A decent fitness tracker but lacking when it comes to iOS features and functionality.
When I was younger I used to watch a show called Inspector Gadget. If you are a child of the 80s then you are no doubt familiar with it. I always loved the technology that Inspector Gadget and his niece Penny (and the dog, Brain) used to communicate with each other. Penny had the computer book and the communicator she wore on her wrist. So, you can imagine how tickled I was when Apple started releasing things like the iPad and then the Apple Watch. I loved the idea of having communication so close at hand and being able to receive notifications without having to use your mobile phone. But, realistically, I know that Apple Watches are cost-prohibitive for most people and so I was thrilled to learn about more budget-friendly options of smartwatches like the G26 Smartwatch.
The G26 Smartwatch is a fitness wearable that receives smart notifications from your mobile phone. It has an IP67 waterproof rating and has an impressive 7-day battery life. The watch features a full view HD color IPS screen with a viewing angle of 178 degrees. It’s bright and very easy to read. The band syncs to your phone using Bluetooth 4.0 and has a lightweight wristband made from edible silica gel. The smartwatch will display the clock, step counter, calories burned and distance on the main screen. There are three different UI designs to choose from. If selected, the band will show call alerts with caller ID, messages, and push notifications from selected apps. The fitness tracking portion of the smartwatch will record heart rate and blood pressure readings (for reference, not medical purposes).
The G26 Smartwatch comes in a simple retail box. There is a clear image of the product on the front of the box, which is good because it just has the generic ‘Fitness Tracker’ label across the top of the box. There are very few details about the actual product other than a listing of a few features (step pedometer, sleep monitor, SMS alert, heart rate monitor). Aside from the fitness band, the only things included in the box are the user manual (Chinese and English languages) and the proprietary charging cable.
When I first took the band out of its box, I charged it for a few hours just to make sure it was powered up. Then, I put it on my wrist. I typically wear watches and fitness bands on my right wrist so I tried it on. The band is fairly lightweight but the band has a thicker band and large clasp. This made it difficult for me to wear on my right wrist because it would collide with surfaces when I tried to write or type. So I swapped off to my left wrist. This ended up being quite uncomfortable for me. The main body of the watch kept rubbing my wrist bone. This made it difficult to wear for very long. This was not very conducive for testing since fitness bands are designed to be worn 24/7 for optimum tracking.
As I wore it, I found that most of its features functioned normally. I did, however, discover that even though it’s compatible with iOS through its app and Bluetooth connectivity, there are certain elements I was hoping for like calendar event notifications that weren’t present with the G26 Smartwatch. Aside from the iOS compatibility issues I had, I thought the G26 Smartwatch did a good job of tracking information. I love that it will record steps as well as heart rate and even blood pressure. One day while I was testing, I wore the G26 Smartwatch on my left wrist and I wore an Apple Watch. I was surprised to find that the watch actually took blood pressure readings. This is a unique feature for activity/fitness wearables. Because the G26 Smartwatch takes so many different measurements, I was curious about how accurate they were. So, I compared the readings I was getting from the G26 to two other devices, my Apple Watch, and a digital blood pressure cuff. For these tests, I was wearing the Apple Watch on my right wrist while wearing the G26 on the left. Here are the results.
Pedometer: I measured how many steps the G26 recorded versus what the Apple Watch recorded during the same time period (approximately 9.5 hours). They were surprisingly close to each other. The Apple Watch recorded 6,503 steps while the G26 captured 6,017.
Heart Rate: At a couple different times during the testing period, I took heart rate readings from both the Apple Watch and the G26. The readings were exactly the same.
Blood Pressure: In order to test this, I wore a digital BP cuff (the kind you can buy at a local pharmacy) on my left wrist and the G26 on my right wrist and then I started the reading on each device so that the measurement was taken simultaneously. The BP test on the watch was quicker than the digital cuff was by about 15 seconds. The G26 showed a reading of 116/68 while the BP cuff showed 123/85. I ran this test several times and found that the readings for each device were always off by several points. I was hopeful that the smartwatch would take accurate readings because that could come in handy for many types of people who need to monitor BP.
Sleep: I did not monitor the sleep function because I wasn’t comfortable sleeping with the device on my wrist.
I did not like its charging cable. It’s a clamp-style cable and has two prongs on it that must connect to the contacts on the back of the watch. It’s complicated without needing to be complicated. I also didn’t like its touch-interface. I thought that it was a little clunky and you have to cycle through every menu item in order to find the setting you want and operations from the watch itself are extremely limited. The display is pretty much for viewing only.
The G26 Smartwatch is a budget-friendly alternative to more complex systems. It does work and it’s fairly accurate with its readings. For me, it wasn’t the most practical or comfortable fitness band to wear but it might be just fine for others. I wish that its integration with iOS was a little more complete but it did record data well into its independent app. I don’t think it’s a bad wearable, but it does lack functionality that other smartwatches have. I would love to see it rebranded strictly as a fitness tracker and not a smartwatch because I think that can be misleading.