ZDNET’s key takeaways
- The Oukitel BT20 is available now on Amazon for $49.99.
- The battery life is stellar and the various points of data are as accurate as watches far more expensive.
- It’s bulky, wake on raise is a bit janky, and the display isn’t quite as interactive as other watches.
My go-to watch is the Pixel Watch 2. I find it to be the best blend of form and function, with all the features I need and a user interface that is equal parts elegance and efficiency. But there’s one issue I have with Google’s smartwatch — battery life. To be fair, battery life is a problem with most smartwatches. I can eke out 24 hours on a charge, but that’s about it. On days when I go on long runs, that battery life is shortened even more.
Considering how this is pretty much the standard, we live with it.
Until we come across a watch with shockingly good battery life.
Meet the Oukitel BT20. When I received the watch, I gave it a full charge but then had to set it aside because I was busy reviewing other devices. When it came time to start testing this $49.99 watch (thanks to a 29% discount on Amazon right now), I topped off the battery and started using it. I wore the BT20 on my right wrist with my Pixel Watch 2 on my left. I wanted to compare the heart rate monitors and step counters on the respective devices.
What surprised me the most was the BT20 ‘s battery, which just kept going and going. After a week of using the watch, the battery level is still around 75%.
You read that right: 75% after a week of use. Oukitel claims the watch will get a solid 15 days (standby), 10 days (daily use), and 7 days (heavy use) between charges. I’m confident those numbers are spot on.
Before I give you my full experience with the watch, let me list out the specs.
- 1 ATM & IP69K Waterproof
- 1.96″ AMOLED explosion-proof and drop-proof screen at 410*502 resolution
- AI Voice assistant/HIFI Bluetooth call
- 24H health monitor
- Hundreds of sports modes
- 2 Pin magnetic charging of the 350mAh pure cobalt battery
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Dimensions – 12.3mm x 50mm x 265mm
Here’s my first impression of the BT20: It’s big. Understand, I’m on the small side of things, so it looks and feels monstrous on my wrist. It’s also considerably heavier than my Pixel Watch 2, so much so that I always noticed it on my wrist. There were times that it even felt uncomfortable. That’s a very personal thing because I don’t tend to like wearing anything on my wrists. Given how much I type every day, if a watch is noticeable, it can tend to get irritating. That doesn’t mean it will bother everyone. If you’re used to wearing heavier watches or bulky jewelry, you won’t have a problem with this watch.
The next issue I encountered was that the BT20’s main watch face isn’t quite as interactive as I’m accustomed to. With my Pixel Watch 2, I can tap the heart rate bubble and it automatically takes me to the heart rate app. With the BT20, the display doesn’t offer that level of interaction. To get to the various apps, you have to swipe around the face. The swipes are:
- Right – favorite apps
- Left – health data
- Down – notification shade (similar to Android)
- Up – message
Once you get used to swiping, all is fine, but I do prefer the Google method of watch interaction.
The last nit I’ll pick is that the raise-to-wake feature doesn’t seem to function as it should. Even with the feature enabled (and set to maximum time), what it takes to wake up on movement seems to be a bit random. Sometimes the watch will wake with the slightest movement and other times it feels like you have to experience an earthquake to get the watch to wake via movement.
Out with the bad and in with the good.
Again — battery life. The battery on this thing is beyond impressive. One of the ways they’ve managed to get so much battery life is the default settings, which limit the time the display is on. Out of the box, this is set for 5 seconds, which is probably long enough for most. But if you want to see the watch longer than that, know that battery life won’t be quite as exceptional.
Speaking of displays, via FitCloudPro app, there are hundreds of watch faces to choose from. I tried to go without the app (because I don’t much care for installing an app for every single thing I use) but eventually gave in. The FitCloudPro app is quite nice. I’d go so far as to say Google could learn a thing or two about how to create a watch app here.
From the app, you can customize the settings (some of which aren’t available via the Settings app on the watch), and use the various sensors on the watch to check blood pressure and blood oxygen level, as well as set activity/drink reminders, set the automatic health monitor, and more.
The FitCloudPro app should be considered a must if you plan on getting the most out of the BT20 watch.
As far as accuracy, I wore both the BT20 and my Pixel Watch 2 and found them to present almost identical information. Pulse, steps, and various exorcise data were all neck and neck. The only thing I didn’t test was the sleep information because the BT20 was too bulky for me to wear while sleeping. I tried but had to remove the watch because having it on my wrist wasn’t exactly conducive to sleep.
ZDNET’s buying advice
In the end, I’m quite surprised at how good this sub-$50 watch is. If you’re on a tight budget and still want to enjoy the benefits of a smartwatch, the Oukitel BT20 is a real winner. Other than my Pixel Watch (both the 1 and 2), I cannot think of a smartwatch that impressed me more than this one.