240×240 LCD display. If you can ignore the poor implementation of fonts and the big bezels, the display is overall good and has blacks than even the Amazfit Bip, which is much more expensive. The colors have good contrast and if you choose a high-quality image for the watch face, you will rejoice every time you look at the display. While I recommend using vector wallpapers, you can also use regular photos if you prefer and these look great too. Sadly, that’s the only customization option you get with the watch.
Noise ColorFit Pro Performance

The Noise ColorFit Pro is meant to be a fitness tracker with some smartwatch features. While I cannot fully justify calling it a smartwatch, ColorFit Pro does allow you to accomplish tasks like read basic notifications, control music playback, click pictures without touching the phone. Besides that, it even offers you the flexibility to set any picture as a watchface, although with certain restrictions and conditions.
Fitness Tracking

The tasks that Noise ColorFit Pro is meant to do essentially include tracking your daily steps and fitness activities. Besides this, it can also track your heart rate continuously and claims to measure your blood pressure and the oxygen saturation in the blood using the same optical sensor that’s meant for the heart rate.

noise colorfit pro review

While testing these claims, I found Noise ColorFit Pro to be tracking steps as well as sleep very accurately. Besides tracking your light and deep sleep zones at night, it also identifies your naps during the day. The heart-rate sensor works decently and will measure the heart rate with a fair amount of accuracy – but only if you’re sitting still. If you’re moving, the fitness band may sometime show some unrealistic results.

noise colorfit pro review

The option to measure your blood pressure is promising, and while I haven’t tested it against a sphygmomanometer, it does report an elevated BP when I’m feeling stressed and normal or low value when I’m resting. It works fine but I would really not recommend relying on it if you suffer from hypotension, hypertension, or any other medical condition which causes an imbalance in the blood’s pressure. Again, the results are skewed when the ColorFit Pro is strapped to a moving arm. The watch has a rise-to-wake feature, which uses a gyro sensor, but the same sensor is not used to inform the user to sit still.

noise colorfit pro review

You can, nonetheless, use the Noise ColorFit Pro confidently (and, without raising your BP) like a stopwatch as well as to track your physical activity. There is support for a variety of physical activities such as walking, running, cycling, skipping, and sports such as badminton, soccer, skipping, and swimming. During this period, it will measure your heart rate regularly. However, there is no GPS built into the fitness tracker, and thus, it cannot track the routes of your outdoor fitness pursuits.

noise colorfit pro review

Overall, I feel the Noise ColorFit Pro does reasonably well when it comes to tracking steps and sleep. It also features some promising feature like continuous heart rate, BP, and SpO2 monitoring, and while these may not be very reliable stats, they might just get you sufficiently motivated to work harder and focus on the right areas.
User Interface

One funny (and somewhat disappointing) aspect of the fitness tracker is its relation with fonts and languages. The fonts used in the user interface are too thin and there’s a lot of focus on a unique animation per each mode rather than utilizing the space on the screen more effectively. Due to this, the ColorFit Pro fails to look like an actual “Pro” smartwatch, it is intended to be.

noise colorfit pro review

Moreover, the warning messages used on it make me suspicious that they are direct translations from Chinese using Google Translator, thereby giving the impression that this is possibly a cheap Chinese mass-produced watch with an interface in English. (I did find a fitness band from a manufacturer called MO YOUNG identical to the ColorFit Pro’s smaller sibling Noise ColorFit for half the price).

noise colorfit pro review

You do get the liberty to customize one of the three watch faces and while displaying time is mandatory – and there’s no option to show it like an analog watch, you can configure what is displayed above and below it, as well as change the color of the text. The other watch faces, although informative, are really unappealing to look at.
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The watch also displays notifications, but it will constantly buzz your wrist in case of persistent ones. So be selective and allow notifications from only the most crucial apps. Furthermore, these notifications go away once you read them and these no option to bring them back after dismissing them once.

noise colorfit pro review

Tapping on the circular button is the only method of communicating with the watch and the lack of touch or swipe gestures can be annoying for certain users. This is because, after entering the menu, one has to cycle through all the options, and it becomes even more painful when you enter sub-menus like say for choosing a fitness activity or inside Settings. This can hamper the experience for many users who are not very patient with the watch – whereas I had to be for the sake of this review.
Great Features, But Poor Implementation

While the features are promising, their implementation is not very exciting. If you just want basic fitness tracking, then the Noise ColorFit Pro will certainly fit your needs. The poor UI of the smartwatch can be distressing, but the one saving grace is the companion “Da Fit” app which lays out all the information in a visually appealing format.
‘Da Fit’ App for Noise ColorFit Pro
noise colorfit pro review
Click or tap on the image to expand

The data collected with ColorFit Pro can be seen using the “Da Fit” app which shows important information including the number of steps, physical activity, continuous heart rate, manually measured heart rate, BP and SpO2 data. Inside each window, you can choose data to be displayed per date. There is a lot of information that can be found here but you can interact with any of the elements to see the data analyzed with better precision.

noise colorfit pro review

The app also lets you customize the watch face, set alarms, shows you the watch battery level, as well as a host of other options. Using the app, you can also choose the apps whose notifications are displayed on the fitness band. Additionally, you can use the app as a to open an inbuilt camera mode which can be controlled wirelessly using the Noise ColorFit Pro.
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Lastly, while there’s an option to set daily goals for the minimum number of steps you wish to take, you do not get any option to compete with friends on social media.
Noise ColorFit Pro Battery

The backup of the 150mAh is one area where Noise ColorFit Pro impressed me. The band has a 10-day-long battery life with automatic heart rate turned on and the brightness set to max. To test the battery further, I also used a custom wallpaper, which was predominantly white. This is astonishing, especially because the company claims over three days of usage per charge.

noise colorfit pro review

When it comes to charging the ColorFit Pro, replenishing the battery took almost two hours with the official magnetic clip charger. Although there is no suggested power rating, I used the charger with a 5W for low-powered transfer adapter to keep things safe.
Noise ColorFit Pro: Pros & Cons

Capable of doing almost everything a basic and affordable fitness tracker should be able to do, Noise ColorFit Pro brings the advantage of a bigger display to the package. It even goes beyond the basic by offering features like blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitoring, as well as measuring steps and monitoring sleep accurately. But it also has its share of issues. Here’s the summary:
Pros

    Durable built
    Replaceable straps
    Gorilla Glass 5 protection for the display
    Swim-proof up to 30m
    IP68 rating for dust and water resistance
    Great details, deep colors on LCD
    10-day long battery life

noise colorfit pro review
Cons

    No touch controls
    Poor UI navigation
    Bad icons and fonts
    Poorly utilized screen space
    BP monitor not very reliable

Noise ColorFit Pro: Great for Fitness, But Fails the ‘Smart’ Tag

Noise ColorFit Pro is a highly recommendable fitness gadget for those who want to kick off their fitness routine without feeling too weighed down by the price of a smartwatch. It has a bunch of intriguing features such as the BP monitor, remote camera shutter beside the basic ones such as the activity monitor, sleep tracker, or a simply a customizable watch.

noise colorfit pro review

The colored screen is a welcome benefit and its deep colors make you feel that your investment has gotten into the right product. Using the background of your choice, you can personalize the appearance of the time-keeping device.

But you might be disappointed if you buy it with the expectation of a smartwatch; it is certainly not one. It is, in reality, a beefed-up fitness tracker with an attractive display.

If you want more smartwatch-like controls and utility, your best option would be the reliable and Xiaomi-backed Huami Amazfit Bip (Rs 5,799) whereas if you want a simpler option than the Noise ColorFit Pro, you might want to pick either the Honor Band 4 or a Mi Band 3. While we are yet to review the Honor Band 4 (Rs 2,599) with automatic swim-tracking, Mi Band 3 (Rs 1,999) is very capable too, although it might not be as accurate as the ColorFit Pro. If you have been following the 4K HDR monitor market, you’d know that most models were well out of reach of the average buyer, with prices well above the Rs. 50,000 mark. This has also made 4K content less accessible unless you had deep pockets..

But as we all know, technology tends to get cheaper with time and the BenQ EL2870U is a great example for the same. Launched late last year in India, the BenQ EL2870U is a 28-inch 4K HDR monitor which is priced at a competitive Rs. 32,265, making it one of the most affordable 4K HDR monitors available today, and that too from a reputed brand such as BenQ.

Obviously, the price demanded our attention so we decided to take a closer look at the latest monitor from BenQ, and see whether its picture quality and feature set are enough to justify a recommendation from us.
BenQ EL2870U Specifications
Dimensions and Weight    657.9x476.27x194.6mm, 7.2kg
Screen Size    27.9-inches
Resolution    3840x2160
Aspect Ratio    16:9
Panel Type    TN (Twisted Nematic)
Backlight    LED
Brightness    300 nits
Native Contrast    1000:1
Viewing Angles    L/R: 170 degrees
U/D: 160 degrees
Response Time    1ms (GtG)
Refresh Rate    60Hz
Color Gamut    72% NTSC
PPI    158
Speakers    2Watt x2
Ports    HDMI v2.0 x2, DisplayPort v1.4x1, 3.5mm headphone jack x1
Price    Rs. 32,889

BenQ EL2870U Design and Build Quality

The first thing you’ll notice about the BenQ EL2870U is that it doesn’t look all that great with its chunky (as per 2019 standards) bezels and use of matte black plastic components throughout.

But once you start using it, you’ll notice that it’s surprisingly well built and the bezels aren’t all that intrusive. The monitor is definitely quite ‘simple’ to look at, with a pretty standard rigid stand, a significant chin which has all the hardware buttons and the ambient light sensor.

BenQ EL2870U Review 6In comparison, some of the recent monitors in the same price range from companies like Dell and HP look a whole lot more modern with their minimal bezels and fancy stands. But then again, those monitors pale in comparison to the EL2870U’s feature-packed spec list, which is ideally what you should be looking at to begin with.

Granted that the competitions tiny bezels and swiveling stands seem quite impressive when you first look at the monitors, but their novelty quickly wears out once you start using them, and you’re less concerned about their looks and more concerned with what you’re actually seeing on the display. This is exactly where the EL2870U shines, but more on that later.

For now, lets talk about what you get in the box when you order a brand new BenQ EL2870U. With every BenQ 2870U you’ll receive a rather heavy stand which ships in three pieces and requires a Philips-head screwdriver to assemble, a power cord with no external power supply which is great, a standard HDMI cable and some paperwork that you’ll probably never look at. Now that the box contents are out of the way, lets address all the buttons and ports on the monitor.

BenQ EL2870U Review 2

BenQ EL2870U Ports

All the hardware buttons on the BenQ EL2870U are placed on the underside of the right corner of the bottom bezel, with the exception of the dedicated HDR/BI button which is placed up front and has a copper colored sticker placed above it.

In terms of connectivity, the monitor features the bare minimum ports you’d need to connect it to a system, including two HDMI v2.0 input ports, a single DisplayPort v1.4 port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a power input port. The lack of any USB ports is a major shortcoming.

BenQ EL2870U Review 3

All ports face downwards and are housed within the mounting cutout at the back of the monitor. I’m not a big fan of the port placement, as it makes connecting and unplugging the cables quite cumbersome, but it keeps the wires out of the way and since the wires don’t stick out of the back you can place the monitor as close to the back wall as you want and maximize desk space.

The monitor also packs in two 2 Watt speakers that are barely audible and sound quite poor to be honest. So if you plan on purchasing this monitor for multimedia consumption, do note that you might also have to invest in a good pair of speakers to go along with the 4K display.
BenQ EL2870U Picture Quality

The BenQ EL2870U features a 27.9-inch 4K 3840×2160 TN panel with an LED backlight and it’s definitely a pretty good panel for media consumption. As mentioned above, the display has a standard 16:9 aspect ratio with a pixel density of 158ppi and a maximum brightness of 300nits. It has a fast 1ms (GtG) response time which should be great for gaming, but the refresh rate is limited at just 60Hz which is a bummer.

BenQ EL2870U Review 4

The panel’s viewing angles are pretty solid, with the company claiming clear visibility 170 degrees vertically and 160 degrees horizontally. However, in my use, I definitely noticed some color shifting while looking at the display at an angle, something that’s is quite prominent when looking at the display from a steep vertical angle.

The display has a native contrast ratio of 1000:1, which isn’t all that great and that’s quite evident as the monitor fails to reproduce deep blacks.

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The panel has a matte finish, which is great if you wish to avoid screen glares, but the matte finish has a negative impact on the display’s color reproduction. Images and videos on the display look at bit washed out and, once again, blacks don’t look as deep as some other LCD or OLED panels.

The color reproduction is rated at 94 percent on sRGB and 74 percent on Adobe RGB, making the EL2879U a decent option for casual photographers or video editors on a budget, but it’s certainly not on par with professional-grade displays.
HDR Support

The display also comes with HDR support, along with a couple of HDR specific modes, which is probably why most prospective buyers will give this display a second look. However, since the display has a maximum brightness of just 300nits, it isn’t able to make the most out of its HDR capabilities. Therefore, media consumption and gaming without the HDR mode turned on looks a fair bit better than it does with the HDR modes activated.

BenQ EL2870U Review 1

With the HDR mode turned on, there’s very little detail and visual artifacts in the blacks and the colors looked crushed at high intensities. So if you’re specifically considering the EL2870U for its HDR capabilities, you’re definitely going to be disappointed with your purchase. An IPS panel at the same price point will be able to reproduce better blacks and colors, with or without HDR support, making it a better choice.
Low Blue Light Emissions and Brightness Intelligence Plus

The BenQ EL2870U’s display also comes with support for the company’s eye-care technology with TUV Rheinland certification for a flicker-free image and low blue light emissions. The technology is designed to filter out blue light which really helps in reducing eye fatigue and irritation over long periods of use.

To help users adjust the settings quickly on the fly, the monitor features a dedicated button that allows you to cycle between four presets, including multimedia, web-surfing, office and reading. Depending on what you plan on using the monitor for, you’ll need to select the appropriate blue light filter setting to get the best results.

The company has also bundled its Brightness Intelligence Plus technology on the display which, with the help of an ambient light sensor located right beneath the BenQ logo, can automatically adjust the display’s ambient light levels and color temperature based on your surroundings. This makes the monitor a great option for media consumption as it keeps optimizing the output to prevent eye strain over a long period of use.

The Brightness Intelligence Plus technology also adjusts the brightness automatically, which helps avoid overexposure and enhances the details in the darker areas of the image. This goes a long way in preserving the original color saturation and hue, and I preferred using the monitor with this setting turned on.
AMD FreeSync Support

BenQ EL2870U Review 7

Additionally, the EL2870U features AMD FreeSync support which is great for those of you who wish to play games on the display. However, you’ll need to use a compatible AMD GPU in order to make use of this feature and since the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, you shouldn’t expect FreeSync to make much of a difference. Since we don’t have access to a compatible AMD GPU, we weren’t able to test the monitor’s performance with the FreeSync mode turned on.

Pros:

    Affordable
    HDR Compatible
    FreeSync Support
    Decent Build Quality
    Reduced Blue Light Emissions

Cons:

    60Hz Refresh Rate
    Low Native Contrast
    Bad HDR Performance
    Limited Connectivity Options
    Poor Audio Quality

BenQ EL2870U: Decent 4K Monitor for the Budget Conscious

The BenQ EL2870U is a pretty decent monitor for the price and should be a great option for those of you looking for a 4K monitor on a tight budget. Priced at Rs. 32,265, the feature packed monitor is great for multimedia consumption, but it isn’t ideal for gamers.

Even though it comes with AMD FreeSync support, the monitor’s 60Hz refresh rate limits it from used for gaming, and there are plenty of other options in the market, with 120Hz or 144Hz refresh rate displays, which would be a better fit for gamers.

It competes with the LG 27-inch 27UK650-W 4K HDR monitor, which is priced just higher at Rs 33,895, but with a similar 60Hz panel and a slower response time as the BenQ monitor. The Acer 28-inch KG281K monitor on the other hand is far less expensive at around Rs 24,000, but it does not have the same anti-Blue Light emissions or brightness adjustment features which make the BenQ monitor more suited for prolonged usage.

The EL2870U is also a decent fit for photographers and videographers alike, thanks to its decent color reproduction capabilities, but you’ll definitely need to calibrate the display if you want the best color accuracy. The monitor’s HDR capabilities are shabby at best and you shouldn’t really consider the EL2870U if great HDR performance is one of your top priorities.

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