It’s good to see a company approaching the smartwatch differently and we like the design and style of the Vector Watch Luna. A month-long battery life is a real standout point but you’ll have to be happy with the retro low-res display as a sacrifice. This is all acceptable but the device falls down when it comes to functionality with poor apps, fitness tracking and notification system. Things are improving over time with software updates but that’s not really good enough at this price point.
A lot of new tech brands are popping up and London-based Vector Watch is one of them aiming to take on the likes of Android Wear smartwatches and the Apple Watch. Here’s our Vector Watch Luna review. Updated on 13/10/15 with our video review. See also: Best smartwatches 2015.
Vector Watch says it is ‘designing and developing wearable technology that simplifies lifestyles by combining unique design with cutting edge software’ so we’ve put that to the test with one of its two new smartwatches.
Vector Watch Luna review: Price and competition
Unlike most smartwatches, you can choose whether you prefer square or round faces. The Meridian is the former and cheaper starting at £219 but we took a look at the circular Luna model which is pricier at £299. Shop the entire range here.
There are various models of the Luna available (we’ll explain below) but most are that starting price of £299. ‘Classic’ models are all more expensive at £349 apart from one ‘Contemporary’ design. A lone ‘Performance’ option is also £299.
Starting at £299 means the Vector Watch Luna matches the Apple Watch, albeit the Sport model which comes with a rubber strap. Compare similar models in terms of casing and strap and it’s a lot cheaper. However, against Android Wear devices, the Vector Watch Luna is more expensive – even the new Moto 360 2nd generation starts at £229.
There’s also a new challenger on the market from Pebble called the Time Round. Overall the Vector Watch has a tough job on its hands to outpace these rivals.
Vector Watch Luna review: Design and build
A key element to any smartwatch is the design – it’s sitting on your wrist on constant display and is arguably more of a statement than your phone which spends much of its time hidden away in a pocket or bag.
Out of the two Vector Watch designs we prefer the round Luna which you can choose if a number of different variations. The contemporary model comes with a stainless steel or matte ip black case and either leather or metal straps. Meanwhile the classic models are champagne or rose gold with a padded leather strap. The lone performance model has a ‘luxury’ silicone strap but isn’t any cheaper.
We took a look at the contemporary model with a matte black case and brown leather strap. As you can see in the photos the device is certainly stylish and has turned many heads over the month or so we’ve been using it – although we did have one freelancer not keen on it at all.
Whether you like the design enough to buy it is completely your decision but what we can tell you is that the watch is well-built. The overall feel is great although the Luna is quite thick – 12mm – it has that reassuring weight to it. The Luna is fully waterproof, so much so that you can take it 50m deep.
The main part of the case looks sleek but it’s a slight shame that the bezel around the edge of the glass front feels a bit plastickly. It’s also sad that the nicest bit of the watch is on the back with its gorgeous engraved finish.
Vector Watch Luna review: Hardware, compatibility and software features
It’s not quite as much of a boast with the recent addition of iOS support for Android Wear but the Vector Watch works with iPhone, Android and Windows Phone. It’s great to see a firm develop for all three major mobile OSes for a change – note that we’ve been testing paired with Android so our comments are based on this experience alone.
Setting up the device takes no time at all – simply download the app, create a basic account, switch Bluetooth on and connect the watch. Although the watch disconnected from our Nexus 5 a few times it was generally stable. However, we’ve read that some Android phones provide a poor experience such as the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
If you’re looking for gizmos and gadgets then the Vector Watch Luna is not the right choice for you. The firm has sacrificed extras for good old fashioned battery life. The firm touts a whopping 30-day battery life and the firm isn’t lying on this front. Not having to charge it regularly is a real boon but there’s no way of checking the level on the device itself which is an oversight.
In order to achieve this, the Luna has a basic monochrome LCD screen, a bit like the Pebble Steel. This is fine if you like a retro look but for you money you’d be forgiven for expecting something similar to the Apple Watch or high-end Android Wear watch. The Vector Watch screen won’t fool anyone into thinking the hands are real.
Navigation is easy with three buttons on the side which scroll through various watch faces, which can be customised with what Vector calls ‘streams’. For example some faces have spots where you can place info like the date, weather, steps and events.
Alongside pre-loaded watch faces there is a store to download more but there are only a handful to choose from and none from any third-party developers. You can also download apps but aside from pre-installed ones like a stopwatch there are a just four to choose from: The Economist, Cnet, BBC and ESPN. They don’t do a whole lot either, with the BBC app giving you three headlines to scroll through, for example.
As alluded to, the Vector Watch can count your activity by monitoring steps, calories, distance and sleep. You access them through a particular watch face (and the app) but we never found the distance to change, always displaying 0km. This is disappointing and there’s no GPS or heart rate monitor either. See also: The best activity trackers 2015.
With the Luna offering poor fitness tracking and app selection, it’s more about notifications here. When linked up to a phone, you can get a range of notifications (you can choose which you want) and the watch will vibrate plus show a ring round the edge. Twist it towards you or press the middle button and it will open up.
On the most part this works well, however the notification will disappear if you don’t do something about it after a while and if you get, for example, a number of Facebook Messenger notifications you have to read them in reverse order which makes no sense.
A handy feature for people with busy schedules is a quick way of seeing when you’re busy each day. Press the middle button on any watch face and the Vector Watch will show any meetings around the edge.
Vector Watch Luna: Specs
- Compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Stainless steel case
- Leather strap, 22mm
- LCD screen
- 50m waterproof
- 30-day battery life