How do you stand out in a crowded wearable market? Offer an activity tracker that is not only accurate, affordable, and loaded with the latest features, but one that is also waterproof and requires no charging. That is exactly what Salutron, a company known for its heart-rate technology in exercise equipment, has done with its latest fitness tracker: the LifeTrak Zone C410.
The watch tracks everything you would expect from a modern fitness tracker: steps, calories, distance, and sleep. Unlike some competitors, however, the Zone C410 is fully waterproof up to 90 feet, meaning you never have to take it off. Other perks are the watch's always-on display and coin battery, which offers approximately one year of battery life, and is priced at $100 (£47, AU$117). Oh, and did I mention it also includes a built-in heart-rate monitor?
The Zone C410 features a rather uninspiring design, at least compared to many of the other activity trackers on the market. There are two small buttons on the right-hand side: one for starting, stopping, and syncing; the other for scrolling through the various display screens. Holding both buttons will activate the display's backlight. A third and larger button on the front of the device can be pressed to scroll through the various tracking modes, or held to calculate your heart rate.
LifeTrak notes that the buttons are not meant to be used while the device is submerged in water. Even so, buttons are left wet and leaking sometimes up to almost an hour after showering.
The watch sits securely on your wrist after poking the two pegs through the rubber watch band, a method used by trackers from Fitbit, Samsung, and others. The band that comes with the watch is reversible and also interchangeable. LifeTrak offers 13 different band color combinations on its website for $14 a piece.
Unlike bands from competitors, which have a habit of falling off when putting on a jacket or wearing a cuffed shirt, I found the Zone C410 to be rather secure. In fact, the watch never fell off my wrist. It managed to stay on even when working out or playing ice hockey, an activity I would have never trusted my Fitbit with. While I haven't removed the watch since I first put it on, I have noticed that the body is easily scratched.
The always-on grayscale display offers real-time data on your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and hours slept. A bar at the top of the screen shows how close you are to achieving your daily goals, which can be customized on the Android and iOS app. Below the daily goal progress bar sits the time and date. Despite a spot for it on the LCD display, the Zone C410 doesn't include an alarm feature, or vibration features.
Older models had a black background with white numbers that were incredibly difficult to read at a quick glance or while outdoors. An updated model that is shipping to customers now reverses the color scheme, making the display much easier to read.
The Zone C410 stores your tracking data for the past seven days. Information can be viewed in an hourly and weekly chart right on the watch's display. While LifeTrak claims that the Zone C410 isn't app dependent, it's easier to view your information from your Android or iOS device. In addition to all of the tracking features, the watch also includes a basic stopwatch. In the so-called "workout mode," you have the ability to individually track steps, distance, and calories burned.
Where the Zone C410 falls short is when you are ready to sync the watch with your smartphone or tablet. There is no automatic syncing, instead LifeTrak uses a rather clumsy two-step system that requires you to click Refresh on the app and hold the lower-side button on the device.
Outside of the look and feel of a device, the thing to consider when buying a fitness tracker is how accurate it is. Well not only is the Zone C410 accurate, it's the most accurate fitness tracker I've ever tested. LifeTrak's watch shined when compared to the now discontinued Fitbit Force and the Samsung Gear Fit. It wasn't just the pedometer that was accurate, it was the heart rate too.
The Zone C410 accurately reported the distance when walking a mile around a track, only off by 0.05 mile. While the heart-rate monitor isn't continuous like the Basis Band, it was able to find my pulse rather quickly and never failed. The results also consistently matched those of a Garmin monitor strapped around my chest. As an added bonus, the Zone C410 tells you the percentage of your maximum heart rate with a small icon under the BPM data. This is valuable information when working out and trying to hit your target heart rate.