Chinese giant Lenovo has been focusing on the wearables segment of late, and has announced a series of affordable products. In April this year, the company launched the new HX03 Cardio and HX03F Spectra in the Indian market. Priced at Rs. 2,999, the HX03F Spectra is the more expensive of the two, and boasts of features such as heart rate sensing, sleep tracking, and an IP68 water resistance rating. We put this fitness tracker to the test to find out whether it can give its competitors such as the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 a run for their money.
Lenovo HX03F Spectra design
The Lenovo HX03F Spectra has a detachable strap that can be pulled off to reveal a USB plug for charging on the tracker unit itself. We have previously reviewed three other fitness trackers in this price range with similar designs - the Ambrane Flexi Fit, Fastrack Reflex, and Amzer Fitzer. This means that the tracker can be charged by plugging it directly into any USB charger or USB port on a computer. Once fitted back into its band, there is little or no chance of it falling out. The fitness tracker is light at 20g, and its silicone strap was extremely comfortable throughout our test period. The strap is black, so this band could pass off as a compact watch, but there are no colour options.
The buckle is fairly simple and there are holes to suit a wide range of wrist sizes. One of the highlights of this fitness band is the IP68 rating, which means is water and dust resistant. As per international standards, IP68 guarantees protection from water even when submerged up to 3m deep, and complete protection against dust ingress. In our testing, the fitness band was unaffected by splashes of water, and even worked fine after we submerged it in water for about five minutes at a stretch.
The 0.96-inch OLED screen on the Lenovo HX03F Spectra is quite dull. Marketing images of the device show a rather vibrant and colourful display, however the resolution is only 80x160 pixels, and its overall quality doesn't look as good. That said, this band is currently available at a best buy price of Rs. 2,299, and we wouldn't expect stellar display quality at this price point.
The Lenovo HX03F Spectra does not have a touchscreen. The interface is controlled by a button below the display. You can cycle between cards - more on them later - with a single touch, or long-press for three seconds on a card to access its menu. This makes for a frustrating experience, especially in the middle of a run or training session.
Turn the band around and you'll see the heart rate sensor at the back. When Auto Measure is turned on, the sensor emits a sharp blinking light. This doesn't get disabled automatically when you take the band off, and can be annoying. You have to turn it off yourself through the Lenovo Healthy app.
Lenovo HX03F Spectra features and performance
The UI of the Lenovo HX03F Spectra consists of six feature cards that you cycle through - Clock/ Home, Sport mode, Step counter, Heart rate monitor, Find my phone, and Info. The first card shows the clock widget, a countdown for your daily step goal, the date, day, and battery level. You can customise the appearance of the clock, but the basic digital option seemed to be the only one that was clearly visible. The other analogue options are just not suited for the small, pixelated display.
Sport mode is for users looking to track their vitals, steps, and the duration of an activity session. In our experience, contrary to the regular mode, heart rate tracking turned out to be slightly inaccurate with the band showing higher-than-usual heart beats even during rest periods in the middle of a run. This is in comparison with a Mio Fuse fitness band, which also boasts of heart rate sensing as a primary feature.
The HX03F Spectra automatically tracks your steps and estimates the calories burnt, with stats visible on the third card. Step tracking accuracy was hit-or-miss, and offered inconsistent results in comparison with an Apple Watch as well as the Health app of an iPhone which remained on our person throughout our walks and runs. We recorded roughly 5,000 steps per day on average. On some days, the step counts on both devices varied by about 150, while on other days the difference was as great as 800-900 steps.
Heart rate is shown on the fourth card. You can tap Measure heart rate in the Lenovo Healthy app to show you the most recent heart rate record, but it's also automatically set to log this every 15 minutes. Progress records are limited on the Lenovo Healthy app because it only stores data for the past couple of hours.
A nifty feature of the Lenovo HX03F Spectra fitness tracker is the Find my phone on the fifth card, which sends a notification to your linked smartphone, although this is of limited use if the phone is in silent mode. It's also a bit annoying, - our linked iPhone showed individual notifications once every second after we triggered this feature. Lastly, the sixth card lets you access things like the alarm, device information, and power off button. An alarm can only be set through the Lenovo Healthy app, and the band vibrates discreetly, which is enough to wake you up.
Sleep tracking on the Lenovo HX03F Spectra was fairly accurate, and it managed to detect deep as well as light sleep separately. An analysis graph with separate deep and light sleep columns was a nice addition. You can track statistics for up to the past eight days extensively, and there's also a monthly average for the past five months. That said, there was one night when the band completely failed to track accurate sleep timings.
The Lenovo Healthy app is available on both Android and iOS, and syncs with the HX03F Spectra. It offers a simple but functional UI with sections for the step counter, heart rate, sleep, battery level, and app syncing. The analysis helps in getting an overall picture of your progress. Heart rate tracking does not sync with Google Fit or the iOS Health app, but there is a graph that shows your average heart rate for the entire day and resets at midnight. Heart rate data is stored within the app for up to a year in order to show your monthly averages. The app also offers a reference range that lets you know whether your heart rate is light, medium, or heavy. In our experience with the fitness band, heart rate monitoring was fairly accurate and offered analysis on par with a Mi Band 2 and a Mio Fuse fitness tracker.
Lenovo claims to offer a battery life of 10 days on a single full charge. In terms of real-world usage however, the HX03F Spectra managed to last around 7.5 days with regular step tracking, automatic heart rate monitoring switched on, 3-4 days of sleep tracking, and the occasional Sport mode. This is closer to how a regular user might use it, and battery drain will be a bigger issue if you use Sport mode frequently, considering that it involves continuous heart rate sensing.
The Lenovo HX03F Spectra has a minimalist design, a dull display, and an occasionally frustrating user interface. However, the Lenovo Healthy app is neat and clean, with the ability to easily track statistics synced from the fitness band. Step tracking is irregular, sleep tracking is accurate, battery life is decent, and heart rate is measured decently well when in auto measure mode.
At an MOP of Rs. 2,299, the Lenovo HX03F Spectra is a decent offering for a budget wearable, and there's high demand for this segment in the Indian market. While its battery offers a slight edge over the recently launched iVoomi FitMe, you might be better off with the tried and trusted Mi Band 2 from Xiaomi.
- Good battery life
- Great mobile app
- Loads of features
- Step tracking is hit-or-miss
- Dull display
- Inaccurate heart rate tracking in Sport mode
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design and comfort - 3.5
- Tracking accuracy - 2.5
- Companion app - 3
- Battery life - 3.5
- Overall rating - 3.5