Review: Alcatel Onetouch smart watch

Alcatel Onetouch smart watchThe last couple of years has seen the rise of wearables with the launch of Android Wear, the Microsoft Band and the Apple Watch but it is not all expensive devices. The Alcatel OneTouch Smartwatch is a £99 watch that brings notifications and health monitoring to the wrist. The Onetouch looks like a traditional watch with the circular face and rubber adjustable strap with a single button on the side and the clever thing about the strap is it has full size USB connector hidden built into it for charging so no extra cables are needed. Where it is different from a traditional watch is when you press the button on the side you see a full colour screen with a watch face. The screen is very bright and clear and the clock face looks great. Alcatel Onetouch smart watch
When you first setup the watch you need to pair it with an iPhone or Android device (no Windows support). You install the Onetouch Move app and then tap your phone to the NFC tag on the phone and it pairs it for you (or you can use Bluetooth).

The Onetouch watch feature set breaks down into the following areas: Clock, notifications, heath tracking and apps.
First let’s look at the watch basics. When you bring your hand up the display switches on (most of the time), or you can use the button the side. When notifications arrive the watch vibrates but it don’t switch the display on so as you get a notification you have to turn the display on to find out what it was, in fact you have to turn it on and then swipe up. What I would really like to see is a permanent on option, maybe as a low power mode or at least bring up the notification on screen when it arrives.

With the display on you swipe up to bring up the notifications which are grouped together by app. The other issue with notifications is that you only see a small preview it would be nice if you could tap to read more, and you can’t dismiss notifications on the watch either you have to go to the phone and do that. Another issue with notification is that only a limited set of apps are supported, Twitter, Facebook and others are there but Microsoft’s Outlook app isn’t support, it would be better if there was an all notifications option as well as having the current on/off list. Tapping on the screen brings up the app list where you have a weather app, heart rate monitor (using a sensor on the watch, it doesn’t constantly watch your heart rate), stop watch, compass, remote control for the phone’s camera, music control and health app. The music control will control music playback (skip, play/pause) the phones built in music app. You can also control the volume of music playback.

The heath app tracks you days progress, it shows how many steps you have taken, calories burned, distance travelled, how long you have been active and there is a sleep timer There is also an app for tracking a run which shows how far you have ran and calorie info. From the watch you can also change the watch style from two analogue style faces and a digital display. On the phone you install the Onetouch move app (iOS or Android) and the app handles pushing notifications, customising the watch and viewing data from the band. The customisation options include switching of watch background images (including being able to use your own) and switching of watch types. You can setup week day, weekend alarms and pick which apps push notifications, as said earlier there is a list of supported apps including Incoming Calls, text messages, Skype, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail but apps like Outlook are not supported and there is no catch all notification system. One nice touch is that the watch will alert you if you are disconnected from your phone, in other words it will tell you if you leave your phone behind.

The phone app is divided into four sections: Dashboard, Timeline, Me and Watch. The dashboard shows you steps taken today, calories burnt, distance travelled, duration and the amount of sleep you have had (you put the watch into sleep mode and then it works out how well you have slept). You can also step back through previous day’s data. The Timeline view shows your activity as a timeline, so you can see when you have walked or worked out, taping on activity shows you the details. I found the accuracy of the step counter to be pretty good but not as good as my Microsoft Band which uses GPS to track distances, for example a 1.79 mile walk showed up as 1.2 miles on the watch. Taking of GPS, there is no GPS feature so you can’t see a map of your run or anything like that.

The Me view shows your daily targets for calories burnt and steps taken and how much progress you have made for that day. One of great features of the watch is the battery life, I found I could get around five days between charges and I would be happy to sacrifice some battery life to have always on display or least have the movement sensor more sensitive. Alcatel Onetouch smart watch
Overall for the £99 price (at Currys PC world) I think the watch is good value if you want a simple devices for notifications and basic heath tracking. It is cheaper and simpler than Android Wear and it is more watch like than the Microsoft Band. The battery life is good, the display is good and it is relatively comfortable to wear. I also like the built in USB plug so there is no need for special cables. If it had an always on display I would love it but overall is it a nice smartwatch. It is also water and dust resistant up to 1 metres.
Alcatel Onetouch smart watch

In this video I take a look at the watch and the Android app.

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