Vector Luna review

With 30 days of battery, you can charge the Vector when you pay your phone bill

The Vector Luna’s long battery life and super stylish, mature design make this smartwatch a pleasure to live with.
The Vector Luna’s long battery life and super stylish, mature design make this smartwatch a pleasure to live with.
The Vector Luna’s long battery life and super stylish, mature design make this smartwatch a pleasure to live with.

Highs

  • A month of battery life
  • Clear, unfussy, discreet notifications
  • Stylish design
  • Well-built and durable
  • Works with iOS and Android

Lows

  • App needs more work
  • It’s not cheap

All smartwatches look like toys worn only by geeks and 12-year olds. That’s the argument that many luxury watchmakers are clinging to as proof that connected devices are no threat to their livelihoods. It’s hard to disagree sometimes, particularly when looking at hardware like the Pebble. Even the Apple Watch, with its square face, misses the mark.

I had the choice of putting on the Apple Watch, or the Vector Luna. I chose the Vector.

Will a smartwatch ever compare to the sophisticated style of a luxury mechanical watch?

The answer is yes, and you don’t have to wait for TAG Hauer, Swatch, or any other big name to come up with it. The Vector Luna smartwatch does it already, and what’s more, it combines a fabulous look with one of the most desirable features in wearable tech — genuinely long battery life.

Sound like a pipe dream? It’s not. Here’s why the Vector may end up trumping every other smartwatch out there right now.

How smartwatches should look

Our review model came dressed in stainless steel, with a subtle brushed finished, and topped off with a polished chrome bezel. The lugs are slim, and hold a thick, brown leather strap in place, complete with coordinated stitching. On the side of the body are three controls — a center select button, and two navigational buttons. The Vector Luna’s not too thick, not too heavy, and crucially, not too gigantic.

That same description could be used for the LG Watch Urbane, but that’s where the similarities end. The Watch Urbane looks like a smartwatch — a piece of technology. The Vector Luna looks like a watch, and a damn fine-looking one too. Part of the reason is the screen tech. It’s not a touchscreen for a start. It’s monochrome, and is not bestowed with flashing lights or crazy animations. There’s a selection of simple watch faces from which to choose, and that’s about it.

The result is a watch that I wanted to wear, regardless of the clothes I was wearing, and one that received compliments and admiring glances. Not just from a few people, but from everyone. It’s a big deal. Every other smartwatch I’ve worn has split opinion. Vector hasn’t made a watch — smart or otherwise — before, but it’s obvious there’s a strong understanding in the company about what makes a good one.

There’s a slight caveat here. It fits on my wrist almost like it was made for me, but put it on a female wrist, and it’s almost comically enormous. While I appreciate the metal and leather version here isn’t very feminine, and that other designs in Vector’s range may be more suitable, it’ll be viewed as a very bold statement.

Heading out to meet a friend recently, I had the choice of putting on the Apple Watch, or the Vector Luna. I chose the Vector, and I think that’s extremely telling.

Discreet notifications

The Vector may make a fine piece of jewelry, but what about it’s technical ability? After all, it’s still a smartwatch, so it needs to do the geeky side justice as well. If you want to know the size of the screen, the resolution, and the processor, check the spec sheet. They’re not important. It’s a monochrome display that’s designed to show legible text, not pretty pictures. It does the job very well.

Vector wants the Luna to be a discreet smartwatch, and it’s not only about the design.

There’s no backlight either, so seeing the display at night is a challenge, but it’s always on — none of the “ambient mode” nonsense. The Vector Luna is a watch; and it tells the time, all the time. Notifications can be tailored to your preferences, or mirror your phone settings, through a dedicated Vector app. It vibrates when one comes through, but doesn’t instantly show the message on the display.

Vector wants the Luna to be a discreet smartwatch, and it’s not only about the design. To see your notification you’ll need to raise your wrist, or press the center button. The idea is that no-one sitting opposite you reads the message before you get the chance. A solid line will show up around the watch face, alerting you to an outstanding notification, should you ignore the vibration.

Gesture controls, but shaky app

The gesture control works well, but sadly, just a turn of the wrist isn’t enough to activate the sensor. It often requires a sweeping movement, like you’re making a point of checking the watch — which rather goes against the whole discreet thing. The Vector doesn’t have a touchscreen either, so interaction begins and ends with a gesture and the buttons.

There’s no app store, thankfully, and adding widgets like local weather, step count, or another time zone — called Streams by Vector, and activated in the app — to some watch faces is as deep as any additional features go. It’s a smartwatch, and apps have always been a bit superfluous in the genre, and using the Vector proves it. The simplicity and unfussy UI make it quick to learn, and fast to operate.

The watch will keep track of your steps and calories burned, plus it has automatic sleep monitoring. I found the watch was too big to wear comfortably at night, so never made use of this feature.

On the negative side, the only way to mute the watch is to turn off the vibrations or adjust the alerts on the app — I’d have rather had a priority setting for calls on the watch, than start digging around in menus on my phone. Also, notifications delivered to the watch can disappear instantly from the lock screen on the phone, and from the Notification Centre on iOS. I’d prefer they stayed for the times I missed them on the watch. Early connectivity issues were solved with software updates.

At least a month of battery life. Really

There’s another huge benefit to stripping the Vector Luna of all the garnish — battery life. From the very start, Vector’s goal was to have the watch go for a month without needing a recharge. It sounded ambitious, but rather than dial it back, Vector then said it was aiming for at least a month. The Pebble lasts for 10 days, on average, and is considered a benchmark in the smartwatch field. Well, not anymore.

Vector Smartwatch
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I picked the Luna up on July 22, and am writing this on August 25. Inside the app is a battery meter that gives an approximate measure of how much power remains. There’s exactly a quarter, which at the current pace means about another week left. That’ll be five weeks use under its belt when it revisits the sadly proprietary charger, which is mission accomplished for Vector.

There’s no real way of cheating either, because the watch can’t be turned off, and has been connected to either an iPhone or Android phone for about 80-percent of this time. The app performs in exactly the same way on both devices.

The smartwatch you’ve been waiting for?

Any negative aspects depend on your expectations. It doesn’t run apps, doesn’t make or receive calls, or let you draw emoji on the screen. If these are things you require, the Vector isn’t for you. It’s not cheap either, but then neither is the Apple Watch, or any luxury mechanical watch. It does have a sizable bezel around the display, which is the least attractive aspect of the design, but it’s not a deal breaker. The app could also do with a little polish.

The Vector Luna is a smart watch. It tells the time, just like a normal watch, then adds just the right amount of connected features, into a classy, attractive, and durable (it’s water resistant to five meters) body.

It’s the smartwatch for people who don’t really want a smartwatch, but do want the convenience of notifications on their wrist, without the inconvenience of several weekly visits to the power socket. Is the Vector Luna the piece of wearable tech you’ve been waiting for? We think a lot of people will say yes.

Highs

  • A month of battery life
  • Clear, unfussy, discreet notifications
  • Stylish design
  • Well-built and durable
  • Works with iOS and Android

Lows

  • App needs more work
  • It’s not cheap

Available at: Amazon

Mobile

New Boox Note Pro is all the ebook reading device you’ll ever need

The Boox Note Pro is an impressive ebook reader that combines so many features and services, that you're unlikely to need any other reading or note-taking device. We took a closer look at CES 2019.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…
Mobile

You'll soon be able to pay for goods with the Motiv smart ring

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Wearables

One night with this sensor on your head could change your sleep forever

Get past the fact you’ll be in bed with a sensor on your forehead, and the Beddr SleepTuner may be the first step in curing your sleep problems and improving your overall health.
Mobile

The best CES 2019 health gadgets combat stress, pain, and more

We can all use some help with our health and CES 2019 was packed with intriguing devices designed to combat pain and stress, help you monitor blood pressure, reduce tinnitus, and care for the sick or elderly.
Wearables

Think this smartwatch doesn’t have a screen? Think again

This looks like a regular chronograph watch, but it holds a secret: It's really a smartwatch and even has a hidden screen, which is revealed only when you need it. We took a closer look at CES 2019.
News

Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2019 Award Winners

5G. A.I. Voice assistants. Metaverse. Yes, metaverse. CES 2019 slathered on the buzzwords thick and heavy, but beneath the breathless hype and bluster, there were amazing products to back it up, too. Except metaverse. C’mon Nissan, you…
Product Review

Mobvoi beefs up the battery on its affordable Ticwatch E2 and S2 Wear OS watches

Mobvoi is known to offer excellent, low-priced Wear OS smartwatches. At CES 2019, the company unveiled new entries into its Express and Sport range -- the Ticwatch E2 and Ticwatch S2.
Deals

Before buying a Fitbit or Apple Watch, check out these fitness trackers under $50

Fitbit and Apple Watch are top of the line when it comes to fitness trackers but if you want to save, we have alternatives. If 2019 is the year you keep track of your health and budget your expenses, then take a look at these fitness…
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for January 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Deals

Start your fitness journey with the best Fitbit deals available now

If you're ready to kick-start your fitness regimen (or just take your current one to the next level), we've created a quick rundown of the best, most current Fitbit deals to help you decide which one is best for you.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!