The Vector Luna smartwatch was announced in March at Baselworld 2015, alongside its rectangular-faced brother, the Vector Meridian, and several other smartwatches from luxury watch manufacturers including Tag Heuer. At first you might think 'not another smartwatch', because let's face it, the market has been flooded with the buzzing wrist-worn devices over the last couple of years, but Vector has something others don't - a decent battery life.
Many of the luxury smartwatches launched at the Swiss show took the horological approach combining an analogue face with the ability to monitor activity and connect through an app. Vector didn't opt for this path however and instead it goes up against the big boys - the Samsung, Sony and Apple of the smartwatch world.
It does everything you'd expect a smartwatch to do - deliver notifications, track your activity, wake you up with an alarm and offer customisable watch faces - but Vector claims the battery won't be your average two-day (at best) job and instead it will give those receiving up to 200 notifications a day, a month of use before it needs to be recharged.
It almost sounds a little too good to be true doesn't it? There must be a compromise somewhere right? Well, we got our hands on it to see what our first impressions were and decide whether it has the potential to be the smartwatch of choice for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users.
First and foremost, the Vector Luna is a stunning smartwatch. It isn't small, nor is it particularly slim so the likes of the Sony SmartWatch 3 would win in a diet competition, but it isn't as chunky and bulky as some of its competitors. It feels a little smaller and sleeker than the Moto 360, and it's a nice size for both men and women. Big enough not to look too feminine but not too big that it drowns smaller wrists. It has a lovely weight too. It isn't as heavy as you would expect it to be when you first look at it, but it isn't too light that you don't feel like you have a substantial gadget on your wrist.
The Vector Luna comes in a number of finishes including a black model that was designed to be for a more sporty look, and a rose gold model that was initially designed for women, although we were told there has been quite a bit of interest from men in this model too. There will also be different straps available at launch, including a linked option which we have a feeling we will prefer over the black strap on the model we saw.
In terms of display, the Luna opts for a completely round face like the LG G Watch R, but interestingly, it's a black and white LCD display rather than colour. There was something about a black and white face that we really appreciated though. No, it isn't as vibrant and exciting as the likes of the Apple Watch or the Samsung Gear models, nor does it attract the eye as much, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The Luna display is subtle, discreet and surprisingly refreshing to look at. It doesn't light up the room when you get an email or a WhatsApp message, which we liked and it's not as obvious to those around you that you are wearing a smartwatch. If you are after a smartwatch that you will have strangers stopping you on the street and asking what you have on your wrist, then the Luna might not be for you but if you want to be connected in a subtle and sophisticated way, it could be right up your street.
CEO of Vector, Joe Santana, told us the reason behind opting for a non-colour display was not only battery life, but also because the company didn't want the smartwatch to look like a smartphone. Instead, the idea is that the smartwatch is a companion to the smartphone, with black and white being more familiar to the user. He also told us Vector wanted to create a fully-fledged smartwatch and not a hybrid with hands.
Unlike its competitors, the Luna's display isn't touchscreen, with most functions controlled via the app or using the three buttons on the right-hand side of the watch itself. There are no menus to scroll through on the watch itself, with almost everything app-based. The app is lovely and simple to navigate though and we liked the fuss-free approach.
There were several apps ready to go on the Vector app, including BBC World News and Yahoo News, but Santana said he hopes there will be around 50 when the Luna launches in June. To get an app on the watch, you drag it into what Vector called a "locker". This is where downloaded watch faces also go, all of which you will be able to get from the Vector store. They are currently free, but we were told there is potential for this to expand significantly in time, with perhaps even the opportunity for the company to team up with fashion designers for more exciting faces for example.
Watch faces and apps are dragged from the locker to the main watch face circle that sits in the middle of the app on your smartphone display. As soon as you drag a face or app into the main circle, it will appear instantly on the Luna and we experienced no lag whatsoever when we tried it. Once you have applied a face or app to the watch, you'll then be able to scroll through using the top and bottom buttons on the watch, selecting what you want with the middle button. It might sound fiddly at first, but it's very simple as soon as you've done it once and it's quite nice that you don't have lots of menus to scroll through on the watch itself.
Within the app you can also set alarms, choose various time zones to display on a specific face so you can see three countries at once for example, and you can also set different activity goals. The Vector Luna will track your steps, distance, sleep and calories, all of which you can set individual goals for and if you turn your smartphone horizontally, it will display your activity history.
How accurately it tracks each of these elements we won't know until we review the Luna in full, and the activity data may not be as advanced as the likes of Withings and Fitbit, but most activity trackers don't offer the ability to alter all these goals individually so this is certainly a plus point for the Luna.
When it comes to notifications, the Luna has some interesting ideas here too. We were dealing with a prototype device during our hands on so we couldn't see the full extent of what the Luna was capable of, but we did learn a little more about what it will be able to do come launch day. You'll be able to filter your notifications as you would expect, but Vector is taking it one step further by offering you the ability to filter people so you can opt to get notifications from a specific couple of people on a particular day for example. You'll also be able to easily switch various apps on or off so you only receive notifications from the apps you really care about, whether that be WhatsApp or Twitter.
The notification comes through to the Luna immediately, but rather than show you the message straight away, it vibrates and introduces a white circle around the watch face to indicate you have a notification. To read the notification, you have to turn your wrist towards you within 10 seconds and the message or email will then appear.
We loved this because it means your messages aren't visible to the world and its mother and sometimes a bit of privacy is nice. You don't walk around with your phone unlocked showing everyone you pass the tweet notification you just received so why would you want to do it on your wrist? If you miss the 10-second window, the bottom button on the watch will still allow you to read the notification so you can still see what has happened at your own leisure.
Additionally, when the Luna smartwatch launches, it will integrate with IFTTT, which is a service that works on the primary statement: If This Then That. This means you'll be able to create recipes that tell the watch what to do, such as instructing a smart tea pot to start brewing when your morning watch alarm goes off.
Overall were we impressed with the Vector Luna? Yes is the simple answer. It may not have fancy features like voice control or GPS tracking but it offers a beautiful, well-built design that delivers a premium appeal while remaining at a pretty reasonable price tag of $349.
We loved the Luna's look, the privacy of the notifications, the discreet black and white display and the simplicity of the accompany app. The fact that it works across all three major platforms is a massive attribute to Vector, not to mention the claimed 30-day battery life. Frankly, it's hard to see what's not to love and it's certainly one smartwatch we can't wait to get on our wrist and try out in the real world.