CMF by Nothing is a new sub-brand from the company which has made a name for itself for its design-focussed offerings in the TWS and smartphone segments. In the first round, CMF, which stands for colour, material, and finish, seems to be focussing on the mass market of mobile accessories, judging by the positioning of the new launches, which include a watch, a pair of buds and a multi-port GaN charger. And it’s staying true to the CMF ideology by choosing vivid colours, nice materials and premium finishes. I’ve been trying out CMF’s debut smartwatch, the Watch Pro, and it’s time to give you a lowdown of its capabilities. Here we go.
Table of Contents
Design and displayThanks to a large 1.96-inch display and a thick, blocky case, the CMF Watch Pro does look rather big sitting on the wrist. It’s surprisingly lightweight though — 47 grams including the strap, so doesn’t really weigh the wrist down. The aluminium body seems well built and overall, the fit and finish seem quite premium.
The bright orange strap (there’s a more subtle grey model as well) is a little too orange for me, so to speak, but is soft, supple and quite comfy to wear for prolonged periods, and can turn some heads your way when you’re out and about. That said, it can be easily be swapped out with any conventional 22mm watch band of your choice, given that it features quick-release pins which are easy to remove. On the right side, there’s a round-shaped home button, and holes for the speaker are located next to that.
The 1.96-inch display has noticeable bezels all around, but that apart, it’s quite impressive overall. Utilising AMOLED tech, it features 410 x 502 resolution and with its 600 nits peak brightness, can get quite bright too. Viewing it outdoors in sunlight isn’t any issue. There’s no auto brightness, but you do get AoD (Always-on display) which is a handy feature to have.
The CMF Watch Pro offers all the usual health and smart features one can expect and adds a bonus on top. There’s Bluetooth calling, a feature that is fast becoming common in this segment, along with the usual suspects like weather, stopwatch, timer, alarms, find my phone, flashlight, music control, camera control etc. App notifications from a paired phone also pop up on the watch.
As far as health features are concerned, you’ll be able to track steps, sleep, stress, SpO2, heart rate, calories etc. CMF also throws in support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and Beidou positioning systems, so it doesn’t need to rely on a phone for tracking routes for your outdoor walks or runs, and location data can be captured even if you leave your smartphone at home. What’s missing is auto workout detection… so you’ll need to manually start a workout each time. The good news, however, is that the watch comes with support for tracking quite a few sports and physical activities.
UI and app connectivity
The CMF Watch app, which is needed to pair and sync data from the watch, is available for both iOS and Android. However, I had to use test builds of this app during my review period, which does have a few rough edges. For one, I couldn’t register for a new account using my email ID, as it kept giving me server and authorisation errors. I did manage to create an account by signing in with Google though. Next, there’s no search option available when you pull up your list of contacts for adding to the watch. Up to 20 contacts can be added as favourites via the app so you can call them directly via the watch, but as of now, there’s no way to search for a specific contact and one needs to scroll and find the contacts manually.
These niggles apart, the app looks nice with its white and orange design and is clean and intuitive to use as well. The first page shows a dashboard summary of activity and sleep, the second one is for workouts, the third allows you to configure the watch, while the last one shows your profile. It’s all neatly laid out and looks swanky too, with Nothing’s signature dotted font. Going into the app settings, you can configure app notifications, and toggle functions like DND, wake on wrist raise, water reminder, idle alerts etc. You can also download watch faces — a fair selection is available to choose from. The watch comes with four watch faces built in, but these can’t be removed. You only get one additional slot to download a watch face of your choice to the watch, which is quite limited I think. The ones you download do get added to a separate tab labelled “Mine” in the app, and stay there even if you remove them from the watch, so you can find your favourite ones quickly when you want.
Usage, performance and batteryThe CMF Watch Pro has a swipe-driven interface, and one can swipe down to access quick settings, swipe up to view notifications, and sideways to cycle through widgets that show activity, heart rate, weather, sleep and calling functions. The side button can be pressed to view the apps, and to jump back to the watch face at any time. The widgets aren’t customisable, but most functions work smoothly and as intended, including Bluetooth calling. This comes in handy in pinch situations, when your hands are otherwise occupied and you can’t pull out your phone. However, the watch doesn’t show the caller name for incoming calls, even if the caller is stored in your contact list, despite providing contact permissions.
The physical activity, sleep patterns, heart rate etc work well too, and the data seems largely accurate — no red flags there. When outdoors, the watch is able to get a GPS fix within a few seconds, and shows route info for your walks and runs later in the app, after the data is synced. You can view trends and historical data for each parameter separately — sleep, steps, workouts, SpO2 etc, by diving deeper into the app.
Apart from the fixed widget list and the limited slots for watch faces, the Watch Pro does offer good customisation options. You can set functions like DND, raise to wake, etc to come on or turn off as per specified time schedules, choose to keep the screen on for up to 20 minutes, set haptic feedback to normal or strong or turn it off completely, and more. For the always-on display too, you can choose from a small list of different digital and analogue watch faces available.
The watch can be juiced up using the included USB cable which attaches magnetically to the pair of pogo pins located on the underside, and in my usage, has dropped to 35 percent in four days of mixed use. I’d say you can expect about a week or so, give or take, though your mileage could vary depending upon the features you’ve enabled and whether you keep the AoD on or not.
The CMF Watch Pro lands in a crowded market where options are a dime a dozen and users have lots of contenders to choose from, across different price segments, flaunting different designs and features. At a starting price of Rs 4,499, the Watch Pro might face an uphill task to go head-to-head with rivals. Boat, Noise and quite a few others have competing options, and the recently launched Redmi Watch 3 Active (review) comes to mind as well, though the latter’s LCD display can’t match up and it lacks AoD and GPS too. Coming back to the CMF Watch Pro, the app does need a bit more polish to eliminate the niggles, and firmware updates can take care of the rest. CMF’s offering has quite a few things going for it, chief among them being the build quality, gorgeous AMOLED display and built-in GPS, coming together in a standout design. Worth a close look I’d say.
Editor’s rating: 7 / 10
- Good look and feel
- Nice display with AoD
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Decent battery life
- App issues
- Limited slots for watch faces
- No auto workout detection