- Open API
- No screen
After success with their first venture into the fitness tracker market, Razer created the successor to the Nabu: the Razer Nabu X. This new tracker, first revealed at CES 2015 where it won a Staff Pick award, offers Razer fans a less expensive alternative with a more minimalist-inspired design. After a long wait of anticipation, the Nabu X is finally available to the masses -- but does it live up to the hype?
Look & feel
The Razer Nabu X is offered in three colors: white, black, and Razer’s signature lime green. While the selection is limited, the options are different enough to appeal to most people. Similar to the Fitbit Flex, the Nabu X’s hardware is a detachable and rechargeable pod-type element that tucks into the strap. With the black strap, the bright green module can often be seen peeking out from under the strap; however, with the white strap, the hardware matches the band for a seamless, clean look. The one-size-fits-all adjustable rubber strap is durable and does not feel as inexpensive as the price point may suggest. In fact, its textured surface adds a bit of sophisticated ruggedness to the look, creating a chic overall impression. Even accidentally rubbed or knocked against something, the band’s adjustable clip stayed firm. One issue we found, however, is that the rubber is a dirt magnet, often require a quick go-over with a damp towel to keep it looking sleek. Also, because of the soft density of the band, it was sometimes difficult to discern whether or not the tracking module was locked into place; that being said, when it was locked in, it was incredibly resilient and never once wiggled loose or became dislodged in any way.
Foregoing the OLED display of its older brother for cost efficiency’s sake, the original Razer Nabu, the Nabu X utilizes a customizable display of three indicator LED lights. The LED lights are integrated into the tracking hardware and shine through the band to indicate notifications, alarms, and step goals. By adjusting the settings app-side, users can customize which of the red, blue, and green LED lights shine for which events. Razer boasts that its Nabu line is discrete, and we couldn’t agree more. The subtle notification system couples lights and adjustable vibration for quick alerts to let you know something is happening on a user’s smartphone without causing a noisy ruckus. Overall, the Nabu X is a perfect example of sophisticated sporty chic done right. To further compliment the look, the band itself is more lightweight than it looks and was downright comfortable to wear throughout the day.
Performance & Features
- Wireless Sync
- Step counter
- Calorie counter
- Activity tracking
- Water resistant
- Meal tracking
- Sleep tracking
- Heart rate tracking
- Caller ID
- iOS compatible
- Android compatible
- Windows compatible
- Battery life: 6 days
With a standard accelerometer and vibration functionality, the Razer Nabu X keeps the frills cut short to maintain its low price point. Like most trackers, it is water resistant up to one meter, so while Razer says it is fine to shower or do dishes while wearing it, we would advise against swimming with it on; it is worth noting that because there is no cover on the charging port, we were incredibly hesitant to expose it to any water whatsoever. Equipped with a lithium polymer battery, Razer estimates 5-7 days of active use and 30 days of standby battery life, but we found that it died much sooner than that and required charging approximately every other day. Razer reports this battery drain issue should be resolved in a future firmware update.
Proprietary software allows for a unique social feature not found in any other tracker today. By shaking hands with a fellow Nabu X wearer, preselected information such as Razer ID, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat and more will automatically be shared between devices. Users can choose to share as much or as little information as they would like. On a larger scale, Razer IDs can be shared within a specified proximity by default, no handshakes required. This feature allows for users to directly compare activity data; additionally, according to Razer, multiplayer games are being developed in order to take this social functionality even further. Although slightly gimmicky, it’s an exciting prospect in a market where most social functions are limited to leaderboards.
During our testing, we found the notification feature worked well, and we would instantly receive vibrations and lights for incoming texts and calls. The notification system is far more discrete than the Nabu X’s big brother, and it even has gesture controls through which users can dismiss the notification by gently shaking their wrist. When looking at its more traditional aspects, the Nabu X tracks footsteps and distance travelled, estimates calories burned, and monitors active minutes and hours slept. Unfortunately, the times it actually recorded these things were few and far between. Despite the open API that allows users and developers to create Razer apps for the tracker, all apps still have to run through what seems to be a broken Razer Utility Manager app. Razer reports a soon-to-come patch will fix the issue, but at the time of writing, this simply is not a guarantee of future performance. Overall, users have reported mixed experiences with the device thus far; while some say the device works perfectly, others say that it simply has not worked at all from the start. Common complaints include Nabu X not recording data and frequently disconnecting from its established Bluetooth connection.
The bright side to the app bugs is that with firmware updates, there is a great amount of potential in the Nabu X. Razer has a vision and seems set on making it a reality for its users. With more apps being developed for the tracker, the future possibilities are seemingly limitless.
Flaws and glitches aside, the app itself is fairly well put together. Like an unfortunate majority of fitness trackers, Razer’s tracker does not yet support Windows phones, though they say it is currently in development; additionally, Razer only supports more current iPhones (5, 5S, 5C, & 6) and Android devices running 4.3 or higher. The Nabu Utility app has Razer’s signature black-and-green theme and carries the same sleek and minimal design of the band itself.
Not only can users choose which functions are tracked and synced, but these individual metrics can all be assigned their own separate goals. Notifications are also fully customizable app-side; users can delegate what notifications are synced to their band and which colors are used to signify them.
Progress for each goal is shown on a screen with both a numerical value and a circular graph. One thing that stands for improvement is that there is no difference in a completed goal and an exceeded goal, specifically useful when calories have been exceeded.
The true strength, though perhaps not quite yet seen, is the integrated marketplace inside the app. With an open API, developers have been welcomed to create anything and everything they can imagine. Through the marketplace, users are able to download apps such as Nabu Fitness and My Tracker that provide more in-depth information about their metrics, including a detailed look at information gathered through automatic sleep tracking. It also syncs with third party and native apps, such as Google Fit for Android and Health for iOS. Although the marketplace has a long way to go still, future functionality looks optimistic.
- Open API
- No screen
The Razer Nabu X is priced competitively as an alternative to its older brother, looks better than other trackers in its price range, and is incredibly durable to boot; however, with devices like the Misfit Flash competing with higher functionality, the Nabu X has a ways to go before becoming a strong contender in its segment. Its proprietary social technology and open API marketplace promise a strong future for the Nabu X, but only time will tell from here. If Razer has its way, the Nabu X will soon be a strong competitor perfect for casual fitness enthusiasts with an affinity for app integration for a totally customizable experience.