(Pocket-lint) - Under Armour and HTC announced a partnership in January promising new hardware. The HTC Grip is the first device to appear from that paring.
It sees HTC able to apply its industrial design expertise to Under Armour's sporting prowess, resulting in a sports tracker. We got our hands on an early prototype of the HTC Grip and found it comfortable to wear and interesting in its design.
The inclusion of GPS is a big part of the offering, as that means it can operate without a phone, which not all devices can. HTC told us that it had been designed for performance first and as a companion device second, so this is a fully-fledged sports tracker, not a jack-of-all-trades wearable.
It can be paired with a Bluetooth heart rate monitor chest strap, like the Under Armour A39, to give you a more complete set of data from your sporting activity.
HTC told us that they weren't happy with the performance of integrated heart rate solutions, so an independent chest strap was chosen for reliability.
HTC Grip is IP57 rated, so it's fine to wear on your runs in the rain, but not for tracking your swims.
There's 1.8-inch wide passive OLED touch display with 32 x 160 pixel resolution on the top that will let you sweep through the various information and control screens. We didn't have the chance to test it on the run, so we can't comment on how intuitive it will be in action, but we loved the feel of the surface and nice swiping action.
The display is monochrome, which is all you really need on a sports device and as well as tracking your exercise and steps, there's things like wrist controls for music on a connected phone and other apps, like weather, timer and a stopwatch. It also offers sleep tracking.
On the underside there's a clip than can accept expanders to increase the size (there are three sizes of band), as well as an innovative charging solution. Rather than an ugly cradle or dock, the charger clips into the end of the band. You'll get 5 hours of GPS tracking from a fully charged battery, or it will last for 2.5 days.
The data gathered on HTC Grip will then be uploaded to UA Record. Under Armour's recent acquisition of Endomondo and MyFitnessPal sees the platform expanding to 130 million users, so there may be plenty of people interested in a native sports device working on the Under Armour Connected Fitness platform.
From the off, HTC Grip is compatible with both Android and iOS, as this wearable is designed to be widely interoperable.
The HTC Grip is expected to launch some time in late Spring for $199. Initially it will be launched in the US only.