Chinese smartphone maker Meizu has launched its first proper smartwatch today. It comes packing the Qualcomm 4100 processor and eSIM support. The Meizu Watch was initially expected in Q4 2020.
In case you are wondering why we use the word “proper”, this is because the company has already released a smart(ish) watch back in 2016. It is a hybrid called Meizu Mix (or Meizu Light) and it has some smartphone notification functionality and a pedometer for counting steps. But that’s pretty much where the clever stuff ended.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Now we are getting a much more serious attempt at a smartwatch from the company which is known for a range of smart looking smartphones. Meizu began in 2003 as a manufacturer of MP3 and MP4 players. Five years later, it shifted its focus to smartphones. It is now the 11th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world although most of these sales are in its home country.
It looks a lot like the Apple Watch
There were numerous leaks leading up to today as well as a few promotional posters. So we knew what to expect.
Meizu wins no points for originality as the device looks very much like the Apple Watch. Other Chinese companies, such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Redmi, have also gone down the route. We can now add one more name to this list. In fact, it would be more precise to say it looks like the Apple Watch from the front and the Xiaomi Watch from the side.
The device has a square appearance with curved edges and a looped band. It is made of 6-series aluminum alloy construction and a ceramic base. Instead of a physical crown there’s a single button on the right. The removable strap is made of fluoroelastomer.
There’s a 1.78 inch AMOLED on-board that is protected by 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass. This is pretty high-res with 368 x 448 pixel resolution (326ppi density) and 500 nits of brightness. The actual dimensions come in at 46 x 38.4 x 12.97mm.
Meizu Watch does not really impress that much when it comes to looks. We’ve seen all this before. It actually appears fairly cheep-ish. But wait, it does get more impressive.
Under the hood
For starters this is one of only a handful of devices that packs the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip. This is coupled with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. There’s support for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, and NFC for contactless payments. The latter works through Meizu Pay.
Meizu Watch also has a built-in LTE modem and eSIM. This means you are able to make untethered calls on it.
All of this runs on Flyme For Watch software. This is the company’s proprietary firmware for smartphones that is based on the Android operating system.
Other than that, you get the usual fitness sensors including an accelerometer, SpO2 sensor and heart rate sensor. There’s sleep and stress tracking, breath training, heart rate alerts and more than a dozen sports modes. Just like the Apple Watch, you can also tap into an emergency SOS call function.
Battery life is 36 hours
Battery life is nothing to write home about, but that was probably to be expected considering the specs. The device can run up to 36 hours between charges.
The good news is that just 15 minutes on the charger is enough to keep the 420mAh battery going for 9 hours. 45 minutes is how long it takes to go from zero to full. The charging base is detachable so you can charge your mobile phone and watch with just a USB-C cable.
Price and availability
Meizu is slowly expanding its portfolio by creating an ecosystem of smart home and wearable gear that works seamlessly together. The Meizu Watch is the latest addition to this list.
The Meizu Watch can be picked up in China from tomorrow in a choice between Black and Azure colors. Each will set you back 1,499 Yuan (around $235). No word yet on international availability.
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