No always-on display
Though it’s slow and limited, the Wyze Watch is an astounding value.
The Wyze Watch is so much cheaper than any other smartwatch on the market that it’s truly puzzling. You could buy 20 of them for the price of a single Apple Watch Series 6. The Wyze Watch exists because the smartwatch market has matured, and these components are being produced at such a scale that you can put a device like this together for peanuts. Sure, corners have been cut. But at this price, there’s a good argument for anyone testing the smartwatch waters to give it a shot.
About the Wyze Watch
Wyze offers the Wyze Watch in two case sizes; you can opt for 44mm or 47mm. But there are a few important differences between the two models, apart from the size. The smaller Wyze Watch has much larger bezels above and below the screen, a smaller battery, and a more powerful processor. There are also some significant cosmetic differences in the software, with a different layout and icons in the interface. I tested the 44mm version for this review.
Here’s the spec sheet:
Display: 1.4-inch or 1.75-inch TFT LCD (320 x 320 pixels or 320 x 385 pixels)
Processor: 100+150MHz or 96MHz
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart rate sensor, Blood oxygen sensor
Water resistance: IP68
Battery: 250 mAh or 300 mAh
Extras: Smart home controls for Wyze devices
What We Like
Clearly modeled on the Apple Watch, with a rectangular display set into a grey aluminum-alloy case, you would never guess that the Wyze Watch is just $20 by looking at it. It feels light on the wrist (the 44mm model is 40 grams) and comes with a comfortable black silicone band that feels quite durable. A single button on the right-hand side brings the display to life and shortcuts to the home screen.
The touchscreen is a TFT LCD. It’s sharp, colorful, and always legible indoors, though the brightness struggles to cope with direct sunlight, and you have to adjust it manually. While the 47mm model has a display that stretches almost to the rounded edges, the 44mm screen has large bezels above and below that detract from the look. Easily mistaken for an Apple Watch at a distance, those bezels dispel the illusion instantly up close.
While it falls well short of the reassuring quality of even Apple’s cheapest offering, the Apple Watch SE, that’s to be expected. A fairer comparison might be something like the Amazfit GTS, which has a better quality AMOLED display, more detailed fitness tracking, and a couple of other extras, but still costs $100 more than the Wyze Watch.
Beyond those bezels on the 44mm model, there’s nothing in the exterior design that gives away the budget nature of this smartwatch. I haven’t run into any issues during testing, but longevity and durability may be a concern in the longer term (again, it’s $20).
Fitness and sleep tracking
The Wyze Watch offers very limited fitness and sleep tracking. It automatically counts your steps and gives an estimate of calories burned. There’s a heart rate sensor that has to be started manually by default, though there is an option in the settings to turn it on for continuous monitoring at the cost of some battery life. There’s also an Sp02 sensor that measures your blood oxygen levels.
When it comes to tracking workouts, you have to tap the “Sports” icon to start, there’s no automatic tracking. The Wyze Watch categorizes everything as a run, though it can recognize an indoor run versus an outdoor run. It doesn’t have GPS or any route recording, but it does estimate the distance covered, track your heart rate, and record duration. If you dig into the data in the Wyze app you’ll find workouts are broken down into heart rate zones that cover warm-up and cool down, fat reduction, cardio, anaerobic, and peak minute counters.
Sleep tracking is automatic if you wear the Wyze Watch to bed. It tracks the duration, breaks your sleep down into deep and light periods, and highlights moments of wakefulness.
None of this data is especially accurate. When I compared it to the Apple Watch SE or the Withings Scanwatch, I found that the Wyze Watch tended to overestimate my steps, heart rate, and hours of sleep. Every smartwatch manufacturer has a different algorithm, so variances of between 10 and 20 percent aren’t a big surprise.
Whether the lack of accuracy matters depends on you. Most people do nothing with their fitness data and really just need a way to set and track basic fitness goals. If you’re happy enough with a rough measure and broad trends, then the Wyze Watch delivers.
Long battery life
Wyze suggests you can get up to nine days of battery life from a fully charged Wyze Watch and my experience chimes with that. If you turn on the continuous heart rate tracking and get a lot of notifications, you can expect to cut that battery life in half.
Features are limited here compared to other smartwatches and the display isn’t on all the time, but I still appreciated the long battery life. For comparison, the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are both rated at around 18 hours (though their features and performance are much better, of course).
I wore the Wyze Watch for eight days straight, including in the shower (it’s good for submersion up to two meters for up to 30 minutes), and it was on 10 percent when I charged it. You get a magnetic charging cable in the box with your Wyze Watch, but no power adapter, though the other end is a USB-A that will plug into any phone charger you have lying around.
Smart home controls and other extras
For a smartwatch with a very limited feature set, there is one pleasant surprise with the Wyze Watch in the shape of smart home control shortcuts. This feature only works with Wyze devices, but I was able to set my Wyze smart bulbs to turn on or off from my wrist, which proved very convenient and much faster than using the app on my phone.
The Wyze Watch offers stretch reminders to tell you to get up from the desk and walk around every 50 minutes. There is also a cycle track feature to help women track their menstrual health, though we weren’t able to test this feature. The only features I haven’t yet mentioned are the alarm and timer functions and the weather option to get a quick peek at the forecast for the day.
What We Don’t Like
Slow as molasses
The Wyze Watch is quite slow. The touchscreen isn’t very responsive, and I often had to tap or swipe more than once to get it to register. It feels like there’s a slight lag on every tap or button press. The 44mm model I tested has a more powerful dual-core processor inside, so presumably the 47mm model may feel even less responsive. This can be frustrating at times, especially when a laggy response coincides with an impatient second swipe.
Flaky, one-way notifications
Dip into the settings and you can set up notifications for incoming calls and messages. You can also toggle on all the apps you want to receive notifications for. I found the notification system was a little unreliable. Calls, messages, and emails generally came through, but there was usually a delay of several seconds and occasionally notifications simply never arrived.
The notifications are enough to let you know whether you need to take the phone out of your pocket, but that’s about it. There’s no option to answer or respond to anything. Even if you read the email or message on your phone, the notification stays on the Wyze Watch until you clear it manually, which is a little annoying. If you get a lot of notifications this will get old very fast.
No always-on display
When I wear a watch, I like to be able to glance at the time. The fact that most smartwatches lack an always-on display is annoying. The Wyze Watch display turns off after a few seconds to conserve battery life, even if you’re looking at it sometimes.
You can bring the display to life by pressing the side button or you can turn on the raise to wake feature, which is supposed to fire up the display every time you raise your wrist. This works flawlessly with the Apple Watch SE, but I found it a bit hit and miss with the Wyze Watch.
There’s no microphone or speaker, so you can’t take or make calls or interact with a voice assistant from your wrist. There’s no mobile payment support. There’s no location tracking or GPS. There’s no third-party app support. There’s no support for music. You get the picture. The Wyze Watch also has a very limited set of customization options that comprises a handful of different watch faces.
Should You Buy It?
Yes, it’s a great trial option for those on a tight budget
If you can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars, but you fancy trying out a smartwatch, the Wyze Watch is a great place to start. There’s always an element of getting what you pay for with tech, but the gap between the Wyze Watch and other sub-$100 devices is negligible, so you have to spend a lot more to get something substantially better.
If you simply want a smartwatch with basic features the Wyze Watch is enough. It pings when you get an incoming message or call. It gives you basic time, date, and weather info on your wrist. It tracks your steps, workouts, and sleep, and gives you a rough idea of heart rate and blood oxygen trends. Best of all, it only needs to be charged once a week.
Only hybrid smartwatches like the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR offer better battery life, but you’ll have to pay a lot more for a device like that. Amazfit offers some budget smartwatches, like the Bip range or the slightly superior Amazfit GTS, but nothing nearly as affordable as the Wyze Watch. It may also be worth considering one of the best fitness trackers instead.
The best smartwatches start from around $200 and go up from there. As flawed and limited as it is, the Wyze Watch is astounding value for $20.
Meet the tester
Simon Hill is a freelance technology journalist with a decade of writing experience covering everything from smartphones to smart home gadgets. For the last few years, he served as Associate Editor at Digital Trends where he wrote features, reviews, analysis, how-tos, and more.
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