HTC's Grip fitness tracker is a promising, puzzling first step

We're not entirely sure why HTC decided it needed to make a fitness tracker, but it did, and it has. The end result is the HTC Grip, a device that looks more than a little like one of Nike's FuelBands, but does so, so much more. HTC gave us a peek at an early, incomplete version of the product in Barcelona, but here's the rub: I couldn't connect it to my phone in hopes of testing some of its more smartwatch-y features like notifications and canned responses. Still, venture on for a first peek at what HTC and its pals at Under Armour have cobbled together.

Once you turn the Grip on, you can't help but fiddle with that curved P-OLED screen -- it's monochrome and relatively low-res, but it's plenty legible (especially in the shower, I'd wager). Actually touching that screen to navigate is a bit more problematic, as it seems to prefer long, slow touches to quick, jerky ones. That doesn't sound like much of a problem... until I started taking the kid gloves off and trying to interact with it the way I would any other touchscreen. The gulf in sensitivity is just jarring enough that you actually have to slow down and think about how you're using the Grip -- considering that HTC wants this to become an integral part of your life, that might be a problem.

On the plus side, the waterproof material making up the Grip's body is surprisingly comfortable, though, I've got to wonder just how nice it'll feel when it's pressed up against my skin mid-marathon. Speaking of working in motion, the Grip also seemed to accurately monitor my steps, which was honestly about all I could do with it. Too many of the Grip's best features just aren't ready for testing yet, but one thing seems clear: The Grip has potential. Whether or not the finished product lives up to it is another question entirely, and one we hope to answer soon.

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