If I’m being honest, most smartwatches are too expensive for what they have to offer.
Sure, there are standalone watches that can connect to a mobile network, but they are less than ideal.
I truly believe one of the best features of owning a smartwatch is that it can act as a companion to your phone. This will allow you to receive calls, messages, notifications, emails – all of it – on your wrist, provided you pick out the right watch.
Why does this intrigue me so much? Because I am always glued to my damn phone – for work and play.
When I sit down to eat dinner or relax, I do my best to go off the grid and just leave my phone alone but it doesn’t always work out. For example, my brother in law loves to text me daily and see what’s happening in my life. So, I end up spending most of the time I’m on my patio – when I just want to relax with a beer and stogie – texting on a phone.
Now this is great because the technology allows us to stay in touch. The downside is that I spend most of my day in front of a computer screen, so I don’t really like being glued to my smartphone too.
That’s why I’ve been experimenting for a while with various smartwatches and fitness bands. If I can find the right one, I’ll be able to leave my phone inside when I’m out relaxing, and tinker with the watch or band instead. This is true of any activity really.
There are those who will scoff and say why not just leave the phone inside and ignore it. My answer is because I’m not an asshole. I like the conversations I have with my brother in law, and it’s not the act of texting or talking to him that I want to avoid. It’s the fact that I can’t seem to get away from my smartphone, even when I want to.
That’s exactly why I was intrigued when I came across the No 1 G5 watch. It’s cheap as hell, and if it works there are a ton of features I can use.
But I’ve never really heard of something so cheap with a good track record. It makes sense. If a smartwatch that cheap really did work great, wouldn’t everyone know about it? Wouldn’t it be a hot seller?
Naturally, I felt there was a catch. But the watch is cheap, and my curiosity outweighed my better judgment.
I can honestly say I’m glad it did.
I will say this. The No 1 G5 is not perfect, far from it, but it is a great device – especially for the price.
Let’s talk about why I recommend it if you’re in the market for a cheap smartwatch like this.
The No 1 G5 Smartwatch
I’ll start this off by saying the G5 looks like a regular watch. It’s about the same size as one too. I do have bigger wrists, though, so the watches I tend to wear are generally large. Your mileage may vary with this one.
The touchscreen display is round and there are second-hand markings around the exterior bezel. The bezel doesn’t rotate or shift, it’s merely for decoration.
On the left side of the watch is a micro-USB charging port – and the watch comes bundled with a cable. On the right side are three physical buttons, each programmed to a specific task. The middle button will return you home and display the time. The top button will activate a stopwatch, and the bottom button will turn on the pedometer function. It goes without saying, the pedometer is to track physical activity.
With something this cheap, you’ll want to know the caveats up front. I sure did.
The mobile apps that allow you to connect the watch to your phone are wonky as hell, but they work.
Battery life isn’t the greatest either, but the watch will last long enough to get you through your day – unless you’re using it constantly.
There are only a couple watch faces to choose from, with one extra face available to download through the companion app. That’s it. If you’re a stickler for personalization then this might not be the smartwatch for you.
I didn’t mind, because I simply chose the face I liked best and let the watch do its thing.
Also, I was surprised to see that the Bluetooth range isn’t very far. I was certainly able to leave my phone in the house and relax on the patio just like I wanted, but any further than that would have been a problem.
For reference, I left my phone sitting on a bar counter approximately 20 feet away. I did have my phone in the office a couple times – which is on the other side of the house – and the watch disconnected. There is a proximity alarm that will let you know when you wander out of the connection area, but I turned it off because it got too annoying.
The No 1 G5 does exactly what I wanted it to do. Will it do what you want? I’m not sure, that depends on what you’re looking for.
It can take – and place – calls to contacts through a connected phone. Answering calls on the watch is great, the mic picks up your voice clear and the internal speakers play back the sound plenty loud enough. I was able to call and talk to my wife in the middle of the grocery store – and Wal-Mart – plenty of times.
The G5 will also receive text messages, social alerts, and notifications that arrive on your phone. Sadly, you cannot text back or reply because there is no built-in keyboard but the screen is so small I didn’t care. I used the watch to screen messages and alerts and picked up my phone only when something important came in – exactly how it should be.
The pedometer is not accurate – Fitbit and Jawbone do it better – but it’s not a serious problem unless you’re strict on tracking health. But I did notice lag during stat calculations.
Another downside to the fitness tracking is you have to manually activate it. Nothing happens automatically. This is only a minor nuisance but could be a big problem if you’re interested in the watch solely for the fitness tracking.
I could see people forgetting to turn on the pedometer before a run, missing out on that sweet, sweet fitness data.
Everything else works great.
The No 1 G5 Is Excellent for the Price
If you’re looking for something affordable with basic features the No 1 G5 is an excellent choice. I know I’m happy with it despite its shortcomings. I mean it’s only $30 to $40 depending on where you buy the watch. To me, it’s worth that and then some.
The No 1 G5 smartwatch is $33.99 at Geekbuying, which is one of the cheaper vendors.
But if you’d rather buy from a more reputable source like Amazon, you can do that too. Keep in mind there are several variants available. The model in the pics – and used for the review – was black. Silver and gold are also available.
Be sure to check it out.
No 1 G5 Smartwatch Image Gallery
Disclaimer: Geekbuying graciously provided the No 1 G5 for this review.