Realme’s new smartwatch retails at just £49.99. This may set your expectations low, but you’ll be surprised how much it can do.
It reminds me very much of my old Amazfit Bip (and subsequent successors), but there’s one key difference here; the screen isn’t always on.
The upside is a higher resolution display (320×320 pixels), albeit with a huge bezel at the base that hides a near invisible Realme logo.
From the outset, forget about this being some sort of luxury timepiece and instead consider it to be a powerful fitness tracker with a perfectly functional screen to show the time and notifications, as well as allowing you to swipe around the touch user interface.
If you want a watch with far more features and a lot more style, there are plenty of people out there willing to take a lot more money from your pocket.
At under £50, the Realme watch will track your workouts, count your steps, keep tabs on your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, see how much quality sleep you’re getting, or show your phone notifications so you can leave the phone in your pocket.
It will also let you use your phone as a remote control for some features (see below).
The tracking includes:
- Outdoor Run
- Indoor Run
- Outdoor Cycle
- Aerobic Activity
- Strength Training
- Table Tennis
- Indoor Cycle
The touchscreen user interface is far easier to use here than on the many cheaper band-style trackers, of which by their very design makes it difficult to convey notifications and messages.
The 20mm straps are easily removed for swapping out, either for another Realme strap or one of hundreds of options you can buy online. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to replace the bundled plastic strap as I did get a bit of a rash after a couple of days (but, I did shower with the watch on).
Yes, the watch is fully IP rated so you can take it into the water (the usual warning applies to sea water though; namely the salt can damage the watch with prolonged exposure).
Another reason to change the strap is the weird design where you push the strap underneath.
It takes a bit of getting used to – and it’s quite time consuming – but it does stop you getting it tangled up in a sleeve, should that have ever been a problem.
You can change watch faces, but at the time of writing there was no way to download new ones. This means you’re limited to just 12 designs.
Only six can be stored on the watch at once, so you’ll need to pick your chosen six from within the app.
I think it’s fair to say you shouldn’t buy this watch if you want a lot of control over customisation, because there really isn’t much you can do besides change the strap.
But, this watch isn’t trying to be anything more than what it is – a simple watch that tracks your daily life.
Two nice features added on are the ability to control your media, using your watch as a remote control, which includes using the watch as a remote shutter button for your phone camera.
There’s also a power saving function that kills background tracking and bumps the battery life up by loads; potentially a month or more. If you only want a basic watch, this mode is for you – but it’s unlikely most people will want to dumb down the functionality to that level.
I think for the target audience Realme has included all the essentials and a couple of extras.
If you want something to look and act like a more expensive watch, buy a more expensive watch. Sister-brand Oppo will soon have one for sale, and you’ve already got the likes of the Huawei Watch GT2 and Honor’s Magic Watch 2.
The Oppo watch runs Google’s WearOS and allows you to install apps, but this doesn’t interest me personally because I’ll use my phone for most things that are better suited for a large phone display. A watch to me is for the basics like telling the time and capturing data relating to my daily activities. Showing incoming messages is another bonus as it allows me to ‘screen’ my calls and notifications.
Realme’s first smartwatch is perfectly capable, and while I’d have liked a bigger screen (and smaller bezel) and would have loved an e-paper style screen, the watch does what it sets out to do – and for not a lot of money.
The battery easily performed to Realme’s own stats for me, which might surprise those who are skeptical about manufacturer figures versus real-world figures.
Realme states 7 to 9 days between charges, and I got the full 9 – with some to spare.
Now, given most of us aren’t doing much at the moment, I’ll admit my movements have been a little less than normal so if we agree to knock a day or two off to make things a bit more realistic, it is still fine by me.
In a future model, I’d love a better screen and a bit more customisation, but not if this results in a big price increase.
For now, Realme has come up with a highly affordable watch that doesn’t require loads of research and hunting around for a better price. Just go to the Realme site or Amazon and job done.
- Decent set of features for price
- Excellent battery life
- Not a significant financial investment
- Control music/camera from watch
- Get a new strap if you have sensitive skin
- No automatic brightness or always-on option
- No always on screen option