Sports Tech

Watch for beach volleyball doubles as fitness tracker

The Touch Zero One is a fitness watch aimed at beach volleyball players, from beginners to professionals. It is able to measure the power of smashes and number of hits.
The Touch Zero One is a fitness watch aimed at beach volleyball players, from beginners to professionals. It is able to measure the power of smashes and number of hits.PHOTO: SWATCH

In English football, there is the Special One in Jose Mourinho, and the Normal One with Jurgen Klopp. Now, Swiss watchmaker Swatch has the Touch Zero One for volleyball.

The Touch Zero One is a fitness watch aimed at beach volleyball players, from beginners to professionals. It is able to measure the power of smashes and number of hits. It also has a "clap-o-meter" that records the amount of claps and the intensity you are getting on the sand.

Volleyball is not a game I play well - not even close, even though I play a lot of ball games, such as football, tennis and basketball - so I am not reviewing the volleyball aspects of the watch.

The Touch Zero One is not just for volleyball players. It is a trendy watch that doubles as a fitness tracker that measures steps, calories burned, distance travelled, as well as the time spent walking or running.

It comes in six models, among them the Sunzero, with a yellow plastic bezel and colourful textile straps (version tested), and the Stripezero, with a green plastic bezel and white silicone strap.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: From $188

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 28g

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

The textile strap has a unique elastic clasp that you secure to the watch's top. The watch is quite bulky but still comfortable. The design is too flashy for me, though. Maybe it's cool for holidaymakers on Palawan Beach.

The display of the Sunzero model has a black background with golden digits. Other variants have a grey background with blue digits.

The display is always on, so there is no need to turn or raise your wrist in order to read the time. However, the black background makes reading the watch a little difficult in dim lighting.

Below the display, there is a line with concentric circles in the middle. This is a touchscreen that you can use to navigate and select functions of the watch.

Swiping on this touchscreen lets you toggle through the time, date, a second time zone and steps taken. Press and hold the concentric circles to access the functions, such as Bluetooth, beep and timer.

And in the respective function, swipe left or right to toggle options and tap on the circles to confirm.

It is so much easier to use the Touch Zero One app (Android and iOS) to change the settings. But you need to navigate to the Bluetooth setting on the watch each time you want to sync the data. That is really a hassle.

Thankfully, the fitness-tracking performance is pretty good in terms of step-counting. It gave me readings that were about 3 per cent less than my calibrated Fitbit Charge HR.

On the downside, it does not track your sleep and also lacks a built-in heart-rate monitor, unlike most fitness trackers.

However, not many fitness trackers have the battery life of the Touch Zero One. It uses a CR1632 coin battery that should last around nine months.

• Verdict: The Swatch Touch Zero One might be a basic fitness tracker, but it has a really long battery life and is a nice flashy watch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2016, with the headline 'Watch for beach volleyball doubles as fitness tracker'. Print Edition | Subscribe