Review of a BingoFit Smart Watch SW212
How good can a smart watch that costs US$29 really be? Not that bad, it turns out.
I was offered this watch free to review it.
My terms were “sure, but I’ll just say what I think about it”, which they agreed to, and told to me to expect it in the post. Thanks to the lack of aircraft flying to Australia currently, it took six weeks to get here from the Netherlands; but it’s here now, so I thought I’d give it a go.
As you might know from some of my previous posts, I like a good smartwatch. But given that this model is just US$29 on Ali Express, I was, frankly, a bit sceptical whether it would be any good. It’s also available, but currently out of stock, on Amazon, incidentally. “Wear it to let you more healthier and handsome” is one of the beguiling sales text on the Amazon page. I assumed it would be rubbish, and I thought that this could be a good fun Ashens-like review of something not really very good.
First impressions are positive, though. It comes in a surprisingly nice box, with a little BingoFit logo on it and the phrase “To be fit, bingo your life”. Inside the box is a little 45cm-long proprietary USB charging cable, a small instruction booklet in both English and German (glossy paper, colour printing), and the watch itself. There’s virtually no plastic packing inside the box, either. So far, so not $29.
The watch is big: a 4.5cm diameter watch face, with two buttons to one side and a few sensors on the back. The 21mm strap is rubber, with quick-release lugs on it. Every part of the watch is covered with plastic protection tape, including the sensors on the back, so the first job is to remove all of those, which isn’t a particularly easy job. But the watch feels pretty good — it feels sturdy and heavy. The front screen is thick-feeling flat glass, with a nice tapering side to it (and some not-really-needed random numbers and the word “SPORTS” in red). The buttons, and the watch itself, feel well made. It does not feel like a $29 watch.
I charged it; the charger uses a strong magnet and connects very easily. Chargers are something that many premium watches have trouble with, but this one connected just fine — it uses little pogo pins, connecting to two slightly-recessed gold charging points at the back.
While I charged it, I downloaded the app, which is called FitCloudPro, and available on both Android and iOS. “Life is exercise, running more healthy, you exercise today?” it chirpily asks on the app description page. The app (I used the iOS version) actually isn’t bad, with some nice graphics. Pairing the watch to the phone (OK, iPod in my case) was much, much simpler than Wear OS. So far, so good.
Turning the watch on gives a fancy animated “HELLO” logo, and then the watchface. The simulated images of the device on the official website are optimistic in terms of the size of the bezel, but it isn’t a bad screen at all, in fact: low resolution (but therefore sharp), a backlit screen but decent quality.
The device claims a battery life of “more than 7 days usage”, or “3–5 days usage, 7 day standby” on their website. If it holds a charge for more than one day, it’s doing better than many of the Android Wear OS watches I’ve used, and it appears to certainly do that. It mainly achieves this by, like the early Apple or Android watches, by only showing the screen when you lift it up to read it; and it can take a second to react. That’s a shame, but it’s still not too bad.
Watch faces can be selected through the app, which has a varied selection. I’ll be honest, I don’t like them, but I am quite picky in watch faces (and only ever found one Android Wear one that I liked).
Of its features, it has a heart-rate monitor. That number was 5% within the rate that my Garmin showed (strapped to my other wrist), which I was impressed at.
It also measures blood oxygen levels (98%, it says) and blood pressure (which is currently 108/77 but earlier when I was standing up and walking about it was 117/73). My Garmin measures neither of these things, but I know that my blood pressure is relatively normal, as are these readings.
And yes, it has an exercise mode on the watch itself, which you can swipe in all four ways for menu items and additional information. The only drawback is that you can’t see the time when you are exercising.
There are a surprising number of reviews on Amazon. It turns out that if you register this for a warranty, they’ll send you a free charger if you leave a review on Amazon. Not sure about this as a sales tactic, to be honest, but there we are. This review isn’t because of a free charger; but is because of a free watch.
So: would I wear it all the time? Probably not: I have a watch and I quite like it. And the watch is just a little too big for my wrist, as you can see above.
But was I impressed at it? Absolutely. For the price, it’s impressive: and rather surprisingly good.
If you think a smart watch could be for you, this is a well-built and inexpensive way to find out.