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Intex Irist Pro review: an affordable option for boarding the smartwatch bandwagon

|September 12, 2016 |Reviews, Wearables, Smartwatch, Intex

“The Intex Irist Pro is a successor to the Intex Irist, the brand’s first smartwatch”

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While they used to be confined to a select crowd of tech savvy people, wearables have now found their way to the masses. One of the many reasons behind the booming wearables market is the exponentially rising number of fitness enthusiasts. While everybody is not into hardcore workouts like cross-fit training, you will now find a significantly larger number of people who like to keep a track of their calorie intake and calories burnt. For these folks, smartwatches and fitness bands could work as a catalyst to a fitter lifestyle,  and in response to the growing interest in fitness an related activities, more and more brands are jumping on to the fitness wearables bandwagon. 

One such brand is the homegrown name, Intex, which debuted in the segment with Irist, which was a mid-range smartwatch with standard smartwatch features. Recently, the company launched the successor to the Irist, in the form of Intex Irist Pro, costing Rs 4,999 -- which makes it more affordable than its predecessor. The watch is equipped with a pedometer and a sleep monitor, and offers Bluetooth connectivity, for you to be able to pair it up with your smartphone using the dedicated app. We have been wearing the smartwatch for a while now, here’s all you need to know before you make the purchase.

Design and Wearability 

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The Intex Irist Pro is not one of the most stunning looking smartwatches out there, and does not give you an option to use a steel strap. That said, the black leather strap it comes with does not look half bad. You also get a Mustard colour variant. The Irist Pro has a rather large square dial with 2.5D curved glass on top, measuring 1.6 inches diagonally. While the big display does help in easy viewing of the content, it might look ungainly on smaller wrists.

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The dial sports two keys on the 2 o’ clock and 4 o’ clock positions, the former allowing you to lock and unlock the wearable, while the latter works as a back button. On the back, you find a pogo pin charger which can connect to the cradle, for you to be able to charge the watch. The wearable would pair well with men's outfits, but if you’re a woman and are planning to get a smartwatch, you might want to keep the Irist Pro as a secondary option, for it can complement only one look - sporty chic. In terms of wearability, the smartwatch, despite being big, does not feel as heavy on the wrist but gets uncomfortable to wear after a few hours. You will also need some getting used to in order to wear it during sleeping. One of the highlights of the Irist Pro is its water-resistant body. Should you spill something on it, you needn't fret. While on its own it might not be a big deal, but to have the feature on such a pocket friendly smartwatch is definitely impressive.

Software and Features

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Powered by a MediaTek MT6261 chip, the Irist Pro is compatible with Android devices running Android 4.4 or higher and runs Intex’s own software optimised for wearables. The UI is clean and you’ll find it pretty easy to navigate. All the navigation can easily be done using the touchscreen dial. The touchscreen response is not great, and you will feel a slight lag when scrolling through the menu.

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In terms of customisation, you can choose from a bunch of preset watch faces, and select whether you want all the apps to show in sets of four, or individually. There are other usual settings like setting the preferred language and screen brightness.

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The wearable has motion sensing as well and that allows you to shake it to pick up calls, flip it mute calls and alarms, and along with that, the watch wakes up and locks by sensing the movement of your arm.

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The Intex Irist Pro sports a bunch of features. There are a few self-explanatory ones like Bluetooth Music and Remote Capture, letting you use the smartwatch to control playing music, or click pictures, respectively. With the help of Bluetooth, the Intex Irist Pro notifies you about all your calls, messages, emails, and all the possible notifications you can receive on your smartphone.

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According to your preference, you can choose which app you'd want to send notifications. While the watch is capable of opening SMSes and emails, and displaying them on your wrist, notifications from apps like WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook, can be just deleted or blocked directly using the wearable. When you do tap on options like Reply or Open on a WhatsApp message, it opens the application on your phone for you to be able to perform the desired action. You can make and receive calls on the smartwatch. Once synced, the watch can display all your contacts, and there's a dialler as well, so you can use the Irist Pro to make a call. Similarly, if you're getting a call, you may answer it using the watch, through either the on-screen controls or by shaking your wrist. While in regular situations, that may not seem very useful, but in scenarios when you have your smartphone in your pocket, you needn't pull the phone out to take any action. Since the smartwatch has a mic and a speaker built in as well, you can speak right into the watch even if your phone is lying on the other end of the room. The call quality in that case, however, is not the best. While we were able to hear the other person through the smartwatch decently, our voice (as described by the person on the other end of the call) sounded muffled and low.

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Not once did the Irist Pro miss from notifying us about anything. As a matter of fact, the moment it gets disconnected, be it for just a couple of seconds, it wakes up and starts ringing like a puppy craving for attention.

There are some other features as well, like you can set up alarms on the smartwatch, check the calendar, use the stopwatch feature, or use it to find your smartphone. The find your smartphone feature makes your device beep loudly, and stops only when you have found the device, and have manually stopped it using the wearable.

Fitness and Health

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In this department, the Intex Irist Pro only offers a couple of features. It counts the steps taken, hence the distance covered, and monitors your sleeping patterns. The pedometer works fine, counting only the steps you take, and not including hand movements, which some wearables do. The smartwatch allows you to set a goal, however, it won’t help you to keep striving for these goals. The Irist Pro does not remind you to walk a bit if you’ve been inactive for long. You can also look at the estimated number of calories you’ve burnt, which are logged basis the steps you’ve taken.

The sleep monitor on the Irist Pro has to be started manually before going to bed, and switched off manually once you wake up. If you keep changing sides during the time between going to bed and going to sleep (which are two different things), the watch takes those movements into account, and judges your sleep quality to be poor despite the possibility that you could have slept well through the night. The same can happen if you forget to switch the sleep monitor off immediately after you wake up.

Given that it’s a smartwatch and not a fitness band, and that too an affordable one, it’s feels slightly justified that the fitness features are half-baked. Backed by a 400mAh battery, the Irist Pro lasts for around two and a half to three days easily on a single charge, especially when you don’t use the pedometer or the sleep monitor. When you do, the battery life reduces to around two days, which is still not bad.

Verdict

Priced at Rs 4,999, the Intex Irist Pro does not exactly come at a throw-away price but is still one of the most affordable smartwatches out there. With its calling feature, and fairly accurate step tracking, it offers good value for the money. For those of you who’re just stepping into the world of fitness, the Intex Irist Pro seems like a reasonable option.

Editor's rating: 4/5

Pros:

  • Good battery life
  • Decent number of features
  • Calling ability

Cons:

  • Average call quality
  • Average screen brightness
  • Half-baked sleep monitoring feature

Photos by Raj Rout



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