Since the Smart Watch craze started, I really didn't find any use for
this. Of course, you never know for 100% until you try it out, but
investing several hundred euros only to try something doesn't seem
major things being - you have to charge it every day or every couple of
days (another device to charge, cooool) and second thing - it just
doesn't seem practical; what is the difference between looking at your
mobile phone or at your watch?
these devices do
look cool, but that is all. Coolness factor. So after all this time,
the chance had it that a friend of mine sent me a link to a chinese
smart watch. Not just any smart watch, but surely the most inexpensive
one. I was amazed that anyone can, not manufacture such a
device for the price, but ship
it from China for the price... I took a look and forgot about it for a
couple of days. But couple of days later, I remembered and went back to
the seller's page on ebay. It said it was a model named U8. I examined all
other, more expensive
watches, started reading about them, found out there is even a topic on
XDA about these chinese watches and I was hooked. Since I had some
money on my PayPal accound, I decided to order. The cheap one. After
all, even if it doesn't work, even if it doesn't arrive, for 10$
including shipping, it was ridiculously cheap. And if it works, it
would be a good introduction to Smart Watches.
ORDERING AND DELIVERY
purchasing process was pretty
streightforward. 10$ were taken from my PayPal account and confirmation
came by mail. There was no tracking, since the package was so cheap. I
believe that there is tracking only when you order over 100$ or
something like that. Anyways, that was the last thing I got. And after
exactly 31 days, the package arrived. No customs, no anything. It was
wrapped in bubble-paper, no box... afterwards I read that some sellers
ship it in a box if you pay 2$ extra. What's the box for, anyway :)
chose red color, there are black and white variants as well.
THE WATCH - HARDWARE
watch comes only with a piece of paper that is the manual in
english and a short USB charging cable. Notice that this is only charging cable,
there are no data wires in it so it can be used only for
watch itself looks pretty OK, the strap is very soft rubber so it
will feel pretty nice on your hand, but I believe it will not last very
long. It also has strong rubber smell for the first couple of days.
We'll see. But the important thing is that watch looks pretty
decent and is not making funny noises when you press it etc. The only
thing that looks cheap is the USB port (charging port) cover, which
looks cheap plastic and is not sitting properly when you close it. Ahh,
for 10 bucks, this is no issue. Even if it falls off, it is no big deal.
watch has only 1 physical button on the right hand side, and it is used
to turn the thing on and off (display). There are 3 more capacative
buttons at front, which are menu,
next, and back.
my utter surprise, When I pressed the on/off button, the watch came
to life and booted in couple of seconds. I immediately paired
it with my phone (Android 4.4.2), and it worked without any software
installed. Well. at least some things worked. For all features,
software is needed. But more on that later.
battery is not so great, after all, you can't expect such
battery to last for days, but it is enough to last you through the day,
with normal usage. It charges pretty quickly, in about 1-1,5
hours. I take
it off the charger at 7 am and it lasts until 9-10 pm, which is more
than enough for me.
watch has MediaTek MT6261 processor, but other than that, it is hard to
say it's other specs, because the Chinese are known for publishing
false specification for their devices.This
is what I was able to read from it using the MauiMETA program:
BaseBand chip version=MT6261
DSP firmware version=2000.00.00
DSP patch version=1.0
need to install the drivers, ofcourse - I tried all the drivers
mentioned in thread on XDA, but the only ones that worked are the
drivers for original U8 watch (smartwatch-u8.zip approx. 30Mb in size, try googling for it).
THE WATCH - SOFTWARE
watch software is pretty stable and nice. Everything is logical and
pretty nice. There could be more customization options, but this is not
an issue. The sounds that are used as alerts are pretty bad, though.
Only the default sounds are OK, the rest is just weird.
you can have this functionality on U8 in connection to your phone:
can dial numbers from dialpad. You can list phonebook and dial numbers.
You can Read your SMSes (sent and received) and you can receive
notifications - the same ones you get on your phone. The software on
the phone can set which apps should send notifications and which
shlouldn't. Also, there is a very useful option no to send
notifications when the phone is unlocked.
is also media player control and sound redirection. This is standard
Bluetooth functionality. The downside to this is that once you do it,
all sounds are played on your watch. Press "clicks" etc. Everything.
This is quite annoying and can drain your battery pretty fast, but it
is not something the makers of the watch screwed, but simlply a bad
concept in Bluetooth and Android. It just works this way.
you can redirect your calls. All calls will be redirected to your
watch, and there you can take calls or drop them, and call audio is
redirected to your watch. The volume is OK for quiet environments, that
means if you're in the office or at home it is OK. But there is no
chance to hear anything if there's any noise around. Again, the bad
thing is that once you connect your watch to your phone via Bluetooth,
all call audo is redirected, there is no way for you to choose whether
to answer the call on the watch or the phone. You can only turn this
redirection off or on, but once the phone is ringing, there is no way
to select. Again, this is standard Android/Bluetooth functionality -
after all, this was invented for handsfree sets or headsets and there
it makes sense. I am now trying to find a solution to this problem by
using Tasker, and will post here if I discover something. EDIT: I have
managed to solve this, and you can read all about it here.One
cool feature (but totaly
useless) is ability to shoot the camera from your watch. You see the
camera display of your phone on your watch and you can take a picture.
For this, either media sound or call sound must be redirected.The
AntiLost function alerts you if your phone gets disconnected so you
don't forget it somewhere, which can be pretty useful.Some
other things on the watch are calculator, calendar, alarm, pedometer,
reminders for sleep and water drinking (hmm, they needed to increase
number of functions so they added these last two)... There
are 7 steps for volume intensity and 5 levels for screen brightness.
There is also power-saving mode, but IMHO, it does nothing else then
reduce screen brightness to a minimum. You can also turn off Bluetooth
completely and use only standard watch functions to save battery even
are 3 clock faces to chose from, 1
digital and 2 analog, as you can see on the photos.
THE PHONE & THE PC -
is a bit of mess concerning notification software to be installed
on your phone. At least, their recomended software didn't work 100% for
me. It might work for you. I don't know. There are several programs
(apps) that basically do the same thing, but only one worked for me
100%. It is their default software, but not the version that was on the
Google Play store, but some newer version which I found somewhere on
the forums. You have to try and see for yourself. This software is run
when it detects connection to your phone and it is visible in the
notification area. If the phone is disconnected, there is no
notification, so it is pretty easy to see if it is running/connected or
in all, you just specify which apps should send notifications to the
watch and whether they should send 'em when the phone is unlocked. If
you have this watch and have problems, drop me a mail and I'll give you
the link to the software that works for me.
I found the driver for the PC, you just have to use another USB cable,
and it connects to the PC just fine. There is a software that can read
your configuration - that is how I know the model of the CPU used.
There also is software for flashing, but since there are no ROMs for
this thing, there is no point. Well, maybe in the future someone can
modify the software, just the basic things like change the rigtones,
alerts, icons, etc. Also, you can make backup of your ROM with this
software (reported by other people, but I didn't manage to connect this
software to the watch).
can this do for you and is it useful? I think in some situations,
yes. I still believe that for most people most of the time, this is
just a gadget to show off, there is no real value in it. But sometimes
it could come in handy. Example; When I'm in the office I keep my phone
often connected to charger. Then when people start texting me, or
me things on Viber, etc, I have to disconnect the phone, unlock it,
open notifications and press the message, read it and then close the
app, connect the phone back to charger. Also for instance, in crowded
bus or metro, it is easier to glance at the watch than to hunt for your
phone in your pockets atc. Of course, this is only sometimes. So it is
really a necessary gadget.
TIPS AND TRICKS
things that might not be obvious or that you can't read in the manual:
to turn on silent mode, hold the #
key. It will toggle between "silent
mode activated" and "general
mode activated". Useful if you don't want
notifications for a period of time but don't want to disconnect the
* If you type *#1234# - it will
toggle between 'A2DP
PST Mode' and 'A2DP
Normal Mode' whatever that means :)
in all - it works. Exactly as advertized. All the things that are
not perfect (redirection of sound) are not the fault of the watch but
Android and the way Bluetooth works. I am really satisfied with it so
far. The only other question is quality, and how long it will work. But
for 10$, it is a great way to find out something about this technology
and have fun.
and after reading the forum on XDA - I found out that this watch is a
copy (or a clone) of U8! The "real" U8 costs 2-3 times the price. But
since it works, who cares :)