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It’s an unexpected but welcome product from the leather goods brand.
Apple Watch. FitBit. Samsung Galaxy Watch. You know these brands and products well, because over the last half-decade or so, they’ve come to dominate the fitness-tracking smartwatch game. They’re all terrific smartwatches too, really, perfect whether you’re working out in the gym, taking a run, or just running to the store.
But there are other options out there. And if you’re looking for a smartwatch that brings classic, sleek style while also delivering solid fitness chops, it’s time to consider Montblanc’s Summit Lite.
I know what you’re thinking, too: Montblanc isn’t exactly a brand known in the fitness space. When you think Montblanc, we think of high-end bags and wallets, sunglasses, pens, and stationary. You don’t think of a rugged device you’ll don during any and every workout. And the Summit Lite may have a hefty price tag ($725), but it aims to change that. And while it may not be flawless, it’s a quality alternative if you’re looking to stand out.
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One of the issues with many fitness smartwatches is that they look like, well, smartwatches. There are square edges and unique design touches and it all looks vastly different from the watches you grew up with.
The Summit Lite manages to feel like a true watch. My unit features a sleek but comfortable rubber strap that manages to never dig into my skin. The all-black watch face is clean, with the slightest hint of sheen to it, and sitting in the center of it is a dazzling 1.2-inch super-AMOLED display.
Images, text, and watchfaces all pop on the Summit Lite, so it’s fun to check out the images from my Instagram feed when they push to the Summit Lite. Text is easily legible too, so you likely won’t have to up the point size to read quick messages.
The best part of the package, though, is the three buttons on the right side of the watch face – real, classic watch buttons. The middle one actually rotates, too, and it serves as your key navigation tool for surfing through the Summit Lite. These details couple with a bevy of watchfaces to allow you to create unique looks with the Summit Lite.
It can easily fit in with your training, updating you on heart rate and steps taken in a day. It can also look absolutely classically dazzling when you head to dinner later that night.
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Montblanc runs on Google’s WearOS, but the company also pushes to be more than that, delivering its own suite of fitness features. These are all tremendously ambitious, too, aiming to give you estimates on your Vo2 max when you go for a run, and tracking heart rate too.
Like nearly every device on the market today, Montblanc also attempts to calculate your recovery and readiness via its own energy level score. (I never take any of these calculations on any device seriously, though; you should learn to assess your own body every morning.)
These features all function solidly, and they compare favorably to measures I’ve taken on other devices. Compared to my WHOOP, Montblanc’s heart rate calculations were always a bit on the low side; they were a bit higher than my Apple Watch calculations. They were, however, consistent; all these devices are prone to a bit of inaccuracy, but you want them to showcase consistency in themselves. Montblanc has that down.
Where Montblanc struggles is in conveying all of this on your phone. Unlike Apple Health or other options, which seamlessly use the phone to assist in “coaching” you through your health experience, Montblanc doesn’t have a dedicated app that lets it work with your phone. You’ll need to link your data to Strava or Google Fit instead.
These are likely small imperfections for Montblanc’s target crowd, though; this seems like a smartwatch meant less for CrossFitter and more meant for the casual fitness-goer. It’s perfect for somebody who takes a virtual or in-person fitness class in the morning, then needs to run to the office or handle day-to-day errands after that. And it’s perfect to wear out for any night on the town.
That’s reinforced by solid battery life, too. This isn’t quite set-it-and-forget-it-for-a-week, like some Garmin devices, but you’ll get a solid day-and-a-half to two days of battery life, solidly more than I get from my Apple Watch. And you get all that classic style, too, a look that stands out from the Apple Watch and Fitbit crowd.
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