Smart Baraka hands-on
“The Smart Baraka’s design is great, the materials top quality, and it’s unlike anything else out there.”
- Striking design
- Isn’t only for the gym
- Unusual features
- Comfortable band
- No sleep tracking
- Design will split opinion
You’ve put on your slick suit, a pair of shiny shoes, and are about to head towards the casino for a night of lavish spending and, hopefully, winning. You look at your wrist and the fitness tracker you’re wearing looks ridiculous. It doesn’t fit in with your flashy and playboy lifestyle. What do you do in this moment of heart-stopping crisis? You reach for the Smart Baraka, a fitness band that’s more a piece of jewellery that’s equally at home in the casino as it is in the gym. You’ll need to see some success at the roulette table to justify one though, as it’s going to cost 700 euros, about $865, when it launches later this year.
Baraka may not be a familiar brand. The Italian company has been making men’s jewelry since the ‘60s, including flashy bracelets, rings, and necklaces. We’d call them an acquired taste, as they certainly have a style that won’t suit every man. The Smart Baraka is slightly more accessible, in that it’s not as lavish or ostentatious. It’s the only fitness bracelet that doesn’t look right in the gym.
The body is made from sandblasted silver or gold, with a similarly sandblasted metal clasp. The clasp on its own is more stylish and visually exciting than most fitness bands out there. The main unit reflects Baraka’s style, with sharp lines, chamfered edges, and bold slashes across the top of the body. It’s not heavy, and the underside is flat, so it should be comfortable to wear. We weren’t able to try it on, unfortunately.
The band itself comes in two sizes, and it feels like a pliant soft-touch silicone and fabric mix. We saw three models in black, blue, and gold, but according to Baraka, a series of far less subtle versions will be available, and they’ll likely cost considerably more.
The app wasn’t linked to the device, so we can’t comment on connectivity, but the features combine what you’d expect from a fitness tracker — steps and calories — with some unusual additions, such as controlling a PowerPoint presentation with gestures. Sure to impress in the boardroom.
A piece of jewellery that’s equally at home in the casino as it is in the gym.
Also, so you know how much to spend at the casino, the app shows stock data and the wearable vibrates when your interests pass a customizable threshold. It also vibrates when calls come through, and these can be filtered to only alert you when it’s someone important.
Finally, say “Hey Baraka,” (yes, really) and the band will start recording everything around you using a built-in microphone. Privacy implications aside, it’s not clear how long the band will record before running out of storage space. Even though it has this feature, the Smart Baraka strangely doesn’t track your sleep. Presumably those who wear this type of bracelet don’t sleep much anyway.
Price and availability
Who are those people? In the same way Baraka’s male jewelry likely has a niche audience, the Smart Baraka will find a niche home too. We suspect those already wearing other Baraka products will find it tempting, particularly as it’s at the low end in terms of cost for the brand. For everyone else, spending nearly $870 on a fitness band would be as unlikely as putting on a Baraka gold bracelet. That said, the Smart Baraka’s design is great, the materials top quality, and it’s unlike anything else out there, which means we’re happy it exists at all.
Look out for the Smart Baraka fitness bracelet in September.
- Fitbit Charge 3 review: Jack of all trades
- Smart rings may be the next frontier for wearables
- The best smartwatches for 2020
- Puma Smartwatch review: It looks sporty, but fails to perform
- The best fitness trackers for 2020