The Nowa Superbe tracks fitness, without looking like it belongs in the gym

The Nowa Superbe is a niche product for a niche audience. It’s not a hybrid smartwatch, as it doesn’t deliver notifications. It’s a basic fitness tracker wearing its best party outfit, for those who hate the idea of wearing a fitness tracker that looks like it really only belongs in the gym. A fitness tracker for someone who doesn’t want a fitness tracker. Tough crowd.

Features

What does it do? Let’s get this out of the way first — it doesn’t do that much. It tracks your steps and sleep, keeps a record of your daily activity time and calories burned, plus it can work as a remote shutter for your phone’s camera, and be used to sound an alert if you lose your phone. The closest the Superbe comes to smartwatch functionality is to get an alert when your phone rings, and the chance to reject calls.

The fitness tracking can be synced to Google Fit or Apple Health, which is welcome, but the other “features” are a disappointment. First is the remote shutter. Thinking it’ll be great for quick selfies? It isn’t. Not only is it slow to react when you push the crown button on the watch, but it only operates through the Nowa app, and not the standard phone camera app, or an app like Instagram. Shame.

nowa superbe smartwatch fitness tracker
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Then there is the call alert. The Nowa Superbe doesn’t have a vibration motor, so the alert is visual. On the watch face is a small circular LED light which flashes when your phone rings. Great if you’re constantly staring at your watch, but not so much when it’s under a shirt sleeve. Nowa makes a big deal about the watch adjusting itself to the current timezone automatically. This works most of the time, and is controlled when your phone switches time zones, quickly updating itself without any action from you. However, getting it to change consistently was more of a challenge. It often remained in the wrong time zone after switching back, forcing me to use the app’s Set Time option to get it back to normal.

The closest the Superbe comes to smartwatch functionality is to get an alert when your phone rings, and the chance to reject calls.

Nowa’s app is basic. It breaks down your activity and sleep data, and has an easy to understand menu to activate or deactivate the watch’s smart features. It’s also used to pair the watch with your phone — we have used it with the Asus Zenfone 6 on Android without a problem, and it’s also compatible with iOS — or to set the time manually. In my short time with the app, I did not experience any stability problems, but Android continually reminded me it was running in the background and draining the phone’s battery.

Design

This will be where the Nowa Superbe may win fans. It ignores the usual fitness band style, and embraces a delicate, minimalist watch style instead. It’s made from stainless steel, and it’s mineral glass over the face. However, it doesn’t have a round face but it has a square one, and there is a crown on the side. This is a button and does not rotate. The square look makes it very different from its competitors like the Withings Move, or the many hybrid Fossil watches available. It’s a brave choice, when the Apple Watch splits opinion with its design.

nowa superbe smartwatch fitness tracker
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s a dainty little thing. The face is small at just 36mm, and the strap is sized accordingly so on the smallest notch it’ll happily wrap around slender wrists. The metal case is tapered at the sides, which effectively hides the fact the watch is quite thick at 9.75mm, and the brushed metal look is classy. The white watch face is minimalist, with no numbers and simple hands. The strap on our review model is a length of thin 18mm leather which is supple and comfortable from the moment you get it out of the box, and is attached to the case using quick release pins.

The Superbe doesn’t need charging, and the battery inside should last for about eight months.

It drives a quartz movement from experts Ronda, and a Bluetooth low energy connection to your phone. The Superbe doesn’t need charging, and the standard CR2025 battery inside should last for about eight months before it needs replacing. There is a simple battery capacity indicator in the app.

The Nowa Superbe’s style has grown on me, but it still looks small to my eye. It is lightweight and isn’t big or thick enough to get caught on a shirt sleeve. You can easily wear it on a daily basis, and it won’t be annoying to wear overnight if you want to track your sleep too. There are several different styles, with the blue hands on our Classic Black review model really catching the eye.

Price and availability

You can buy the Nowa Superbe through Indiegogo now, with shipping in August. At the time of writing there are still models available for $121, but after this limited number has been sold, the watch will cost $144. The Nowa Superbe does come with the two-year warranty, and is water resistant to 30 meters too, so it should be long-lasting.

Nowa’s biggest enemy is the massive amount of fitness bands available — from Xiaomi’s $32 Mi Band 3 to the $100 Fitbit Inspire HR, Fossil’s range of hybrid smartwatches, which offer more functionality often for a similar price, and the Fitbit Versa Lite. For $121, if you really like the style, it’s a decent fitness watch provided you understand the feature limitations, but have a good look around at the competition, as you can get more for your money.

Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Deals

The renewed Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch drops under $180 on Amazon

Samsung makes some of the best Android phones, so it’s no shock that this tech giant also offers superb Wear OS smartwatches. If you’re willing to buy renewed, then one of our favorites, the Samsung Gear S3, can be yours at a huge…
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for June 2019

Smartwatches make life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. If you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, here are the best smartwatch deals for June 2019.
Wearables

Exclusive: This is Mobvoi’s next Wear OS smartwatch, and it likely adds 4G LTE

Mobvoi may not be a household name in the U.S., but it sells affordable smartwatches running Google's Wear OS platform. The company's next watch has leaked -- by Mobvoi itself -- and Digital Trends managed to snap a screenshot.
Deals

Before buying an Apple Watch, check out this cheap smartwatch under $100

Not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on a smartwatch? You might want to consider this little-known but well-reviewed cheap smartwatch from Amazfit called the Bip. It's on sale on Amazon, and you can have it in one day if you're a Prime…
Home Theater

The best Apple AirPod accessories can extend your high-end earbuds' life span

It might seem a bit strange to buy an accessory for an accessory, but sometimes you need a little something extra, like a case, cover, or transmitter, to get the most out of your Apple AirPods.
Deals

The GoPro Hero7 action camera gets price cut on Amazon ahead of Father’s Day

Got an adventurous Dad? If so, a GoPro action camera will make a great Father’s Day gifts. Ahead of Father’s Day, capture the GoPro Hero7 Black on Amazon for just $329, down from its normal $400. Don't just settle for socks again this…
Deals

The Apple Watch Series 4 is still at its lowest price for Father’s Day

Sales are continuing on select Apple Watch at both Amazon and Walmart through Father's Day, including a deal on the 38mm Series 3 GPS that is one of the lowest prices we've seen yet, and the new and slightly larger 40mm Series 4.
Emerging Tech

This lifesaving wearable could diagnose strokes more accurately

A new breakthrough wearable device uses two light measurement techniques to track the body's blood circulation — and accurately predict deadly strokes in the process. Here's how it works.
Wearables

Samsung's $99 Galaxy Fit fitness tracker is now available in the U.S.

Looking for a new fitness buddy? Samsung just launched the Galaxy Watch Active and the Galaxy Fit, two new wearables with a raft of fitness-focused features that'll keep you moving and get you down to the gym.
Home Theater

Diagnose and fix some common Apple AirPods problems with our handy guide

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Deals

Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear fitness smartwatches get big Amazon price cuts

Some of the best options can get pretty pricey, but with smartwatch discounts on the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Gear Sport, they are really quite affordable right now. You can save up to $125 on a new fitness watch.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

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!