Montblanc Summit Lite review TL;DR: a fitness tracker that looks and feels like a premium smartwatch. Or, perhaps, a premium smartwatch that has had some fitness and outdoor features bundled into it.
I wouldn't call myself a 'smartwatch person'; I'm more into the best running watches or fitness trackers, if anything. Even so, I was looking forward to this Montblanc Summit Lite review nevertheless. And that is despite the fact that the watch runs Wear OS, an operating system not generally beloved by smartwatch users, including me.
But after giving it a try, I came to the conclusion that if you can look past the flaws of its operating system, Montblanc Summit Lite is not a bad fitness wearable. Sure, it's not the most accurate one either but this fitness-Montblanc has a slew of decent features and top-notch build quality, for people who are happy to pay the premium for the Montblanc logo.
Montblanc Summit Lite: price, availability and what's in the box
The Montblanc Summit Lite is available to buy now at Montblanc UK for a recommended retail price of £715. There is no information on availability in the US.
The watch is available in Black with Rubber Strap, Aluminium Grey with Fabric Strap, Aluminium Grey with Rubber Strap and Aluminium Black with Fabric Strap. All versions have the same RRP. The review model was the Aluminium Grey version with Rubber strap.
In the box you'll find the Summit Lite watch, a magnetic charging base/cradle, USB cable, safety manual, quick start guide and a guarantee card.
Montblanc Summit Lite review: build quality and ergonomics
You'd think that a Montblanc watch will look and feel premium and that is certainly the case here. The Summit Lite uses high quality materials and has a good weight to it too: you can tell the designers were not too concerned about weight in general. The Montblanc Summit Lite weighs a hefty 71 grams (with the rubber strap) which is on par with the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Titanium (coming in at 72 grams) but more than twice as heavy as the Coros Pace 2 (that watch is around 30 grams).
Rubber is not considered the most high-end material but the strap included with the Summit Lite doesn't tarnish the deluxe feel of the watch: it's soft, flexible and comfortable to wear all day around. The black-on-black version's rubber strap looks even cooler with the large 'MONTBLANC' lettering. Even the pin buckle is branded and made of stainless steel: a small but nice touch.
The Montblanc Summit Lite has a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with a 390 x 390 pixel resolution, protected under Gorilla Glass lens. Thes Summit Lite is touch-enabled watch and the touch controls work smoothly (more on this in the next section). There are three physical buttons on the watch, all located on one side, a larger crown plus in the middle and two push buttons above and below the crown. The crown can be rotated and also pushed, so it's kind of a two-in-one button.
I was a tad bit disappointed with the 'click-sensation' of these buttons, especially the crown: it lacks that distinct 'solid click' feel I expect of a watch with such a premium price tag. It's not terrible and I also know it's a bit of nitpicky thing to say but I feel that a top-tier smartwatch such as the Montblanc Summit Lite should have a deliver in this department too.
Montblanc Summit Lite review: features and user interface
As much I dislike Wear OS, it must be said that it provides a consistent user experience across all devices that use it. This is as much a blessing as it is a curse: you'll find all the usual 'tiles' and other Wear OS features on the Montblanc Summit Lite where you expect them to be, but at the same time, you'll find all the same features on the Montblanc Summit Lite as on every other Wear OS watch. The Wear OS spring update will hopefully bring an end to this.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor does its best to speed up the transitions between tile-swaps and to make the operating system less laggy, something Wear OS is infamous for. And indeed, although the touch controls aren't too snappy, they are not terribly slow either and you don't need to wait half an hour for the user actions to be recognised by the watch.
You can operate the Montblanc Summit Lite using the physical buttons but I would assume that most people will opt in to use touch gestures instead. Using the physical buttons will make screen transitions even quicker and as an added bonus, these buttons can also be customised so you can set up your own control scheme, should you want to.
The tiles on the watch can be swapped in and out using the Wear OS App on your smartphone, and again, there is nothing new to report here. the only difference are the custom watch Montblanc Summit Lite faces available in the app. I'm not saying the Wear OS lacks functionality: you get stuff like stress measurement, VO2 max estimation, smart notifications etc, among other features you can use. As well as that, the tiles can be customised in the app too, of which you can have five at a time displayed on the watch.
Montblanc Summit Lite review: activity tracking and precision
As mentioned at the beginning, the Montblanc Summit Lite is not a running watch and lacks some of the fitness features found of much simpler (and cheaper) fitness trackers. For example, although the workout mode keeps track of some basic metrics such as distance, pace and calories burnt, it doesn't provide a lot of additional information on top of this. However, the watch provides you with a fitness summary, a heart rate chart, recovery advisor and training load estimation after the workouts.
Now, this is not too bad, but given that the watch doesn't have a GPS (which is actually good for battery life) and the heart rate sensor is 'okay' at best, all these data should be taken with a pinch of salt. Just now, after starting a workout to have a quick glance at the workout summary screen, the 20-second workout was regarded as 'good' by the watch, which is a bit odd as I wasn't wearing it and nothing was recorded.
To my surprise, sleep tracking was relatively accurate on the Montblanc Summit Lite, straight out of the box, it didn't need any time to adjust itself to my sleeping pattern. Sleep is recorded into and can be viewed in the Google Fit app, along with other health metrics. the Wear OS app is only used for watch settings, the rest is all delegated to Google Fit.
Montblanc Summit Lite review: verdict
For recreational athletes who aren't planning on getting better at any sport – or, if they do, don't need a watch for it – the Montblanc Summit Lite might be a good option. If you want a fitness wearable that can help you get better at running, cycling etc., I would recommend getting a dedicated fitness wearable such as the Garmin Forerunner 245 or even the Polar Vantage V2, both being accurate and also way cheaper than the Montblanc Summit Lite.
I have a feeling that a lot of people who'll decide to get the Montblanc Summit Lite will do so because it's not only a Montblanc but a fitness-y Montblanc and for them, the Summit Lite is as good as it gets. You get fitness smartwatch that looks more premium than the Fitbit Versa 3 and also offers some fitness and health features. The battery life is not amazing but for a Wear OS watch that has a decent-sized AMOLED screen, it's not the worst for sure.
Should Montblanc send future updates to the Summit Lite and tweak the algorithm, it would make the watch an even more formidable fitness wearable. Until then, you will have to make do with it being a pretty albeit not too smart smartwatch.
Montblanc Summit Lite review: also consider
The Suunto 7 is a full-blown Wear OS running watch with a huge AMOLED display and a touchscreen. It further complicates the Wear OS/Google Fit app operation by adding the Suunto App to the mix. It's geared towards athletes who prefer a stylish running watch but would like it to be precise too. It costs half as much as the Summit Lite, too.
The Fitbit Sense is the Fitbit's flagship smartwatch and comes with a smorgasbord of health and fitness features for roughly $300/£280. Being a Fitbit, Sense users have access to the free and paid-for services available in the UK's favourite fitness app, the Fitbit App. The Sense is capable of measuring stress, breathing anomalies and even ECG, all on the wrist.