nowatch review : screenless smartwatch For Your Mental Health | Tech Reviews
The Nowatch has the shape of a traditional watch and the sensors of a smartwatch, but no screen. In our Nowatch review you can read what you can do with this wearable – and whether it is anything.
Nowatch review: vibrations for mindfulness
Now that we can accurately track our physical health and efforts through wearables, mental health is the next step. Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin already give you a stress score with their latest wearables. One smartwatch checks you throughout the day, while the other offers a scan to check how you are doing.
These wearables also offer the option to take a moment to relax with the help of a short meditation session. Yet mental health is still an afterthought for the above manufacturers. The new Nowatch makes it a priority and does it with style.
What is immediately noticeable is that this Nowatch has no screen. The wearable looks like a traditional watch, but if you raise your wrist, you’re staring straight at a gemstone. It does not tell the time and does not show any notifications. What can you do?
Action or reflection
The Nowatch is not a traditional smartwatch that asks you to take action through vibrations throughout the day. Does the Nowatch vibrate? Then you don’t need anything at all. This vibration is an invitation to get out of your head for a while and come back to the here and now.
Mindfulness may be a vague term for some, but it means that you consciously experience the present moment. Most people go through the day and our brains keep rattling. For example, even when we take a walk outside, our minds are busy with other things. The vibration of the Nowatch takes you back to now. For example during that walk, which makes you have an eye for the world around you again and you feel how your feet touch the ground.
I myself have some experience with mindfulness, but in practice it is quite difficult to persevere. My brain is way too busy with the future. That random vibration proves to be a powerful reminder to get out of my head several times a day and experience the moment for yourself. That is a special contrast to the wearables we normally wear, which demand our attention throughout the day and therefore take us out of the moment.
Still, the Nowatch has a button. If you press it, a ‘moment’ is created in the app. If you tap on that, you can indicate how you felt at that moment. These moments are also created by the app itself and are an invitation to reflect on your day.
In addition, the Nowatch measures the electrodermal activity of your skin throughout the day to spot miniscule changes in your sweat. Subtle changes in your heart rate are also noted and your steps and hours of sleep are tracked.
All of this information is intended to give you more insight into how you deal with stress. Among other things, via graphs that clearly show how stressed you were throughout the day, when you sweated more and when your heart rate was higher. You can also receive a notification if the Nowatch thinks you are heading towards a violent moment of stress.
Please note that the data is an estimate of your stress level. In practice it is not always correct, but I can clearly see in the graphs the moments when I was more tense. The insights get better if you fill in more moments yourself, so that the algorithms understand how your body reacts to certain activities. You will also sweat more during, for example, physical exertion or excitement.
You put together the Nowatch yourself. For example, you first choose a case, from rosé, gold or silver. Then a strap of leather or woven fabric. The cheapest version of the Nowatch currently costs 363 euros, with a woven strap and a rose quartz. If you choose a leather strap and a bright blue lapis lazuli, it will cost you 577 euros. In addition to a gemstone, you can also choose to place a metal disc in the watch.
Part of the relatively high price is due to the use of only sustainable materials. You will immediately notice this with the unique packaging made of cork. You can also choose to omit the cable if you already have it at home. You place the Nowatch itself on the supplied charger, which charges the watch within a few hours. Then the Nowatch will last around those four or five days again.
The result may also be there, because the Nowatch is a very nice watch. It is a pity that the gemstone is poorly visible. At least in our version, with a labradorite in it. The light has to hit the reflective glass just right to see the gemstone below.
Nowatch also has a subscription. At the moment, you get a free lifetime subscription when purchasing the smartwatch. Once that promotion is over, it will cost 12 euros per month. What do you get for that? Nowatch claims to provide more software features, insights, recommendations, and guided exercises. But like the gemstone under the reflective glass, this promise is still a bit vague.
Conclusion no watch review
The Nowatch is a fascinating addition to the smartwatch market. With a pure focus on mindfulness and stress, no screen and a luxurious look with a hefty price tag, this wearable is suitable for a limited target group. Are you someone who likes the idea of using technology to monitor your mental health and do you think normal smartwatches are ugly? Then we can recommend the Nowatch without any problem.
However, if you want to use a smartwatch as an extension of your smartphone, you really have to look elsewhere. Do you want detailed stress measurement, but also a screen to read the time and information about your body? Then the Fitbit Sense 2 is a nice alternative.