I’ve tried the smartwatch route, and while they do what they advertise, I found them to be a bit too much. I’ve also tried the Google Fit smartphone app route to track steps and daily activity but I don’t always carry my phone with me, especially when it’s sitting on my desk at work or on a table at home. If you’re like me and not into a full fledged smartwatch but are still interested in tracking your daily step count and distance travelled, our Timex Metropolitan+ review takes a look at an analog watch with activity tracker that might just be more up your alley.
Before we start, check out this one-take music video Timex partnered with Kurt Schneider, Tyler Ward, and Mike Tompkins which features the original song inspired by the Metropolitan+ watch called “All Time.” Kurt, Tyler and Mike all wore the watch during filming and logged nearly 10,000 steps in the making of their epic, one-take video.
The Timex Metropolitan+ isn’t your typical “smartwatch” or activity tracker and features:
- Classic Analog design
- Dial window material type: Mineral
- Case/bezel material: brass
- Case diameter: 42mm
- Case thickness: 13mm
- Band width: 20mm
- Weight: 16 ounces
- BLE connection
- Activity tracking display on screen
- INDIGLO® night-light
- Water resistant depth: 100m/330 feet
- Estimated battery life of 1.5 years
The Metroplitan+ is available in two unique styles. One watch has a silver-tone case, a black dial with red accents, and a textured black leather quick-release strap for a more business look. The other variation is offered in a Box Set and features a black case with a black dial and orange accents, and comes with interchangeable black silicone and orange nylon quick-release straps for more active use.
In addition to the black leather, black silicone, and orange nylon straps, four new strap options are available which include brown, charcoal grey, or dark brown genuine leather quick-release straps, and a white silicone quick-release strap.
We chose the silver-tone case with the black leather strap for our review unit, and it’s a pretty sharp looking watch. As mentioned in the specifications, the case is 13mm thick, and is 42mm in diameter, while the watch band is 20mm wide. The watch itself is a bit thicker than a standard watch, but not too much that it felt unwieldy or heavy on the wrist. The face itself is black with silver accents and hour/minute/second hands with white text. The step/distance hand has a red tipped arrow, the mode sub-dial hand is silver, and the % indicator sub-dial hand is red.
The crown is in your standard place, and has four positions: closed, middle, outer, and temporary push to activate the INDIGLO® night-light. The outer position allows you to calibrate the hands, the middle position allows you to adjust the time, and the closed position is for normal operation. Should you choose to store the watch for an extended period of time, pulling the crown to the outer position will disable the time feature and after an additional 30 minutes will turn off the activity tracking as well. Just above the crown is the A button which is used for the various activity tracker options which we’ll cover shortly.
As for the watch strap itself, it features Timex’s quick-release strap. At the right side of where each strap connects to the watch via the watch strap pin, there’s a little slot cut out that has a tiny lever that when pushed to the left releases the pin and allows the strap to be removed easily. Simply reverse the process to put the strap back on the watch.
Even though the watch is rated at WR 5 ATM (100m/300ft), it’s not a diving watch and is water resistant as long as the push buttons aren’t used. Timex also suggests rinsing it off with fresh water after being exposed to salt water.
Overall, the Metropolitan+ is a nicely designed and comfortable watch to wear.
The Timex Metropolitan+ requires the use of the Timex Connected app, available for both iOS and Android smartphones. The app walks you through setting up your watch so that it connects to your phone. The watch doesn’t need to be paired as you would a regular Bluetooth device, but does need to be set up so it connects to the app. Once setup is complete, you enter your user information such as age, weight, and height, activity tracking options to adjust sensor sensitivity and distance adjustment, and toggling between imperial and metric systems. The unfortunate thing is if you select metric to view your distance in kilometers, you’ll have to enter your weight in kilograms, but if you enter your weight in pounds first, the app will calculate the metric equivalent so it’s a pretty easy workaround for those of us using the metric system but still weighing ourselves using the imperial system.
Once you’re set up, the App Settings let you set a nickname for your watch, set your steps, calories, and distance goals, as well as check and update the firmware, or factory reset your Metropolitan+. Updating the firmware will wipe your current day’s activities, so it’s best to do it early in the day before starting your activity. During firmware update, not only will the app tell you the percentage of progress complete, but the lower sub-dial hand on the watch will as well.
The watch holds your activity tracking data for the last 7 calendar days, so you only need to worry about syncing it with your smartphone once a week. Once your data is synced, your calories will be calculated and you can view your activity by day, week, month, or year with averages calculated for steps, calories, and distance as well. One thing I noticed however, is that the daily averages for week, month, year, and all time didn’t seem to update but only reflected a total. Timex clarified that these averages are calculated after the week, month, or year has completed.
Coming in the Spring of 2016, the Metropolitan+ will also track sleep metrics, presumably through an update to the Timex Connected app, which will include:
- The time you fell asleep
- Deep sleep and Light Sleep
- Sleep disturbances (e.g. getting up for a drink of water)
- Sleep time
- The time you woke up
This additional functionality will be sure to add even more value to the watch.
Ease of Use
Initial setup of the watch was a bit finicky as I couldn’t get the Bluetooth on the watch to listen long enough. To sync the Metropolitan+ to the Timex Connect app, you hold the A button down until the upper-left dial switches from S to D to the Bluetooth symbol. After toggling it back to the Bluetooth symbol a couple of times, the watch finally synced up with my Nexus 5 and shortly after I was notified that there was a firmware update available. I toggled the watch back to Bluetooth mode and the firmware update installed right away. Apart from the initial setup, the Bluetooth syncing to my smartphone has been flawless, so it may have just been getting used to the timing between the app setup sync and the watch.
As far as tracking your daily activity on the watch is concerned, the upper left sub-dial has OFF, Bluetooth, D, and S (from left to right). These modes are toggled using the A button above the crown on the right side of the watch. By default, when on, the watch goes to S for Step mode, which displays the number of steps you’ve taken so far in that day. The fourth hand with the red arrow tip moves and points to numbers around the outside edge of the face. From 1-7 these numbers correspond with the hour, then between 7 and 12 every half hour to display the number 15 at the 12 o’clock position. Each number represents 1000 steps, with ticks marking every 100 steps between those. Again, after 7 this changes and only 1 tick indicating 500 appears between the remaining numbers up to 15. In the lower right-hand region of the face is another sub-dial which goes from 0 to 100% in increments of 10. This dial is marked off with a small red hand that increases to show you the percentage of your daily goal that you have reached.
A very short press of the A button will toggle the S to the D – for distance – mode. The fourth hand with the red arrow and the red hand in the % sub-dial area will both adjust to reflect current distance walked in miles (or kilometers if you have selected metric) around the outer edge, and percentage of daily goal in the lower right-hand area of the watch face. Press the A button to toggle back to step display mode.
To put the watch in Bluetooth mode, press and hold the A button down until it goes to the Bluetooth symbol and then release it. If you continue to hold it, it will switch to the OFF position which will in turn disable activity tracking and prolong battery life. To turn on Activity Tracking, simply hold the A button for a few seconds and the upper right sub-dial hand will move up to the S position and resume tracking your activity.
At midnight of each day, the fourth arm will reset to the 12 o’clock position, and the percentage indicator arm will reset to 0%.
The subdial system to update you on your daily progress is quite simple, but works very well and it was really easy to not only toggle between steps and distance, but also to see where I was at in my daily progress.
For all intents and purposes, the Timex Metropolitan+ functions on a day to day basis as a normal watch, with the added bonus of a step/distance counter. I ran a few rough tests by counting my steps and then syncing with the app and it seemed pretty accurate in counting my steps. The Timex Metropolitan+ uses an algorithm based on your height and speed to determine your stride length. If your distance being calculated is off, the app allows you to calibrate the distance by up to + or – 25%.
There’s not much to say here, as the watch doesn’t require recharging on a daily basis like most smartwatches, or on a weekly basis like most fitness bands. As mentioned in the specifications, Timex indicates the battery should last 1 1/2 years before needing to be replaced and it can be done so at any place that sells watch batteries. Not having to worry about charging another device is definitely an added bonus.
Priced at $125USD for the silver-case Metropolitan+ with the leather watch band, or $150 for the black-case version with the two silicone and nylon watch bands is a fair price considering you are getting a nice looking, well constructed watch with basic additional activity tracking. The additional watchbands are available for $18USD each, so there are numerous options to customize the look of your watch.
I haven’t worn a watch everyday outside of testing various smartwatches in years, mostly because I haven’t seen the need to. The Timex Metropolitan+ with its built in Activity Tracker is definitely one that I’d consider wearing full time. Not only is it comfortable, but the added functionality without having to worry about charging it every night to get daily basic activity stats is an added bonus for anyone who already wears a watch and wants to track their basic activity as well without the added distractions of a full blown smartwatch. While it is limited to step and distance count, the Timex website does indicate that sleep metrics will be coming to the watch in the spring, which will add even more value for the price.