Over the years, wearable devices, particularly smartwatches, have risen in popularity. Many consumers have deemed it necessary to have these gadgets because they have numerous functions, including fitness and health tracking. According to a study by CCS Insight, the wearable device industry may become a $25 billion industry by 2019.
However, not everyone wants to spend a couple of hundred dollars for a watch no matter how “smart” the device is. After all, smartphones while they are bulkier also has the applications and features that most of these wearables have.
If you are one of those who doesn’t want to spend much on wearable gadgets, you can start off with an affordable unit. In this article, we have listed some of the best cheap smartwatches that tell you more than just the time and without leaving a hole in your wallet.
Top 7 Cheap Smartwatches of 2019
We have narrowed down the list of the most affordable watches and made a short list of those that offer the best value. Making it to our roll call is the following:
MediaTek is a Chinese manufacturer of DZ09 smartwatch models which uses the same basic mold. Because of this, you get some of the cheapest Chinese smartwatch having the same outlook and almost similar specification. By far, the one with the best-reviewed unit is the Aeifond DZ09, which is a standalone smartwatch that excels on its notification function. It has a home button just below the display screen and a micro USB port on the side.
This phone can also be used as an independent mobile phone. By installing a GSM 2G or 2.5G SIM card you can remotely receive and make calls. You can also synchronize the messages you have on your Android phone after it’s been connected via Bluetooth. This feature, however, doesn’t work for iOS phones.
The 1.56-inch LCD multi-touch screen has a crispy 240 x 240 resolution. Furthermore, this watch also comes with a 0.3 MP camera, which isn’t exactly great but you may occasionally find some utility for it. For sensors, you have sleep monitor, sedentary reminder, altitude meter, and pedometer.
However, the Aeifond DZ09 also has several flaws. It isn’t water resistant which means you need to handle it carefully. Because it’s technically unbranded (or rebranded), you will not have the same technical support you usually get with branded watches.
Overall, the Aeifond DZ09 is a great budget watch to have as it has plenty of functions. If you just want a smartwatch to complement your smartphone, then this one can do the job.
Display: 1.56-inch TFT LCD (240 x 240 pixels) Sensors: Pedometer, Sedentary Reminder, Sleep Monitor, Altitude Meter Battery Life: 2 days (380 mAh) Compatibility: Android Weight: 60 grams
Alcatel wants buyers to know that there are other options aside from Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches. The One Touch Go is the company’s attempt to cater a niche of an “on the go” watch for youngsters and professionals. At first glance, it resembles a Casio G-Shock but the similarity is only skin deep. The best bit about this watch is its extensive personalization which even allows you to choose the background of your watch.
The smartwatch is IP-67 rated (up to 1 meter for 30 minutes) and hence you can take it to your swimming sessions without the fear of it being damaged. Needless to say, this device is also shockproof and dustproof. The 1.22-inch touchscreen display has a decent 204 x 204 resolution. The watch also can track a lot of your activities thanks to its numerous sensors such as a heart rate monitor, accelerometer and altitude meter.
The One Touch Go also has some unique features that you may not see in other smartwatches. One of which is the “emotion” feature wherein it monitors your current mood based on your pulse. You can then share your emotion with the world based on the results you got ranging from Go Jump, Go Scream and even to Go Love.
However, the One Touch Go has limited functions. Since its using its proprietary OS, the apps you can install is very limited. It also doesn’t have a GPS and a SIM slot.
Overall, the Alcatel One Touch Go is a stylish watch with a youthful vibe. If you want a customizable smartwatch for notification purposes, then this one fits the bill.
Display: 1.22-inches capacitive touchscreen (204 x 204 pixels) Sensors: Gyro, Heart rate, Compass, Accelerometer, Altitude meter Battery Life: 5 days (225 mAh) Compatibility: Android Weight: 55 grams
With dozens of pricey fitness tracker on the market like Apple Watch 3, it’s a breath of fresh air to know you still have a more affordable option like the Amazfit Bip. This simple, yet capable smartwatch can track most of your workouts thanks to its built-in GPS and alert you of notifications once synced with your phone. The design of the Bip is something out of a marriage between the Apple Watch and Pebble Time.
The most amazing thing about this watch is its power efficiency as attested by its 30-day battery life on a single charge of a 190 mAh battery. The Amazfit can do this thanks to a frugal and practical display design. Its 1.28-inches screen has a low-resolution of 176 x 176 pixels which gets dimmer once the wearer is indoors. To compensate for this, the watch has a blue backlight for night-time operation.
It also excels in multisport tracking thanks to its built-in GPS and GLONASS. Moreover, this gadget also has sleep tracking and heart rate monitor. Using the tracking feature can drain the battery faster but it can still last for 22 hours hence you can take it on long runs or to bicycle touring rides. One activity it can’t track, though, is swimming as this watch can only resist light splashes in the fairly shallow water.
With that said, the Amazfit isn’t perfect as it also has its shortcomings. The user interface takes a long time to get used to. The duration of pop-ups can’t be adjusted, with the default being too short, which leads to missing several notifications. The watch also offers limited customization options including few watch faces. There also isn’t a third-party app support.
Overall, the Amazfit Bip offers great value for money because of its splendid battery life and performance. If you are keen on having a competent fitness tracker, then look no further than this watch.
Display: 1.28-inches transflective 2.5 glass (176 x 176 pixels) Sensors: heart rate, acceleration, geomagnetic, barometric pressure Battery Life: 30 days (190mAh) Compatibility: Proprietary OS (Android 4.4, iOS 8 and up compatible) Weight: 32 grams
Many of today’s wearables are a bit boxy and have a digital display. The Lenovo Watch 9, however, veered away from the popular and decided to go for a classy timepiece design. You can call it a hybrid watch because it has a mechanical body integrated with electronic features. It also comes with a sapphire mirror glass which is just as hard as a diamond. The watch comes with silicon straps and has one physical button on its side.
The 1.5-inch analog display is quite clear and visible at different viewing angles. Aside from the clock markings, there is also a small LED around the 12-O’clock mark that blinks to notify you of a Bluetooth connection. Unlike many of the smartwatches listed here, the Lenovo Watch 9’s information such as step tracking and other metrics can only be viewed as a smartphone. Hence, you get the feedback from a smartphone app and not on your watch itself.
The main upside of its ergonomic design, aside from looking classy, is you don’t constantly have to charge it. On standby, it can last for more than 240 days. The watch notification is also non-intrusive as it alerts you via vibration instead of a display notification. For connectivity, it uses the latest Bluetooth 5.0.
However, the Lenovo Watch 9 still has left us wanting in many areas. Because it doesn’t display the notifications and metrics on the watch itself, you constantly need to bring out your phone. It could have also been better if it has other features like a GPS or a heart rate monitor.
Overall, classic analog watch collectors will definitely get their hands on this watch. It’s a watch you can wear on important occasions.
Display: 1.5-inch analog Sensors: Sedentary Reminder, Pedometer, Sleep Monitor Battery Life: 240 Days on Standby Compatibility: Android and iOS Weight: 51 grams
The Pebble 2 was a low-key budget smartwatch that was released two years ago. Today, its price has dropped significantly enough for it to land on our list. While it looks cartoonish, this watch has one defining role and that is being a complete fitness tracker. It has almost every sensor to monitor your activities from runs and walks down to the most generic workouts. The best part is it has an auto-start/ pause function when you are working out.
The 1.26-inch display has a light grey E-paper background and black text with a resolution of 144 x 168 pixels. It isn’t touch type; hence you control the user’s interface using the buttons found on the side of the watch. Fitness enthusiasts and those who are starting to live a healthier lifestyle will love the milestone notification that the watch displays from time to time. The metrics which the watch sends out are quite motivating in its own way.
Perhaps the best part about this watch is its ability to remain waterproof at up to 30 meters this is all thanks to its Flat Corning Gorilla Glass technology. Furthermore, the Pebble 2 is very lightweight at only 31.7 grams. Its battery life is also above par and can last for more than 7 days. This thing also has music control and a microphone for voice actions.
However, the Pebble 2 also has its shortcomings. The heart rate monitor is not always consistent especially during workouts, especially if the watch is shaking a bit. Unless you stick the watch to your wrist where the pulse is, you can’t entirely rely on its accuracy. The display screen isn’t as compelling as the others on this list.
Overall, the Pebble 2 is a very practical watch to have especially if you need something that doesn’t go overboard with its features.
Display: 1.26-inch E-Paper (144 x 168) Sensors: Pedometer, Accelerometer, Heart Rate Monitor, Compass, Sleep Tracking Battery Life: 7 days Compatibility: Android and iOS Weight: 31.7 grams
Samsung updated their fitness wearable from its 2014 beginning to now have GPS functionality, improved charging method and compatibility with almost every smartphone. The best bit of this watch is it houses the Tizen OS, one of the fastest operating system available for smartwatches. Hence, navigating the user interface is silky smooth especially since you are interacting with a crispy 1.5-inch curved AMOLED display.
It would seem that the main purpose of the device is to help keep its wearer to be fit and active. The device has a passive tracking feature which tracks everything from your sleep, number of walks, and even the number of hours you have been idled. You can also take this watch to your swimming sessions as it can also record your performance. It can resist up to 5 ATM of water, which is roughly up 50 meters deep.
Runners will also love this watch because of its built-in GPS function which lets it track their runs and provide relevant data and other metrics. You can also share your workout results on social media, particularly on Facebook. Aside from that, you can also link the watch to your account on the Samsung S Health app which provides more data about your fitness levels and overall health.
On the other hand, the Gear Fit 2 also has a few misses. It does not have the same level of support for the iOS platform as compared to Android. The Samsung S Health app, although useful, is overloaded with confusing data.
Overall, the Gear Fit 2 is a reliable smartwatch that can track all of your fitness activity. If you want to start an active lifestyle or are already into it, this watch is a must-have.
The Sony Smartwatch 3 has a bit of history behind it. In 2014, it was one of the first wearable devices to use the Android Wear platform. Four years since then, this smartwatch price may have dropped significantly but it’s still relevant even if new competitors have emerged. While it does not have a heart rate sensor and contactless payments using NFC, the device has a built-in GPS which is quite useful for monitoring fitness activities such as biking and running.
Aside from that, the watch has IP68 water and dust resistance rating, which makes it more durable than most budget smartwatches. In a segment that is flooded with cheap Chinese wearables, it’s great to know you can buy a watch from one of the largest multimedia company. One of the best selling points of this Sony watch is you get to have technical support.
Not to mention, the watch’s 1.6-inch transflective LCD is still an acceptable display and is also used by the Amazfit Bip. This touchscreen allows you to read the display even if the watch is under bright sunlight. It also automatically turns off when the wearer is not looking at it. Its battery life is also quite stellar at 96 hours in mix usage and more importantly, its one of the few budget-friendly watches to have WLAN connectivity.
However, there is no denying that the Smartwatch 3 is an older model that has not benefited from the recent innovations. Its compatibility is still limited to Android smartphones. It’s also heavier by a bit than most smartwatches in its segment. Finally, it lacks some of the newest technology like sleep monitoring which could have made it more appealing.
Overall, the Sony Smartwatch 3 definitely has a niche market even if it can be considered “old” in a fast developing wearable industry. If you are on a tight budget and not having the latest tech doesn’t bother you, then you should consider this low-cost watch.
Many of the cheaper smartwatches on the market function almost exactly like their more expensive counterparts. The biggest issue of these discounted units, however, is their poor reliability. To cut production cost, the manufacturers of these watches usually use low-cost materials or forego a couple of features.
Hence, you need to have some standards when choosing a budget smartwatches. Below are some of the things you should consider:
1. Display Size
The first thing you should consider is how big or small the display of your watch should be. Bigger displays usually consume more battery but are more noticeable by you and other people. In contrast, smaller displays are easier to wear and have a longer battery life. Other factors you should consider is the display’s resolution and backlight.
To cut cost, manufacturers of affordable smartwatches usually don’t add all the sensors in the unit. Hence you need to decide which built-in sensors you should prioritize first. Do you need GPS for tracking, NFC for contactless payment, heart rate monitor for health purposes or all of them?
Aside from telling time, smartwatches also has a number of functions from being a fitness tracker to playing songs via online music streaming services like Spotify. Many smartwatches also have app notifications that alert you of your calendar activities, text messages, emails, social media updates, weather forecasts and more. You should choose the features that best fit your lifestyle and daily activity.
4. Battery Life
Depending on your lifestyle you may need a smartwatch that can last from a few hours to several days before re-charging its battery. Choose one which lasts longer or at least can run during the period that you need it.
5. Device Compatibility
Most smartwatches are designed to complement your smartphone. Hence, compatibility is important. While many smartwatches are compatible with Android and iPhones, there are those which prefer one of those smartphone devices over the other. Therefore, check out its OS compatibility and if can sync with the current version of your smartphone.
6. Touch vs. Button Interface
It may be a no-brainer to choose a touchscreen smartwatch over a button interface one since people are now more accustomed to swiping. However, there are instances that you may like the button better. For example, the screen size may be too small for accurately browsing the smartwatch using a touch interface. Some smartwatches, however, combines both interfaces for better navigation.
As technology grows and production cost of smartwatches becoming cheaper by the year, you can expect that more people will eventually own a wearable device sooner. Buying any of the watches on the list can help you decide if this device fits your lifestyle and if you need to invest in more expensive units in the coming years.