Smartwatches and fitness trackers have definitely been gaining popularity lately. If you don’t want a full blown smartwatch which barely makes it through the day, or don’t need all the features a fitness tracker offers, then there are other options. Our nevo Balade Parisienne review takes a look at a minimalist smartwatch that has basic smartwatch and tracking features. Read on to see what we thought of this watch from Emie.
The nevo Balade Parisienne smartwatch has the following specifications and features:
- Swiss quality with Swiss parts movement
- Genuine leather strap with quick-release bars, 22mm strap width
- Stainless steel case: 42mm diameter, 12mm thickness
- Mineral glass
- 5ATM waterproof
- Activity tracker: step counter, distance, calories burned
- Goal progress
- Sleep tracker: tracks duration and quality
- Phone notifications: 1 multi-color LED, notifications for calls, SMS, link-loss, inactivity reminder
- Take remote selfies through your phone
- Silent alarms: add up to 10 alarms, including daily recurring alarm
- Android and iOS app with daily goal setting; daily/weekly/10-day history
- Battery life: 3-6 months
What’s in the Box
- 1x nevo Balade Parisienne smartwatch
- 1x Genuine leather strap
- 1x Product guide
- 1x Extra CR2032 cell battery
- 1x Battery replacement tool
The packaging was quite nice, with the watch set into a protective box and it definitely starts to set the expectations for the watch itself. As far as watches go, the nevo Balade Parisienne smartwatch is a fantastic, slick looking watch. Our review sample colour combination is called the Nevo Ravignan and features a matte grey stainless steel case with a black leather strap. The leather strap has two small black threaded sections on either side of the quick release bars.
The face of the watch is black with matching grey hour and minute hands (there is no second hand on the watch). The nevo logo is in white near the top, and the LED cutouts are white as well with small lines to indicate each hour, and 4 small dots between each. The crown is positioned at 90 degrees on the right side, with another button above and below it for smartwatch functions.
At a glance, this French designed smartwatch really looks like a sharp minimal watch. With its 5ATM waterproof rating as well, you don’t have to worry about the watch getting wet when you’re out and about.
The nevo Balade Parisienne is available in four different style options:
- Nevo Tertre: matte grey casing, white watch face, and brown leather strap with blue thread
- Nevo Lepic: matte silver casing, white watch face, and black leather strap with red thread
- Nevo Saules: gloss silver casing, light grey watch face, and black leather strap with red thread
- Nevo Ravignan: matte grey casing, black watch face, and black leather strap with black thread
Each colour combination looks pretty sharp, and there’s sure to be an option that suits your preference.
One option that would be a nice addition to the watch would be for some kind of backlit display for night viewing. While viewing your step counter goal progress lights up some of the LED lights around the ring of the watch face, they weren’t bright enough to see what time it was.
As far as the display goes on the nevo Balade Parisienne, there’s not much here as it’s pretty much a standard watch in this respect. Setting the time is the same as any watch, by pulling out and using the crown. The only area that differs from a “dumb watch” is the LED notification indicators along the outer ring of the watch face, and these display as expected when the corresponding button is pressed in. Depending on what button you press, the LED lights will light up to give you feedback on the desired function (pairing, current step count, etc).
The notification display lights up as the watch vibrates 3 times and then disappears. My only complaint is if you’re wearing a jacket or long sleeve shirt, by the time you’ve looked at the watch you’ve already missed the notification. While this may not seem to be a big deal, the notification light changes colour depending on what the notification is: purple for link loss, blue for inactivity reminder, green for SMS, red for incoming call, and orange for email. If you miss seeing it, then you’ll have to check your phone to see what type of notification you missed instead of being able to decide if you need to address it or if it can wait based on the colour of the notification light.
As with any smartwatch, you’ll have to download an app to your smartphone or tablet in order to be able to track and store your progress. My Timepiece is the app developed by Emie for the nevo Balade Parisienne. With the app, you can set which notifications get sent to the watch, set alarms, enable/disable the inactivity reminder, and view your activity and sleep stats.
After you’ve downloaded the app, your first step is to pair it with the watch. This is achieved by pressing the top and bottom buttons on the watch and holding them for about 5 seconds until all 12 LED indicators light up. The app will then search for your smartwatch — do not pair it through the Bluetooth settings on your phone — and when the 4 LEDs (at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock) blink, press and hold the top button for 3 seconds to connect. This proved to be a tricky process, and took a couple of tries in order to successfully pair the watch to the app.
Once you’re paired, you can enable the Inactivity Reminder and set start and end times, as well as how long to wait in minutes before alerting you that you’ve been inactive. You can also set this to be enabled only on certain days of the week. You can also hit the Activity tab to see how many steps, distance traveled, and calories you’ve burned during the current day. In order to track your sleep, you have to long press the top button on the watch to activate sleep mode. When you wake up in the morning, long press the top button again and you’ll leave sleep mode. When switching, the LED at the 3 o’clock position will flash to indicate changes. When activated, the watch should track your light sleep, deep sleep, and how long you were awake for.
The settings section lets you modify your profile, including weight and height, set your step goals (up to 30,000), choose which apps can send notifications to your watch, pair and unpair your watch, as well as update the firmware on the watch.
Unfortunately, the app only keeps your last 10 days of activity, so there’s no real long term tracking/comparing that you’ll be able to do with it.
So just how “smart” is this watch? It works pretty well — for the most part. However, I often found that I had to re-pair it in the morning. Unfortunately, I sometimes forgot and was well into my day before noticing that the device hadn’t captured any steps. I thought that this may have been attributed to the sleep mode toggling, but when I tested it without putting the watch into sleep tracking mode, there were still mornings when I had to re-pair the watch to my phone. Once it’s paired though, the step tracking seems to be pretty accurate. A short press of the top button illuminates a number of LEDs that correspond with what percentage of your daily goal you’ve accomplished.
As far as sleep tracking is concerned, I’m not entirely convinced it’s all that accurate. There were a few times where I was awake in the middle of the night for 5 or 10 minutes, and the watch didn’t track that at all. Every night that I tracked my sleep with the watch, it showed roughly 99% of the time as deep sleep, with about 10 minutes of light sleep. As a test, I enabled sleep tracking mode about an hour before I went to bed. Part of it was spent sitting on the couch, and then about half an hour of walking around the house before going to bed. Once I woke up the next morning and checked the app, there was a full hour of “sleep” missing and there was no awake time recorded. In addition, there were only a few minutes of light sleep tracked.
I briefly mentioned notifications in the design section above, and while they work and were accurate in displaying the proper colour based on what the notification was, the three vibrations and flashes are pretty close together and easily missed. Alarms were easy to set up in the app, and went off when they were supposed to, so no issues there.
For those of you into selfies, the remote selfie option worked decently enough. First you have to launch your smartphone camera through the My Timepiece app, then a simple press of the bottom button on the watch will activate the shutter. If you’re looking to set your phone on a ledge to take a group selfie, it works pretty well for that, but for individual or selfies with a friend you’re still better off just using your phone.
Here’s where the nevo Balade Parisienne has a step up against other smartwatches. This watch doesn’t need to be recharged and uses a two battery system. The first, smaller battery, is used for timekeeping functions and nothing else. The second, larger CR2032 battery — of which the watch comes with an extra — is responsible for the smartwatch notification and tracking functionality. Emie says that the larger battery should last 3 to 6 months, ours lasted just under 12 weeks before it died and had to be replaced.
Of course battery life depends on use, and I had everything set up for notifications: inactivity, SMS, phone calls, and email. Not to mention checking my steps constantly throughout the day. Even though it lasted just under 12 weeks, it’s still better than having to recharge it every day and hope that it will get you through the next.
Priced at $169.99USD, this is a tough one to gauge. Based on the quality and design of the watch itself, I’d spend that alone even if it didn’t have any smartwatch functionality. However, the watch is being sold as a smartwatch and as such the value just isn’t quite there yet.
As much as I love the design and idea of the nevo Balade Parisienne smartwatch, it was just a bit too finicky and inaccurate in areas for my liking. Having to constantly re-pair it coupled with the inaccurate sleep activity tracking put this minimalist smartwatch in the “almost there” category. Hopefully some of these issues can be fixed with future firmware and app updates. However, if you are looking for a sleek looking minimal smartwatch that does a good job of tracking your daily steps, the nevo Balade Parisienne smartwatch does a decent job there — when it’s connected.