First Direct SaveZap hands-on review

Coined as your bank account’s new best friend, First Direct’s SaveZap wristband looks to save you money in a simple and connected way. Simply connect the SaveZap to your smartphone, link it to the First Direct app and you’ll get an electric shock whenever you go near a shop that you want to avoid. While we were initially sceptical about the idea (it sounds a lot like dog training!) we’ve had one in our possession for a few days now, and the savings speak for themselves. We’re almost scared to go to Starbucks now. Almost. Here, we review the First Direct SaveZap and discuss its design, build, features and spec. Read next: Best smartwatches of 2016

First Direct SaveZap hands-on review: Design and build

So, what does the First Direct SaveZap look like? At a glance you might not notice it on someone’s wrist – it’s black in colour, with the only real standout features being the 'fd' branding throughout the wearable and the light-up LED display. The display is only used to let you know that the wearable is on, though, displaying three thunderbolts to let you know it’s powered up and ready to go!

The company decided to go for a pin closure design, making the SaveZap compatible with wrists of all shapes and sizes. The underside of the SaveZap is where things get interesting – you can see a plate that’ll provide you with the shock along with a wireless charging port similar to that found on the Asus ZenWatch 2, and the power button. We thought we’d have issues with the wristband automatically turning on and off due to the power button being between the wearable and our wrist, but we were wrong.

On the wrist, the SaveZap is comfortable to wear and doesn’t draw attention to itself, a bonus in a world where wearables scream “LOOK AT ME”. It should look in place combined with a suit or a t-shirt, it doesn’t matter.

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First Direct SaveZap hands-on review: Features and spec

So, what’s the big deal with the First Direct SaveZap? How does it save you money? The idea behind it is simple – once you get your SaveZap in the post, simply pair it up with the First Direct app available for iOS and Android, then select the stores you’d like to avoid – Starbucks, Nando’s, McDonalds and the like. The idea is that once you’ve inputted places you want to avoid, your SaveZap will keep an eye on your location using its built-in GPS and if it detects that you’re near a shop you want to avoid, you’ll get an electric shock! Don’t worry though – the electric shock can be tweaked from within the First Direct app settings menu.

The SaveZap boasts a seven-day battery life that we’ll be putting to the test over the coming days, and can be charged via the supplied SaveZap wireless charger. It comes with a two-year guarantee too, so if anything goes wrong with the wearable First Direct should replace it for you completely free of charge. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting it water damaged though, as the SaveZap is made from durable, waterproof materials that’ll protect it from the rain and a sweaty workout. Although with that being said, your shock might be stronger than anticipated if you’re soaking wet!

The downside to the SaveZap? Our only complaint so far is that the SaveZap sometimes shocks us when we’re nowhere near a shop we’re looking to avoid. First Direct says that the app can tell when you’re browsing the likes of eBay, Amazon and more, and will give you a little shock to prevent you from spending too much money, but we’ve found it to happen when we’re not using our phones at all. We’ve also noticed a slight burn appearing on our wrist, which is slightly worrying but may be due to something other than regular electric shocks.

To find out more about the SaveZap and how to get your hands on one, visit the First Direct website and check out the below promotional video.

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First Direct SaveZap: Specs

  • Wireless charging
  • Adjustable strap
  • Seven-day battery life
  • GPS tracking
  • Light-up shock interface
  • High-performance waterproof material
  • Wireless charging
  • Adjustable strap
  • Seven-day battery life
  • GPS tracking
  • Light-up shock interface
  • High-performance waterproof material

OUR VERDICT

The First Direct SaveZap is an interesting wearable - it doesn't aim to track your exercise or deliver your notifications in a user-friendly way, instead, it electrocutes you whenever you go near a shop you want to avoid. The idea of using shock tactics to punish bad behaviour isn't enjoyable when it's happening but we've managed to save money because we want to avoid the sensation. Slight burns on our wrists are a small price to pay. It looks a little bit ugly, but hey, who cares?