Technological advances have freed us from the look and feel of traditional analog dials with rotating minute and hour hands. Today, we wear mini-computers on our wrist that can be used for much more than displaying time. With a smartwatch, you can track your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, access the app store, and answer messages.
But unlike some of its predecessors, these aren’t exactly cheap watches. That’s why our guide is designed to help you find the best budget smartwatch, which is the perfect blend of activity tracking, battery life, and, of course, value.
- Long battery life
- Monitors sleep breathing quality
- Blood oxygen saturation measurement
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
Smartwatch Design and Display
The simplicity of the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini design is a step up from its predecessors Amazfit GTS 2 and GTS 2e. Although it shares some characteristics with the Apple Watch Series 6 when it comes to design, this is a far more affordable option and is widely considered the best low-cost smartwatch out there.
When compared to many other smartwatches, Amazfit 2 GTS Mini feels remarkably light. The case is made from titanium alloy and plastic. The watch is suitable for both showering and swimming, and you can dive up to 50 meters while it’s strapped to your wrist. Customers have a choice between three vibrant colors: flamingo pink, sage green, and midnight black.
The screen is somewhat smaller than the other two Amazfit models. But the always-on AMOLED display enhances both the clarity and colors, which adds an extra dose of visual excitement. These dynamic and practical features are just some of the things that make this the best budget smartwatch.
Lab data shows that Amazfit GTS 2 Mini provides 14 days of battery life. But that number will vary depending on numerous factors such as the settings and the operating conditions. The battery life can be reduced by heavy usage and even different types of skin. We’re happy to report that the battery lasted for six days while running every app and function available, including several blood oxygen tests, sleep and heart-rate monitoring, and 45-minute running sessions every day.
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini uses a 220 mAh battery, which is the same type of battery used on more expensive models. Battery-wise, this is one of the best economical smartwatch models available on the market. It uses a charging cable with magnets and takes about two hours to fully charge.
Applications and Interface
Fitness tracking features are a key component of this device, which comes with more than 70 built-in sports modes. These provide everything from notifications about different exercise stages to heart rate and physical status monitoring. You’ll also get sports data reports after completing your workout.
Moreover, the device can serve as a personal health guardian by measuring your blood oxygen saturation while monitoring your heart rate and sleep quality. Widely regarded as the best budget women’s smartwatch, Amazfit GTS 2 Mini comes with a female cycle tracking tool. There is also a PAI health assessment system that uses an algorithm to process data about your heart rate and other information in order to produce a score on your physical state. We tested out these features and found them to be a great indicator of the impact that your daily habits have on your overall health.
Connectivity is a mixed bag since there is no support for Wi-Fi on GTS 2 Mini models. However, it comes with Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0, which typically allows for data transfer speeds of up to 2Mbps and communication over distances of 240 meters. This is also considered the best low-budget smartwatch because users can remotely control their mobile phone to snap selfies.
Overall, this smartwatch is an excellent fitness monitoring device in its price range. It’s easy to use and responsive, the battery life is solid, and the selection of features makes up for any shortcomings for those who may wish to install more apps. Our overall experience with Amazfit GTS 2 Mini was definitely impressive enough to get the device on our list of the best budget smartwatch models.
Huawei Watch Fit
Smartwatch Design and Display
The first word that comes to mind when coming into contact with Huawei Watch Fit is style. It wouldn’t be a stretch to label it as having the most stylish design on our best low-cost smartwatch list. The case is made from durable polymer fiber with a matte finish, and the design borrows heavily from the Apple Watch alternatives. On the downside, the strap feels a little too spongy.
With a slightly arched AMOLED display and vibrant colors, using Huawei Watch Fit is a treat for your eyes. Everything is clearly displayed, and the interface is user-friendly. Thanks to the 456 x 280 HD resolution, the screen feels perfectly adequate. The only thing that bugged us is the comparably low visibility when the device is exposed to strong sunlight.
On the other hand, this is also regarded by some as the best budget smartwatch for health activities thanks to its scientific guidance and extensive analysis. In addition, the water resistance rating of 50 meters allows you to use it for shallow-water activities, including swimming.
Huawei Watch Fit comes with a 180 mAh battery that can last up to 10 days if you enable sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring, work out for 30 minutes per week, and receive up to 50 messages and three calls every 24 hours. But if you activate the GPS mode, you’ll need to charge the device after around 12 hours. Ultimately the battery life depends on user habits, but these are pretty accurate estimates that place Huawei among the best budget waterproof and GPS smartwatch devices.
The magnetic charger isn’t as impressive, especially if you want to use the smartwatch while it’s charging. Still, the charger is powerful enough, as we managed to fully recharge the smartwatch within about an hour.
Applications and Interface
Getting used to LiteOS takes a bit of time. But ultimately, users will appreciate the visuals and responsiveness of the interface and installed apps. Simply swiping across the touchscreen will get you access to everything from the activity dashboard to heart rate and stress level monitoring, and even the weather. Perhaps, it’s the sheer range of health-related options in the apps that justifies designating this device as the best smartwatch on a budget. Fitness aficionados will love what Huawei Watch Fit can do.
The device comes with 96 workout modes, which include real-time workout metrics for a total of 11 professional sport modes such as swimming and running. The remaining 85 modes can be customized. In addition to tracking the duration of the workout, the watch monitors your breathing, heart rate, and calories.
It’s also important to note that this GPS smartphone watch is reliable, and the data collected is remarkably accurate. This is one of the defining characteristics of any best budget smartwatch for health.
While there’s a music playback option, you can only play songs from your phone, not from the actual smartwatch. One more thing we didn’t like is the lack of proper support for third-party apps.
Like much of the competition, the Huawei Watch Fit only supports Bluetooth 5.0 that offers decent speed and coverage. Although this is pretty standard for the best smartwatch for the price range, we would’ve liked to see more options. Of course, there are a few additional perks when you connect the device to a Huawei mobile phone.
You can snag one of these watches on Amazon for anywhere between $88.99 and $98.99, depending on whether you choose the slightly lower-priced graphic black option or the pink one. This is widely regarded as the best budget smartwatch among sports lovers, but those that have other interests may not find it as useful.
Smartwatch design and display
In our quest to figure out what is the best budget smartwatch, we stumbled upon one device that a lot of consumers haven’t necessarily heard of. The NDUR smartwatch was a pleasant surprise thanks to several features that you wouldn’t commonly find on low-cost devices.
The body is made from zinc alloy, and the fashionable sports watch is available in several colors, including gold and turquoise. Moreover, the screen has a tempered glass display, and the device is water-resistant up to three meters. The touchscreen is responsive, and the display is surprisingly bright, which should make it easier to use under sunlight.
The NDUR smartwatch has a 170 mAh battery that can last up to seven days with regular activity. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to brand it as the best budget smartwatch with an activity tracker because the battery lasted for five days during our intense usage of fitness tracking features. Surprisingly, it’s the notifications app that drains much of the battery’s resources. Of course, it all comes down to how many notifications you’re receiving.
Applications and interface
Blood pressure monitoring sensors are often reserved for more expensive smartwatches. But despite its low price tag, NDUR has this tool along with a few other surprising options. As such, this device might just be the best budget smartwatch with blood pressure reading functions.
You’ll also get a blood oxygen sensor and fitness trackers for walking, running, badminton, cycling, soccer, and baseball. There were some accuracy issues with the heart rate monitor, which gives a slightly higher reading than other devices. Also, the sleep tracking tool can turn on when you’re merely lying down and watching television.
It’s also important to note that the smartwatch doesn’t have GPS, which means that you shouldn’t always expect an accurate reading. However, the watch can connect to your phone and its GPS system to track running distances and chosen routes.
The core app, Da Fit, syncs the gathered data from your smartwatch to Google Fit for more detailed analysis. And as is the case with other options on our best budget smartwatch list, you can listen to music and get notifications about calls and messages. That includes messages from the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and WeChat. Unfortunately, answering messages is currently not supported.
The smartwatch comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and is compatible with any Android 5.0+ and iOS 9.0+ device. But don’t let the 4.0 protocol dissuade you. The speeds are similar to the ones you’d get with Bluetooth 5.0. Perhaps, the only reason this can’t be described as the best budget Bluetooth smartwatch is the range. It’s more limited in this regard than other smartwatches we’ve reviewed and theoretically supports a range of up to 10 meters as opposed to the 243 meters available with the 5.0 option. However, it can still guarantee a great connection with your smartphone.
To get a brand new NDUR smartwatch, you’ll need to part with a minimum of $65.00. The price goes up if you opt for a bubblegum pink band or a midnight black nylon band. Whatever design you choose, you’ll get an impressive set of features for this price range. Even outside the US, NDUR offers great value, and at less than £50, it’s considered the best budget smartwatch in the UK.
Smartwatch design and display
The design won’t exactly take your breath away, but the TicWatch GTX is bulky and looks a bit macho. Perhaps that explains why some regard it as the best smartwatch for men on a budget.
There are two buttons on the right side: one is a shortcut to a workout tracking app, and the other opens the main screen with all the options.
Although the device is water and sweat proof, the IP68 rating means that it can only be submerged up to a maximum depth of 1.5 meters, which is notably less than other watches on our list. A few other components are equally inferior. For instance, scrolling through the different screens can feel a bit laggy.
That said, this isn’t some cheap alternative to other devices that are competing for the best knock-off smartwatch award. TicWatch GTX offers simplicity and the essentials at a highly affordable price.
The 200 mAh battery can last seven days with regular use and up to 10 days with the Power Saving Mode on. Our testing shows that you can run the sleep and heart rate tracking apps and get notifications of incoming messages and calls for almost a week before having to charge the device – a quick process that only takes two hours. In short, you’re getting a men’s smartwatch with long battery life.
Applications and interface
This may not be the very best budget smartwatch for outdoorsmen, but it has its perks. You can get the full list of workout tracking and heart rate monitoring apps by swiping sideways across your screen. The upper button on the left side of the smartwatch allows you to see all available apps, such as TicPulse, TicExercise, and TicSleep.
There are other features such as music control that work fine, but you cannot use it during workout sessions, nor can you add it as a widget. The core features, including the notifications app, enable you to view your incoming calls and messages, which you can then delete. But we can’t say that this is the best budget smartwatch with messaging options because some messages break mid-sentence.
The fitness tracking apps employ a heart rate monitor and an accelerometer to track outdoor activity, monitor sleeping patterns, and count your steps. Unfortunately, there is no GPS, which means that distance tracking isn’t always accurate.
The TicExercise app offers 14 workout modes, including running, swimming, rowing, mountain climbing, basketball, jump rope, and cycling. The app tracks everything from the duration of your workouts to the number of calories being burned and your heart rate. However, TicWatch GTX isn’t the best budget smartwatch for heart rate tracking because the readings tend to be inaccurate at times. On the other hand, this smartwatch and fitness tracker will still provide you with very useful information about your step count and overall physical progress.
The TicWatch GTX uses the standard Bluetooth 5.0 and is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Unfortunately, there are no Wi-Fi capabilities. But whatever it lacks in terms of connectivity, it makes up for in price.
With a price tag of just $39.99, TicWatch GTX is the most affordable option on our best budget smartwatch list. With its long battery life, notifications app, and adequate fitness tracking options, this is a device you can’t afford to overlook if you’re shopping on a budget.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
Smartwatch design and display
The square design is a departure from the traditionally round Xiaomi Mi watches. In that regard,
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite borrows heavily from the Apple Watch design. But this device, which has a plastic case and a TRU strap, is actually the best budget Android smartwatch.
The display is solid, but the colors feel a bit muted since it’s not an AMOLED screen. Touchscreen functions work well, and the watch is water-resistant for up to 50 meters.
This smartphone comes with a 230 mAh battery that should work for nine days before you need to recharge it. We’ve tested the battery life by activating daily tracking of workouts, heart rates, and sleep monitoring. With this heavy usage, the battery lasts at least five days. In addition to being ranked among the best budget waterproof smartwatch options, this device allows you to enjoy up to 10 hours of continuous GPS usage.
Applications and interface
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite provides all the essential tools you’d expect from an affordable smartwatch. You can receive notifications of calls and messages, but you can’t answer them. It also allows you to control the music library on your phone.
You’ll get precise readings thanks to the three-axis accelerometer, gyroscope motion sensors, a barometer, and a GPS paired with GLONASS. Of course, Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite won’t take the best budget blood pressure smartwatch title since there’s no such feature. But it does have 11 sports settings, some of which are for running, swimming, and cycling. The Xiaomi model also has a PPG heart rate monitor for constant tracking and the Firstbeat app that offers many options for training and recovery.
We’ve tested the fitness tracking options with three-mile-long runs, and the readings were accurate and easy to check. It may even be a bit too easy since the app removes additional analysis information to simplify the results. These results cannot be moved to another app, like Google Fit, for more details.
The connectivity support is solid for a best budget smartwatch. It has Bluetooth 5.0 with speeds up to 2Mbps and over 200 meters of coverage. A nice bonus comes in the form of A2DP support for better high-quality audio streaming between two A2DP devices.
For the price of $59.99, you cannot go wrong with the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite. Admittedly, it’s light on features, and some features offer slim readings. But what is here works well enough out of the box.
How Does a Smartwatch Help You
Smartwatches are multifunctional tools. Broadly speaking, the ideal smartwatch is the perfect combination of function and form. Most of these devices are capable of alerting you about important events and displaying notifications from your mobile phone that enable you to keep up with messages and calls.
Some are intended for specific purposes like fitness tracking and can automatically record a broad range of activities. You can also browse the internet, receive GPS location-specific alerts, and with some discount smartwatches, you can even watch movies on Netflix.
What To Keep an Eye on When Choosing a Smartwatch
There are a couple of things to be mindful of when picking a smartwatch. For starters, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t expect to get your hands on the fastest and most feature-packed devices. That said, an affordable smartwatch still has plenty to offer.
The first thing to do before pulling the trigger on a smartwatch is to check the battery life. Of course, the longer the battery lasts, the better. With a low price smartwatch, good battery life should get you through the day with normal use, but you should always find out how long the battery lasts when all apps are active.
Next, find out if the smartwatch is water-resistant and if you can access the app store. Lastly, it’s the deal breakers – the connectivity options. Most smartwatches come with Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth, or Long Term Evolution (LTE). These allow users to connect to cellular networks, use various apps, and transfer data between connected devices.
We use strict criteria when evaluating the capabilities of smartwatches. Even the most affordable smartwatch can come with flaws like an awkward design. That’s why we thoroughly examine everything from the design and touchscreen to the battery life and the overall user experience. We also look at the connectivity options and whether the device is waterproof. In addition, we’ll assess the prices and tell you what kind of bang you get for your buck.
Smartwatch Design and Display
A lot of consumers want smartwatches that can accurately record their walking, running, biking, and even hiking sessions. As such, the best budget fitness smartwatch is one that is sturdy enough to take a few knocks and falls. It should also have a responsive touchscreen and clearly laid out menus. In addition to the design, we look at the hardware ticking at the heart of the device.
Imagine you’re out running for hours and realize that you’ve forgotten to charge your smartwatch beforehand. That’s when you need a device with good battery life and one that uses limited battery power. That said, even the best budget smartwatch can drain the battery pretty quickly.
To help you avoid unpleasant situations, we look at how long the battery lasts after it’s juiced up. We also review other equally crucial factors like the battery type and the charger being used to give you a realistic picture of what you’re getting.
Applications and Interface
Regardless of the operating system being used, every smartwatch offers specific apps. These are the tools that enable the best smartwatch purchased on a budget to assist you with different aspects of everyday life. Of course, not all smartwatches are created equal, and not all support the specific apps you’ll need.
In addition to identifying the operating system and the compatibility of the device, we also look at the selection of preinstalled apps, what apps can be downloaded, or if you can download apps at all.
Connectivity and Additional Features
For a gadget to be ranked as the best smartwatch within budget, it should have wireless communications capabilities that enable users to connect to the internet or cellular networks.
We look at the kind of wireless connection the smartwatch has and what you can expect from it. We went a step further by checking the roster for any other noteworthy features that may enhance the overall user experience and affect your purchasing decision. So, if the device is suitable for some deep-sea diving, you’ll be the first one to know.
Price and Value
There is no such thing as the best generic smartwatch. Consumers need smartwatches for different things, and ultimately, the device you choose to wear around your wrist comes down to what you can afford.
The most expensive watch is not necessarily the best watch, as you can end up with a bunch of useless apps that are sure to break the bank. That’s why we compare the prices on offer and present different options for different tastes.
Best Budget Smartwatches – Our Top Selection
- Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
- Huawei Watch Fit
- TicWatch GTX
- NDUR Smartwatch
- Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite
What is the best inexpensive smartwatch?
If you’re looking for a cheap smartwatch and don’t have too many preferences when it comes to features, the Wyze Watch will cost you a mere $19.99. The aluminum case gives this best budget tough smartwatch a sturdy design, with a decent 1.4 inch TFT LCD touchscreen. In addition, it tracks your heart rate, blood oxygen, number of steps, and sleep patterns. Unfortunately, Wyze Watch uses motion sensor tracking that is not as accurate as GPS smartwatch tracking.
What is the best smartwatch under $100?
The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is a great smartwatch that costs $84.99. When we talk about the best budget smartwatch for runners, the GTS 2 Mini surprised us with its competent voice and speaker assistant. In addition, it uses a lightweight AMOLED screen with a high-quality finish, looks unique, and comes with a battery that can last up to 14 days.
What’s the best smartwatch for 2020?
By far, the best smartwatch available on the market is the Apple Watch SE. It has an excellent design, paired with a 1.78 inch OLED display and the dual-core Apple S5 processor. You’ll need an iPhone to use this smartwatch. Keep in mind that the price is steep, as this model does not belong in the best budget iOS smartwatch category.
Is Amazfit owned by Amazon?
Despite the misleading title, Amazfit is owned by Huami, not Amazon. Huami works with Xiaomi as a smartwatch supplier. Amazfit creates more technically superior smartwatches. Aside from working on smartwatches, Amazfit develops ear wearables.
Is Amazfit better than Fitbit?
It’s hard to compete with the high standards set by Fitbit, but Amazfit is getting closer to the top smartwatches on the market with every new model. Their smartwatches have a sophisticated design, superior battery life, and many apps. These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the best budget smartwatch list that doesn’t include Amazfit.