Smart Watches have seen an explosion in popularity in the last few years. These multi-functional devices sit on your wrist like a normal watch but are connected to your smartphone. You can use them to check your notifications, messages, contacts, and make calls. Some allow you to monitor your heart rate, track your position, and temperature. The sheer amount of things to do with a smartwatch makes them extremely useful for people who are on the go and need a quick way to check your info.
The simplest smartwatches connect to your phone via Bluetooth and have basic features that let you check your messages, missed calls, and contacts. More advanced smartwatches may allow you to set reminders, make and take calls, track your heart rate, and browse the internet. Like smartphones, smartwatches have a number of downloadable apps that provide additional functionality. Even though these apps run on a smartwatch, they require a smartphone to function because the data is first received by the phone and then sent to the watch.
Of course, there are so many smartwatches on the market it can be hard to know where to start when looking for one. They can also be pretty expensive, some running as much as $500. Luckily, there exist a number of smartwatches that have a great mix of power and functionality, all for a very affordable price. Keep reading to figure out our picks for the best affordable smartwatches of 2019.
What To Look For When Buying A Smart Watch
The first thing to ask yourself when buying a smartwatch is: What kind of smartphone will you be working with? Although many smartwatches work with multiple kinds of smartphones, some are designed specifically only for use with a certain kind of phone. For example, Apple Watches only work on iPhones and Samsung’s Tizen watches are designed for Android devices. Make sure to check if the smartwatch you want will work with your phone before you buy; nothing is more frustrating than buying something only to find out you can’t use it due to software limitations.
The next question to ask is: How much do you plan to do with your smartwatch?
If all you need is a way to check message, send texts, and look at your contacts, then a simpler smartwatch with more basic features is your best bet. If you want to turn your watch into a central hub to take care of most business, then a more advanced smartwatch with lots of features may be right for you. In general, the more features the smartwatch has, the more expensive it is. So if you want something a bit more powerful, you’re going to have to be willing to shell out more money.
If you are a fitness kind of person, consider getting a watch that has a heart rate sensor or a GPS tracker for your runs. Make sure to pay attention to the rated battery life as well. In general, hybrid watches that look more like analog clocks will last longer, but they also tend to not have touch screens. App selection is also important, though not as much as compatibility design, and battery life.
What Are the Best Affordable (Under $200) Smart Watches of 2019?
The Amazfit Bip is quite possibly the industry standard for entry-level smartwatches. It includes a number of basic function. It can connect to your phone to receive notifications from texts, emails, and incoming phone calls, as well as alerts from linked social media pages like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. The elegant design and band looks great and comes in a range of color options, including red, black, white, and green. It only weighs about 1 oz., so you’ll hardly notice it on your wrist.
Along with smartphone compatibility, the Amazfit has a GPS that can track your real-time steps are taken, perfect for fitness enthusiasts who want to keep tabs on their progress. It also can check your calories burned and quality of sleep. 4 special sport modes for different activities give you more data on your exercise. Charging the watch takes only about 2.5 hours and it can last 30 days on a single charge. Most importantly, the watch is compatible with both Android 4.4 and iOS 8 and higher, meaning you can use it with iPhones and Android phones.
Despite offering a nice mix of functions, the Amazfit does have a few shortcomings. Notably, it does not have 2-way functionality, meaning that you can’t send messages/make calls from the watch itself. The watch receives notifications but you actually have to pull out your phone to do anything. The watch does not come with a wall plug for its charging cradle either, though any normal 5V charging block should do the trick. Despite these flaws, the Amazfit Bip is a great pick for people who want an entry-level watch that can do most important functions.
Samsung has long been known as a maker of quality smartphone products, and their Gear S2 smartwatch line is no different. Let’s start with the basics: this watch looks good. The solid black color and circular face give it a real classic vibe, and the minimalist analog-style clock piece is attractive and sophisticated. Soft colors make the watch easy to read during the day and easy on the eyes at night. Stainless steel construction keeps the metal pieces looking bright and prevents scratching.
In addition to looking like a total fox, the Gear S2 is surprisingly powerful. The 1GHz dual-core processor is speedy and quick to display any notifications from your phone. Thousands of third-party apps are available, including most social media channels, Uber, Spotify, and Door Dash. Navigating the menus consists of rotating the bezel, which is simple and satisfying to use. The 360 x 360-pixel touchscreen is clear and responsive; no accidentally pressing other icons due to bad touch reception. 2-way communication means that you can check and respond to notifications without taking your phone out of your pocket. Several applications exist for tracking heart rate/distance/calories burned, etc.
Perhaps most importantly, the watch is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, so you don’t have to tie yourself to a particular kind of phone to use the Gear S2. That being said, it is designed for use with Android devices, and iPhone users do not get access to the full suite of features. For best results, Samsung recommends pairing the Gear S2 with Galaxy brand phones. The one major drawback is its short battery life. A full charge lasts only about 7-8 hours, which may not be long enough for some users.
Looking like a time-piece from the 1900s, the Skagen hybrid smartwatch is a classy piece of technology for those who want a simple, good looking smartwatch. The analog inspired design has a nice antique feel and multiple markings on the face keep track of the time and the date. The black leather band and rose-gold colored bezel go nicely together and give it an air of sophistication.
Using Bluetooth, the Skagen Signatur connects to your smartphone and gives you discrete updates regarding texts, emails, and calls. You can assign your contacts a specific number so that when they call, the hour hand of the watch will point to that number, letting you know who is calling you. It also has built-in trackers that monitor your distance traveled, calories burned, and quality of sleep. Buttons on the side are used to take snapshots with your phone, control your music, and check the date The Skagen is a hybrid watch meaning that it does not need to be charged. The device is always on and will automatically connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Battery life lasts up to 6 months and can easily be replaced at home. It also works on both iOS and Android devices.
The biggest drawback of the Skagen is also one of its attractive features: its simplicity. There is no touchscreen and you cannot look at tracked data on the watch; you have to download a separate app to view tracked activity. The buttons on the side can only be programmed for 3 functions at a time as well. Also, the fact that the watch uses the analog face to represent information other than the time can be confusing if you are not paying attention. However, if you want a simple hybrid smartwatch that looks great, is affordable, and can handle basic tasks, then consider getting a Skagen Signature Hybrid Smart Watch.
The TicWatch E Bluetooth smartwatch is one of the most affordable quality smartwatches you can buy and its been making waves. It costs less than some fitness trackers, yet comes loaded with the full suite of Android 2.0 functionality for use with lots of apps. The circular design and black coloring look good are the mesh band is comfortable and adjustable. The bright LCD touchscreen has many available faces to choose, including a digital and analog timepiece.
The smartwatch doubles as a fitness tracker that can monitor your heart rate, calories burned, and sleep quality. You can even pull up workout routines and get coaching. The watch has voice functionality and can connect with Google Assistant for hands-free operating. Essentially, this watch offers comprehensive smartphone capabilities all for thevery affordable price of $160. It is compatible with both iOS and Android systems.
As always, not everything is perfect. The TicWatch has a decent battery life, but takes a long time to charge. The battery can drain much quicker if many apps are running at the same time. Also, you can only receive calls, make calls, and send messages directly from the watch if you are using an Android phone.
The Bottom Line
Overall, finding the right smartwatch comes down to how much functionality you want and how much you are willing to pay. Are you looking for something simple just to let you check the time and your notifications? Then something like the Amazfit or Skagen might be the right choice. Both are less expensive and offer the more basic gamut of functions, perfect for someone who does not want to deal with all the extra bells and whistles of more advanced smartwatches. However, you will have to compromise a bit on functionality.
Alternatively, if you want the full range of smartwatch features, the Gear S2 or the TicWatch is probably a better option. Both smartwatches boast a powerful OS and processor, as well as access to thousands of apps on the iPhone and Android store. Bi-directional interfaces let you send messages and make calls directly from the watch and you can control your phone’s settings from the touchscreen. The drawback with more advanced smartwatches is their lower battery life and high price.
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