Monthly Archives: December 2017

Review: Withings Activité Pop

Yup, it’s another wearable review! But this one’s actually a good one, I promise.

After not getting on very well with shocking wristbands and posture correctors, I may have finally found something good – the Withings Activité watch.

What is it? Well, it’s basically just a normal watch.

OK THANKS FOR READING THE REVIEW EVERYONE GOODBYE

Nah, it’s a little bit more than just a watch. Not so much more that it falls into another category though. It’s not a Jawbone or Fitbit – one of those so-called ‘activity trackers’. But it’s also not so advanced that you could call it a smart watch either. It’s just an activity tracking watch, a watch that does activity tracking. And it’s this simplicity that I find really refreshing.

Years ago I had a Jawbone Up. A horrible orange thing on my wrist that I had to charge every day and ended up breaking. But the list of things it could do was endless! It could track your movements, track your sleep, track your heart rate, track your eating (if you told it), track your mood (if you told it), just track your whole goddam life. It was kind of overwhelming, and ultimately… kind of useless. Worse still, even with all that you still had to wear a watch anyway if you wanted to know the time. So yeah, it was kind of dumb.

I don’t know what kind of wizardry is going on inside the Withings Activité, but here’s what it can do:

  • Activity/step tracking (visualised on the watch as a separate dial)
  • Sleep tracking
  • ‘Silent’ alarm (it vibrates on your wrist)
  • Bluetooth syncing to an app
  • 8 months of battery life

Yes, 8 months. To me, that’s the most incredible thing ever. I’m wearing a thing on my watch that’s counting my steps all day long AND telling my phone how many I’m doing, AND it’s also monitoring my sleep AND waking me up at the right time AND YET somehow it can just tick along for months and months without giving up. How is that even possible? My phone can play like half an episode of Game of Thrones before it starts getting thirsty. So yeah, massive props to the engineers behind this device.

Oh yes, another thing to mention:

  • IT TELLS THE TIME

In other words, it functions as a watch. You know, hours and minutes and all that. It automatically resets itself in line with daylight savings or if you go abroad (so basically whatever time your phone is telling the watch it is), which is neat! You can also triple tap the watch face at any time to check when you have your alarm set for. The hands magically whirl around to that time, which is one of the coolest things to just show off to people.

It really helps that it looks like a normal watch too, unlike the Jawbone (bright orange silicone was such a poor design choice). I know activity tracker design is becoming more fashionable anyway, but it makes SO MUCH SENSE for this wrist-held activity tracker to just be a watch that I can’t imagine having it any other way.

I opted for the black ‘Activité Pop’ version of the watch. The ‘Pop’ range is just a cheaper set of price and colour options, but they don’t feel especially ‘budget’ or anything like that. Also, I think ‘Withings’ as a company either no longer exists or has been entirely consumed by Nokia, so you’ll find that as the product name in most places.

Nokia are pushing the ‘Steel’ range in place of Pop. The Steel watches are functionally the same as the Pop ones, as far as I can tell (although the Steel HR also monitors your heart rate), but are made from sturdier materials. I mean, sure go for that if you want a metal watch that looks REALLY good. But I think the plastic ones are fine.

And good news, you can still buy the old Activité Pop watches on Amazon. For just £50 too. That’s a good deal. (Don’t worry I’m not getting paid for this, and I don’t know how to set up affiliate links lol).

Downsides? Not many. Replacing the battery is a little bit fiddly and I’ve had to replace the strap, but that’s all fine. Oh, did I mention that the watch is WATERPROOF too? Lol this thing is just too perfect.

Treat yourself this Christmas. Or don’t. What do I care what you do?

This water bottle flip video is a work of art

I wanted to write about something today. But I didn’t want to write about Shrek again. So I thought to myself ‘what can I write about instead?’ What else do I know? Then I rewatched a particular video for like the ten thousandth time and realised…. THIS. This is what I know.

This:

It’s thirty seconds, but very good. Go ahead, watch it a few more times. Really soak it in.

REMEMBER BOTTLE FLIPPING? The hottest craze of 2016? The bane of parents and schoolteachers world wide? Remember the viral talent show clip that started it all?

It’s weird how even a year later this can seem like ancient history. Bottle flipping videos are now cultural relics of historical importance. And the video I shared at the top of this post is just such a relic.

The clip itself is from a longer piece taken from kingvader‘s Instagram page –

But I think the cut-down video in the tweet works better. It feels tighter, cutting right to the chase, and eliminating what you might describe as the unnecessary world-building at the start. I much prefer the bottle flipper as an anonymous stranger, just busting a door down and doing his thing.

Here are my favourite bits of the video:

  1. Just slamming that door right down, or at least trying to. I’m guessing they filmed this in a school or something so didn’t want to damage anything. So his foot doesn’t quite connect with the door fully, but it’s a high kick that looks really badass anyway.
  2. The way the interviewers immediately look shocked and intimidated.
  3. “Do you have any special talents?” just right off the bat, just like in a real interview.
  4. How he goes straight into the bottle flip, as if he was gonna be doing that regardless of what they asked him.
  5. The way they kinda sit up as the bottle is in the air.
  6. Obviously, the bit when the bottle lands and the drop comes in. And how heavy and horrible the bass is there.
  7. The commitment each of the actors puts into their performance for the rest of the video. There’s the guy who just throws himself back in his chair, the guy just chucking his notes, the chap with the keyboard, and of course…
  8. Mr Milkshake Shaker. The true hero. Absolutely drenching himself in the stuff. Immersing himself in the role like some kind of Daniel Day Lewis method actor, with no regard for the mess he’s making.

Just look at the concentration:

I wish I could be that committed to literally anything. The man is an inspiration to us all.

It’s also just really funny and stupid and fun. Basically, it’s a perfect 30 second internet video and I’m glad that it exists.

Aaaand, I think that’s all I had to say about this one.