After spending more than 25 hours of research, we and our test users think the Asus Zenwatch 2 is one of the most recommendable smartwatches 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 (Read below 100 smartwatch) 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 smartwatches and our recommendations to make it easier for you to decide which smartwatch to get.
10 Best Budget Smart Watches 2018
|Compatibility||Display and Design||Battery Life|
|Asus Zenwatch 2||Android 4.3+ iPhone (limited functionality)||AMOLED, 1.63", Square Display||48 hours|
|Antimi Smartwatch||Samsung,Google Pixel/Pixel XL,HTC, Sony, LG, HUAWEI, ZTE, OPPO, XIAOMI, iPhone (limited functionality)||Square Display||3-4 days|
|Martian Notifier||Android 2.3+ iOS 6+||OLED, 1.5”, Round Display||5-6 days|
|Pebble 2||Android 4.3+, iOS 8+||e-Paper LED, 1.26”, Square Display||7 days|
|Inchor L16 Smart Wristfit||Android 4.3+ , iOS7+||OLED, Round Display||5 days|
*Battery life may vary on wearer’s usage.
Things to Consider Before Buying
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. here are the 7 key things you should examine when getting 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. Most smartwatches which operate on an Android Wear OS are sold at a lower price. 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.
#2. Build Durability
You surely would want to get 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.
#4. Battery Life
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.
#5. Features and Apps
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.
#6. Wi-Fi Connectivity
Bluetooth is the primary means of synching your smartphone to your smartwatch. But some units have a Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to communicate with your phone even if you are outside the Bluetooth range.
#7. Fitness Features
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.
How We Assessed & Evaluated the Smartwatches?
Deciding which budget smartwatch to get from a plethora of cheap smartwatches is a common dilemma for anyone considering to get 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 is 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.
Our Top 10 Picks
- It’s highly functional, with tools that allow you to send text messages, make and reject phone calls, and interact with email and social media notifications.
- It has a downloadable FaceApp Designer which allows you to customize your watch face.
- It runs on an updated Android Wear OS.
- The charging is fast, around 15 minutes. Battery life can last up to 48 hours.
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:
- It has an IP67 water and dust resistant rating, similar to the iPhone 7. It’s impenetrable by dust and can endure being soaked in static water that is 1 meter in depth.
- Its screen is made up of a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 which is a special glass designed to be scratch resistant. It’s also incredibly strong and light.
- It uses an AMOLED display, an upgrade to the OLED display used in other smartwatches.
- It has a handsome and stylish design
There are caveats though which can indicate that this might not be a perfect fit for your lifestyle:
- Limited functionality for iPhone users
- The pedometer is inaccurate and it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor so it’s not built for fitness-conscious customers.
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.
What We Liked
- Strong Built and Looks Good
- 48-hour battery life and fast charging time
- Highly functional with various apps
What We Didn’t Like
- Lack of fitness features
- Limited functionality with iPhone
- Low Bluetooth range
This smartwatch is great for those who are looking for a more classic and chic look in a watch. 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:
- Different vibration patterns which distinguish notification types
- compatible with Android 2.3.3 and up and iPhone 4s and later versions
- Has a separate battery for the analog watch which lasts up to two years. Battery life for the smartwatch lasts for 5-6 days.
- Has voice activation feature, battery life display, Bluetooth status display and a whether update feature.
A few things not to like about this smartwatch:
- Not water-resistant
- The charger is not a USB cable.
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 We Liked
- Very Affordable
- Efficient Notifying System
- Long Battery Life
- Compatible to Android and iPhone Smartphones
What We Didn’t Like
- Not Water Resistant
- Lacks Functionality Features
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 decent range, the LG Watch Urbane is highly functional and is well-built.
As usual, we’ll take a look at the features of this stylish smartwatch:
- It runs an updated Android 5.1.1 OS
- Has a push notification system
- It has a Wi-fi support which connects automatically to any available network.
- It has a battery life that runs up to 48 hours. It’s still a far cry from Pebble’s 1-week long battery, but considering its functionality, a shortened battery life might be a reasonable trade-off.
- Like the Asus Zenwatch 2, it also has an IP67 water and dust resistant rate.
- Music lovers can also store and play music from this smartwatch. Just a reminder, though, that you’ll need an external Bluetooth device to play music.
- Fitness buffs can also use this smartwatch’s heart rate monitor, which readily connects with Google fit to track your calories and steps.
There are a few hiccups though to look at:
- It does not have a speaker. Moreover, you will be notified when you have a call but still need to pick up your phone to receive the call.
- Only supports Android users
- Occasional crashing.
However, the watch is gorgeous. Overall, the LG Watch Urbane combines a balance of functionality, design, and product durability.
What We Liked
- Very Attractive
- Fitness Features
- Decent Battery Life
What We Didn’t Like
- Does not support iPhone devices
- Lacks a speaker
- May crash or freeze sometimes
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 our range, 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.
- Highly functional and has apps found in most smartwatches such as agenda, calendar, alarm, push notifications, gyro, accelerometer, etc.
- IP68 water and dust resistant rating, the highest possible rating
- Battery life of about 48 hours
- Easily removable from its battery strap to facilitate a more convenient charging using a micro USB chord.
- Syncs perfectly with Google’s My Tracks so you can navigate your route easily.
- 1.6” reflective display which works well when you’re checking it in the sunlight.
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 look 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 smartwatch for you.
What We Liked
- Highly functional
- Water and dust resistant
- 48-hour battery life
- Screen visible in the sunlight
What We Didn’t Like
- Not so fashionable
- Watch strap can only be acquired in Sony Stores
As usual, let’s have a quick look at what this smartwatch is capable of:
- It has the basic features most smartphones would have: push notifications, alarm clock, calendar, call sync, pedometer, calculator and music player
- It supports Android 4.2 or higher versions of smartphones and iOS 7 or higher.
- Decent battery life that could last for about 14-15 hours
- A sufficiently sized 1.54” square screen, the usual screen size for most square smartwatchesEnter your text here…
The Martha MSRM Smartwatch may resemble the Sony Smartwatch 3 design but it’s actually a lot lower than the Sony model. The 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.
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 a good product to start with.
What We Liked
- Very Affordable
- Can receive/make phone calls and texts without a phone
- Highly Functional
What We Didn’t Like
- May not be as durable as other models
- Not very attractive to look at
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:
- Has the usual features- push notification feature, calendar, text messaging, alarm clock, pedometer, gyro
- Strongly built with a dustproof, shockproof and waterproof frame
- Compatible with Android 4.0+ and iOS 8+
- Has its own microphone which you can use to dictate messages
There are a few hiccups you should take account of in case you’re considering to get this Pebble smartwatch:
- Heavily reliant on a smartphone. There’s very little that you can do with it on its own.
- Screen size is relatively small with just 1.25” screen. It also lags behind other smartwatch screens in terms of brightness and resolution.
- Lacks important features such as Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS.
- Has the capacity to track steps using its accelerometer but you can’t really rely on it if you’re looking for precise stats.
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 2018, 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 assets:
- It’s highly functional with all the basic apps such as push notifications, calendar etc. It also works with almost any Android app.
- Cool enough to charge wirelessly using a Qi wireless charger
- Water resistant rating IP67, pretty common for most standard smartwatch units
- Has a useful health tracking app which provides you with stats on your heart rate, body activeness rate, number of calories burned, etc.
- Designed by the manufacturer to be comfortable and fashionable. It’s fashionable enough to be worn with a suit and tie.
- It has a 1.56” round display and employs a LED screen that has a bright display with bright colors.
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 awesome functionality as a consolation prize.
If you’re looking forward to wearing a smartwatch that is cool without looking geeky, this might be a good 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, 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:
- Rubber strap and square design
- Features are limited to push notifications and fitness apps.
Overall, you might want to consider getting 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.
What We Liked
- Extensive fitness features
- 3-week battery life
What We Didn’t Like
- Not fashionable
- Limited features
It looks like the Sony Smartwatch 3 but you can actually get it at a lower price. It’s very affordable 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 it has limited functionality with iOS. If you’re using a smartwatch for simple tasks such as receiving notifications or looking at the calendar, this smartwatch will do the job.
What We Liked
- Looks a lot like other smartwatches in the similar range
- Basic functionality
- Micro sim card slot
What We Didn’t Like
- Mediocre apps
- Very limited functionality with iOS
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.
It also has very limited functionality with iOS.
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 a 1.54” screen.
If you’re looking for something that can do basic tasks such as calling or receive push notifications, this smartwatch will do the job.
Editor’s Pick:ASUS Zenwatch 2
Among all the affordable smartwatches, 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, it 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.
It’s a tough choice between Asus Zenwatch2 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 placed 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 lower option, 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.