Cheap smartwatches: Smart buy or a waste of money?

Jack Wallen put a sub-$60 greenback smartwatch to the take a look at and was shocked on the outcomes. Discover out if this price range machine is worthy of your wrist.


Picture: iStock/Ridofranz

I rely upon my smartwatch. I exploit it to trace my train, I exploit it to catch telephone calls and messages I’d in any other case miss, I exploit it for alarms, and even to trace my coronary heart charge (which turns into increasingly necessary with age). Oh, I additionally use it to maintain monitor of the time (think about a watch doing one thing so easy). 

My smartwatch of alternative for the previous 12 months has been the Samsung Galaxy Active2. Up to now it has been probably the most reliable and correct. It isn’t excellent, however it does a wonderful job of dealing with the duties I throw at it. That watch sells for round $220.

So, once I was approached by an organization known as Cubot to assessment a smartwatch that retailed for $59, you’ll be able to wager I used to be curious. I’ve used smartwatches by firms like Amazefit that appeared a very good purchase at first however by no means did not, properly, fail me. What may a bit of tech at that value level have to supply?

As you may anticipate, I used to be skeptical. At 1 / 4 of the worth, I assumed you’d get 1 / 4 of the reliability and usefulness.

I used to be mistaken. 

At the least on sure ranges.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy S21 Collection: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

When the Cubot ID206 arrived, I pulled it out of the field and my rapid response was, “Oh look, an Apple Watch clone.” The machine appeared like an Apple Watch knockoff, however I knew the reality. This was a knock-off Android machine, and anticipating the identical stage of performance and craftsmanship can be a mistake.

To that, I used to be nonetheless (principally) mistaken.

After sporting the Cubot look ahead to every week (together with my Samsung watch—sure, it was a bit awkward at instances), I’ve drawn some stunning conclusions.

TL:DR—if you happen to’re on a good price range, you could possibly do so much worse than the Cubot ID206.

Let me clarify.

First, the aesthetics.

The feel and appear of the Cubot

As I stated, the Cubot seems very very like an Apple Watch (Determine A). No, it isn’t as refined, and you may instantly inform that corners have been minimize (the strap alone feels very very like a $50 watch strap ought to). However the Cubot does really feel rugged, as if it may go the gap and stand as much as no matter you throw at it. Did I push it to the boundaries? No. I did, nonetheless, do my traditional runs with the watch, which is the place the rubber, fairly actually, meets the highway.

Determine A


The Cubot ID206 is on the left. On the fitting is my Samsung Active2.

How does it examine?

The very first thing I did (after organising the Cubot) was go for my traditional weekly run. This can be a shorter route, at seven miles. I do know this run is seven miles as a result of I’ve checked it with quite a few sources. I wore each watches and began their run timers on the identical time. On the finish of the run, the Samsung watch clocked the run at 7.1 miles. The Cubot clocked the run at 5.59 miles. So I knew, proper out of the gate, that the Cubot may not be one of the best match for many who meant the look ahead to correct train monitoring.

Nonetheless, it isn’t all that black and white. 

On the times that I don’t run, I most frequently use a rowing machine. When evaluating the Samsung vs. the Cubot, the outcomes have been fairly comparable. Energy burned have been shut, steps taken have been shut, and coronary heart charge was virtually lifeless on. Due to this, I made a decision to write down the inconsistency of the run monitoring to GPS points.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 5G: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The subsequent step in checking the accuracy was to run with the telephone together with the watch. After I run I exploit my day by day driver Pixel 5 for music. That telephone can also be related to my Galaxy watch. I related the Cubot watch to my Pixel 4 (as a result of that is what I most frequently take a look at with). Carrying two telephones throughout a run is not my concept of a very good time, so I opted to solely carry one. For my subsequent weekly run, I took the Pixel 4 with me and, you should not be shocked by the outcomes, the Cubot tracked the run at 7.2 miles and the Samsung watch clocked the run at 5.8 miles.

Lesson discovered. Smartwatches are solely as sensible because the telephones they’re related to. Separate them and the watches change into much less correct.

Options right here and options there

To my shock, the Cubot watch consists of many of the options I want (corresponding to alarms, coronary heart charge, blood oxygen, sleep monitoring, climate). The one distinction is that the Samsung Galaxy watch UI is a bit simpler to navigate. It needs to be, at 4 instances the associated fee. However when you get used to how the Cubot interface features, it is simply as straightforward to work with.

So, so far as options are involved, there is not a marked distinction between the 2.

Battery life

Truthfully, the Samsung Active2 battery has by no means been good. As a result of I exploit it closely for train, I am fortunate to get two days out of the battery. A lot to my shock, the Cubot is getting virtually twice that from the battery. That is necessary. And getting significantly longer battery life from a significantly cheaper watch could possibly be an actual deal maker for some.

The conclusion

The vacations are quick approaching, and also you’re most likely going to think about buying smartwatches for these in your listing. You would be sensible to go the Samsung or Apple route. But when your price range is tighter, do not overlook the cheaper choices. The Cubot ID206 may not be one of the best watch available on the market, however it goes a protracted technique to show that value can typically be deceiving.

If the Cubot ID206 was the one smartwatch I owned, I actually do not assume I may complain. It may not really feel fairly as snug because the Samsung, and the UI may not be as environment friendly, however on the finish of the day, it really works and works properly. 

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