Hug

When I placed an online order for a smart watch which I passionately wrote about a few months ago, I didn’t actually know what I was going to do with it.

I have never ever touched a smart watch in my life, although I have written a great deal about the wearable industry as a tech journalist. To be honest, I have never felt the urge to own any kind of wearable.

No IoT wearables in the market excited me, as I knew they are not going to add any value to my life. I don’t think  a simple wearable device can change my lifestyle drastically. I’m not a fitness freak to regularly track my workouts, nor am I a foodie to get excessively conscious about the food habits.

However, Hug Innovations’ smartwatch got me really excited. Hug, a startup based out of Hyderabad in India, offered stunning features sufficient enough to arouse my curiosity. The price range was intriguing, too.

And for the first time in my life, I felt the urge to own a smartwatch.

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Hug offered features that a standard smartwatch in the market hasn’t offered yet. In addition to commonly available features such as a sleek design, a nice UI and fitness and health tracker, Hug promised an emergency button and remote photo capturing facility, among other snazzy features.

But the real hook is that Hug promised to be world’s first gesture-controlled smartwatch that helps you stay healthy, safe and interact with the digital world using gestures! And all these stunning features come at an incredibly cheap price — US$150!

And I got hitched.

Now I am the owner of a smartwatch. I got the device in my hand a week ago. When I showed it to my wife, she scolded me, cursed at me and nearly hit me (she could have physically assaulted me if the Domestic Violence Act in India was not strong). She flayed my spending habits (she cannot be completely blamed, as she is a typical Indian wife who believes in saving money for the future of kids and building a nice house).

Even my parents didn’t spare me, although they did not dare touch me. But nothing could dampen my spirits. I thought I will convince them about the great benefits of the product. Once I crack it, I could use it with much flamboyance and flaunt it to all my friends and relatives with a bit of pride.scolding

For the uninitiated, a smartwatch is a computerised wristwatch with functionality that goes beyond timekeeping. It can act as a mini computer as well as a smartphone. It can track your pulse rate, alert you when you work out beyond limits, and even suggest you good nutritious food according to your intake.

But Hug is more than just a smartwatch. For me, I thought, it is going to be a style statement and my personal assistant for the rest of my life.

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But is it really true that a smartwatch can turn around your life for the good? Is Hug worth it? What value add is it going to do to the life of an ordinary person like me, who is least interested in electronic gadgets?

Let’s see if it is really worth the dollars.

What it offers

  • Design: Hug is a water resistant device with a screen size of 1.6 inches. It comes in a sleek 11.2mm casing and and 22mm silicon rubber strap. The device has two bottoms on the right hand side — the large one if for turning the device on and off, and the smaller for SOS/panic signals.At the back of the watch, there is an optical heart rate sensor, in addition to a slot to charge the device using the magnetic charging cable coming along with it. You can also change the face of the watch whenever you feel so by pressing and holding it for two seconds.
  • Navigation: On the screen, swipe left to view the functions screen. Swipe up or down on the functions screen to view various screens. Tap to select a function. Swipe right to return to the previous screen.
  • Quick Access: From the watch face screen, swipe down to go to the Quick Access menu, where you will see the Fitness dashboard, Add Water, Find My Phone, Heart Rate, Fitness and Set Alarm functions.
  • Controls: From the watch face screen swipe up to go to the controls screen. Here you can toggle on Bluetooth, silent mode, Do Not Disturb screen and adjust brightness and volume.
  • Pairing the watch with smartphone: To pair the device with your phone, you need to install the Hug app (the device is compatible with both iOS and Android), and then follow the instructions to pair it.
  • Weather: Displays the weather of the current location.
  • Find My Phone: Helps you to trace your mobile phone.
  • Call Functionality: Enables you to answer and dismiss voice calls.
  • Notifications: Enables you to view messages that you receive on the social networking apps and your mobile phone.
  • Gestures: Offers you a touch less experience with simple hand gestures. You can play your Bluetooth-enabled toys such as Ollie, Quadcopter and Oculus. You can also operate the music player, a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation and videos on your laptop.
  • Safety: Raises an instant SOS with the mere press and hold of the SOS button—a round
    button at the right side of your watch.
  • SOS gesture: Switch on the SOS gesture in safety tab in watch to activate it. Once SOS
    gesture is on, then the Safety is triggered, easily by performing the gesture.
  • Heart rate monitor: Measures your heart rate every hour and displays the recent three
    heart rate measurements, including your current heart rate.
  • Cardio: Tracks your indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Nutrition: Displays your intake of proteins, fats, carbs and fibre based on the food items
    that you specify through the Hug Innovations Mobile App.

What it does not offer?

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  • SIM slot: Unlike other cheaper smart watch variants, Hug doesn’t have SIM or USB slots on it. You can make a call using the device only after pairing the device with your smartphone using Bluetooth.
  • Great UX: While the company had promised to provide a great experience with gesture-based controls, a first-time user will find it hard to learn the movements.

Should you buy it?

If you are a fitness freak and much too health-conscious, Hug could probably of good use. But keep in mind that there are many cheaper fitness-tracking wearables available in the market. Now, if you are someone who does not travel to desolate areas, the SOS button is not for you. For someone like who works from home, the SOS button is a waste.

After a week’s use, I realised hard that Hug is not for me. It is not going to turn around my life. Other than just timekeeping, Hug is not worth my hard-earned money.

So, I shot an e-mail requesting Hug to take my watch back, albeit for a heavy discount, but they turned down my ‘offer’. And they asked me “to hold onto it for a little longer as it’s got much more potential to be disruptive than any other smartwatch.”

Should I wait for the disruption or put it on sale on OLX?

Disclaimer: Hug’s refusal to take back my smartwatch has not influenced this story :) 

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Image Credits: Malyugin/123RF Stock Photo

Hug Innovations