Nubia Watch: Is the latest Watch from the ZTE-owned company any good?

Nubia Watch
Nubia Watch

ZTE-owned Nubia may not be the best-known tech producer on the earth; however, while you do hear about one in every of its merchandise, it tends to be one thing uncommon sufficient to make you’re taking a curiosity:

The Nubia Z20 smartphone had two screens, one on both aspects of its physique.

  • The Nubia Crimson Magic 5G was the primary telephone with a 144Hz show.
  • The Nubia Alpha was a smartwatch with a curved show, a digital camera, and gesture controls.

The Nubia Watch is one thing of a successor to the Alpha – the corporate isn’t advertising it as such. However, a fast look will inform you the two units look somewhat related. They each have lengthy shows that curve around your wrist, chunky designs, and run the identical software program.

Extra mainly, the Nubia Watch seems like a refined model of the Alpha. Gone is the digital camera, which protruded out from the physique fairly a bit – and we think about few will miss that low-res, hard-to-use snapper. The gesture controls are gone, too, suggesting one other characteristic you’ll probably find yourself ignoring, and one other sizable sensor is gone. 

A significant change is that the numerous bugs that plagued the Nubia Alpha are all gone – we barely encountered any throughout our time with the watch, which was a breath of recent air compared to our expertise with its predecessor.

So the Nubia Watch brings just a few noticeable enhancements over the Alpha dummy, making it an extra tempting buy. It hasn’t seen a complete overhaul, nevertheless, and many of the problems we had with the unique are nonetheless right here.

There aren’t very many ways of life or communication apps – when you can textual content and name when paired with a telephone and obtain notifications to the system, you possibly can’t reply to and even learn most of the notifications you get. There are four totally different exercise modes, however. In contrast, each is ok for monitoring your health, you possibly can’t enter historical train information on the watch or its tie-in app, and we discovered the gap measured on runs was wildly incorrect.

That is definitely not a light-weight system both – its display wraps a lot of how round your wrist and stands proud a good bit out of your arm, too, so it’s as sleeve-catching as it’s eye-catching.

So the Nubia Watch is extra of a celebration piece or conversation-starter than a watch you’ll discover helpful all through your waking day, which might be nice if a fairly excessive worth didn’t burden the watch. Nevertheless, it positively has specific viewers: one that desires a vogue piece that may additionally allow them to textual content and depend on their steps, and if that sounds such as you, it is a system price contemplating.

 

The Nubia Watch was launched through a crowdfunding marketing campaign on Kickstarter, a launching tech technique we’ve seen used earlier than, though not often by established corporations like Nubia. 

The marketing campaign began in mid-August 2020, and the marketing campaign rocketed previous its pledge objective virtually instantly, with items transport from October.

The Nubia Watch worth is $399 (roughly £300 / AU$550 – the web site lists the worth in US {dollars} regardless of the place you’re), though pre-ordering it as a part of the Kickstarter marketing campaign will get you a reduction, with the quantity relying on how early you ordered it. 

That’s a fairly excessive worth for a smartwatch, particularly one with a relative lack of options (as we’ll get into) – it’s identical because the beginning worth for the Apple Watch 5, and that’s a premium watch from an enormous model. 

We’d guess the curved show tech isn’t low cost to make, and the Nubia Watch is a minimum of cheaper than the Nubia Alpha, which prices $449 (roughly £340 / AU$640), so should you desire entirely a curved smartwatch that is the most cost-effective.

Design and show

  • Novel curved-screen design
  • 4-inch AMOLED display
  • Pretty giant

We’ve already talked about that the Nubia Watch has an attention-grabbing display. It’s about 4.01-inch and equipped with an AMOLED panel with a 960 x 192 resolution. The show reveals colors properly, and when you received it precisely by watching Netflix on your wrist, it makes colorful menus look much more vibrant.

The long, curved display can initially appear enjoyable, however pointless; nevertheless, some duties profit from the prolonged display of actual property. You possibly can simply see an extended notifications record without scrolling, for instance, and it’s additionally useful for studying prolonged texts. Not all apps or capabilities make the most of the lengthy display.

There are two bezels around this show: a bodily one, with very faint numerical markings on it, which is raised above the display barely, and one other that’s flush with the display and creates a dark border between the display and the sting bezel. 

This versatile show covers a quite thick physique, one that stands proud 0.55 inches from the wrist and weighs 98g. That’s fairly a bit thicker and heavier than your typical smartwatch – don’t purchase this should you’re on the lookout for a dainty system.

The design – for readability, we’re utilizing this time to explain the lengthy part the display is housed in, although the excellence is much less clear-cut than in your normal smartwatch – has a single crown, which you’ll press to wake the Nubia Watch and likewise to leap to the primary menu from a special one. There are seen screws jutting out of the physique – we’re unsure if that is a part of some mechanical-themed design aesthetic or simply an unavoidable design quirk.

Whereas this smartwatch would possibly appear to be it’s all a single element, as with the Alpha, you possibly can really take away the straps should you so want. You’ll discover a longer strap within the field than the one which comes fitted, which individuals with bigger wrists would possibly recognize. However, altering straps could be fairly a fiddly course because the levers that it is advisable to flick to detach the design’s strap are quite small.

The silicone strap that’s hooked up matches fairly comfortably on the wrist, and there are sufficient holes in it to go well with quite a lot of wrist sizes.

We had points when utilizing the watch, whereas sporting shirts with tight sleeves were difficult to get the sleeves over the watch. We didn’t discover the watch uncomfortable to put on on the whole. Still, it is surely tougher to disregard if you end up sporting it compared to different watches because it’s thicker and heavier than most. Should you’re on the lookout for a light-weight system to trace your steps, which you could neglect the remainder of the time, this watch isn’t it.

Efficiency and software program

  • You possibly can learn, however not reply to, notifications
  • A spread of regular smartwatch options
  • Music dealing with requires songs downloaded

The Nubia Watch makes use of Nubia’s personal smartwatch software program, and it’s principally identical because it was within the Nubia Alpha, however with out quite a few bugs that made that system an ache to make use of.

The principle watch face reveals you the time, your steps, and different bits of knowledge relying on which face you go for. You swipe up on the primary face for notifications and swipe down for a settings panel, which incorporates choices for issues like altering the brightness and toggling the power-saving mode.

You swipe left or proper on the watch face to carry up the app’s record, which is fairly restricted as on the Alpha. There are some health monitoring modes, which we’ll get on to, and a Well-being possibility that permits you to look at your exercises and basic health for the day, which features a coronary heart charge testing mode.

There’s calling and texting; each could be initiated from the watch, so long as it’s paired to your telephone; Climate, the perform of which wants no explaining; Clock, which helps you to set alarms and timers; Schedule, which pulls by means of your telephone’s calendar; SearchPhone, which causes your telephone to buzz so you will discover it (and was actually helpful when it labored); plus a compass mode, Alipay (a Chinese language-based fee system), and a music-handling mode.

That you must manually obtain the songs onto the Nubia Watch to play them through the app, so followers of streaming providers received can use it. In a period where music streaming is widespread, we’re unsure how helpful this mode is, and we by no means used it.

Lastly, there’s Barrage mode, referred to as Marquee on the Alpha, which helps you show ambient patterns and scrolling phrases throughout the watch face. It’s an enjoyable mode to mess around with, but it surely received revolutionize your smartwatch expertise – we additionally had to bother getting the textual content, which it’s a must to sort within the Nubia Put on the app, to sync with the watch.

You would possibly discover from this record an absence of communication modes past texting and calling: there’s no WhatsApp, Fb, Instagram, emailing, or something like that, and whereas notifications are pulled by means of, the characteristic isn’t all the time helpful. You possibly can nonetheless learn notifications from these apps after they’re in your telephone. However, you possibly can’t reply or write new messages to individuals. For instance, you perhaps can learn, however not respond to, WhatsApp messages – except there are a number of messages, from the identical or totally different chats, and they’ve merely informed the variety of messages and the type of chats these messages are in.

Nubia has steered to us that it’d put out a model of the watch with apps resembling WhatsApp on it, and if that’s the case, it could actually enhance the expertise of utilizing a Nubia system – perhaps sufficient to bump the assessment rating up by half a star. Because it stands, although, no such perform exists.

Health

  • 4 health monitoring modes
  • Distance measured was inaccurate
  • Cannot view historical information

The Nubia Watch has four health monitoring modes: Out of doors Working, Indoor Working, Out of doors Strolling, and Free Exercise. Every tracks distance, time, and energy burnt – the previous is completed through your telephone’s GPS connection.

That’s not an enormous vary of exercise modes or stats tracked, though, for a median smartwatch consumer who simply runs once in a while or desires to be a bit extra energetic, it might be sufficient. In our testing, a lot of the metrics appeared correct besides distance – after our 6.1km operating course (that we use as an ordinary check of distance accuracy), the watch thought we’d gone 3.5k, suggesting it has errors in the way it computes distance. A number of hundred meters discrepancy could be comprehensible, however, not a number of kilometers.

Basic step monitoring works appropriately, although – gone are the Alpha’s bugs which, amongst different issues, noticed it deduct 50,000 steps for no apparent motive.

One other large challenge with health monitoring on the Nubia Watch is one we’ve already talked about, in that there’s no method of viewing past information, both on the watch or on the Nubia app. Probably the most the apps do is inform you of your exercises for the day; however, there’s no possibility on the watch to cycle by means of earlier days, and whereas there’s a button on the telephone app which looks like it ought to allow you to verify earlier days, it doesn’t really work, though it’s attainable Nubia might add this characteristic through a firmware replace.

So perhaps the flexibility to view the run you probably did the day earlier than is coming; however, the Alpha didn’t have historical information both, so this characteristic actually ought to have been launched by now. And this doesn’t merely affect exercises – you possibly can’t see your earlier day’s step depend on both.

Battery life

  • Nubia states 7-day battery life
  • We discovered 2-Four day battery life
  • Charging time varies

Nubia estimates that its smartwatch will take the final seven days between expenses – this looks like a quite optimistic stat to us; however, we weren’t dissatisfied by the Nubia Watch’s battery life.

The battery life appears to differ fairly a bit, relying on whether or not you’re monitoring exercises and taking calls or merely utilizing the watch to verify the time every now and then. Once we had been utilizing it most intensively, it appeared to final us a minimum of two days, and this stretched upwards to 4 or 5 days with gentle use.

It’s onerous to provide a reliable estimate for ‘typical’ battery life because of these extensively various outcomes. Regardless, in comparison with your common Put on OS system or Apple Watch, the battery life appears spectacular, as these rival units have a tendency to wish recharging day by day – and so they don’t have giant 4-inch screens both.

Charging is completed through a proprietary charging panel that attaches to the watch’s design again through magnets and could be plugged into any normal USB port just like the one on your pc. Nubia estimates it takes 85 minutes to energy up the system to full; however, we’re unsure most individuals will see that sort of pace.

Once we plugged the charger into our laptop computer, it appeared to take a number of hours to cost the Nubia Watch to full – in truth; we frequently discovered it simpler to cost it infrequent bursts, to avoid wasting us having to attend that long for it to energy up.

Certain, it is because laptop computer USB ports output much less energy than a USB wall adapter, and should you used a type of, you’d get sooner charging. However, provided that resolution isn’t very handy, and it’s a lot simpler to cost USB units through a pc or laptop computer, we’d think about most individuals will get related speeds to us.

Ought to I purchase the Nubia Watch?

Purchase it if

You desire a bold-looking smartwatch.

The Nubia Watch definitely stands out compared to most different smartwatches, and if you wish to flip heads at events, it could be a nice deal.

You don’t want in-depth health modes

Whereas the Nubia Watch solely has four health modes and solely tracks just a few metrics for them, it will go well with those that simply need to do easy exercises and see primary info.

You desire a longer-lasting battery

Lasting a number of days of use between expenses, the Nubia Watch outlasts a lot of its competitors, even when it doesn’t maintain a candle to the longest-lasting smartwatches.

Do not buy it if

You need to reply to notifications

The Nubia Watch won’t allow you to reply to messages from most apps and even learn messages from some, so it’s not one of the best smartwatches should you’re on the lookout for a wrist-mounted admin machine.

You need an inexpensive watch

The Nubia Watch is definitely one of many pricier smartwatches we’ve seen – sufficient to place off consumers who aren’t seeking to spend a premium.

You’re a health buff

Certain, the Nubia Watch is nice for primary health info; however, that’s it – if you wish to observe actions like biking or swimming, see in-depth exercise evaluation, and even view earlier exercises, it’s not the look ahead to you.

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