Acer's Liquid Leap fitness tracker didn't exactly set the world on fire, but the company is making another go at wearables with the Leap Ware, a new fitness watch that's only $139.
Lets be very clear here. This is not a smartwatch. It's a fitness tracker watch that runs a closed proprietary OS, though it syncs with both Android and iOS devices.
At Acer's New York launch event today (April 27), I had a few moments to play around with the Liquid Leap, and the design is very simple. There's a 1.1-inch touchscreen up front, and it's covered by sturdy Gorilla Glass SR+ and rimmed in stainless steel, though the back is plastic. The Leap Ware is also IPX7 water resistant, so you can easily go running in the rain.
A surprise feature is the button on the right that activates a built-in LED light, which Acer says can help unlock doors late at night or act as a safety feature when you're running after sunset. I'm not sure how a tiny LED would help you in that situation, though.
The touchscreen was fairly responsive, enabling me to flip through tracking steps, heart rate and other on-board applications. The Leap Ware can track your stress and fatigue, as well as your stamina, and Acer says the watch lasts three to five days on a charge.
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On the software side, the Liquid Life app for Android and iOS lets you sync the watch to your phone, so you can see who's calling or texting on the watch. The app has some things going for it, including the ability to set fitness goals, coaching via notifications to reach goals and social sharing for some gamification action.
The problem with Leap Ware is that Acer doesn't have a fraction of the users Fitbit does, so you might not be able to find enough folks to share your activities with. But, at $139, at least the fitness tracker is cheap enough that you could by a couple of them without putting too big a dent in your bank account.
When you compare the Leap Ware to the Fitbit Blaze, the latter offers a lot more features, such as multi-sport tracking, more smartphones notifications, on-screen workouts and even guided breathing sessions. You also get a more colorful touchscreen and music control.
To be fair, the Blaze is more expensive at $199. Based on what we know right now, Fitbit's wearable is well worth the extra cost, but the Leap Ware could be a decent budget pick. Stay tuned for our full review.
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