It seems like everyone wants an Apple Watch but at between $599 and $2000, they’re extraordinarily expensive, being the same price as a good mid-range smartphone.
So I decided to find the cheapest possible Apple Watch lookalike you can buy and, being a cheap copy cat, would it even be worth the money?
I bought three smart watches all for around $50 each. I’ve done the wrap-up on their best and worst features to find out if they can truly compare to an Apple Watch. All of these watches are compatible with both Android and iPhone.
SoundPEATS Smartwatch, $48.99
At first glance this looks a lot like an Apple Watch, although besides its outer shell there are a lot of missing similarities. Firstly, there’s no digital crown and the LCD screen isn’t as big as an Apple watch. In fact, it’s an odd shape with the bezel on the bottom being larger than the top.
The interface is strange, with no app icons to be found. To navigate, you swipe through a menu to choose from features like exercise tracking, weather, notifications or music control, which barely resembles an Apple Watch at all.
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One of my favourite features is ‘Find my phone’ where as long as the watch is connected to the phone you can make your phone ring so it can be located if misplaced. I just finally found my phone sandwiched between the pages of my weekly planner – thanks smartwatch.
The step tracking is also great, with a heart monitor and sports modes. I like that you can read incoming text messages (at a maximum of about 10 words long) but you can’t reply, only delete the message. You also get alerts for incoming calls but only have an in-watch option to reject calls.
Overall, you can only expect the basic functionalities of a smartwatch with this. It does a poor job of mimicking an Apple Watch, although if you don’t mind how the interface looks, it’s features are pretty decent for the price.
Umidigi Smartwatch Uwatch, $47.99
To start using this watch you need to install the “VeryFitPro” app to pair and use. In-app you’ll also have to enable heaps of features (such as call alerts and music control) in the ‘device’ section before they work on the smartwatch. It was a bit fiddly to set up but once I got it going it worked very similarly to the SoundPEATS smartwatch.
I like the slim design and in my opinion this watch looks the most like an Apple Watch clone from the outside, with a circular button that mimicked the digital crown. It has a great interface with smooth touchscreen controls, although it doesn’t look anything like what you see on an Apple Watch. In fact it functions similarly to a Fitbit Versa with sport mode, heart rate tracking and an in-built timer.
The device has music control to skip or play/pause tracks from your watch but there was no option for volume adjustments. You can also read text messages and be alerted when your phone is ringing but only have the option to hang up. I think this is a great watch overall that could be mistaken for an Apple Watch at a glance.
The main downside for those with an iPhone wanting a copycat is that the step tracking and calories tracking won’t sync with the health app on your iPhone.
Smartwatch compatible iOS Android – WJPILIS, $38.24 on sale (usually $44.99)
I bought this watch because the photos made it look really similar to an Apple Watch with a sports band. However, in real life it’s chunky and cheap looking.
But that wasn’t the most surprising part – when I turned it on I could not believe the sound it made. It emits a longwinded chime that sounds like a children’s toy from the early 2000s, loud enough to garner attention from across the room.
However, you’ll find heaps of apps, with an interface that looks like a rip-off of the original iPhone’s OS design (the one from 2007).
I struggled to pair this smartwatch with my phone. It needs the ‘M2 wear’ app to be installed to connect to the device but it kept giving errors that the watch wasn’t paired.
As it turns out, even though it said ‘error pairing’ multiple times it was connected. Despite the initial frustration, once connected I was kind of amazed at the functionality.
Unlike the other two watches, this one has an in-built microphone and speaker so you can play music and actually take calls using your watch (looking very much like James Bond, though not so inconspicuous). I don’t know how this would ever come in handy but it surprised me!
It also has a ‘remote capture’ feature to use the watch as a remote to your mobile phone’s camera to take a photo from a distance.
The device has extra handy features that the other two watches lack such as a calculator and calendar. It even has its own in-built camera, although the picture quality is fairly terrible. Honestly this watch really threw me, I kind of hate it and love it all at the same time.
These smartwatches will give you some decent functionality if you want the basics. They could probably even fool most people at a glance. At the end of the day though if you’re looking for the seamless, feature-packed functionality of an Apple Watch you’ll have to save up. Or I’d at least recommend getting a big-name brand if you want a more seamless user experience. However, if you’re not very fussy, for $50, I think you could find something you’d be quite happy with!