The Razer Nabu X is Razer’s latest iteration of wearable device, packing all the features of the original Nabu apart from instead of the screen, there are three lights which light up in sequences to tell the user what the Nabu is doing or what is happening on your phone. These lights can be red, green or blue and you can customise the colours in the settings app for iOS and Android. I had a chance as a Razer Insider to buy the band for a low price and get it early. After a week of using the device, I report back:
The first thing you notice as you open the packaging is the weight of the device. It is remarkably light and can be worn easily without even noticing it is there. The rubber texture is pleasing to the hand and does not cause irritation (at least so far) and I have very sensitive skin so it would have shown something by now. The clasp is really easy to use and stays well enough that it isn’t going to fall off. You can clasp the strap on without too much effort which is very useful if you are putting the band on your main hand. If you haven’t used a smart band or worn a watch in a while, it will feel a bit weird but you soon get used to it and it doesn’t feel like it is there at all; what it should feel like. The band has a ribbed texture which is really nice but it does seem to have a texture that attracts dust (but I am being picky).
I think that a smart band has to feel great on the wrist or you won’t wear it and therefore it is a waste of money and out of the Jawbone UP and this, this seems to be the better pick as it is clasped to your wrist. Many a time I would wake up and my Jawbone UP would be the other side of the bed due to it falling off in sleep. I haven’t experienced it yet. Putting the band on is a bit harder as the Jawbone does not have a clasp and just slips on, but I feel that the benefits of the band staying on outweigh putting it on due to the fact that you don’t do it very often.
The setup of the band was really simple, just download the app, sign in and look for your device. Then set up the options to your liking. The only thing (that doesn’t affect performance or app use) is that the app is not optimised for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and therefore feels a bit outdated for a very new product. I am looking forward to seeing a newer app soon as it just doesn’t feel like the experience is complete.
The App is really easy to use (though there aren’t very many options to configure) and shows the details of the band (including battery charge of the band which is really useful), the notification settings, the alarm, sleep mode and social settings. The notification settings are a bit misleading as all iOS notifications come in as one colour (that’s all text messages, emails, FaceBook notifications etc) which I found a bit disappointing. With 3 lights of 3 colours, there could have been 27 different configurations but there are only three that can be used: three red, three blue and three green. You cannot configure which apps cause the notifications either as everything that goes into notification centre creates a notification. This caused a bit of trouble due to my Tumblr notifications coming in very regularly, meaning that battery life depleted very quickly. Also, do not enable ‘sleep mode’ until you are sleeping. This disables all step tracking and mutes all notifications. I mistakenly thought this was the ability for the band to track sleep which it is not (it does this by default).
Software updates for the band are done over bluetooth, with the update being downloaded to your phone and then transferred to the device. I think that it is very good that Razer pushes these updates to users as it could add extra features to the band that people request. The bluetooth has a good range as well, with my phone being across the room (5m from me) and the band still receiving notifications. I only felt that the charging cable was a bit weird; it is proprietary and can only be inserted one way. I don’t really know why this was needed (unless for water resistance) as the band could have easily housed micro USB. I worry about loosing the cable and therefore the use of the band as the cable can only be sourced through Razer.
The notifications are really nice compared to my phone. They feel like a light tap on your wrist telling you that something is happening without disturbing you too much and without telling others. It is much more preferable to the iPhone vibration which on the iPhone 6 can be quite loud. I put the phone in ‘Do Not Disturb’ and notifications still came through which meaning that there were not two different vibrations going on in the pocket at the same time. I thought this was a lot better as I prefer a notification on my wrist compared to my pocket which can be quite distracting.
What I really love about this band is the fact that it doesn’t try to be everything. It does just enough and does that for the right price. It looks really understated and feels like a really premium product – and behaves like one. The Nabu X packs a lot of features into a small package that can change to your wrist size (which may increase as you grow). It does lack workout options which the UP had but has the same walking and sleeping graphs which help to show when your sleep was good or bad which are very useful to seeing when you are being most idle.
In conclusion, the Razer Nabu X is a really strong entry from Razer into the smart band category. I really like the feel and build quality of the band compared to its price and would recommend this not only for hardcore Razer fans, but also others who would like a good kick up the butt to start moving.