Runtastic Orbit review

Nice app, shame about the watch?

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Our Verdict

It's a passable fitness tracker, but for running the Runtastic Orbit is too lightweight in terms of the data it shows, and the screen really isn't usable in action. Even at around £80/$110 it's not exactly a bargain

For

  • Runtastic app is really rather good, though you don't need this to use it
  • Ingenious multiple straps
  • Battery life is excellent

Against

  • Screen is not fit for purpose
  • Useful data shown is minimal
  • Build quality is on the budget side

The Runtastic Orbit entered a busy market in July 2014, as a host of brands from Garmin to Samsung to Huawei put out a tracking band at around the same time.

The Runtastic Orbit landed at a key time, about a year after the frontrunners like the Fitbit Flex, but just before the faster brands spun out second-generation products. So a year after launch, and a few price drops later - to about £80/$70 - how does the Runtastic Orbit stack up?

Screen and battery life

Runtastic Orbit on my big red arm

The screen, according to Runtastic, is an OLED number, measuring about 14mm square. You hit the single silver button to experience the off-white-on-black OLED dot matrix display.

It's bright enough indoors, but outdoors it's not only tiny, but so washed out as to be all but useless. The fact that the company's logo is slapped beneath it like a sticker that needs removing doesn't add much to the experience, either.

Battery life is claimed to be 'up to 7 days', which based on my using but not charging the band for over a week or so, seems about right.

Build, comfort and strap

Runtastic has ingeniously created a range of accessory straps and pedometer-style pods for the Orbit device. Like a Fitbit Flex or a Samsung Gear, the screen unit pops out to allow your sense of personal style to take over in choices of strap (as long as it's one of the six mandated colours). I landed the standard black and blue straps, and they're a little underwhelming.

Runtastic Orbit Strap Clasp

The strap is a slightly hard, rubberised texture that doesn't telegraph quality to your senses. That said, I've not had any mysterious allergy rashes from wearing it over a week.

The strap is fastened with a double stud arrangement that skewers the strap in a way that's identical to Samsung's Band. It's a simple system that works well in practice, especially given the super-lightweight mass of this device, a mere 24 grams in band mode and 18 grams in pedometer pod mode.