Smartwatches are the new fad these days and there are plenty of cheap options available in the market right now. Although this means that there are many options for potential buyers, you will often end up confused and doubtful about most of the cheap watches. To be honest, there is always the question of whether they work as the company claims or will it die in a couple of days. That’s where we come into the picture, bringing you the review of all the latest Chinese gadgets in the market including smartwatches.
Buying a new smartwatch can be tricky, if you don’t know which brands to look out for. Today, I have got my hands on the popular smartwatch brand from China, ‘No.1’ who is slowly building its reputation in this market. In case you remember, the company first specialized in rugged phones, later expanding their portfolio to smartwatches.
I would like to thank GEARBEST for sending in this unit for review. Check out the No.1 D5+ on their official website, it’s up for sale at $120.
So, today I have the No.1 D5+, which is a classic looking watch, having a very similar design as your regular watch. For me, this is great as the watch blends in well with what you wear, coming with a nice set of features which make it smart. While the No.1 D5+ is costlier than most of the local Chinese smartwatches in the market, from the time I have been using it, it actually makes sense paying a little premium for this watch.
So, enough with the long introduction and let’s move on to things that really matter.
The first thing you notice about the D5+ is it’s classic watch design. In fact, this watch kind of remind me the Huawei Watch, which is said to be one of the best-looking watches in the market right now. Plus, the built quality of the watch is top notch, which adds to its premium looks. So, there’s no doubt that the D5+ is a good looking smartwatch.
You have just one button on the body — the power button, located on the right, near the center. Personally, I would have liked it to be more towards the top for better ergonomics, but you will get used to the button placement very soon. The body is entirely made out of metal, and I have got my hands on the silver version, which looks great. I like that the bezels around the display has a slightly different texture as compared to the rest of the body, which is smoother.
The back is simple and features the heart rate sensor, speakers, and the charging pins. Remove the four screws and the back plate comes off revealing the SIM card slot. Everything is pretty well built and in the design, you will find no complaints. Even the sheepskin leather strap is comfortable and goes well with the overall design.
The 1.3-inch 360 x 360 display is great on the No.1 D5+. Personally, I have seen better displays on smartwatches, but this one is not too bad either. Sunlight visibility might be a tad low, but other than that the colors come out well. I feel the blacks don’t come out dark enough but if you are keeping any other shade, like silver or even white, you will be able to see what’s on the screen even under bright sunlight.
The touch response is great and thanks to the powerful internals, swiping left or right on the watch is smooth. You can adjust the brightness according to your need. There are two ways you can do this — long press the power button and use one of the 3 preset brightness levels or set it any percentage you like directly from the settings menu.
The major highlight of the D5+ is its specs. The watch comes with the internals of an entry level smartphone (which is great) and features MT6580 quad-core chip with 1GB of RAM (yes 1GB!) and 8GB of internal storage. It’s a mini smartphone featuring Android 5.1 Lollipop OS, SIM card slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, heart rate sensor and even a pedometer. Note that there’s no camera on the watch, but I personally feel it’s better not to have a crappy camera onboard just for the sake of it.
The watch is IP65 certified (not IP67), so it can handle a few splashes but don’t go around experimenting with water, as there’s a chance that your smartwatch could be damaged. It’s water resistant, so rains won’t be a big issue for the watch. But stay away from the pool!
If you have used an Android-powered smartwatch before, then the No.1 D5+’s interface will look familiar. Most of the features can be accessed by swiping to the right or left. Going right from the watch face reveals the music player, health app and the weather app. Going to the left from the watch dial brings you to the notifications panel. Swipe from the bottom of the watch face and you get a quick settings panel giving you the option to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. To access the app drawer, just tap once on the watch face.
The overall interface is pretty straightforward. I will give a detailed overview of the interface in the video review coming up soon.
Fitness tracking has turned out to be an important feature in smartwatches, tracking our step and calorie count, which ideally helps us to remain fit and focused. Some watches claim to be great fitness trackers but fail when it comes to real life performance.
The No.1 D5 + is not one of those watches. Both the pedometer and the heart rate sensor work very well. I was happy with the pedometer tracking my step count, as on most days it was quick accurate. In fact, I tried comparing the step count on the Mi Band 2 and the No.1 D5 + simultaneously and the results were quite close. So, I am happy with its pedometer tracking.
As for the heart rate monitor, it works every time. It might take a few seconds to get your heart rate and sometimes, the rate fluctuates, but other than that, the heart rate monitor seems to be quite accurate. I have tried checking my heart rate while running on the treadmill and it showed me a rate of around 130-140, which is close to the figure that was shown on my machine. My Mi Band 2 also revealed a similar heart rate, so it seems to be the real deal. So, once again, I will say that the heart rate monitor on the D5+ is pretty decent.
Sometimes the rate fluctuates quickly within seconds, which seems to be the drawback of the sensor. But the fluctuation is not too much, like 2-7 beats at max.
Once you insert the SIM card, the No.1 D5+ will transform into a smartphone. You can make and receive calls on the watch just like a regular smartphone and the entire process is smooth and hassle-free. The clarity of the speaker as well as the microphone is decent for making calls on a regular basis. Even the keypad is better than some of the ones that I have seen on a watch, so you won’t make too many mistakes dialing a number. The inbuilt onscreen keyboard is well spaced which helps in quick typing.
The placement of the speaker is not really ideal since it’s on the back plate and most of the time your hand will cover it. But if you are planning to use it in a quiet environment, it is loud enough for basic needs. You can even hear a couple of songs on its speaker but don’t expect it to be too loud.
The companion app is just basic and is literally called the “Watch Helper”. It gives you some basic options for notifications along with additional features such as sending files to the watch and “Find My Watch”.
There’s an app called as the Watch Helper on the watch’s app list as well and in there you will find a QR code which directs you to link to download the companion app for your smartphone. Note that you will have to enable “Install Apps from other sources” to install this app.
There are a few seconds of delay in getting the notifications, but it’s not really a deal breaker.
The GPS works great on the watch. It was quick to track my location and I could even turn on navigation with real-time traffic. There were hardly any lags encountered during the process which was definitely a good sign. The small 1.3-inch display is not the ideal platform for GPS navigation, but it’s good to see that if you ever wanted to play around with Maps and Navigation, it’s possible on the D5+.
If you are looking for a watch that will easily last an entire day, then the 450mAh battery inside the No.1 D5+ will do the job just fine. In fact, some days where I didn’t use the watch much on the first day, the watch managed to last the entire second day too! But if you are going to play around with the watch like browsing the web, GPS or even heart rate sensor, the battery will drain a bit faster than usual. Still, in my personal usage, I could always get a day with the watch, which I feel is great. Note that the Wi-fi disconnects automatically when the screen is turned off to save the battery. But it turns on automatically in between and also every time you light up the screen.
The provided charging dock is of good quality and is magnetic. So, attaching the dock will be an easy process and it will instantly stick to the metal back plate. You can then use a regular Android charger to fill up the juice. It takes more than an hour to fill up the battery to 100% if your battery is below 20%.
Overall, I must say that I am quite happy with the No.1 D5+. The watch ticks all the basic stuff that I would want on a smartwatch to work, which is great, making me a happy customer.
What I am surprised with the D5+ is the quality of workmanship that you get for under $130. I have been using it almost daily for the past two weeks and till now, neither the screen nor the metal body has shown any signs of wear or scratches.
If I had to point out areas where the D5+ could improve, it would probably be the display. If the display was a bit brighter, then it would have made this a killer watch.
So, is this the best smartwatch in the market today? Not really, but at this price, it’s definitely one of the best.
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The No.1 D5+ is an amazing all metal smartwatch featuring MT6580 CPU, 1GB RAM and an easy to use interface