The wearable device market is currently booming, and there’s no shortage of options depending on what you want from your wearable. Smartwatches are a particularly hard fought battleground with the essential formula ofÂ smartwatches still up for interpretation. If you want a smartwatch right now, your options range from the wildly popular Pebble watch at around $150, to the brand-new Android Wear watches which will set you back around $250; obviously there are watches in and around these price points, but these are the most popular. With that range of prices in mind, what could theÂ $30 (or $31.43 USD, to be exact) L12S OLED Bluetooth Bracelet WatchÂ from GearBest hope to achieve in such a competitive climate? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.
What’s in the box
The bracelet watch comes accompanied by a charging cable and a stand should you want to show off your latest acquisition. The bracelet watch is charged using a micro-USB cable, so for us Android users, it’s nice to know that we can charge it wherever we are.
The bracelet watch itself looks quite sleek.Â That shiny, plasticÂ exterior definitely gives a futuristic first impression and it’s definitely something that gets noticed more often than it doesn’t; like most wearable devices, it’s a great conversation starter. There’s only one visible button on the bracelet watch and just the one port for charging, making it a very homogeneous exterior. On the underside of the bracelet watch is what is supposed to be a heart rate sensor and inside the device is a fairly robust vibration motor.
How does it perform
This is where the review gets interesting. I’m sure many people who come across this review will dismiss the bracelet watch before even learning about what it can do. To be honest, before reviewing this bracelet watch, I might have done the same; however, I was determined to give it a chance.
First of all, I’d like to talk about the interface. While the curved glass panel takes up about 40% of the outside surface of the device, the actual screen of the device makes up a very small portion of it. In fact, it’s positively tiny, which means you have to scroll through menu items one at a time. It must be said, though, that the same has to be done on the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which made spectacularly bad use of its screen real estate.
Despite the small screen, quite a large area of the glass top case can be used as a touch interface. Yes, a touch interface on a $30 device. It’s not perfect, but it does register up, down and long press commands, and it appears to be of a capacitive nature, making it quite responsive. It takes a bit of getting used to exactly which areas are for which function, but overall it is quite a nice control scheme.
The bracelet watch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and as easy to connect as any Bluetooth device. Unfortunately though, the Bluetooth radio in the bracelet watch doesn’t appear to automatically reconnect (despite the Bluetooth indicator on the screen sometimes staying on).
The featuresÂ that are said to be available on the bracelet watch include:
- Mobile sync music player
- Call remind, answer and ID display
- SMS remind and read
Of all the functions that are available to the bracelet watch, being able to answer your phone on the smartwatch is kind of neat, though I don’t think I would do it in public. The microphone is very clear from a reasonable distance away from your face, though the speaker is very quiet and wouldn’t be usable in a moderately crowded place. Not that you would. In the car, depending on how noisy your car is, the road noise may slightly drown out the diminutive speaker. This speaker is also supposed to be used as a music speaker, but I would again say that it lacks the power to truly do this effectively.
Of the other features, none of them reallyÂ strike me as particularly well implemented; the pedometer feature is a bit rough and the SMS push notifications only work for SMS, and in an age where most people use third party messaging apps, that’s a bit inconvenient. That said, there are digital watches that cost $30 and don’t do half the things this bracelet watch is able to.
What I like about theÂ L12S OLED Bluetooth Bracelet Watch
I like the touch screen on the bracelet watch. Perhaps it’s just my amazement that a $30 has a functioning capacitive touchscreen and my $150 Pebble watch doesn’t, but it really was quite convenient and nice to use throughoutÂ the time I reviewed this device. Sure, it could have had swipe and other functionality as well, but for what it is, I was impressed.
I also do like being able to answer calls on the bracelet watch as a Bluetooth headset. Yes, it’s kind of gimmicky and perhaps isn’t that practical, but I haven’t had enough experience with answering calls on my arm to to say otherwise.
What I don’t like about theÂ L12S OLED Bluetooth Bracelet Watch
I don’t like that there isn’t a mute, or volume function at all, for the key tone that happens when you interact with the device. This makes it particularly conspicuous in office situations, especially when the tone that is made sounds like the key pad tones from a Nokia 5110.
I also don’t like how tight the mouth of the bracelet watch is; while it’s not uncomfortable to wear, it is quite difficult to put on and take off. My wrists are quite skinny already, so people with thicker wrists might struggle as the band is not adjustable; sure there’s a little give in the band, but it’s not the most comfortable device to be removing regularly.
The review of thisÂ L12S OLED Bluetooth Bracelet Watch has been very interesting for me; I’ve often wondered how there are always dirt-cheap versions of devices that exist and how they can possibly offer even part of what the more expensive devicesÂ do. The bracelet watch we reviewed here is not going to blow your mind; it says it can do quite a few things, and while it can, it doesn’t quite do it to the same level we might expect from other, more expensive devices. But then you remember the price.
I’m not saying the device’s shortcomings are made legitimate by the price, as there’s quite a lot that could be improved, but if you’re wondering if the wearable craze is right for you, there are worse ways to spend $30 and get a taste of what that world is like.
If you’re interested in trying theÂ L12S OLED Bluetooth Bracelet Watch out, you can visit the product page on GearBest here and pick up the bracelet watch today for $31.43 USD.
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