Nixon Mission review

This Nixon wants to set a real precedent

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Specs and Interface

  • GPS connectivity but no heart rate or NFC
  • Supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • 4GB storage, 512MB of RAM

Anyone familiar with Android Watch 2.0 will be familiar with the Nixon Mission’s interface. Flick up and you get your notifications, flick down and you can access the watch’s settings. A soft press on the side button and all your apps appear in a semicircle. And if you flick to the right you can go through the myriad of watch faces that are available. 

It’s all simple and intuitive and means you have access to the likes of Google Maps, Google Fit, Google Play Music - as well as third party options. We’re not going to go into the ins and outs of Android Wear 2.0 here, that’s what our handy guide is for, but we felt the watch more than handled the software and didn’t throw up any glitches of note.

This may be because it’s using the Snapdragon 2100 chip which has been designed purely for smartwatches but with only 512MB of RAM on board we were expecting some stutter in places. Everything was as smooth as butter, though, and any niggles we did have were with the software not the hardware.

Nixon has mixed things up with its own additions which are ski and snow related. The Nixon app lets you track Surf and Snow information in relation to where you are. 

It’s a really nice touch. Head to the app and you will get relative information come up about surf and snow places near you. 

You can have this as a watch face, too. It does look a little cramped when all the information is there - the surf version has current wave height, wind in MPH and water temp - it’s a really nice touch. 

Famed third-party services Trace Snow and Trace Surf are pre-installed too. Given the likes of the Apple Watch 3 is now tracking this stuff, it’s great the Nixon has these apps on board. Yes, they are pretty much just third party pre-installs but having them on the watch shows Nixon’s intent. 

Compatibility

  • Both iPhone and Android supported
  • Requires Android 4.3 or above, iOS 8.2 or above
  • Lack of NFC means no access to Android Pay

Just because a smartwatch is running Android Wear, it doesn’t mean that you have to bow at the altar of Google. 

The Nixon Mission needs a phone either running Android 4.3+ or iOS 8.2+ for you to get the best out of it. As with all of these things, supported features may vary between platforms - we tried out the Nixon Mission with a OnePlus 3T and all the functionality that Nixon quotes the Mission having worked as expected.

It is worth noting that even though Android 2.0 is on board, the Mission’s lack of NFC does mean that it rules out any Android Pay features. 

If we’re honest, this is probably a good thing for all contactless machines everywhere as the sheer heft of the Nixon Mission would probably smash through the devices. Okay, we’re exaggerating but there it goes again clunking on the table as we type.

Fitness

  • Built-in GPS is welcomed
  • Made for extreme sports
  • Not really suitable for runners 

The Nixon Mission is all about fitness but it really depends what kind of activity you get your rush from. If you are a snow or surf fiend, then welcome to your new best friend. We would probably swap the stainless steel strap we tested for one of the interlocking rubber ones when out in the water. But that niggle aside, this is a watch primed for the extreme. 

Heck, even the button on the side has been made so that it can be pressed through a nice thick skiing glove, the screen clear and bright enough to be viewed through skiing goggles and the water resistance is proper water resistance (just remember to flick that lever). This is a watch made by skiers and surfers for skiers and surfers.

For a start, look at the features it offers: it has built-in GPS, a compass and humidity sensors. Oh, and a ton of ‘meters’: altimeter, gyrometer, thermometer, barometer and accelerometer.

Specs-wise, then, a big whoop. But even with built-in GPS we wouldn’t take it out for a run. Well, we did and are still suffering the wrist chafe. It is decent for hikes and things like cycling, however.

In short: if you are adventurous then welcome the Nixon Mission with open arms. If you are a spindly person that spends their life jogging towards the next reward badge, then look elsewhere. And the lack of a heart monitor really is another swing and a miss.