​Nevo Watch review

This Swiss style analogue watch has fitness smarts, but could do so much more
​Nevo Watch

"That's a nice watch, not like those ugly fitness trackers you normally wear," said a friend, as we sat down to dinner while I had the Nevo Watch strapped on.

Little did she know that the Nevo is another Swiss movement packing analogue watch (although it's made in China), with a payload of hidden smart tech features, the likes we've seen from in the Withings Activité and Mondaine Helvetica No.1 Smart.

In some ways, the Nevo is smarter than either of those two devices. With fitness tracking smarts built-in, the Nevo will also alert you to smartphone notifications, which in some ways helps it challenge the likes of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices for fashion conscious buyers.

But does it match up? And is the rather pricey $299 price-tag justified? We put it through its paces to find out.

Nevo Watch: Design and features

Nevo watch review

The plain analogue watch face is free from numbers, dates and even branding, and makes for a wonderfully minimalist look that's classy and expensive looking. The brand's logo is just visible on closer inspection, yet the simplicity is bang on trend.

The watch itself has a slim metal case that houses the Swiss movement. The case bulges underneath to house the accelerometer, sensors and Bluetooth chips, yet is cleverly hidden from view as it sits upon the wrist.

Essential reading: Best fitness tracker

There are three physical buttons, the top which shows your progress towards your step goal by lighting LEDs hidden at the hour notches, which use the 12 positions to offer a visual representation of the percentage hit.

The middle is a traditional crown, and you pull it out to manually adjust the hands. It's wonderfully simple, and means you don't have to frustratingly pair the watch to adjust the time.

The bottom button is used for Bluetooth pairing – which unfortunately is a regular occurrence as you try to reforge a connection between the Nevo and your smartphone.

In terms of features, the Nevo does three things: it monitors your daily steps, it notifies you of activity on your smartphone, and very importantly, tells you the time and can be used as an alarm.

Nevo Watch: Activity tracking

Nevo watch review

As a fitness tracker, the Nevo is extremely basic. While the website promises running, swimming and sleep tracking, there are currently no provisions for these features in the current version of the app – so anyone hung up on those features will have to trust they'll arrive at some point.

You can set three levels of activity goal (light, moderate and intensive) and it monitors your progress on your way to these numbers. You can fine tune these levels to any number of daily steps just by tapping the edit button.

Essential reading: Best smartwatch 2015 round-up

While on the whole, steps were inline with the Jawbone UP2 we tested against, the app is one of the most basic we've ever used. You can only see how many steps you've taken on a given day, so there's no analysis of your weekly or monthly performance, and there are no graphs or charts to look at.

For many this simplicity might be attractive. Nevo informs you of your daily steps and offers awareness of how sedate you've been – but alternative trackers offer so much more.

Nevo Watch: Notifications

Nevo watch review

The Nevo watch also takes a simple approach to notifying you of messages, social alerts and emails.

When something happens on your smartphone – a call, SMS, email, Facebook, calendar or WeChat – the Nevo vibrates and shows a coloured LED, which again is placed around the watch face. There's no reading or previews available – the Nevo has no screen – but you can customize the colour of different alerts from within the app.

You can also turn the notification types off and on, so you can only be alerted to calls and SMS, while ignoring less important Facebook messages, for example.

It's a decent system for those who want to be more connected to important messages. The Nevo tended to buzz with any notification on our smartphone, so third party apps not listed above are catered for, but in the fortnight we spent testing, we never really got to grips with picking between notification types. Less is certainly more, which is a mantra that's regularly repeated across the Nevo.

Nevo Watch: Hardware

Nevo watch review

While tech specs on the Nevo are minimal – one impressive stat is its battery life. Using a swappable watch battery, the Nevo will last six months between changes for smart features – yet cleverly, there's a second battery, which keeps that Swiss movement powered – offering 5 years of timekeeping.

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This trumps the Withings, which is all powered from a single battery, and means that on the day the smart features die, the watch is still usable until you get round to swapping out the battery.

Nevo Watch
By Nevo
The Nevo is a great looking watch which is a pleasure to wear, and oozes genuine style. It's a watch first and a wearable second. For those looking to get an overview of their daily activity and basic smart features, it does just enough. However, with obvious features missing, we enjoyed using the more feature rich Mondaine and Withings Activité a lot more.

  • Great design
  • Quality strap
  • Two batteries
  • Overly simplistic
  • Dropped connection too often
  • Notifications confusing


  • arijaycomet says:

    When I had the Withings Activitè it worked nicely, though I had sync issues with my iPhone.  Hopefully they have resolved those.  You guys list the Withings as a 4-star item, and this as 3-stars.  I think that would be the best comparison here.

    In truth  neither of these devices would be worth $300 ... they aren't when the cheapest Apple Watch is only $50 more, and there are plenty of Android Wear devices for even less, that do far more.  If simplistic style is your goal, then spend even less, $149 to be exact, and get the Withings Activitè POP ... the cheaper version that does most of what you need.

    Certainly some people REALLY want notifications. But I found them annoying, or missed, all too often. My full spectrum of thoughts on the Nevo Watch can be found right here:


    • ozaz says:

      I couldn't cope with a watch which only had 1-2 days battery life (i.e. Apple Watch or Android Wear).

      For me, the minimum tolerable battery life is one month.

      I want basic notifications (incoming call & sms only) because missing calls and sms is a problem I have with my smartphone that a watch could potentially resolve. This rules out the Withings and the Mondaine. I also want activity tracking and a watch that looks like a traditional watch rather than a sports watch. As far as I can tell, the Nevo might be the only watch suitable for me?

      It is a bit expensive but it looks nice and I'm willing to pay a bit extra not to have to compromise on battery life or lack of notifications. I'm just a bit worried that the fitness and sleep tracking might not be very good. 

      - How well does it track swimming?

      - Can I log activities such as cycling?

      - Does it automatically detect sleep?  

  • Samuel says:

    6 month since release and app still disconnecting, still no functions, still nothing. Great concept, but terrible support and application.

  • cypressvh says:

    There is a "second gen" nevo watch coming out with a solar panel in the face to extend the smartwatch battery even longer. I backed this on kickstarter, and they are saying delivery in May 2016. I'm hoping that they resolve the connectivity issues and continue to roll out new functionality with firmware updates. During the campaign, they did talk about releasing an SDK for app developers, but not sure if they have gotten there yet.

  • MM-M says:

    To my mind, smart watches live or die by the available support when things go wrong. I understand from various forums that I am not alone with the glacial response from Nevo support , and for that reason I cannot recommend.

    • Reader says:

      Im looking into the Nevo watch as the price has been cut down to 170$ at nevocollection.com. Do you mind explaining how the software updates have helped in fixing the old bugs and if there are remaining bugs what are they. 

      Im not clear on the bluetooth problem as it is kind of obvious that the watch would disconnect  from a distant, and it would be a bad idea if the watch just keep searching continuously and drain so much battery trying to establish connection again. Maybe there should be some other innovative way or in the least an auto feature that searches for connection every 2 hours or something. But then that is not something without which it would kill the appeal of the watch.

  • Vicenty says:

    I honestly do not understand how you work, I believe in your project even on indiegogo invested, but not a lot, but invested. For this, I knocked one of you watch half a year, and only one and a half years from the date of payment you sent me the watch, but our customs they did not miss. Therefore the clock went back to you. Let's have finish this stupid story. Give me the money for the clock and delivery. You are a relatively new company, but thanks to this attitude I will never buy your product. I have not seen such neproffesionalizma. Why do I have to beat out of you what I ordered?

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