After more than 50 hours of research and correspondence with our test users, we think the Asus Zenwatch 2 is the most affordable smartwatch on the market. Considering its price, it’s a great deal for a smartwatch to possess a strong build (it has an IP67 water and dust resistance rating equal to the iPhone), a decent design, and a number of features. It’s highly functional and is more likely to last for years to come.
Smartwatches, a.k.a wearables, are devices that function as a regular watch but with additional features such as a notification push system. Wearables now come handy with features such as push notifications, fitness apps, GPS, and other things. They are a burgeoning trend, with companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google releasing their own smartwatch products. A swarm of cheap smartwatches is also flooding the market.
In line with our commitment to save you time and resources from cheap yet unreliable smartwatches which are flooding the market, this article provides you with a buyer’s guide, a review of the top ten best smartwatches and our recommendations to make it easier for you to decide which smartwatch to buy.
There’s a lot of cheap smartwatches out in the market so it’s definitely a tough and a tedious task to filter out the best ones for yourself.
Without further ado, here are the 7 key things you should examine when buying a smartwatch:
Since most smartwatches are designed to be a companion device to your smartphone, it is of great importance that you should check whether your prospect smartwatch is compatible with your phone. A little caveat about this list: most smartwatches that are sold at a lower price operate on an Android Wear OS. Furthermore, while some of these smartwatches using an Android Wear OS can be linked to your iPhone device, the functionality is quite limited as compared to using an Android smartphone. Compatibility should definitely be your first priority.
You surely would want to buy something that is durable enough to last for at least a few years. Luckily, some smartwatches already have a water- and dust-resistance feature even at an affordable price.
Smartwatches come in different designs. Some smartwatches have a square screen that looks really like a techie gadget while others maintain the classical regular wristwatch look. It’s something you would be wearing on your wrist, so you definitely have to consider what type of design you are looking for.
Battery life also varies for different smartwatches. Most smartwatches last for about 1-2 days while a few outliers, such as the Pebble models, can last without charging for about a week.
For the most part, almost all smartwatches have a push notification feature. A few smartwatches allow you to receive and take calls directly without the need to use your phone’s speaker. Built-in features such as agenda, calendar, and alarm clock are also very common. The differentiating factor, though, lies in the smartwatch’s ability to run applications either by directly downloading it from an app store or by linking it to your smartphone through Bluetooth connectivity or Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth is the primary means of synching your smartphone to your smartwatch. However, not all units have a Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to communicate with your phone even if you are outside the Bluetooth range.
For fitness junkies, you may want to consider a smartwatch with a GPS, a heart rate monitor and a reliable gyro and pedometer. Some smartwatches are more tailor-fitted to cater to these needs, while others seem to ignore it.
|Compatibility||Water/Dust Resistant||Display and Design||Battery Life*|
|Asus Zenwatch 2 –(Editor’s Pick)|| Android 4.3+|
iPhone (limited functionality)
|AMOLED,1.63” Square Display||48 hours|
|Martian Notifier (runnder-up)|| Android 2.3+|
|OLED, 1.5” Round Display||5-6 days|
|LG Watch Urbane|| Android 4.3+|
iOS 8 (limited functionality)
|OLED, 1.3” Round Display||48 hours|
|Sony Smartwatch 3|| Android 4.3+|
| Transflective, |
1.6” Square Display
|Mariba MSRM|| Android 4.3+|
|Touchscreen, 1.54” Square Display||14-15 hours|
|Peble Time Steel|| Android 4.0+|
| Color ePaper|
|Garmin Vivo Active -|| Android 4.3+|
|Sunlight-readable, 1.13” Square Display||3 weeks (10 hours in GPS use)|
|Vallen Sweatproof|| Android 4.3+|
iOS units (limited functionality)
|Touchscreen, 1.54” square display||14-15 hours|
|Bluetooth Smartwatch|| Android 4.3+|
iOS units (limited functionality)
|Touchscreen, 1.54” square display||14-15 hours|
|Motorola Moto 360 (runner-up)|| Android 4.3+|
|LED screen, 1.56” round display||24-48 hours|
*Battery life may vary on wearer’s usage.
Deciding which budget smartwatch to buy from a plethora of cheap smartwatches is a common dilemma for anyone considering to buy a smartwatch. No doubt, most of the e-mails we get from our readers are either questions like, “Is the product reliable?” or whether it too expensive considering its specs. Consequently, we decided to gather the available budget smartwatches from various websites, techie friends, and actual users of these smartwatches. To get an actual experience, we also hand-tested some of the products to make sure that we get a deeper look at some of best smartwatches on our list.
Our standards for ranking smartwatches are clear-cut: compatibility, built, design, price, and functionality. We personally found out that most budget smartwatches are operating using an Android Wear OS, and share common features such as the push notification and basic built-in apps such as agenda, calculator, alarm etc. Moreover, what makes certain smartwatches stand-out from the others are unique features such as a GPS system and a reliable fitness app which are rare to come by for budget smartwatches. Like most average consumers, we also gave awards to smartwatches that possess a strong build since we don’t want to spend a lot on something disposable. Lastly, the design or simply the degree of attractiveness was one of the key characteristics that we considered in picking our editor’s choice and runners-up. Overall, we carefully considered these characteristics and weighed its price to see whether it’s a great deal or a flop.
It may not be as fancy as the Apple Series 2, but the Asus Zenwatch might be the best smartwatch choice for you if you're looking for something at a low-end price. The Asus Zenwatch 2 shares a considerable number of features that are present in more expensive smartwatches in the market.
Let’s have a quick look at the best features of the ASUS Zenwatch 2:
More than its functionality features, what I love about this smartwatch is its impressive built and display features. A few things that’s awesome about it:
There are caveats though which can indicate that this might not be a perfect fit for your lifestyle:
Nevertheless, the Asus Zenwatch 2 is strongly built, functional and stylish. It’s a great choice for first time smartwatch users and for those looking for a highly functional smartwatch but are not willing to spend a fortune. Considering its price and its specs, this may be the best deal for you.
There are smartwatches that are screaming with tech-geekiness and then there’s the Martian Notifier. This smartwatch is great for those who are looking for a more classic and chic look in a watch. But truth be told, there’s nothing much to be excited about this semi-smartwatch when it comes to its functionality. It’s basically your regular analog watch with an additional push notification feature.
Martian Notifier’s notification push system is simple and smart. Notification alerts come in the form of a text displayed in its rectangular OLED display, a blink from its color notification LED or a vibration. It can receive and filter notifications from a thousand different apps in your smartphone. But other than that, there’s nothing much that this smartwatch can do.
There are a few things to I like about its specs though:
Users as well had logged a few things not to like about this smartwatch:
The Martian Notifier clearly lags behind other models in app functionality. However, considering its price, this might be a great deal for those who are looking for a semi-smartwatch that works more like a regular watch than a smartwatch.
What I like most about the LG Watch Urbane is its elegant and fashionable design. It’s chic enough to be mistaken as an Apple Watch. Like most other smartwatches in the $100-range, the LG Watch Urbane is highly functional and is well-built. As usual, we’ll take a look at the best features of this stylish smartwatch:
There are a few hiccups though to look after:
However, it’s completely undeniable that the watch is gorgeous. Overall. The LG Watch Urbane combines a perfect balance of functionality, design and product durability. It’s still a great smartwatch you might want to consider.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch with a decent fitness feature, the Sony Smartwatch 3 may be a good match for you. Its greatest strength, which happens to be absent in most smartwatches under $150, is its built-in GPS system. It has a built-in step tracker which provide you with stats such as calories burned or hours slept when linked with a phone that has the Sony Lifelog app in it.
Let’s look further what’s in it apart from its fitness features.
Overall, it’s a highly functional and a strongly-built smartwatch. But the greatest downside is that it doesn’t look fashionable. It prioritizes functionality over aesthetics. Its square interface and its rubber strap looks a lot more like a techie device attached to your wrist than a regular wristwatch. But, if you’re not really into the classical looking smartwatches, we recommended this smartwatchfor you.
The Martha MSRM Smartwatch may resemble the Sony Smartwatch 3 design but it’s actually a lot cheaper than the Sony model. The best feature this smartwatch has is its GSM Sim Card slot. In other words, you can make and receive phone calls and text messages without linking it to your smartphone.
As usual, let’s have a quick look at what this smartwatch is capable of:
Pretty much like other square smartwatches, it’s not really as fashionable as the other brands. But Martha MSRM is a smartwatch you might want to consider if you’re looking for something that has decent built-in features. If you’re on a very tight budget but are looking to experience the smartwatch craze, the Martha MSRM might be good product to start with.
Pebble Time Steel Smartwatch’s greatest asset is its battery life. This smartwatch can last for as long as a week. This smartwatch, carrying the Pebble brand, is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market. If you are in a rush, here’s a brief summary of its specs:
There are a few hiccups you should take account of in case you’re considering to buy this Pebble smartwatch:
Overall, the Pebble Time Steel is a decent smartwatch with basic features. Its battery life and its strong built are enticing offers but it might not suit your taste if you’re gaga for techie apps. But if you’re looking for a simple smartwatch to get by with, this smartwatch is worth considering.
Released in 2014, this smartwatch is one of the most popular among tech enthusiasts. Fast forward to 2017, it’s still considered one of the sweetest deals for those who are looking for a reliable smartwatch at an affordable price.
Here’s the shortlist of this smartwatch’s best assets:
It’s a very functional smartwatch since it can run almost any app with its 4-gigabyte storage and 512 RAM. Most of our test users, however, complain about its battery life. With a maximum usage of the smartwatch, its battery can only last for about a day. Anyways, you might consider its excellent functionality as a consolation prize.
If you’re looking forward to wear a smartwatch that is cool without looking geeky, this might be a perfect fit for you. The Motorola Moto 360 harmoniously combines functionality, comfort and elegance.
Some smartwatches prioritize app functionality while others place a premium on achieving a fashionable look. But for the Garmin Vivoactive, the priority goes to its fitness features. This smartwatch is definitely marketed to smartwatch users who are athletic.
When it comes to its fitness features, it has a built in app for running which includes a heart rate monitor, a pace alert feature and a calorie computation feature. It also has a step counter, a sleep monitoring feature and a move bar feature which alerts you to move after a period of inactivity. Impressively, it also has a golfing feature which calculates yardage for the shots you made. More importantly, it has an accurate GPS system. It really looks tailor-fitted for fitness junkies.
Its battery life is also unbelievably great. It’s longer than Pebble’s 1-week battery life since this smartwatch’s battery can last up to 3 weeks. It only lasts for 10 hours though if you use it with the GPS feature 100% of the time.
All looks well for this smartwatch but there are a few drawbacks:
Overall, you might want to consider buying this smartwatch if you are really deeply committed to your fitness pursuits and if you’re willing to let go of other app features. Otherwise, you should consider other smartwatch units if you’re not into sports.
It looks like the Sony Smartwatch 3 but you can actually buy it at a lower price. It’s very affordable and it’s probably because it’s an innocuous smartwatch that has basic features. For starters, it has a push notification feature alongside the normal set of features most smartphones have: a calendar, alarm clock, music player, remote camera, calculator, web browser and other common apps.
What I love about this smartwatch is its micro sim card slot. This means you can actually use it as a phone for calling and texting even without the Bluetooth connection with your actual smartphone.
So far, there’s nothing impressive nor anything that’s deplorable about this smartwatch except that most of our testers found that it is useless for iPhone users. If you’re using a smartwatch for simple tasks such as receiving notifications or looking at the calendar, this smartwatch will do the job.
Honestly, there’s nothing to be excited about with the Vallen Sweatproof Smartwatch. But if you’re just trying out the smartwatch experience, you could give this smartwatch a try.
It’s one of the newest releases in the market. It looks a lot like the Vallen Sweat Proof Smartwatch and it’s really hard to differentiate the smartwatches from each other. Like the Vallen Sweatproof, it has a 1.54” square display and an innocuous set of features.
The Bluetooth smartwatch has the basic features of a regular smartwatch: a push notification system, call reminder, Bluetooth, NFC, sedentary reminder, pedometer, calendar and other peripheral features. The “it doesn’t really work well for iOS users” caveat also happens to apply for this smartwatch.
This smartwatch also has its own Sim Card slot so you can use this as a stand-alone phone for calling and texting contacts without actually linking it to your phone. Texting, though, can be a tedious task if you’re doing it on an 1.54” screen.
Like the Vallen Sweatproof, there’s not too much to be excited with this smartwatch apart from its low price. But, if you’re looking for something that can do basic tasks such as calling or receive push notifications, this smartwatch will suffic. It’s a good deal considering the price.
Editor’s Pick: ASUS Zenwatch 2
Among all the affordable smartwatches (anything under $150), the Asus Zenwatch 2 appears to be the greatest deal you can get if you’re looking for a smartwatch that balances functionality, style, and durability. Given its price, it’s rare to find something that’s impressively built, considering that it has an IP67 water and dust resistant rating, a Cornilla Gorilla Glass 3 screen and a strong build. It’s pretty close to the specs of your average iPhone. Plus, its charges faster than most smartwatches (60% in 15 minutes) and has a decent battery life that can last up to 48 hours. Its square screen is thin and it pairs up with a leather strap and voila, it looks fashionable enough. Functionality is also not an issue since it works with most apps. It’s a great deal worthy of your consideration.
Runner-ups: The Motorola Moto 360 and the Martian Notifier
It’s a tough choice between Asus Zenwatch 2 and the Motorola Moto 360. Both are strongly built and are highly functional. The Motorola Moto 360 might have a minor glitch when it comes to battery life but its aesthetic quality is really irresistible. The Motorola Moto 360 is pleasing to the eye. However, while both are equally great smartwatches, I have to place a higher rank for the Zenwatch 2 because of their price difference.
Lastly, the Martian Notifier is worthy of recognition for its uniqueness and simplicity. Unlike other smartwatches that try to cram as many apps as it can in its system, the Martian Notifier is unique, since it has only one important feature which qualifies it as a smartwatch: a notification system. For a price under $50, it’s a great catch to have something that looks like a chic, traditional wristwatch that can notify you when an email, a text or a call is coming in. I have so much love for its elegance and simplicity.