Here is a smartwatch review from a guy who doesn’t like wearing watches and about a watch brand you’ve never even heard of: Alfawise.
So are you ready to skip this review?
Not so fast, my friend! Our findings might surprise you...
Let’s look at this Alfawise KW88 Pro 3G Smart Watch from a different perspective.
Full disclosure: yes, I have always had a watch, from a cheap Timex to an Omega Flightmaster back in the days when I became a commercial pilot.
I sold the Omega as the Timex was more accurate... Go figure that one out!
Ever since I started to carry mobile phones about 20 years ago I left my watch in the drawer except for special occasions.
Now the smartwatch has been trying to carve out a niche in our lives, wanting to become as essential as a smartphone – even trying to act like a phone. Do we all want to look like secret agents of yesteryear, talking into our wrist?
One obstacle: price can be an issue. We’ve reviewed some Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony watches and they were relatively expensive for what they offered.
Now, a whole slew of smartwatches are available for a price point that is quite affordable.
The Alfawise KW88 Pro 3G Smart Watch is one like that. With its camera and 3G connectivity it’s priced at around a hundred Aussie bucks.
I was sceptical at first as to how useful it would be but the price is worth the effort of getting to know the KW88.
Here are some of the main features as listed (full specs also) on their website – just click this link.
• Android 7 supporting Android Wear apps
• Phone functionality with nano SIM 2G/3G networks
• Full fitness features like heart rate, tracking, strength training
• Hundreds of clock faces to suit every style and taste
• Connectivity include Bluetooth 4
• Supports voice search
• Wireless Music playing and control
• Inbuilt 2MP camera
• 3 day battery life
So that’s quite an impressive list of features for $100. Granted, it’s not the latest and greatest specs but handy enough to see if having a smartwatch will be useful for you.
Well, GearBest shipped out this watch to us more than 5 weeks before we received it. For some strange reason this Chinese product was shipped to Sweden and then finally on to Australia. Hopefully, that’s not the case with every one of their products.
The one thing that attracted me in this and other smart watches is the huge range of watch faces.
Here are some I really like:
Another aspect I thought I would like is the Bluetooth connection to my phone, meaning that I can use the Smart Lock function on my Android when I wear the watch.
In practice the watch disconnected frequently, making this not a great option.
As with practically all Bluetooth products there’s an app with that. The Wiiwatch app absolutely sucks. Bad design, unintelligent and of no benefit at all.
The KW88 Pro itself had plenty of functionality, being an Android based device. Interface is fairly easy to navigate. Most smartwatches and fitness trackers are meant to be worn all the time and should be able to cope with rain and even showers. This watch is not waterproof, however.
To accommodate some of the functions, like the 2MP camera and SIM card for the 3G network (the watch comes with a screwdriver to undo the SIM cover!) the watch was thicker than I would have liked (1.5cm). I could live with that if the battery life was indeed the 3 days as advertised.
But this is the most negative aspect of this review.
It took only 9 hours to go from fully charged to 15%
It charges in less than 2 hours with the proprietary magnetic charge cable (included) as it is such a small battery capacity. It would be handier with a micro USB or USB-C cable, all the more because the watch is not designed to be waterproof. Wireless charging is of course the much better option.
We only tested the KW88 Pro with the minimum of apps open. No 3G testing was done or camera use.
Obviously, the main function of any watch is to tell the time. Initially we had difficulty getting the correct time through network connections or via GPS. We had to manually set the time.
Another aspect of a normal watch is that you can see what time it is – all the time.
To save battery power this watch doesn’t have an AOD function that displays the time always.
I’ve tried to eke out as much as I could from the KW88 Pro’s battery but no way will it last the advertised 3 days. With very moderate use 1 day would be max.
If you would have just the display on, showing one of the very pretty clock faces it would last about 5 hours, an indication of the limited battery capacity.
And that today is totally inadequate.
It’s no point to even check out the Music Player or other gimmicky features if the basics are not in place.
The Alfawise KW88 Pro is an interesting watch that can’t fully deliver on its potential even though it’s pretty cheap and has some nice clock faces.
What we can recommend is that you have a look at GearBest’s website for other inexpensive stuff. Undoubtedly some of their gear will be value for money and we’ll report on that in months to come.