No.1 puts the focus squarely on fitness with the F7
NO.1 has a long history creating smartwatches and fitness wearables to suit a wide variety of uses and among its latest devices, the F7 Smartwatch stands out as a wearable catering to the fitness purists above all else. That means, of course, that it isn't going to satisfy everyone's needs since it’s designed for a very niche market. It doesn't feature a touchscreen and won't run Android apps, for starters. Moreover, it has had nearly all features associated with the smartphone side of things stripped cleanly away. In fact, there aren't even any secondary watch faces to choose from and some of the software that is included on that side of the equation seems to suffer from several issues. That absolutely does not, however, mean that it should be passed over completely. Priced at just $78.99 and often being featured in sales for under $45, the NO.1 F7 may just serve as a perfect entry-level device for those who are new to the fitness wearables category.
Looking at the specifications of the NO.1 F7, there isn’t a lot there to examine. Its 0.95-inch, 96 x 64 resolution OLED color display is designed to be both drop-proof and pressure resistant. That’s embedded in a TPU, plastics, and steel frame which is attached to a silicone and steel strap and buckle. That whole package is IP67 rated for water and dust resistance. No measurements have been provided for the actual size of the smartwatch but it’s quite a bit bulkier than other devices in the category. The total weight works out to around 180 grams. On the inside, the NO.1 F7 is driven by a Nordic NRF52832 QFAA SoC and proprietary OS, while power is provided by a 400mAh battery with a standby time of up to 20 days. GPS is included and can be used for up to 16 hours. Packed in alongside those components are all of the sensors required to track fitness metrics, take a heart rate, gauge ambient temperature, or take a reading on current elevation and air pressure. A connection is provided to either Android or iOS via Bluetooth 4.2
In the Box
As with the specifications, opening the box reveals relatively stark inclusions. In fact, aside from the USB to dual POGO pin cable for charging, only a basic user manual ships with NO.1’s F7. The cable is just over a foot in length and there’s no wall adapter included with the package, so users will need an external power bank or free USB socket on their laptop to charge this up. The user manual, on the other hand, features several different languages and serves to inform the user on how to make use of the watch. That’s going to be useful since the lack of a touchscreen makes the F7 somewhat less than intuitive to use.
Hardware and Aesthetics
In terms of aesthetics, this connected fitness watch is not necessarily the best-looking wearable available. It's also not the worst but it does bear a resemblance to the sports watches released a couple of decades back. That's not necessarily made better by its colorful watch face or screen resolution but that really isn't the point here. The No.1 F7 is obviously durable, which one can tell just by looking at it. Although not true of all such watches, the bulkiness alone is a hallmark on that front. Its body and frame are built from TPU material and stainless steel, as well as it's pressure resistant non-touch display ensures it handles nearly any abuse thrown at it.
The hardware itself is fairly sound, as well. The watch is responsive to button presses and its vibration motor is noticeable but not at all noisy. Button presses themselves click solidly through with no softness to indicate that they might eventually wear out. Perhaps more importantly, the watch itself wears effortlessly due to its low weight - aside from occasionally snagging on a sleeve because of its bulk. All of the sensors seem to work accurately, as intended.
On the software front, this fitness wearable is dependant on a proprietary app to match its proprietary software. Called HPlus, the app controls notifications from apps installed on the connected smartphone and call forwarding, as well as other reminders to keep the user moving and alarm clocks. It also serves as a central location for syncing data and getting readouts on activity, in addition to viewing past activity. Setting up a user profile with height, age, gender, and weight will give the wearer access to further metrics, such as body mass index and heart rate. As noted above, there's no way to change the watch face, however. That's a bit obnoxious since the default face is reminiscent of a 90's era website in terms of both color and font choices.
The watch face isn't the only complaint that could be leveled against the HPlus device software either. In fact, although there is an option to swap between measurements methods, this might not be the best wearable for users in the U.S. or other regions accustomed to the imperial system. We immediately switched that option over from metric measurements for convenience and, unfortunately, immediately noticed that nothing at all changed on the No.1 F7 Smartwatch. That's despite restarting the watch and connected device several times and resyncing several times. After an hour or so of trying to troubleshoot the issue, we had to give up. That means temperature readings and speed are measured in Celsius and kilometers instead of Fahrenheit or miles. With that said, the app itself did update to the chosen measurement method. So we could at least put weight in pounds and height in feet and inches.
Looking at the features found on the watch itself reveals where most of the effort seems to have gone. However, it is worth pointing out that unlike some other No.1 wearables such as the F6, there are a few missing activities available to choose from. Bearing that in mind, this wearable will measure running or just walking with a distance counter, step counter, and burn rate. Moreover, clicking through shows a rudimentary weekly comparison chart. There's also tracking for hikes, cycling, treadmill walking, and a few sports such as tennis or soccer. A compass is included, as is GPS, so users don't necessarily need to get lost and, as mentioned above, this watch will measure air pressure and altitude. Speed measurements are available, as is the current temperature. Finally, although there's no way to respond to messages or calls, the No.1 F7 will alert users to those and allow messages to be read. Heart rate monitoring can happen either on demand or via an "all day heart rate" setting.
Each of those appears to be fairly accurate, as compared to other devices. For example, we tested heart rate monitoring against a pulse oximeter and the reading was within one or two points. The same can be said of the compass and altitude tools which lined up well with our test results.
The battery, meanwhile, takes only an hour or two to charge and survives on standby for as many as 20 days. That's according to No.1 and our own testing of that showed the figures are most likely fairly accurate. In fairness, we didn't ever completely run down the No.1 F7, opting to charge well before the watch hit half charge. It's worth noting that it may be able to last a bit longer too since we had the wearable a considerable distance from the smartphone for the majority of testing and all of our battery-intensive options - such as all day heart rate monitoring - were turned on. There's no wall adapter included in the package, so users will need to supply their own or make use of a portable battery pack. With that said, the included magnetic cable connects firmly and doesn't jostle too much, so getting the watch powered up is very much a set it and forget it affair.
Weight is good for the number of metrics measured
Compass, atmospheric pressure rating, heart rate, GPS, and altitude are included
Each sensor appears to be accurate
Hardware is well-thought-out and rugged
Switching from Metric to Imperial measurements only changes the smartphone app
Bulk is going to be a bit much for the average user
Tilt to activate watch face is finicky
Fewer features than No.1 F6 but at a higher price
Whether or not this device is worth the purchase is really going to depend on the consumer. For fitness purists just looking to get quality measurements without worrying whether they'll break the watch, the No.1 F7 may be a great option. It also might suit anybody who wants a fitness or outdoors wearable without breaking the bank or starting with a more premium option. For those who want something more stylish at the expense of some durability or sensors, this is not necessarily going to be a great option. That just isn't who this fitness wearable was meant for. Having said all of that, this smartwatch is currently priced at around $45, and can be purchase via some Chinese resellers.