Something borrowed …something new
DT NO.1 may be best described as prolific and committed to standing apart from the onslaught of ultra-affordable fitness wearables as well as competing with some of the top brands in the market. That means it has devices in nearly every segment of the industry, from full smartwatches to its latest fitness band — the DT NO.1 DT58 Fitness Tracker.
At right around $30 or less, the DT58 Fitness Tracker is a bracelet-style fitness band that lasts for days on a single charge and fits in with competitors such as Xiaomi's Mi Band series or Fitbit's offerings. In many ways, it offers the same style and the same metric tracking as those devices but it doesn't quite live up to the hype generated by those competing gadgets either.
Where this fitness wearable does stand apart is in features that other wearables typically don't offer at all and in a couple of the design decisions which are both useful and a hindrance.
How's your blood pressure today?
Jumping directly into the biggest feature that sets this band-style fitness tracker apart from competitors more than anything else, this is going to be one of the only options available for blood pressure tracking. It bears pointing out that this is not at all rated for medical use and the company is upfront about that fact but that doesn't make it any less worthy of discussion.
First, the lack of any medical purpose for the tool does not make it less useful. The discrepancy likely comes down to how finicky taking those kinds of measurements can be under the best circumstances. How and where on the wrist the wearable is worn, the position of the user's body, and how tightly fitted the strap is are going to alter the results and impact the accuracy of this feature.
There don't appear to be any moving parts here at all, at least none that I could see or feel. So it isn't clear how the measurement is taken to begin with. Regardless, for a device that ships via a multitude of online stores for well under $40 and sometimes less than $30, it does actually appear to be capable of providing accurate measurements.
Testing that is no easy feat since taking a blood pressure measurement with a traditional machine and then retaking it will result in two completely different measurements. The first measurement impacts blood pressure, meaning I couldn't simply compare the two sets of figures by following one with the other.
Instead, I measured my blood pressure and that of a close friend for several days to get an idea of where that ordinarily reads at a state of rest. Then, wearing the NO.1 DT58 Fitness Tracker as far up on the wrist and as tight as possible within the realm of comfort, I took readings over the next several days with the band.
The outcomes were not dead on but were within just a few single digits of what would have been 'normal' in both cases. This wearable likely isn't anywhere near as accurate as a medical-grade device. With that said, monitoring blood pressure with the device seems accurate enough under the right circumstances to be useful.
More directly, the DT NO.1 DT58 Fitness Tracker appears accurate enough that it could feasibly be used to keep tabs on and watch for telltale fluctuations that are occurring over longer stretches of time. Namely, that would be in conjunction with the usual number of professional checkups based on how healthy or not the wearer is and a starting point for discussion with a doctor if something does seem off.
It goes without saying that wears may need to experiment a bit in order to determine exactly how and where to wear the wristband before using it that way and it's not a substitute for a doctor. At the price, at least on DT NO.1's fitness tracker, it's also a feature that makes this wearable difficult to argue against buying for a wide variety of users who might want a fitness tracker.
A familiar and somewhat flawed design …and a really strange charging mechanism
The design in use here is, following on the progress of other DT NO.1 wearable gadgets over the past couple of years, very clean and minimal. Like some competing devices, everything centers around a small (1.14 inches at 135 x 240 resolution) rectangular display panel that removes for charging.
That's set on a watch-style band in silicone, accounting for the low price point, with sensors at the back. The entire thing comes in either a white, navy blue, or black coloration.
Now, there are plenty of reasons this design is quirky too but the charging is something that was immediately noteworthy as both unique and useful — while simultaneously causing some initial annoyance. That's because rather than shipping with or depending on a proprietary cable or dock as almost every other gadget in its class does, this device just plugs directly into a USB port to juice up the 120mah capacity battery.
That plug could be blamed for the slightly — but not too bad — extra bulk of this gadget except that it's not a full USB male end either. It's a half plug. That led to some annoyance the first time it was used since it can be plugged in without effort either correctly or incorrectly. There's little chance the shape or design will break anything by doing that but there's wasn't any readily apparent indicator to let me know it had already been charged up completely either.
So the first time it just sat all day "charging" even though it wasn't actually charging because I didn't notice that this wearable device's battery filling gauge hadn't kicked on. It's worth pointing out that I only did that once before paying a bit more attention but the plug style did make charging easier than it might otherwise be. The plug style and lack of a cable both help keep the cost down and ensure this can effectively be charged anywhere a USB port is available.
The convenience of the charging mechanism here doesn't mean charging is always a straightforward affair. The NO.1 DT58 can, in fact, be a pain to pull apart. That's especially true after a long day spent typing away on a computer. If the wrong end slips off first, as is wont to happen, then the process becomes even more difficult and accidental button taps are going to happen.
The tight fit on the bands is part of what ensures the IP68 rating of this wearable. That's good for up to 10 meters of underwater use without issues. But it's not fun to deal with when you're worn out, even if it's not going to happen often because of the device's long battery life.
Setting that aside, there is also a slight issue with the band itself that won't necessarily apply to everybody but did happen to me. Although no fewer than 20 clasp slots cut into the carbon-fiber textured band mean this will fit just about any wrist including tiny ones like my own, the clasp itself is made of metal.
By contrast to the rest of the nearly seamless and comfortable design, that's not a very well-rounded metal either in terms of its edge. So it did dig quite a bit when left on for long periods of time or after a night of having the watch on my wrist and under my pillow.
The issue may have come down to how tightly I was wearing the band, trying to ensure the features were as accurate as possible — with those apparently depending on the metal plates and light-based sensors on the back side. So it might not be a problem for everybody but it proved to be one for me.
Everything else about the build of the gadget feels and looks well done. There's no wiggle in the bands when connected and only the slightest seam when viewed at the right angle.
The forward-facing metal button, doubling as a secondary heart sensor and as a standard capacitive touch button is fast to react. It's not so fast as to make things difficult to navigate either. A single tap changes the page on the device and long-press acts as an "enter" key.
Performance and battery life
The performance of this wearable is actually very good. That can likely be attributed to the fact that there is no touchscreen to play around with — which at this size would be difficult to use. The capacitive button is responsive and consistent and apps didn't fail to launch or close unexpected even once while I was wearing the NO.1 DT58 Fitness Tracker.
That doesn't mean everything here is perfect. The on-band application meant to showcase notifications does not appear to do anything at all and there wasn't even any underlying UI. That's despite countless hours playing around with settings on the associated application and permissions.
The "Around" app, meant to highlight localized air pressure, altitude, UV levels, and weather, didn't ever sync up properly either. Aside from a readout of UV levels, which could prove useful for somebody trying to take better care of their body, the entire experience was smooth and enjoyable.
Battery life is sensationally good. During my own use, with vibrations and brightness turned on and up, that lasted well over a weak. It also only took around 2-hours to charge once it started warning me that was needed. The warning kicked in with what looked like 10- or 15-percent left too, so it likely could have gone longer and standby time is rated at 20 days but I didn't test that.
Vibrations can be turned off and the brightness can be readily adjusted on-device via the "Tool" menu, so that could probably be extended even further.
What about those other features?
As with blood pressure monitoring, the sleep tracking feature — found under its own 'app' on the watch itself — sports metric tracking features, and heart rate tracker each seem to be very accurate. Step counting can be placed under that same umbrella.
Going through those in reverse order, regardless of which activities have been taken part in throughout the day, the count of steps seemed to only be off by around 1 to 30 steps for every 2,000 I took. That's not great but is accurate enough to be useful, slightly less accurate than some competitors and much more accurate than others.
Heart rate tracking, meanwhile, matched up within just one or two beats compared to the heart rate monitoring feature on a medical-grade pulse oximeter that happened to be laying around my house. Like step counting, that can be turned on or off with regard to how automatic it is via an app, which we'll discuss momentarily or can be accomplished manually in two separate places on-wearable.
One of those two methods, found in the on-watch HRV feature, was always spot-on with the pulse oximeter listed above and requires users to rest their finger on the metal multi-purpose button.
Sports modes include outdoor running, walking, basketball, football, cycling, city running, and mountain climbing. Each tracks the metrics that would be expected and can be interacted with via the above-mentioned metal button for lap-tracking and more.
Sleep tracking seems to track well with figures pulled from competing devices too. That means that for every metric this wearable is keeping tabs on, it does as well as gadgets as much as double its price and probably more expensive devices too.
Metrics tracked for sleep tracking include light sleep, wakefulness, and deep sleep, giving a more complete picture than the overwhelming majority of budget-friendly fitness wearables — at very least those with completely unheard of branding.
Finally, this watch also helps users relax, on top of tracking those features via yet another on-wrist app called "Breathe." That's not just standard breathing training either. Instead, they're personalized guided breathing sessions that actually factor in the wearer's current heart rate, among other health metrics.
Beyond those features, alarms can be set and the band is set up to be able to vibrate when notifications arrive, with fine-tuning for that in the app.
Several 'watch faces' are included in that app as well, each showing the metrics being tracked by the watch but we'll get into that in the next section too because there are some problems here that need to be addressed.
The app is a weak point
For anybody who has either owned or looked into DT NO.1 wearables before, the associated HPlus smartphone app for those has always been a weak point for the company's devices. That remains the case here too and it isn't just the above-mentioned notifications failing to sync properly or the failure to deliver UV, weather, and air pressure details — altitude surprisingly showed up just fine.
To begin with, some of the metrics meant to be pulled from the app will depend entirely on whether the device in question, location data, and other factors allow for that. Nothing I could change in settings or permissions seemed to make any difference.
Watch faces are likely the least important aspect of any fitness tracking device in this form factor and at this size. It was still annoying, especially when accidental clicks effectively left me unable to respond to emails or to do anything else with my smartphone. Nothing short of shutting off the device or stepping too far away for the Bluetooth connection to continue will help either so it's better to just wait it out since either may or may not — I didn't try to find out — cause further issues.
The controls provided by the app aren't perfect either since the band doesn't recognize when the NO.1 DT58 is off of the wearer's wrist and keeps doing things like tracking heart rate and that leads to some inaccurate results with that feature turned on. Moving in the opposite direction, the wearable sometimes disconnects from the app even though it's still connected according to Bluetooth settings on the smartphone and the wearable itself.
Syncing up other details is smoother and more frequent with the app than the previous wrist-borne accessories that I've had the opportunity to try out. It also lets users set sedentary reminders and gives easy tracking of all the metrics collected by onboard sensors. Even during disconnects — usually when separated from the smartphone for more than a minute or two — the NO.1 DT58 is capable of continuing to track metrics so users aren't losing data.
So it's not all bad but the app also doesn't change watch faces easily. Only one watch face is stored on the watch at a time and that means it takes between five and ten minutes for them to be sent over every time that's changed. Worse, the menu to accomplish that is unintuitively found under the profile section of the app instead of the device menu and once the "download" of the watch face is started, it can't be canceled.
To buy or not to buy really is the question
DT NO.1's DT58 Fitness Tracker is, oddly, something that would be fairly easy to recommend for somebody who is actively monitoring their heart health and blood pressure. It isn't a medical device by any stretch of the imagination but its strong battery life and its ability to give some indicator of where those numbers sit would — by themselves — make it more than worth its $30 price tag.
For those looking at a gadget to notify them of all of their smartphone notifications or run Android apps or even to customize their fitness band's watch face, this is not going to be the one to choose. Its screen is plenty bright enough to use under just about any lighting and the figures it takes are accurate. With some work, it can even be customized to some degree.
It is possible the consistency — or lack thereof — of notifications could be blamed on my smartphone but since that's a flagship, it doesn't seem likely. Instead, it seems that an update is needed to make the experience better. The comfort of the wristband is going to be a different matter for those who like to wear their gadgets a bit on the snug side.
Looking past its flaws, this is not at all a bad wearable. It did the overwhelming majority of what was advertised without skipping a beat and the numbers all seem accurate. The key takeaway, then, is going to come down to whether or not a fitness whether it's a fitness wearable or smartwatch you're looking for. If it's the former, the DT NO.1 DT58 Fitness Tracker is a worthy competitor in its respective market.