• Paul Fingleton

K88H Smart Watch: Review

Wearable technology has come so far in a relatively short space of time, what was once the stuff of science fiction is becoming available to the masses at increasingly lower prices. The K88H Smart Watch is a prime example of this trend - a smartwatch that can do more than David Hasselhoff's watch in Knight Rider and retails for under €40. But how good is it?

The K88H smartwatch is pleasant surprise in terms of features and appearance. The simple packaging contains a USB charger and one page instruction manual and a stylish watch. The watch has a 3cm round face, equipped with a 240 x 204 pixel capacitive IPS screen that is clear to read outdoors, in different lighting situations and from many viewing angles. A rotating button on the right of the watch is used for controlling the device.


Our review unit (courtesy of GearBest) had a sleek, black, stainless steel wristband, but it looks like this can be changed out to any standard wristband as it connects to the unit via a standard 21mm pin.


For the most part, navigating with the watch is easy as the K88H is responsive to screen presses and swipes.

Apps and Connectivity

The K88H features a number of preinstalled apps - Phone Dialler, Messages, Notifications and Calendar. Some additional apps for Health and wellbeing, such as Pedometer, Movement reminder, Sleep monitoring and Heart Rate monitoring are also installed but are not enabled by default, perhaps to preserve battery life.


As the K88H runs a custom OS and not a variant of Android it means that Customisation of the K88H smartwatch is limited to changing the watch face and icon theme among the preinstalled options and custom apps are out of the question.


Android and iOS phones are officially supported by the K88H, as long as you are running Android 4.4 or iOS 7.0. Connecting via Bluetooth is a painless experience. As the watch supports Bluetooth 4.0, it is more power efficient and less of a battery drain.


Android and iOS users can scan the QR code in the instruction manual to download the partner application for the watch on their handset. This will allow for integration of mail, Facebook, calendar and SMS notifications along with syncing historical data from the wellbeing apps.

As a side note: Windows Phone 8.1 or Windows 10 Mobile can technically work, but are not officially supported you will receive reduced functionality as no application exists for Windows. Basic functionality is still quite thorough, with full phone dialler and address book integration and Cortana responding surprisingly well to voice commands issued through the watch.

The rear of the K88H reveals a small microphone and speaker for use as a hands free unit for calls and for interacting with Siri on iPhone and Cortana on Windows Mobile. The small speaker is capable to produce a loud, if somewhat tinny sound and the microphone is strong enough for most common usage.


An optical heart rate monitor is centre on the back of the watch. Heart Rate monitoring can be performed as an occasional or once-off action, or can be enabled to monitor continuously. However, continuous monitoring can have a negative impact on battery life.


Simple usage of the K88H has allowed us to comfortably get almost two days of usage from the 300mA battery. Our simple usage was with Pedometer enabled, frequent checking of the time and occasional incoming phone and SMS message notifications. Enabling additional features such as the reminders if you have been sitting too long, heart rate or sleep monitoring would bring the battery life to below one day. That's not bad by Smartwatch standards, the first generation Watch released by Apple only had an expected charge of 18 hours, but is a change for anyone moving from a traditional watch.


Some neat touches are included in the K88H to preserve battery life: The screen will turn off, if idle, and will only activate if you lift your wrist. A power saving mode can also be manually enabled, that will switch off much of the smart functionality, but will keep your timepiece running for longer.



From completely empty, it take about 45-60 minutes to fully charge the battery. The magnetic Pogo Pins on the rear of the watch allow you to connect the included USB charger to the watch. We noticed, however, that the magnetic grip is particularly weak between the cable and the K88H and it was easy for the charger to inadvertently become disconnected.


Summary

Overall, the K88H is an impressive device for the price. It looks good and allows easy personalisation of the wristband. The battery can safely last a day, which removes the 'range anxiety' some Apple Watch users experienced. Siri interaction and the additional wellbeing functionality ensures that there are many features that make it useful the budget conscious smartphone owner.



We liked:

  • The Display is clear, colourful and responsive

  • Light and comfortable design

  • Standard Wristband pins make it easy to change appearance

  • Speaker and Microphone are decent for Calls and Siri interaction

  • Over one day battery life.

  • A good range of apps and functionality included for the price.


We disliked:

  • The charging cable not very secure, easy to accidentally unplug.

  • Charging from Empty takes about one hour

  • Minimal personalisation aside from the aesthetic appearance of the wristband. Apps cannot be reordered and no new apps can be added.

  • Health and wellbeing features must be manually started or set to run always. The more apps running definitely impacts the one-day battery performance.


Many thanks to GearBest for our review K88H Smart Watch, currently on sale for under €35

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