Today I’m reviewing a smart watch that currently retails at a staggering £9.99 on Amazon. There are surely only two possible reactions to that price point – ‘What a bargain’, or ‘This must just be a bit of plastic with a watch face painted on it?’. Well, Full Sync is happy to report that this is the genuine article, and as far as I can tell, it’s not secretly recording any of my communications for shady government dealings (all they’d get out of it are Overwatch memes and phonecalls to my little brother where I battle against YouTube for his affection).
This is the smart watch at its most basic and functional. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else, it has no ostentatious delusions, it sets out to get a few tasks done with a minimum of fuss and not be horrendously unpleasant to wear. Does it succeed?
When the U80 works, it’s great! Pedometer, bluetooth calling, messaging, sleep monitors, etc. Everything is very simple and accessible, there’s not much in the way of extra frills so the battery will last respectable amounts of time between charges. I have no real way of gauging how accurate the pedometer is but I wore my Fitbit Charge and EasySMX’s watch at the same time and the Charge counted 5-10 more steps consistently.
The major downfall here is that getting it to work consistently can be a chore. Connecting it once to my phone via bluetooth should have been a breeze, instead it was a complete pain – refreshing the list of bluetooth connections on my phone and the watch until the stars were aligned and they attempted to forge a bond. An astonishing five attempts later as the passkey exchange screen flashed up onscreen and disappeared as quickly as it had come, the two devices paired. Making calls, controlling music – everything works as it should and rarely trips up once you get the connection sorted.
There were a few problems with getting them paired again after disconnecting, which can be very frustrating for a device supposed to make your life a little easier – but soldier on past fiddly pairing and the overall interface is simple to use. A few things worth bearing in mind – the watch doesn’t vibrate or beep when you get a notification so a lot of the time you might as well just check your phone, thus annulling the point of having the bloody thing in the first place. When it does make noise, it’s shrill and unpleasantly loud.
There’s not a hell of a lot to say on this front. The watch sits pretty snugly on the strap but the face itself is bulky and square, meaning the slightest bit of pressure on it and the metal backplate is digging into your tender wrist skin like a drunk at a bar who’s not taking the hint. The glossy plastic and big rubbery strap make it feel like you’re wearing a toy watch at the best of times. It’s not the height of comfort, but it’s not a pain, either – but if you want quality comfort from a £10 smart watch it’s time to re-evaluate your expectations. Those of you with daintier wrists run the risk of looking silly with this watch – the tighter you do the strap up, the worse the bulbous face looks in comparison.
It’s genuinely very hard to judge the appearance of a gadget in this price bracket but the U80 looks like a generic Android tablet of old squidged down into watch size, and as previously mentioned, looks and feels more like a toy than anything else. The buttons are all perfectly functional, but having a squat black cube hanging off your wrist isn’t going to appeal to a lot of people. It’s not hideous – but a brief search on Amazon will come up with a range of products that all look significantly better for a fraction of an increase in price. It’s just too damn big and square to look good. I have a fairly average sized arm and it still looks oversized.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
Easily the biggest selling point of the watch is its price point. Full RRP is somewhere around £23.99 but it’s currently on offer for under half that through Amazon. For the money, you get a decent, full-featured smart watch. It’s missing a few things but worth a punt at £10 if you’re not overly concerned about the appearance. The fact is without vibration, audio alerts, and a screen/frame as large as it is, it’s not much more appealing than just, y’know, pulling your phone out of your pocket. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend the U80, but I’m not going to warn you against it, either – it’s truly a case of getting what you pay for, and if you’re happy with the aesthetic and comfort drawbacks in exchange for a stupidly cheap watch, this is the gadget for you.
FINAL SCORE: 3/5