The Makibes F68 is one of the cheapest Smart Watches available with a heart rate sensor.
I decided to try it just to see if it could be of any use in real life.
For me, the ideal budget sport watch does not exist yet, I mean, not below 100€ anyway.
None of them deserve to replace my favorite Citizen Eco-Drive Skyhawk, which is not smart but solar powered and nearly indestructible.
My selection criteria are however not too unrealistic I think:
1. Heart Rate monitor and pedometer with some accuracy
2. Bluetooth 4.0, allowing interaction with standard fitness equipment and apps supporting BLE/Bluetooth Smart.
3. Battery life of one week
4. At least rated waterproof IP 67: this rating should allow to swim for a limited time in shallow water. (6.x = Dust resistant, x.7 = Immersion up to 1 m, of course IP68 is better)
5. Some way to sync the information with popular fitness apps (MyFitnessPal, Google Fit, ...)
6. Clock function
Not needed in my case: GPS, Phone module, Camera
...and so far, none of the available models I've seen can tick all the boxes. It's either the battery life too short, the absence of display, not being waterproof, or the ridiculous thickness of the watch, ...there's always something wrong!
Of course, I presume that such a cheap gadget won't meet all my expectations, but at least I wish it could fill the gap until the real thing comes out on the market. I have ordered another cheap watch, the Makibes JW018 (aka Aoluguya S12) which will be reviewed soon after this one.
Manufacturer website: http://www.cnmaxever.com/smart-watch/f68.html
The Makibes F68 Smart Sport Watch is available for 27€ at Gearbest. It is also found under a variety of brands and names like Aoluguya G7 (about twice the price).
Unpacking and first look:
The F68 has a neat packaging, and comes with a black and a blue wrist band. The watch is smaller and thinner than expected and actually looks more like a kid's watch. The wrist band is actually quite short, 22cm from the last hole of the strap to the base of the tang.
First use: easy to start
The watch can only be turned on by placing it on the charging base.
Setup is easy through the touch screen and the the "Quick Understand" notice is just needed for the QR code to the phone app.
Once the BT function is ON (padlock symbol unlocked on the watch), the pairing with the dedicated HPlus Watch app is straightforward.
Optoelectronic heart rate sensor: for indicative purpose only...
Compared to other devices (BT chest strap, Blood pressure monitor, smart scale, fitness equipment) the F68 generally rates a few beats higher and also sometimes records sudden false peaks to over 190 bpm which could be worrying for people using this gadget as a reference for their health condition. The watch has 2 HR modes, the sport mode is continuous and should be used only for the time of a specific sport session as it will eat the battery faster. The Healthy mode takes periodic readings and is for all-day report.
There is a pedometer, which can be sometimes very stubborn at not detecting steps...
Connectivity and app: feeling alone...
Only the dedicated HPlus Watch is compatible with the watch. It is a good app -with rooms for improvement- but should be fine for most users. Regrettably, data cannot be exported or linked with other apps, like MapMyRun, Runtastic PRO, Endomondo, and that's a show-stopper for me.
Battery life: 7 days is optimistic
Expectedly, the watch does not last the 7 days advertised. With BT always on and the HR sensor used in Healthy mode, I reached a maximum of 3 days. The battery life could be stretched a bit more by not leaving BT on all the time. It is not necessary since watch can keep data in memory for up to 7 days.
Waterproof: yes, but...
The watch survived the swimming pool test and I believe it might be IP67 as advertised, but the touch sensitive screen reacts to the water which can cause settings changes and random functions activation.
Functions: clock and some more
The watch features a clock. It seems obvious but many sport watches just don't do that. Other functions like chronograph, vibrating alarm and message/call notification are working as expected. The sedentary reminder and the speed analysis have to be activated on the watch and didn't give convincing results for me: According to the watch, I sleep an average of 2-hours/night and I've been reminded to get up and walk while I was already running on a treadmill!
This low cost watch has unachieved potential and the lack of compatibility with popular fitness apps is its weakest point. It remains a gadget rather than a real sport watch because of its average accuracy.
However, despite all the red dots below, it is an interesting entry level smart watch for the price (27€ at Gearbest). Note that an improved version is on the way as the F69.
● Very affordable
● Complete set of functions
● Can be used without a smartphone
● Decent companion app, HPlus Watch.
Not so good:
● Not compatible with popular fitness apps. Can only be used with the dedicated app.
● Some bugs in the watch itself, like turning off BT sometimes restarts the watch
● HR sensor sometimes goes wild.
● Waterproof but touch screen reacts to water contact.● Short wristband (about 23cm total length, watch included)
● Average battery life, 3 days rather than 7.
|User Manual; click for full size|