Quick look: Vector Smartwatch and the Lumia 950

It is not secret that Windows Phone does not get a lot of love from smart watch manufacturers with Pebble being the biggest offender. And while we do get plenty of attention from Fitbit and the Band there is that hole of a 'classic' looking smart watch for the platform.

Vector is a relative newcomer to the smartwatch craze, but what caught our attention was their support for Windows Phone. Yes, there is a bona fide official app available for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile, so we just had to give it a go.

Watch our hands-on video and learn what you need to know!

Vector Smart Watch

  • Compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8.1/Windows 10 Mobile
  • Bluetooth LE support
  • 2-year warranty
  • Price ranges between $299 and $349
  • Water resistant to 50M including 'surface swimming.'
  • 44mm custom solid 316L stainless steel case with mineral glass
  • 30-day battery life
  • Notifications (even on Windows Phone) for missed calls, text, email and more
  • Configurable watch faces that are customizable
  • (Limited) third-party app support
  • Luna or Meridian bezel designs
  • Various styles including black, steel, rose gold, champagne gold bezel, and metal or leather bands

Hardware

Our Vector Luna showed up on a very posh box that was both minimalist but elegant. Pairing was simple and instant with our Lumia 950. However, the name of the device was a non-obvious 'RZ3K9'. There is no instruction manual with the watch, but you can find the PDF on their site, which is recommended as it provides a lot of information.

The quality of the watch is decent. It is sort of what you would expect for a sub-$400 watch. I think the steel version with a steel band would feel a bit higher quality than the leather band. The Luna is not thin, but I'd hardly call it thick for a smart watch.

The watch has three buttons including an up and down one and one as an action button. A double-tap of the action button can turn on the backlight at night or return you to the main watch face if reading a notification or using an app.

The display is non-touch and more susceptible to fingerprints than I'd prefer. In terms of looks and resolution, it seems like a less blocky Pebble gen 1 device. It's not bad at all and actually looks quite nice, but there is nothing astonishing about it either. Then again, they are promising 30 days of battery life, so...

The App

The Vector app is pretty well done but still has some bugs. Frequent crashes of the app were experienced, but you could still do what you needed to do. Within the app you can do things like change watch faces, customize them, add apps, add streaming items (to put on the watch face), see your calories and footsteps taken, sleep info and more.

The Vector watch does not have a heart rate monitor, but it can detect motion, sleep and steps. Unfortunately for those in the U.S. the bio settings are in metric, so you'll need your converter ready. The weather though can be done in Fahrenheit.

Download the Vector app for Windows Phone

Depending on the watch face chosen you can add two to three items on the face. Such items include weather, steps taken, calendar events, time zone, date/date, calories, and distance. This is probably one of the neatest features, although it would be nice if the app guided you through how to do this the first time. Instead, I had to "discover" it on my own.

There is an in-app Store where you can also download more watch face designs, add other streaming items, and even add third party apps (more are coming in 2016). All of these are free.

Notifications are here

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that notifications work including incoming and missed calls. The app ties into the Windows Phone notification center so if it shows up there it seems to show up on the watch. I need more time with it, but you can set alerts for specific apps only although I am not certain it works.

Vector even added a cool gesture whereby when a notification comes in the watch vibrates. Within 10 seconds of that notification if you raise your watch to look at it will show you the notification automatically. When you lower your hand back to your side, the notification is automatically dismissed.

Not only is this super cool, but it too worked.

The Vector Luna is supposed to get up to 30 days of battery life, which is obviously something I have not yet tested having the watch only for a few hours. I can say it charges very quickly with the included proprietary magnetic USB charger. My watch went from 4 percent to 98% in just over an hour.

Wrap up (for now)

If there is interest, we'll follow up this article with another in a week or two about how the Vector has held up. Obviously, comparisons with the Band can be made, and while they do overlap, there are some pros and cons to each that you can probably figure for yourselves.

The bottom line is so far I am impressed with the Vector. I am not sure it is worth $300, which is not cheap, but overall it is a neat offering especially for those on Windows Phone.

I can say I am disappointed Microsoft is not helping to promote this company and their watch a bit more seeing as there are so few choices for Windows Phone owners. Not only is Vector a solid offering, but it works (putting aside a few quirks). Microsoft should lend some development support to them to bring this app up to speed and do a little more promotion (at least sell them in your store).

Vector, in my opinion, has a lot of potential and Microsoft should capitalize on that.

Buy Vector Watch from Amazon.com (various) (opens in new tab)

Buy Vector Watch from Vector (various)

Vector Watches Main Site

Let us know what you think and if you want more coverage of this device. Own a Vector smart watch? Share with us your thoughts in comments!

QR: vector

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

128 Comments
  • The app is really good.
  • Now the swimmers have an option, nice.
  • its not worth more than 60USD what can it do? Show time, calories and steps? WOOOW thats totally worth 300USD ... just NOT
  • Did you read the actual article?
  • I honestly agree, when you compare it to the other options, what makes it worth so much? put it next to the band, that is 50 dollars cheaper, what exactly does it do that the band cant? how about the samsung gear? its a ncie device, but defiantely not soemthing that looks worth 300 USD
  • That battery life in my opinion is a must for any thing that purports to be a watch. The band is a fitness band not exactly a full on smartwatch per se.
  • while the battery is a real positive and nice, There is no way that watch is worth 50 dollars more than sometihng like the band/gear just for the better battery life, or even the same price, knock it down to $150 and I'd say its a good buy
  • Well, they need to make profits whereas samsung and microsoft have pretty deep pockets soo...
  • Disagree. It does what it is intended to do, and does it well. Tastefully and well crafted.  Others, as noted elsewhere, are trying to be everything and do everything and clutter your life and add to the distractions...and often times do not perform the simple funcitons they were intended to..look it up.
  • You can say that about many products but to tell you the truth, this is the first smartwatch that impressed me cos It has the battery life! And yes battery life is a big deal, if its worth it or not you can judge that yourself. Well yeah 300 is much but come on these guys are new to this and went out of their way to support Windows, thats enough reason for me to spend that money, if I had it :P  Well poor me doesn't have that much money anyways but impressed I am! They did something a giant like Samsung refused to do (support windows).
  • Agreed.
  • It looks like a watch. Watches run for a few bucks to thousands of dollars. It cost less than my watch, which does nothing but tell time and show the date. I don't think you can pin a price point on it by functions. It's actually the first one I've seen that I would consider, so for me, it is worth more than the others. Why? Battery life and aesthetic. I would never wear a Band or anything that looks like a digital watch or has a big screen like a mini-Pip Boy. I also don't want something I need to take off to charge every night. I take my current watch off twice a year to change the time for Daylight Savings Time and on months with less than 31 days to adjust the date, and that's it. I respect those other wearable devices, but they're just not "me". However, I could imagine giving up my watch for a good looking device that I only need to take off once a month to charge, and not worry about it skiing, swimming, in the shower, etc. Pairing with Windows Phone would be a must for me. Not sure I would get this Vector, but it's the first that has even tempted me and that I'd seriously consider (metal band only for me).
  • What about cyrillic?
  • From the horse mouth:
    Right now our watches support any languatge which uses "Latin" characters... We are looking forward to implement... Greek, Russian and Chinese somewhere in the future.
    Needless to say, this is a classic "You can have any color as long as it's black" type of response. I suppose we shouldn't hold breath for Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, or any other non-Latin support materializing any time soon.  
  • I'd like to know your opinion a week into using the device please!
  • Interested in how the glass holds up. I have a Fitbit Surge that looks beat to heck and I spend most of my day behind a desk.
  • How can some unknown manufacturer come up with a water resistant smartwatch for swimming and a 30 day lasting battery while others can't?
  • Wow. U should work in R&D /s
  • I don't get your answers... Them supposed to be funny?
  • Its Kellogg's what do you expect
  • Less features, bigger battery, less sensors so more space for said battery, e-ink display does not consume any power, newer version of Bluetooth with even lower power, no touchscreen, no constant backlight, slower but more power efficient processor instead of fancy ARM version in Android Wear / iWatch
  • And its first and foremost watch first!
  • they're not unknown.  The CEO used to be CEO of Timex. This is not some no-name startup with no experience.
  • See bellow a brief presentation of the company. At the end, someone asks the same thing as you do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjUAIfsusBU&feature=youtu.be
  • It's nice to see one more option for the windows platform, although the watch doesn't look like much. Makes me think of the LG watch R, not in the form per se, but in the fact that you need to touch to see it's not plastic. I'm still not sold on the whole smartwatch thing though. It's nice to have notifications without having to look at the phone, but it's nothing "revolutionary". At least this company is giving us an option which lasts a whole month without needing to be charged again.
  • Sweeet. I like hearing about smart watches. You guys should try the Kairos to see what that is like.
  • Now that's a nice looking watch.  Sadly way out of my price range.
  • Does it work with the Lumia 830?
  • Does it run Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile? Then the answer would be 'yes'.
  • Haha, you really have to wonder about some people...
  • Hello Daniel - My apologies first for a rudimentary question.  The Vector Website states the watch supports Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, as such, does NOT list the Lumia Icon (Verizon).  It does list the 1520, 930, and others however.  Would you think the "notifications" would work on the Icon, even though we never received Update 1?  Thank you in advance
  • Daniel you have the patience of a saint...
  • It was not listed on their website as a compatible item, which is why I asked. This phone seems to get let out a lot. So, willied, you have to wonder why you need to act so...
  • This.
  • Windows insider never said all phones with Windows 8.1 will work. And Daniel has never said otherwise either. The point is that if the phone runs Windows 8.1 of Windows 10, then it is supported. If there are issues you can go to Vector and they will help fix them. The app will work on the Lumia 830. If it didn't then they would say Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile except the Lumia 830... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I apologize; that was mean of me.
  • Looks nice. Does the alarms app have smart alarms?
  • This is an example of a manufacturer that's worth supporting. Not to mention that the app looks fantastic. It doesn't have any of the circular toggle button nonsense of Windows 10, which is very Android-esque.
  • When you say it dismiss the notification, is that just on the Vector, or does it dismiss it in Windows as well?
  • If it works like Android Wear them they are linked. You dismiss it on one and it is dismissed on the other. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • It stays in the phone's notification centre, both in WP and Android.  
  • 30 day battery life is nice
  • How come a relative no name brand can get notifications to work but a huge company like Fitbit haven't figured it out yet?
  • It's not that Fitbit can't figure it out, it's that the method they use isn't currently supported by Microsoft.
  • It is probably due to timing. Fitbit designed their hardware before Windows Phone supported BTLE and notifications on connected devices. As a result they used a method that requires the phone to have a GATT server. (Both iOS and Android do.) Then Microsoft added support, kind-of, for notifications on connected devices, but they don't have a GATT server, not even on Windows 10 Mobile. So Fitbit is up the creek at this point, there is nothing they can do without developing new hardware, or possibly a major firmware update to their devices, just to support Windows until Microsoft adds the necessary GATT server. Vector, and Microsoft for that matter, came along later and could look at everything and see that Windows didn't support GATT so they had the opportunity to design the product to work with what was available on Windows. If you want notifications on your Fitbit I suggest you go into the Windows Feedback app, search for GATT and upvote the requests for a GATT server to be added to Windows 10.
  • I would've been in except for the non touch aspect
  • No big deal for pebble
  • Beautiful, might just get one because they support windows phone.
  • Nice review and nice looking watch. Would like to know if it displays kanji, korean or chinese characters... band v1 does not, not sure about band v2.
  • I've got band 2, sadly double-byte character support is still lacking.
  • Hey I'm curious about the same thing. If you get an answer let me know!
  • I think the next version will be touch
  • Not likely, unless the battery life is sacrificed
  • looks great and its available in the UK already.
  • I love the line about MSFT not helping to push the watch. Come on!! They don't even push their own phone products! ;)
  • hahahahahahahahahaha! The sad but funny truth!
  • Would be better without a grainy display. And its got that cheap blue tint to it. Clearblack display with more pixels and you will get my money.
  • Never really been excited about wearables but this has changed my mind because it actually looks dämn nice. I'm sure the app bugs will be ironed out and the expansion capabilities to other apps is amazing for a new player to the market. Kudos Vector. I have a new Christmas present at the top of my list, though after a 950XL and SP4 within a week I may have to wait...
  • Always nice to see new companies support Windows 10 Mobile. It's a European company, so they will likely get plenty of support from people there. So,I do agree that Microsoft should support them on their websites and stores (online or physical).
  • Vector got me at 30 day battery life, I so got to get me one of these!
    It made me sit up, stop reading and start watching the video review lol. Also just downloaded the app to show support :).
  • Right on the money with the support from MS. Mozo got some love, and look at what happened, great covers. Would like to see a cyan leather Mozo. And the red looks great, aside from the rose gold.
  • They should definitely get behind this, it's a solid offering. Watched the video review and I am definitely buying one.
  • too early.... I would wait till early 2016 when it's released publicly (for 3rd parties to make watch faces and apps)....If there is demand, I might end up with one...
  • DavidinCT, no it's not too early. If there is no demand then what is the point?
    So that demand needs to be generated especially when the offering is pretty solid. Plus third parties will only support it if there is only demand for the product.
  • I'm glad to see a smartwatch support Windows. It's too bad Agent couldn't ever get theirs together. Now it looks like a joke.
  • Niche smartwatch company, let's see how many 3rd party apps appear in their store... Not worth it
  • The Connected by Tag Heuer is the top of the pile but whaddya know, it only supports Lagdroid and Crapple...our small user base just kills us every time...
  • It also doesn't help that within our small user base we have immature people like you that use words like lagdroid and crapple. 
  • Honestly this site is ridiculous for that reason. Do you know what Android Central users call Windows Phone? Windows Phone. They call Apple Apple. In general their reader base is much more mature. And to take it a step further, I can't tell you how often I see fights in Windows Central, in Android Central I've seen maybe 2 or 3. If this is representative of other sites that support Windows Phone, no wonder people don't look into Windows Phone. Yes the app gap is a problem, but so is the community. You are no different than the extreme part of the Linux community. The same people that put people down for using "Winblows" or "Microsucks." Some people just need to grow up. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I guess you don't read very much over there.  I have seen more win'doh's references on both android central and Imore.  Blackberry forum and windows central has the most mature of all the forums I have been on. 
  • Daniel, I've used 3 diffeent smartwatches now with Windows Phone. The Pebble 301bl, the Pebble Steel (that I still own) and the Microsoft Band (first one). The Pebble watches have about a week life, so it's great for a smartwatch. The Band gets about a day and 1/2 or 2 on weekends (when notifications are slower).  The Pebble Notifcations app still works with Windows 10 mobile (at least last build) but, no offical support. I would compare this watch more with the Pebble than the Band. When you use the OS on the phone, I know you have used both of them, What one would you feel is better ?  Are notifcations better (more infomation) ? Now going by the Pebble, it claims water resistant up to 30m.... on my Pebble Steel, I have gone swimming with it, in 8 feet of water (pool, 8 feet deep, right to the bottom with the watch), and with the phone on the side of the pool, I was getting notifcations on my watch at about 5 feet. :) No problems with water. Does this watch have sensors, or is it dependant on the phone (for running, sleeping, etc).  I'll admint 30 day life sounds impressive but, looking over the videos, not sure of the detail on the display... Time will tell but, at this point, it's too early to say yes...
  • 30-day battery life, sleep tracking, notifications, WP app - and $249 for the box case version (website) - nice.
    I wish the Wellograph watch did notifications - nice device.
  • That battery life is what is really selling it for me, the crappy battery life is what puts me off every smart watch. I'm used to a watch lasting several years before I need to change the battery.
    So I'm pretty curious to see how it holds up :). In regards to the sleep tracking, it might be too bulky :P.
  • Well said. I'm right there with you.
  • You get location based reminders on the watch as they pop up on the phone; if you don't dismiss them at that time on the phone, when you first open the phone the reminders pop up on the watch again. Sometimes I will have to dismiss the same location based reminder from the watch 3 or 4 times. I haven't been able to turn off getting emails so I'll have to dismiss a dozen screens on the watch that say nothing but these three words formatted just like this,
    Subject:
    Description:
    Details:
    Sometimes watch faces won't update to the phone, so if you add them again you'll have the same face twice or be missing two or more that show on the app but not the watch.
    I had the watch less than a month when I noticed it had long scratches across the face; I went to facebook like others did and they erased my post, said they'd "research" the scratches and get back to me. That was almost two months ago. I love the watch, it has some issues,but overall I'd hate to be without it on my wrist for more than a few minutes.
  • Dan sounds so happy.. Now that app is clearly made for 8.1 look how gorgeous it is, and it might not have that crashing bug on 8.1 I've some old apps that never crashed on 8.1 but now do on 10
  • really sweet, kinda classic look, MS Band 2 is nice but this is one is more of a jewlery... liking it. too bad just bougth a band. ;)
  • I like this watch but the price is a bit steep. MS need to find some way to become compatible with Android Wear (but better than the limited compatibility IOS has). If they are making tools to allow conversions of Android Apps for Windows Phones cant they do something similar for the Watches OS? Or partner with some of the better watch makers (not fitness accessories)  like the Huawei Smartwatch which would in turn help them sell microsoft phones to those people who are holding out from lack of smart wearables compatible.
  • Yeah, I could roll with it. I'm not a flashy guy but I like tech.  If it works with Microsoft Health it would be a stellar feature.  I hope it will at some point.
  • i have notice this watch ,mand had big debate between this watch and band 2 ,