The Timex Helix Gusto HRM is a new addition to the wearables segment. This fitness band competes directly with the Mi Band 4 and the Honor Band 5 with its functions and price. It has all the functions that are expected from fitness bands today – step counting, distance measurement, sleep measurement, heart rate measurement and various sport modes for better calorie burning calculations. The price of this portable is Rs. 2,295 in India, and there are lively options for the band color – blue, gray, purple, and turquoise blue. There is also a variant that lacks heart rate monitoring, priced at Rs. 1.495.
Is the Timex Helix Gusto HRM a winner with so many options at the same price? Is it better than the Mi Band 4? We find out.
Timex Helix Gusto HRM design and interface
The Timex Helix Gusto HRM fitness band that we had for review had a turquoise blue band. The silicone band wraps around the wrist and is quite wide. It has a metal buckle rather than the rubber stopper mechanisms found on many fitness bands these days. The belt is very robust and holds the tracker module firmly.
This device has a 0.96-inch OLED color display, which is quite large and allows large text that can be read easily even in bright weather. There is only one capacitive touch button under the display for navigation. The tracker module itself has a rectangular shape, but overall the Timex Helix Gusto HRM looks quite appealing.
It is light and comfortable to wear on the wrist and the strap feels great. It has also proven to be durable as it withstood several falls in the test. Even after weeks of use, in which the module was removed from the belt several times, there was no noticeable wear and tear on the belt or on the edges of the tracker module.
When you get to the user interface, you can use the capacitive button to navigate through different areas of the user interface. There are three watch faces to choose from. One shows comprehensive information on heart rate, steps, battery life, date and time. one that shows the distance traveled but not the date; and the last one, which only shows the date, time and battery level.
By tapping the capacitive button, you can view your step count, distance traveled, calories burned, heart rate, sleep pattern, sport mode selection and message notifications. A long tap on the heart rate zone activates the heart rate monitor and the tracker then displays it on the screen. The Helix Gusto HRM supports real-time monitoring and measures your heart rate in every sport mode.
In the band you can choose from various activities, including hiking, running, cycling, badminton, basketball, table tennis, climbing and soccer. While doing any of these activities, you can turn on sport mode to log your calories, heart rate, and other data. The Sleep Tracking section provides details of the hours you've slept, and the Messages section shows all of your notifications in one place. There is also a settings area with options like "Find Phone" where the paired phone will ring so you can find it.
Timex Helix Gusto HRM battery life
The biggest problem with the Timex Helix Gusto HRM is the battery life and the charging speed. The Timex Helix Gusto is charged via a flat USB connector that protrudes from one end of the tracker module. This tab-like connector remains hidden when the tracker is in the band. Timex does not include a charging adapter, so users have to rely on an existing USB charger or the USB port of a computer. Although this sounds pretty simple, we have found that the wearable is not always charged with some adapters. Sometimes when we plug it in and play around with it a bit, it gets charged, but we also had to do without some adapters.
It took approximately two hours to fully charge the battery and an average of up to five days. During this time, the notifications were disabled and the device was only used to track hibernation and steps. We also tested the Helix Gusto HRM with heavy use of the sport, badminton and running modes and it only took three days. In any case, our real-world experience was nowhere near the company's claims of up to 15 days of battery life. This is rather disappointing as competitors like the Mi Band 4 (review) offer a useful life of around two weeks on a single charge.
Timex Helix Gusto HRM performance and tracking
To test the performance and tracking accuracy of the Time Helix Gusto HRM, we conducted a number of tests. First we did a 1 km run to check the accuracy of the distance measurement. The wearable does not have a built-in GPS. It therefore relies on the GPS of your paired phone to measure the distance traveled. The wearable covered 1.18 km over a distance of 1 km, which we had previously measured with the odometer of a bicycle. That is reasonably acceptable. This is more due to the accuracy of the phone's GPS than the accuracy of the fitness band.
In our step test, we ran exactly 1,000 steps and counted them manually. In the end, the Timex fitness tape had recorded 908 steps. This is a disadvantage when compared to the Mi Band 4, which was almost accurate in the step test. We also found that it still records steps when we were on a bike or driving a car.
The Helix Gusto HRM is considered waterproof, and although we couldn't swim, it survived the showers well enough. Tracking sleep seemed to be accurate. However, the data only shows the number of hours you have slept and is not as detailed as that of other devices. This usually includes indicators of the duration of deep and light sleep, as well as the time you woke up in the middle of the sleep cycle. The heart rate monitor gave acceptable results.
Timex Helix Gusto HRM companion app
The HRM from Timex Helix Gusto is combined with the Helix Timex app in the Google Play Store and in the Apple App Store. Users need to log in and initially enter their weight, height and other profile details. Pairing the watch with our Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro went smoothly, and there were no problems setting up the app either. Your home page shows your weight, steps taken, calories burned and the number of steps you have taken in your daily goal. If you scroll down, you can see your BMI, your last heart rate measurement, and your sleep and exercise data.
On the Events tab, you can add events for which you need a reminder. However, you cannot add a specific time when you want to be notified. Only vague options like "2 hours before" or "1 day before" are offered. There are numerous options on the Device tab that you can set for the tape. In the Notification section you can decide what type of notifications you want to display on the Helix Gusto HRM. You can switch them for calls, text messages, WhatsApp and Facebook. With a DND option, you can mute notifications all day or for a period of time. There's also a camera option that allows you to use your fitness band as a remote trigger to take photos. The Device tab also shows you whether the band is connected via Bluetooth or not.
Finally, your average steps and total distance traveled are displayed on the "Profile" tab. You can also set different goals, e.g.
While the app offers detailed step tracking with weekly and monthly statistics, monitoring sleep and heart rate isn't as detailed as we thought it would be. Unlike other apps that offer comprehensive data, weekly or monthly data is not available for either. By default, the notifications on the tape vibrate a bit too loud and longer than we'd like, and there's no way to mitigate or shorten them.
We would also have liked to see wider options for customizing notifications. While you are notified that a message has been received, there is no way to read the full text on the band itself or to send a response from the band itself. It is best to keep these notifications off as they are annoying rather than useful.
The Timex Helix Gusto HRM offers at its price an AMOLED color display, a robust and durable design, comfort on the wrist and useful statistics for heart rate monitoring. It looks pretty good too, but there are a few limitations that we cannot ignore. The battery life is quite low, especially if you are a heavy user. Charging this device can sometimes be a task. In addition, notification vibrations are too loud for our taste. You either have to deal with it or switch off the vibration entirely. We also cannot ignore the imprecise step tracking. There are many options on the market and you should definitely consider the Mi Band 4 (Review), which has almost the same price at Rs. 2.299.