This Apple Watch clone is surprisingly good for just $22.59

CNET Technology 3 weeks ago
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2019, your source for the season's best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.

Earlier this year I asked this question: How good could a super-cheap smartwatch possibly be? My focus there was the BingoFit Epic, which, thanks to a Cheapskate-exclusive promo code, was just $28. Verdict: Surprisingly good, if you keep your expectations in check.

See, these watches claim to be jacks of all trades -- fitness-tracking, heart-rate monitoring and so on -- but often prove to be masters of none. And that's OK, provided they're effective at some things, which many are. For example, maybe you just want a watch that looks decent, tells time (duh), controls music playback on your phone and notifies you of things like calls, appointments and text messages.

With that in mind, I've been testing another cheapie wearable -- one I've found to also be surprisingly good in many respects. Here's the deal, followed by what you need to know: For a limited time, and while supplies last, SmartWear Tech via Amazon has the BingoFit Eden smartwatch for $22.59. That's after clipping the on-page $5-off coupon and then applying promo code ZY3GQHTP at checkout. 

The last time I wrote about this, it was $31.49. It was also sold under the name Letsfit ID205, but the Eden appears to be identical. That doesn't surprise me; I'd already seen this exact watch with different branding from different sellers.

The Eden looks a lot like the Amazfit Bip, which in turn resembles the Apple Watch. So it's rectangular, with a square embedded 1.3-inch display and a fair amount of plastic bezel surrounding it. It's not an always-on display like the Bip's, but it's also much brighter and sharper. Thankfully, it's also readable outdoors, unlike the BingoFit Epic.

From left to right: The Letsfit ID205, Amazfit Bip and Apple Watch Series 3.

I still believe the latter, with its round, metal casing, is far prettier than any of these. But at least the ID205 has an actual touchscreen, along with a function button on either side. The left one immediately engages your preferred fitness activity; the right one is a Back button. Other options are all just a swipe away from the watch face, of which there are four to choose from.

Here's what I liked about the ID205:

  • Display: Big and bright, and pretty visible outdoors.
  • Battery life: Plan on about a week, depending on how you use it.
  • Notifications: For me this is the essential feature in any smartwatch, and the ID205 does a decent job with them. You can toggle notifications for about a dozen individual apps (though Slack isn't among them).
  • Simplicity: The watch itself is easy to use, as is the VeryFitPro companion app. (The latter, incidentally, can share data with Apple Health and Strava.)
  • Miscellaneous: It has handy features including basic music controls, a breathing exercise, a stopwatch, low-power and do-not-disturb modes and even a flashlight function.

Here's what I didn't like:

  • Look and feel: Like the Bip, the ID205 looks like a cheap, plastic watch. (Which, let's be honest, it is.)
  • No built-in GPS: Instead, it pulls data from your phone. 
  • Only four watch faces: These are functional but a little meh; the one pictured up top is the snazziest.
  • Not fully waterproof: Although the watch promises to withstand sweat and rain, it's not fully waterproof, meaning it doesn't belong in the shower or pool. That's in direct contradiction to the main product description, which says "waterproof," and one of the accompanying photos, which shows it being used by a swimmer.

Another important consideration: How good could a $32 smartwatch possibly be at heart-rate monitoring? I did a quick, highly unscientific test: One after the other, I measured my resting heart rate using the ID205, Amazfit Bip and Apple Watch. To my surprise, all three were within a beat or two of each other (63 bpm on average, if you're curious). But I wasn't able to conduct any exercise tests, and here results can definitely vary, especially as a watch moves on your wrist and encounters sweat.

Bottom line: If you buy this expecting an Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch or the like, you're going to be disappointed. But if you want basic smartwatch features, solid battery life and an incredibly low price, there's a good chance you'll like this very much.

Your thoughts? If you ordered one of these last time out, hit the comments and let your fellow cheapskates know how it's going!

Note: Originally published earlier this year. Updated to reflect new sale prices and/or availability. Removed expired bonus deal.

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page.

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