This week's Mobile World Congress just started, but it's already been a hotbed of good news for mobile tech fans. AT&T made the big first-day announcement on Sunday by announcing that it will be the exclusive retailer for both the LG Watch Urbane and HTC's new Grip, but the Grip is the lower-priced of the two that's not exactly a smart watch.
The HTC Grip is best described as a fitness band that offers a bit more than your typical wearable fitness tracker. The device was created in partnership with Under Armour and is said to be targeted toward "serious athletes." Amazingly enough, it's compatible with both Android and iOS, which is not common for a smartdevice these days.
As for specs, the Grip features a 1.8-inch 32 x 160 P-MOLED mono flex display with touch capabilities, 16 MB Flash memory and 8 MB RAM. The 100 mAh battery is ecpected to give 2.5 days of usage, or only 5 hours is GPS is activated. Aside from GPS, the Grip also houses a G-sensor, gyro, compass, and light sensor.
A multi-sport mode will tracks a variety of activities from running to cycling and more, while you'll receive advice from fitness experts as your progress is bring tracked.
But the Grip is missing one important component: a heart rate monitor. "That makes the Grip a $200 fitness wearable that comes out of the box recommending you buy another fitness wearable, a separate HR monitor, to get the full experience," Gizmodo points out in its review.
"It comes in three different sizes-small, medium, large-and has two links so you can adjust the size even further," the review describes. "But the thing is if you are a 'serious athlete' and you're running, jumping, skiing, cycling, snowshoeing, whatever, this thing will probably be banging around your arm, which is a big wearable pet peeve. The Grip also tracks sleep, but I'd imagine sleeping with this thing would be pretty uncomfortable."
"Even though it looks like a Fuelband, the ambitions of the HTC Grip -- and its price -- are closer to the Microsoft Band," CNet said in its review. "And its functions, in many ways, remind me of Fitbit's latest Surge GPS watch, minus heart rate. Microsoft's Band is richer in features, but difficult to use. Fitbit's Surge has all-day heart-rate tracking, but a bulky design. Will the Grip be better?"
But it's the timing that CNet really questions with the Grip. "The HTC Grip seems like a clear attempt to compete with Nike and Adidas in smart wearables, but the timing, in mid-2015, seems odd," the report continues. "Can this be exciting for real athletes, or anyone else, in a world of sexier watches and cheaper fitness bands? We'll see, but before testing one for a week or so there's just no easy way to know. It makes me wonder whether HTC Grip would have been a better story in 2013 than 2015, and whether this band can succeed in such a crowded market."
The HTC Grip is expected to launch later this Spring in two color choices (teal and lime), three sizes, and a starting price of $199.