Smartwatches are all the rage these days but let’s face it – some of them are very expensive. If you’re looking for an inexpensive smartwatch that doesn’t compromise on features, you’re in luck. The latest generation of Chinese smartwatches offers a wide range of devices to choose from at very low prices. In many cases their feature-set is fully on par with their Western counterparts.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Chinese smartwatches typically sell for less than $100, and fitness trackers for a fraction of this price. Manufacturers from the East are looking to expand internationally and you can purchase most of these devices on Amazon now.
Bip is a low-cost Apple Watch lookalike that comes packed with features such as built-in GPS, heart rate sensor and notifications. In addition to keeping tabs on your activity 24/7 the gizmo provides tracking of your runs, cycling and other sports with mapped routes, detailed stats and heart rate zones.
But Bip’s claim to fame is its astonishing 30+ days of battery life, and that’s with an always on colour touch-screen! Choose the ‘minimal notification’ setting and battery life climbs to 45 days.
Sports-watches don’t come much more feature-packed than Amazfit Stratos. In addition to tracking your activity around the clock, this aesthetically appealing GPS watch keeps tabs on a dozen different sports including triathlon, swimming, cycling, tennis, soccer and trail running – all with their own performance metrics. It offers water-proofing, allows you to listen to locally stored music and more.
The timepiece offers most of the features you will find on more expensive devices of its rivals, in addition to some new ones. Even more importantly, Amazfit Stratos does everything well and dishes up accurate data.
Originally a Kickstarter backed project, the Ticwatch 2 is what a smartwatch should be – powerful and affordable at the same time. From the home screen to the pairing process, Mobvoi made sure that its smart timepiece is simple to use.
The timepiece boasts a 1.4 inch, 400 x 400 pixel OLED display that is vibrant and rich. A novel feature for a smartwatch is its Tickle side-strip, a touch-based way to scroll, select and zoom without the use of physical buttons.
Ticwatch is run on proprietary Android based Ticwear 4.0. Apart from standard smartwatch features, you get quite a few fitness smarts. This includes heart rate data, speed, distance, and GPS location so you can leave your phone behind. You can also sync with Bluetooth headphones to listen to music on the go.
Last month Mobvoi announced Ticwatch C2. The company’s latest creation comes with Wear OS instead of Mobvoi’s operating system, NFC for Google’s payment service, an upgraded design and more. You can only pre-order it for now, for shipping in early December.
The Xiaomi Mijia is a Quartz hybrid with smart features and an affordable price tag. It’s the company’s answer to the likes of Nokia Steel, Misfit Command and Garmin Vivomove HR.
The watch face features a classic two-hand dial, with a smaller dial underneath showing the number of steps. In addition to basic fitness tracking smarts (calories, steps taken, and distance covered), the timepiece supports different time-zones, it has vibrating call notifications and an alarm clock. All this is customisable through the accompanying smartphone app.
Mijia comes with a minimalist design. Casing is made of stainless steel while the dial is covered with mineral glass. The whole thing is waterproof down to 30 meters and uses a CR2430 battery to support the low-power Bluetooth module.
The Zeblaze Thor 4 is like a desktop you wear on your wrist. It operates on full-blown Android 7 so is capable of things that are more suited for larger smart phones.
This thing can run youtube, Skype, Facebook messenger and games, it comes with a 5MP HD and a custom-optimized image processing technology and there’s a plethora of a health and sports features thanks to its built-in heart rate sensor. Add a nano sim card you and you’ll also enable the GPS features and emergency calls.
The smartwatch comes with a sharp 1.39-inch Super AMOLED display coated in Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for added durability. All of this is powered by a Mediatek MT6737 chipset paired with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage.
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