There is no denying that smart watches are a very popular segment these days. We here at WWR (and over at ABTW) have kept a close eye on these products, as they do seem to be a harbinger of something coming – we are just not quite sure what, as of yet. While most of the attention has gone to higher-end smart watches (say, $300+), I think that it’s worth checking out what the lower end has to offer. With that, we have a review of the U8 Pro Smart Watch.
Now, you might be wondering how, exactly, we came across this brand and watch. This was through a site (GearBest) reaching out to us, and seeing if something might be of interest. Now, normally if you were trawling the internet looking for a watch, these sort of random sites might get a pass. Given that they reached out, however, I thought we could take a look. While I cannot speak as to how they are as a customer, I can certainly talk about the watch they sent over, the U8 Pro Smart Watch.
At first, the watch looks and feels like it might be running some flavor of Android, especially with the touch-sensitive buttons along the base of the screen. Then again, at an asking price of under $30 ($29.62 as of the time of this writing), you quickly realize that is not the case. However, the Android association is a good one to make, as you will have to download and install an .apk on your phone to get things working with the watch.
Yes, I will admit – I was a touch apprehensive about installing an app that did not come from the official store, but my phone kept functioning just fine, and once installed, the app worked as advertised, and synced up to the U8 Pro Smart Watch just fine. As you would expect, a watch like this offers quite a bit of functionality to it, including:
- Time and date
- Barometer, altimeter, and pedometer (you have to be in these modes for them to function)
- Anti-lost (ie, get out of bluetooth range and the watch alerts you)
This all worked as advertised, and I found it very handy to have the notifications hitting my wrist. Not so much for what I was seeing on the screen, but the fact that I could set the alerts to vibrate. Often, as I am walking around through the day, I will not feel the phone vibrate in my pocket. I’ve never missed a notification on the wrist, however.
I also appreciated that you could have the watch learn as it went, telling it to suppress certain types of alerts (perhaps you don’t need twitter blowing up on your watch), keeping it to what you exactly want to have hitting. These are of course controllable via the installed app on your phone. As to the app, while it was not the most slickly-produced one that I have ever used, it certainly worked to get the job done.
The next best use I had for the phone was with it’s built-in speaker and microphone. I was able to use it to listen to music in relatively quiet environments, as well as a speaker phone. As with most other smart watches that have this feature, I wish there was a more convenient way to pick up the phone to talk and not have the speakerphone function kick in, but there is not. You just have to remember to hit the correct swipe on the phone. If you want to use it as a speakerphone, though, it’s dead simple – just press the answer key on the screen, and talk away (you can also dismiss the call from the U8 Pro Smart Watch as well).
Wearing the U8 Pro Smart Watch was a pretty simple affair – at only 42g on the PU strap, it’s as light as can be. This was appreciated, as I ended up double-wristing the watch, putting it onto my right wrist. That’s right – I did wear it as a primary watch for one day, but it was quickly relegated to secondary. For me, I like having the “always on” display of a traditional watch ready to tell me the time, not having to press a button to get an LCD to light up.
It did also take some learning to get the right capacitive button presses down for the various things. The left button is to confirm a selection, the center one (that looks like an app selector) is for the volume, and the right most is, thankfully, a back button. You do also have a physical button on the right side of the case which is useful for turning the screen on/off; the left side of the case houses the USB connector and microphone.
You can also have some fun changing around the look of the clock face, and there are some themes to choose from for the system screens on the watch. Once that settles down, it’s basically a handy alerting companion. As an additional bonus, the U8 Pro Smart Watch showed one of the quickest pairing cycles I have seen on a smart watch – handy for when you start it up in the morning, or wander out of range of the phone.
Is the U8 Pro Smart Watch a watch that will replace my traditional watches? Not by a long shot. However, as a secondary device for notifications, it’s pretty good, especially for the price. In the end, I think this is a pretty simple impulse sort of buy, especially if you are curious as to whether or not a smart watch is for you. gearbest.com
- Brand & Model: U8 Pro Smart Watch
- Price: $30
- Who’s it for?: You want an inexpensive way to (a) see if a smart watch is for you or (b) want a secondary device to put alerts on your wrist
- Would I wear it?: Perhaps – but not in the bright white that our review sample came in
- What I’d change: Pop a headset jack in there – could be handy for actually talking through it
- The best thing about it: For me, it was putting vibrating alerts on my wrist