Realme Watch S Review: Smart watch performance for fitness band money
If you don’t fancy spending big money on a smartwatch, but still want something that looks and acts the part, Realme’s Watch S could be for you.
Realme’s new smartwatch is quite a step up from its original Watch, with a round display this time and improved user interface. While the huge bezel on the chin of the original smartwatch has now gone, it has been replaced with a large bezel that surrounds the 1.3-inch LCD display – somewhat reminiscent of the Pebble Time Round (but higher resolution, thankfully).
Offering a number of different tracking modes, sleep monitoring (with detection of the various stages of your sleep cycle), a blood oxygen meter, and up to 15 days battery life, this is a pretty powerful watch inside a cheap case (but don’t confuse cheap for poor quality, as it does still feel pretty solid despite using cheaper materials).
The Watch S only works with Android devices, although Realme does say it is working hard on releasing an iOS app.
With the aforementioned continuous heart rate monitor, blood oxygen (SpO2) meter, and a decent app that allows you keep track of all your activity and sleep, you’re getting a lot for your money here. Setting up the watch takes no time at all, and the phone comes with a simple magnetic dock for the time you’ll need to charge (which isn’t very often).
Everything is controlled from a touchscreen interface, with two buttons on the side to access the menu or to quickly start tracking an activity (it offers 16 sport modes in all).
An Apple-like icon based menu gives access to the various functions, and while pretty basic, it all works fine.
Add in alarms, timers and a weather app and you get all of the basics here, plus a few extra bonuses…
The watch can also be used to trigger the camera shutter on your phone, as well as operate as a remote control for your chosen music app. You can also receive notifications on the watch, and see who is calling.
The watch is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance (but it isn’t recommended for use when swimming or in a shower), and you can even change the straps (see below).
There’s not really anything bad about the watch. Yes, it has been built to a price, but the money has been spent where needed – namely the functionality.
Like the original Watch I reviewed, I did find the strap to be an issue. After using it for a few days, I started to get a rash and I had no choice but to remove it for 24 hours and apply lotion to try and soften and repair the skin.
It’s worth noting I have sensitive skin and use non-biological washing powder, so this may not be a problem for everyone – but if it is, bear this in mind.
Luckily the straps are replaceable, and the effects can be mitigated by ensuring you keep the watch strap dry at all times. If you get sweaty after a workout, remove it and give it a rinse – then allow it to dry before putting it back on.
You’ll also discover the choice of watch faces to be very limited. Realme boasts over 100 to choose from, but if you want a digital face with seconds, sorry, that’s a no. Not a single one shows seconds.
Likewise, many don’t show the key at-a-glance information you might want. Some might show heart rate, or steps, or calories, and some might show the battery remaining. Few show all or even most of those things.
You can’t customise any of them to choose what you do or don’t want to show, which severely limits your actual choice. The only custom option is to choose a static image of your own choosing, and then choose the position of the time on top. Even that doesn’t let you pick what additional metrics to display.
None show the weather either, which can only be viewed from within the menu.
Perhaps more watch faces will become available over time, but don’t base your purchase on this.
As long as you set your expectations at a realistic level, the Realme Watch S is perfect for anyone that wants decent fitness and activity tracking, but doesn’t want to go down the very basic fitness band route.
There’s excellent battery life on offer here too, with the need to charge it only every couple of weeks – which makes it outperform most of its premium rivals.
The Watch S is also a big improvement over the original Realme Watch in terms of looks, and for not that much more money.
Realme does point out the watch isn’t a medical instrument and shouldn’t be relied upon for medical diagnosis, but few watches do (one exception being the Withings Scanwatch) and those that do all cost significantly more.
Overall, you can’t really go wrong for £75 and it is even better still if you can get one when Realme runs a promotion that will likely take £10-20 off the price from time to time.
Pricing & Availability
The Realme Watch S is available from Realme’s website for £74.99 (before promotions).
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