Alpina has identified a niche in the market with the AlpinerX and filled it with a chunky, outdoor-focused smartwatch which strikes a balance between Swiss tradition and modern technology, and between a feature-packed smartwatch and simpler hybrid.
We love the highly-customizable design, and the hugely successful Kickstarter campaign shows we aren’t alone. We also like the lightweight case and how the AlpinerX offers up data which mainstream smartwatches miss out on.
The app logs all of this data faithfully and accurately, but is missing some polish. The coach tips feel half-baked at best, and the visuals lack a certain something. It feels like the graphs the app produces are being created for a scientific study, rather than to provide useful and engaging advice to the wearer.
On the surface, the AlpinerX does a satisfactory job of being an outdoors device, but if you think about it for too long this facade begins to fall.
For example, its compass and bi-directional rotating bezel at first make you think the watch will help guide you to base camp - but it doesn’t have GPS, and it is likely connected to your smartphone anyway, which has a compass of its own. And a maps app.
Who's this for?
We can see the Alpina AlpinerX slipping onto the wrists of outdoors-lovers who know how to tie more knots than we’ve had hot dinners, but appreciate the value of buying into a quality Swiss brand, and want to try out a device with a smattering of smarts.
To the battle-hardened technologist, these smarts don’t quite offer the complete package.
But if you are getting into smartwatches for the first time, the AlpinerX offers the same stepping-on point as watches by Frederique Constant, providing simple walking, running and sleep tracking, then garnishing with a large helping of environmental data for lovers of the great outdoors.
Should you buy it?
Answering this question is not easy. In fact, it’s much more difficult than it is with more conventionally-designed hybrid smartwatches. Where they take a traditional design and add in features like sleep and movement-tracking, the AlpinerX then goes off in a different direction, serving up a dose of outdoor-specific data and wrapping it in a purposeful body.
If smart, subtle, and conventionally attractive watches are not for you, then the AlpinerX is an interesting left-field option. It is comfortable, practical and will make you look the part on your next hike.
First reviewed: September 2018