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Vector Luna smartwatch review

Katharine Byrne
28 Aug 2015
Vector Watch Luna
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
299
inc VAT (Contemporary Steel Case model)

The Vector Luna is a stylish smartwatch with class-leading battery life, but its limited functionality hinders its overall appeal

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: No, Display size: 1.4in, Resolution: N/A, OS support: Android 4.4+, iOS 8+, Windows Phone 8.1 (update 1)+, Battery life: 30 days

I've been wearing the Vector Luna for just over three weeks now and I haven't had to charge it once. That’s beyond impressive as far as smartwatches go, especially since its nearest rival, the Pebble Time, only lasts around five days. I shouldn't have to worry about it for another week either, as Vector says the Luna should be able to last for up to 30 days on a single charge. Considering its display is always on, that sounds almost too good to be true.

There's a reason why the Luna has so much stamina, though, as it has a rather more limited feature set than its competitors. For starters, it doesn't have a touchscreen, so the only way to interact with the watch is by using the three side buttons. The top and bottom buttons let you scroll through various apps and watch faces, while the central crown cycles through any additional screens supported by your chosen watch face, such as news headlines in the BBC app, or your steps, calories, distance travelled and sleeping habits on the Activity face.

Vector Watch Luna side

Apps & Streams

New apps and watch faces can be added to your watch instantly via the Vector Watch app on your phone, which connects to the Luna via Bluetooth and supports Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. At the moment, there are only a handful of apps in the Vector Watch store, but more are on the way from the likes of Twitter, Uber, Nest, Strava, Spotify, Amazon and MyFitnessPal to name just a few. Third party developers will also be able to make their own when Vector releases its SDK in October. We're hoping they'll be a bit more creative than what's currently on offer, as the alarm, timer and stopwatch apps hardly make the Luna stand out against its far more capable Android Wear rivals.  

That said, most watch faces can be customised with various 'streams' as well, such as the date, weather, additional time zones, a calorie counter, stock market information, and our favourite, calendar events. The latter is particularly well done, as it not only shows up as text within the watch face itself, but it also marks out the hours you're busy round the edge of the display, giving you a more accurate idea of how your day is shaping up.

Vector Watch Luna meetings stream

^ Add the Meeting stream to your chosen watch face and your calendar events will appear as white lines round the edge of the display at their designated time

Some faces come with these streams by default, but you can always delete them and add another one in its place using the app. Some faces don't let you customise them at all, but most support up to two streams, with some even catering for three.

Notifications

The Luna will also push notifications from your phone, including text messages, incoming calls, Gmail and Google Hangout requests. It alerts you with a gentle buzz, but Vector has cleverly designed the Luna to only show notifications when you turn the watch towards you. Otherwise, its always-on display would be potentially broadcasting your private messages out the world. Likewise, a quick flick of your wrist back down will automatically dismiss them.

However, the lack of touchscreen or built-in microphone means you can't really interact with them in any meaningful way. Emails only show you the subject line, for example, while longer texts trail off the screen. It's good that you can answer or dismiss calls with the side buttons, but this is about as smart as the Luna gets.

Vector Watch Luna email notification

^ You can receive email notifications on your Luna, but with no way to reply or open the message, it's rather useless

Design

This is disappointing, as the Luna is by far one of the most attractive smartwatches I've worn. While still quite sizeable at 44mm wide and 11mm deep, it doesn't completely dwarf my wrist like the LG G Watch R, and my review sample's circular stainless steel body looks far more attractive than the Moto 360. More importantly, the curved lugs also help mask the Luna's overall size, making it seem much less like a huge lump of metal on my wrist compared to the starker edges of the Moto 360.

However, while it's certainly the best-looking smartwatch I've worn, the screen isn't particularly bright and viewing angles are quite narrow, making it tricky to see the time at a glance if you're not looking at it face-on. It's also still chunky enough to get caught on my coat and cardigan sleeves, and its hefty casing isn't quite as light as I'd hoped. This becomes particularly problematic when wearing it at night, as its sheer size means it's not particularly comfortable or practical for tracking my sleep.

Vector Watch Luna rear

^ The Luna's charging cable attaches magnetically to the back of the watch

Fitness Tracking

The leather strap isn't something I'd want to wear while exercising either, which is a shame, as the Luna is arguably one of the most useful fitness devices I've used. For instance, as well as counting the calories you burn through exercise, the Luna also calculates your basal metabolic rate (BMR) as well.

These are the calories you burn even when you're not doing anything particularly strenuous, and it's the first time I've seen this implemented on a smartwatch outside the Misfit Shine. To calculate your BMR, the Luna uses the biometric data you've set in the app, such as your height, weight, age and gender, in conjunction with Vector's own unique algorithm, so the calorie counter will still increase even when you're inactive.

Vector Watch Luna Activity face

^ With the Activity Watch Face, you can see your step and calorie goals at a glance, but the central crown also lets you scroll through additional fitness data screens

This is really useful if you're also keeping track of how many calories you consume, as it provides a tangible figure on which to base your fitness or weight loss plan, unlike many other fitness devices which only measure calories burned through physical exercise. However, at the moment, the only fitness data currently available in the app is for the current day. Vector has said that you should be able to rotate your phone sideways to show graph data from the week, month and year for more accurate tracking, but this feature wasn't supported in the Android version at time of writing.

A more worrying oversight is that there's currently no way to tell how much battery the Luna has left, either in the app or on the watch itself, until you start charging it. This isn't a huge problem given how long it can last on a single charge, but it would still be useful to know exactly when it's about the run out of juice. It comes with a proprietary USB charger as well, so unless you have it to hand when it runs out of power, the Luna essentially becomes a dead weight on your wrist.

Vector Watch Luna app

^ You can manage your watch faces and alarms from within the app, as well as keep track of your daily activity and adjust the watch settings, but there's no clear indication of the watch's remaining battery life

Conclusion

The Vector Luna is undoubtedly one of the most stylish smartwatches around, and the 30-day battery life alone will be enough to convince some to part with their cash. Likewise, the fact that it supports Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices widens its appeal even further, particularly for iOS users who don't want to fork out for an expensive Apple Watch.

However, the Vector Luna just doesn't do quite enough to convince me it's worth it at the moment. Its aspirations as a fitness device don't marry well with its premium design, and its apps feel very limited compared to what's available on the Pebble Time. I'll be intrigued to see how the Luna's app support develops and how it eventually integrates services like Twitter and Spotify, but if they end up anything like the current BBC app (which only has a trio of scrollable headlines which I then can't do anything with), I suspect it will be much easier to just look at them on my phone, negating the need for native apps in the first place. As a result, those after a smartwatch right now are much better off with the £180 Pebble Time.

Hardware
PedometerYes
Heart-rate monitorNo
GPSNo
WaterproofYes
Other featuresNone
Display
Display size1.4in
ResolutionN/A
Display technologyN/A
Smartphone connection
OS supportAndroid 4.4+, iOS 8+, Windows Phone 8.1 (update 1)+
WirelessBluetooth
Battery
Battery sizeN/A
Battery life30 days
Buying information
Price including VAT£249
WarrantyOne year RTB
Supplierwww.vectorwatch.com
Detailswww.vectorwatch.com
Part codeLuna

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