In search for premium footing, Noise Origin may just be answering most questions - Hindustan Times

In search for premium footing, Noise Origin may just be answering most questions

Jun 07, 2024 01:10 PM IST

Attempts to drive the Origin’s appeal come from a new processor that powers a new operating system, to justify a higher price tag. But the basics of extensive health tracking and a refined design shouldn’t change

It is a trend that became clear earlier in the year. We have written about it. Home-grown tech companies are quite adamant about persisting with a ‘premium’ journey with the wearables they sell, and there’s a willingness to see through the period of resistance as consumers get used to product positioning that demands a bit more monetary outlay. Noise, which gave an early hint of this intent with the Buds Xero true wireless earbuds (the impressive Luna Ring too), is now switching attention to smartwatches. On cue is the Noise Origin priced at 6,499 making it the second most expensive product in that portfolio, with the older Voyage (this has the 4G eSIM functionality; priced upwards of 12,000) meant for a specific audience.

The Noise Origin smartwatch. (Vishal Mathur / HT Photo)
The Noise Origin smartwatch. (Vishal Mathur / HT Photo)

Attempts to drive the Origin’s appeal come from a new processor that’ll drive a redesigned software, extensive health tracking and a refined design that’s expected to give the perception of a watch that’s more expensive than the actual price tag. Whether this collective delivers on that hope, is subjective. However, the Noise Origin is definitely making a strong argument. The building blocks are well in place, with a stainless-steel build that definitely has a refinement to it (The underside of the watch is plastic; will hold up better with sweat). Looks even better in black colour, in my opinion.

Also read:Tech Tonic | Why Indian tech brands are dominating the wearables industry

Noise has tried to up the game with new software that also has a new name (its Nebula UI now). The more you interface with it, the easier it becomes to understand refinements with the interface that often mean you’ve to use less taps to get to where you need to. However, structurally, there are still similarities with the operating system it replaces and that often feels cumbersome or non-intuitive. For instance, when paired with a Noise companion app on an iPhone, a watch face that you create doesn’t offer the option to add more elements to the screen – there’s the background image, some filters and the placement of the time text. But what if I want to add a battery life, steps walked or heart rate information? Missing, thus far.

While improvements to the software have helped refinement, it’s the new processor dubbed EN1, which brings in the horsepower for more fluid transitions. Credit where it is due, Nebula UI or any of the apps preloaded on the Noise Origin, do not exhibit any sluggishness or stutters. Redesigned quick information screens such as your activity stats and notification mirroring from your paired phone, look pleasant and easily readable too with just the ideal fonts in use. These are often not given as much attention, which gets amplified on a typical watch screen size.

Also read:Noise Luna Ring shows a path fitness wearables should take

Speaking of which, the 1.46-inch AMOLED screen really has a good mix of sharpness and vivid colours. Having said that, you’d need to find the right balance with brightness since at lower levels, it is not entirely visible outdoors on a bright summer afternoon. On the sensor hardware aspect, Noise has the blood oxygen sensor providing more context alongside the heart rate data. If you do feel comfortable wearing a smartwatch to bed, the sleep tracking can help collate stress measurement stats which give you something called the Readiness Analysis. I’ve often been found saying – data that tells you how sprightly you may be whilst preparing to tackle the day ahead is good to have, but that’s something you know even without it too.

It makes sense for Noise to find stable ground in the higher echelons of the smartwatch price bands. The Origin smartwatch has almost the necessary refinement across build, specs and features, watch band options and the software. It does miss a few important things, such as the aforementioned limitation with customisations, and the limited implementation of AI voice assistants which more folks tend to like to have as an option on their wrist. But for the basics, that is health tracking (sleep too) and managing calls as well as notifications, the Origin leaves little to complain about. But is that the answer Noise hopes will convince more people to spend that extra money, compared to the rest of their smartwatch portfolio? It may very well be the start.

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