Review of HI-TEC TREK
In November we reported that sports footwear and apparel brand HI-TEC has entered the increasingly competitive wearables market with it’s new TREK range and we were able to get our hands on the TREK Plus to test out in the run-up to Christmas (get it?). Anyway, with more and more sports brands trying to get into the wearables game, how would HI-TEC’s attempt perform? Read on to find out.
WHAT IS TRACKED?
The TREK Plus tracks the standard set of criteria, including steps, distance covered, calories, sleep and heart rate (only included on the Plus, not the Go or Lite models). This is all done through the standard sensors and then things like distance and calories are estimated according to the height and weight you give in the mobile app set-up process. The Plus and Go versions also include functionality with your phone to show you notifications, which is always handy when your phone is tucked in a pocket under various layers!
Defining the accuracy of a step count is always a bit of a challenge, as I don’t count my way around each day to compare! But comparing it to the device that lives on my wrist by choice, the TREK Plus appears to be accurate and put up with the various different activities of my day-to-day life well – not least the ‘step challenge’ that is a commute on the London Underground (so no free steps for me this time!).
Things like sleep are also easily tracked with the TREK, although the manual process of switching this on and off makes it a bit of a missed opportunity for me. I always prefer to see the sleep function automated these days, unless there is deeper sleep data available (light & heavy sleep for example). In the case of the TREK, it was simply the time spent asleep, so this should really be able to be automated.
Lastly, the heart rate monitor. In terms of the daily checks, this appears to have tracked well over the course of an average day to give my general daily heart rate and allow me to see if I’m a little more stressed on a given day! However, I also ran an exercise related test while on my static training bike where I finished an hour-long session ans was warming down. I could see on the training dashboard that my chest strap heart monitor had me at 142 beats per minute, but the TREK unfortunately seemed convinced I was already down to 71 bpm (I tried it twice…).
Setting up the TREK was very easy and the slim design made it a comfortable addition to my wrist during the test. The main body is a little chunkier than you initial expect and the sideways display format meant I ended up adopting the inward facing position, rather than the traditional watch face style. From initial look, I was excited to see a nice big display on the TREK too, but on closer inspection it turns out that only about one third of the real estate is actually used, which is a shame.
This small screen also made it a bit fiddly to use at times, hitting the buttons you didn’t mean too, for example. In the end I couldn’t help but think that this device could have done with a couple of simple buttons to help you navigate around and a bigger screen without touch functionality.
HI-TEC claimed at launch that the batter should last about 5 days and from my experience this is spot on, you could even stretch this to a week if you don’t use notifications! My standard is always to expect at least a week, but considering the recent Microsoft Band 2 only goes for 2 days before it needs more juice, it was refreshing to have a device that lasted on my wrist.
The TREK Plus is available for just under £80, putting it up against some of the other mid-tier trackers on the market, with the Trek Go dropping to £60 and TREK Lite for just £45. Given the functionality and battery life, these price points all seem to be spot on and not too high to scare away any new entrants to the world of wearables too.
Ultimately, the TREK is a solid little device that is perfect for someone that wants to keep an eye on their steps. I clearly had some issues with the screen size and the heart rate sensor, but for £60 you can get the TREK Go, which is a great price for the tracking and added bonus of mobile phone notifications too! It’s certainly not meant to compete with the higher end of the market, but it’s not at the other end either. HI-TEC have built a sturdy and good tracker. It could improve in some areas and I’m sure it will in coming years if they stick with it, for now I would have no problem recommending this alongside a couple of other options to someone as a first foray into tracking their activity levels – can’t say fairer than that!