Nokia Go review

Simple. That's all the Nokia Go activity tracker wants to be, and it nails it

The Nokia Go won’t be your go-to everyday wearable, but it does the job for tracking basic activities.
The Nokia Go won’t be your go-to everyday wearable, but it does the job for tracking basic activities.
The Nokia Go won’t be your go-to everyday wearable, but it does the job for tracking basic activities.

Highs

  • Long lasting battery
  • Easy to read and follow interface
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Simple to use
  • Made of durable material

Lows

  • No customization options
  • Doesn’t have the greatest look
  • Always shows your progress, can’t permanently set it to watch mode

It’s easy to associate Nokia with the iconic and indestructible brick phones of the early 2000s. But when it acquired the French digital health company Withings last year, for almost $200 million — Nokia branched out into the world of mobile health and wearables.

Nokia pulled Withings products from stores and then released an almost identical line with redesigned packaging and branding bearing the Nokia name. One such product is the Nokia Go — previously known as the Withings Go — a wearable that monitors your activity, calories, and sleep patterns. With its E-ink interface and simple tracking system, the Nokia Go provides you with the most basic functions at a reasonable price.

Design and comfort

The Nokia Go doesn’t look any different, in terms of design and comfort, than it did under Withings. You’re supplied with a 1.4-inch circular module, a silicone wristband, and a clip.

The wristband comes in a variety of color options such as blue, yellow, red, green, or the most practical one — black. The most customization you get with this device is choosing between a white on black or black on white display.

For an activity tracker, it isn’t very easy to take on and off until you break it in a little. The wristband has a snap-in enclosure that takes a bit of wiggling to secure tightly. If you’d rather not wear it on your wrist, you can pop the device into the clip instead and wear it on your keys or on your clothing.

You don’t have to search through different metrics to see your progress, all you need to do is glance down at the device.

If you do decide to go with the wristband, it’s comfortable enough to wear to bed. Thanks to the lightweight feel – it tips the scales at just 0.32 ounces — you’ll probably forget you’re even wearing it as you fall asleep. But we found that we weren’t eager to wear it with every outfit. If you’re at the gym, it fits in easily with your workout clothes, but if you’re getting dressed up for a night out, you’ll definitely want to leave it at home, and even with casual clothes it sticks out like a sore thumb.

For a wearable that’s more about health than fitness, it’s an inconvenience to have to center your outfits around it or else risk missing data for a day. It starts to look especially tacky when you’re wearing an outfit on the fancier side.

Nokia does offer the Steel and Steel HR which are far more stylish and look exactly like regular watches. They track the exact same activities as the Nokia Go, but, as you might expect, they’re more expensive.

Activity tracking and Health Mate software

The accompanying Health Mate app — available for both Android and iOS —  tracks your data via Bluetooth. It provides you with a wealth of information, but for this wearable you’ll only need to track the basics — daily steps and sleep goals, along with running and swimming, if you choose. The default aim is to complete 10,000 steps per day and the Nokia Go tracks your activities automatically.

You can view a complete history of your data in the app, reviewing your activity, weight, and sleep. You can also track progress, trends, and find ways to improve, based on how you’ve been doing. The update separates all the information into an easy-to-read format, and includes light and airy graphics. As opposed to the Withings app which cluttered together a ton of line graphs that were difficult to track progress on.

The update separates all the information into an easy-to-read format, and includes light and airy graphics.

The app can also monitor your heart rate during workouts to assess fat burn, speed, and stamina, but you’ll need something with a heart rate sensor in it to take advantage – the Nokia Go doesn’t have a heart rate sensor and it also lacks GPS and an altimeter.

The sleep monitor allows you to analyze your sleep quality based on light, sound level, and temperature. It notes when you go to sleep and then proceeds to track whether you’re in light or deep sleep mode — and then organizes the data into a bar graph — so you can see the exact hours you were in either mode. Towards the bottom of the graph, it totals up the hours of sleep you got and how many hours you were in deep sleep, as well as light.

The app integrates MyFitnessPal to log your food and calories, along with RunKeeper and Nike+ to incorporate your fitness activities — primarily running. There are additional accessories you can buy to gain a deeper perspective into your health metrics, like Nokia’s blood pressure monitor or its body cardio scale.

Nokia Go Review
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

To help keep you on track with your goals, you can enroll in Wellness Programs ranging from Pregnancy Tracker and Sleep Smarter, to Healthier Heart and Better Body — coming soon. Since the wearable itself tracks sleep, we tried the Sleep Smarter section. It gathered all our sleep data and provided helpful research on how to improve our overall sleep schedule. There’s also a leaderboard where you can connect with friends and participate in challenges to motivate you to complete more steps.

As for personal affirmations, you’ll receive badges every time you increase your physical activity. We earned a badge when we walked 6,000 steps in one day as well as for 12,000 steps. They’re super animated and colorful — and include a fun fact to read based on the theme. For instance, after walking 26 miles in one week, we received a badge telling us that the distance was equal to a marathon. Below the badge was a short blurb about the history of marathons and the option to learn more on Wikipedia or to see pictures — which brings you to Instagram and shows you photos under the hashtag #marathon.

Basic tracking performance

The interface of the Nokia Go changes when you’ve reached particular milestones. By default, a figure of a running man appears on the screen. Once you start walking, it adds what looks like a tick mark to track the activity. After filling the watch face completely around — indicating that you reached your 10,000 steps — the running man transitions into a star and tracking with tick marks starts all over again. Once midnight hits, the tick marks disappear and you start from the beginning for the next day.

The battery lasts up to eight months — thanks to the E ink technology.

You don’t have to search through different metrics to see your progress, all you need to do is glance down at the device. The most complex capability? The Nokia Go temporarily turns into an analog watch when you hold down on the screen. Unfortunately, Nokia has yet to make that a permanent setting, so for now you’re stuck with your progress being the main screen. It also has day and night, and motion sensors.

The Nokia Go can automatically identifying specific activities — definitely an upgrade from its Withings predecessor, which could only track walking, running, and swimming. Now, the Go can learn to detect additional activities like tennis, soccer, dance, boxing, and volleyball, among a few others. You start by manually logging them and the device learns to automatically recognize them over time. Nokia plans on adding more activity recognition soon. If there are certain exercises it doesn’t auto detect, you can always log them on your own.

Nokia Go Review

Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

Since the Nokia Go is water resistant, you can swim laps in the pool and then take a shower without worrying about taking it off or ruining it. With water resistance up to 165 feet, you could even go deep-diving with it.

As for accuracy when compared to other apps, we found that it was only slightly off in steps compared with the iOS Health app — which you can integrate through Health Mate as well — by about 200 steps. It could be that we don’t take our phones with us everywhere — i.e. the bathroom, kitchen, or walking from room to room.

But our sleep metrics were off as well, and we found the device would start tracking us as asleep when we were still awake — which threw off the overall data of our sleep patterns. Other sleep trackers are equipped with tools that measure factors such as heart rate, breathing, muscle activity, and more. But the Go only has an accelerometer to track motion, so it might be identifying an action like laying down late at night while watching TV as you actually going to sleep.

Great battery life

The device is battery operated, so you don’t need to worry about how much you use it throughout the day and you won’t need to charge it. The battery lasts up to eight months — thanks to the E ink technology. The Nokia Go takes a standard CR2, coin cell battery, so it only costs around $5 to replace when it runs out.

Warranty information

The Nokia Go comes with a one-year limited warranty and returns are accepted within 30-days of purchase.

Our Take

The Nokia Go won’t be your go-to everyday wearable, but it does the job for tracking basic activities. Its E-ink display and simple interface won’t overwhelm you with tons of information, but you can also expand how many health and fitness metrics you’d like to log via the app. For only $50, you won’t be breaking the bank, even if you purchase it as a backup device to use strictly at the gym.

Is there a better alternative?

The Misfit Flash wearable is identical to the Nokia Go in both price and capabilities. If you’re looking for something as basic as the Nokia Go that doesn’t blatantly show your progress, the Misfit Flash looks more like a modern watch. It comes with a clip and an app to sync your progress as well.

How long will it last?

With a silicone strap, it will most likely be able to sustain all the elements, the only part you might have to worry about is the plastic module cracking. But both the silicone wristband and clip encase it well enough that it’s almost shock-absorbent. Since Nokia redesigned the Health Mate app completely, and plans to continue building on it, there will be plenty more updates in the future to help you get more in-depth with your tracking activity.

Should you buy it?

The Nokia Go isn’t as customizable aesthetically as it is for use. With the app, you can decide whether you want to track a lot or a little. Do buy it if you’re looking for a straightforward wearable that you don’t need to remember to charge, just to track the most basic information firsthand. Don’t buy it if you want something stylish, or more than a simple interface that tells you the time and your progress towards your activity goal for the day.

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