Wyze Watch Review: A $ 20 Smartwatch With Faulty Connections
“The Wyze watch is beating above its weight class, but inconsistent connectivity is too insane to recommend.”
Very affordable price
Nine days of battery life
Lack of dial and variety of apps
No interactivity with notifications
No automatic tracking of anything but sleep
If you’re the type who likes to put a dollar out, you are probably familiar with Wyze. The company has built its reputation on smart home devices, which offer around 80 percent of its competitors’ offerings at around 30 percent of the price. From doorbells to cameras, Wyze has set a new price for a variety of smart home and wearable offerings. The latest is the Wyze Watch, a $ 20 smartwatch.
Buying a $ 20 smartwatch with nine days of battery life is a breeze. But along with that price tag comes an enormous number of lowered expectations. It’s true that this watch doesn’t have the same features that you’ll find on most high-end smartwatches, but it does have some, so let’s get started.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Wyze watch is that it looks a lot like a high-end smartwatch. It is made of aluminum and has a silicone strap. There is a single button on the right side of the watch. On my 47mm device, you get a bright 1.75 ” TFT LCD touchscreen powered by a 300mAh battery. On the back, next to the proprietary magnetic charger, there are heart rate and blood oxygen sensors.
The watch comes with a comfortable silicone strap. You can also upgrade to a leather strap if you want. Overall, it looks like a premium watch, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) the premium feel stops there.
The performance is a bit sloppy. From lifting your wrist to see the time, to swiping the page to see your apps, there’s just a little hesitation every time. It’s barely noticeable and certainly not a deal breaker, but it’s worth mentioning.
The software on the watch is very simple. Most of the meaningful interactions take place in the app on the phone. This is the same app that you use to control your other Wyze smart home devices. Pairing the watch is crazy fast. Unlike most smartwatches and fitness bands I’ve used, just turn on the watch and launch the app. You add the clock to the app and that’s it. You are done. It’s amazingly quick and loved that part. This will require more smartwatches.
You can choose from just a few dozen watch faces, and apps are even more limited. There are only nine apps on the watch, including weather, shortcuts, blood oxygen, heart rate, and run tracking. You will also receive notifications on the watch from your phone. Notifications are decent in that you can read emails and texts, but there are no replies at all. There is also no microphone / speaker to take calls.
With the Shortcuts app you can control any other Wyze device that you have in your smart home. You can pause notifications on your doorbell or turn on the lights, all from the clock, which is really neat … assuming you have other Wyze hardware. If you’re just starting out, your options are limited here. Wyze is really trying to build an ecosystem here, and it’s not subtle.
The watch’s connectivity is spotty at best and there is no WiFi. So you are limited to bluetooth connectivity. When the watch is plugged in, things work fine and quickly. However, as the day progresses, your watch suddenly receives a series of notifications at once, as if the watch forgot to feed on notifications all the time. If you rely on the watch to stay connected to your phone and keep in touch with notifications, look elsewhere.
Focus on the data
Now we come to one of the main reasons people buy smartwatches – fitness tracking and data. First, there is no automatic data collection of any kind other than sleep. If you want the watch to track your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, or exercise activity, you need to tell the watch to do so. It’s not the toughest thing in the world, but it’s something a watch is supposed to do on its own.
The Wyze watch is similar to a high-end smartwatch.
In terms of the data itself, the accuracy for step counting and training distance is around 10% to 15% less than that of a Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. This means that while my Galaxy Watch 3 measures 6,000 steps, the Wyze watch measures 5,000 to 5,400. Sleep tracking is pretty accurate, although the app showed waking phases that I don’t remember. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, but I don’t remember them.
While accurate data is best, even inaccurate data can be useful if it is consistently inaccurate. In my case, I found that the data consistently lag behind the information provided by the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. You can use the data the watch collects to learn certain things about your day. You may not know exactly how many steps you took, but you can know that you took 25% more steps today than yesterday. It’s certainly not ideal, but it can be useful depending on what you’re trying to get out of it.
The good news is that most of the flaws in the Wyze watch are due to the software. What Wyze needs to bring to the table here is more types of exercise, better notification interactions, and more variety in the watch faces. The photo faces help, but even the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 offers more variety in terms of the dials.
What worries me the most about the watch is connectivity. To say it’s picky would be generous. It’s absolutely bad. If you rely on your watch for notifications, you will be let down. Data like sleep and exercise data are synced with your phone when you connect, so you won’t lose anything. It’s a relief, albeit a small one.
The Wyze Watch is $ 20, and you get more than your money on this smartwatch – but not much more. Wyze claims the battery will last nine days, which is in line with my tests. Having just a nine-day smartwatch is tempting.
Where the experience falls apart is the lack of watch faces and apps, as well as the connectivity issues. Hopefully Wyze will continue to develop the watch so that its capabilities improve in the future. But for what it is right now, it’s not the worst way to spend a single Andrew Jackson.
How long it will take?
The Wyze watch is solidly built and has a water resistance of up to two meters. There is no reason to believe that this watch will not last long. How well Wyze supports software development on the watch depends a lot more on its longevity than on the hardware, which is well built and doesn’t feel cheap at all. There is a one year limited warranty against defects.
Is there a better alternative?
Naturally. This is the bottom of the barrel in the smartwatch department. That’s out of the question. Even your traditional fitness trackers cost more than this watch, which is so cheap that it’s difficult to get comparable experiences in a similar price range. The best competitor I see that is still around is the Xiaomi Mi Band 6, which has just been announced and will be out later this year. This fitness band offers a similar experience in that it is beautiful, but not great when it is above its weight class.
Should you buy it?
If you’re serious about fitness or notifications, then don’t. This watch makes a lot of compromises en route to the $ 20 price range.
Connectivity is the deal breaker for me. I would be willing to accept any other compromise if I knew this watch would notify me. To its credit, it hasn’t missed a notification yet, but sometimes they get delivered a lot later – and about 20 at a time – which doesn’t do me any good.