Home » Best Budget Smartwatch 101: All the Facts You Need to Know When Shopping

Best Budget Smartwatch 101: All the Facts You Need to Know When Shopping

If you are in the mood for a smartwatch that has all the basics, at a fraction of the price of those fancy brand names, then you are in for a treat!

Instead of having to scour all the listings on Amazon, eBay, Wish, or whatnot, we decided to find the best budget smartwatch for you. We did the digging so that you don’t have to. 

The truth is, shuffling through the ultimate cheap smartwatches is no easy feat. They are, well, cheap, meaning that you are getting lower-grade performance, flimsy design, and lack a couple of practical features.

ProductFeatures/TypeRating
Polar M200 GPS Running WatchSpeed, distance and route tracking
Integrated GPS

Check Price
Samsung Galaxy ActiveAutomatically settings
Comfortably sleek

Check Price
TicWatch S2Built-in GPS
Waterproof

Check Price
Apple Watch Series 3Retina display
Swimproof

Check Price
TicWatch E2 SmartwatchFor Outdoor Activities
Waterproof

Check Price

But, there are some worthwhile cheap smartwatches that have managed to squeeze in that extra practicality and usefulness so that customers are getting that perfect balance. 

We decided to pick out the best budget-friendly choices on the market that have a perfect combination of quality, durability, and performance.

Here is a complete rundown of the best cheap smartwatches that combine value with convenience.

Things to Bear in Mind When Shopping

Back in 2019, roughly 20.1 million smartwatches were sold in the U.S. From 2016 to 2020, that number grew well over 22 million. By 2023, the figure is expected to reach a staggering 130 million. These modern devices skyrocketed in popularity. 

Their biometric monitoring, internet connection, and stunning touchscreens made them a practical choice for many. But, when it comes down to picking only one, that’s when the real problem begins.

The vital component to choosing a cheap smartwatch is to focus on why, where, how, and when you plan to use it. The style, design, size, and features come next.

Do you plan on using it as a fitness tracker or do you need the latest features to make mobile payments? Are you in need of a cheap smartwatch that works without a phone? Will a child be using it? These are all fundamental questions that you have to know the answer to.

Whenever you purchase a new cheap smartwatch, you will quickly notice that each brand has its own unique standpoint. That new gadget you select must be tailored to your needs. So, what fits others, may not work for you. 

This is where the design and features of the cheap smartwatches come into play.

A versatile cheap smartwatch tracks health data. Some cheap smartwatches can monitor your lifestyle regardless of where you go. They have GPS and onboard storage, capable of allowing the cheap smartwatches to work without a cell tower in sight. 

Other consumers, for instance, are looking for peculiar designs of cheap smartwatches, especially with children. They want their best cheap smartwatch to be a desirable fashion accessory that’s both practical and efficient. Then there is the battery life. When you buy a cheap smartwatch, its longevity matters. 

Some devices have replaceable batteries that last a very long time. Others feature a short battery life, always causing problems when traveling or exercising for a long time.

Well, we took all of these features into account and found the ultimate cheap smartwatches that won’t disappoint. Here are our picks for 2021.

Our #1 Choice: Polar M200 GPS

A fitness smartwatch keeps you notified and up-to-date with your fitness routine. When it comes to picking out the best cheap smartwatches for fitness, there are a couple of things to consider.

For example, how much distance you covered, the number of calories you burned, or how your heart rate changed during the whole exercise

The reason why many users go for a cheap smartwatch instead of a fitness tracker is that they want to stay connected. They like using the best cheap smartwatches to be able to check their emails, texts, social media, and make calls. All of which can be achieved with the best cheap smartwatch.

The question is, which one should you choose?

These options below of cheap smartwatches make for a worthwhile purchase

1. Polar M200 GPS Running Watch

The ideal option for people who enjoy a run on a frequent basis. The Polar M200 comes with GPS, allowing the user to easily navigate hiking trails and new areas they wish to explore.

The watch is available in four colors, including red, white, black, and green. Buttons are used to control the interface and functions built into the device.

The smartwatch syncs with a mobile phone through Bluetooth technology and offers universal compatibility. It has a fairly decent battery life. The battery life can last for 6 days with regular use or 6h with constant GPS usage. 

Pros

  • Made for runners
  • Bluetooth sync for wireless data transmission

Cons

  • Significantly limited in terms of functionality 
  • Best for: Running
Polar M200 GPS Running Watch Polar M200 GPS Running Watch
4.1

The ideal option for people who enjoy a run on a frequent basis. The Polar M200 comes with GPS, allowing the user to easily navigate hiking trails and new areas they wish to explore. 


Pros:
  • Optical Heart Rate
  • Integrated GPS

2. Samsung Galaxy Active

A durable smartwatch made by one of the most popular technology brands in the world – Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is one of the good cheap smartwatches for sale.

It was made for people who enjoy doing different types of exercises. What makes this Galaxy Watch Active a unique option is the fact that it can detect seven different exercise types – and then automatically adjust its settings to provide more accurate tracking.

The Galaxy Watch Active can be used with any Android device, as well as with certain Apple iOS devices. Built-in NFC in the smartwatch makes it easier to pay for goods and services with just a tap – reducing the need for contact while shopping.

The battery life is solid, promising 45h of usage. The watch provides instant feedback on notifications that come through on the user’s connected smartphone. The user is also able to sync the smartwatch with certain wireless earbuds.  

Pros

  • Waterproof construction
  • Different band designs available 

Cons

  • Limited iOS compatibility 
  • Best for: Exercise
SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active SAMSUNG Galaxy Watch Active
4.7

Made for people who enjoy doing different types of exercises. What makes this Galaxy Watch Active a unique option is the fact that it can detect seven different exercise types - and then automatically adjust its settings to provide more accurate tracking.

Pros:
  • RAM 1.5GB
  • Comfortably sleek

Our Feature Filled Choice: TichWatch S2

Those who don’t want to spend a hefty sum on an iOS device will definitely find a thing or two grabbing their attention the moment they go for an Android unit. Of course, you don’t need to scour your options and look through the packed market. What you need is an option you can trust that’s both affordable and feature-packed. 

At one point, buying the best cheap smartwatches meant obtaining a product with rugged durability. When they were first released, they didn’t have a plethora of benefits.

But, a lot has changed since then, and manufacturers have gone the extra mile to create a product that fits every budget, yet doesn’t sacrifice quality and convenience.

Here is what you’ve been missing when it comes to buying the best cheap smartwatch for android units

3. TicWatch S2

This is one of the cheap smartwatches that are able to provide the perfect balance between affordability and functions. This is one of the lower-priced options on the list, and still provides a range of functions to help in a person’s day-to-day life.

The watch features a waterproof design, allowing people to adventure into the outdoors – even when it is raining. In addition to the waterproof design, the watch is also resistant to high temperatures, dust, and bumps.

The GPS function provides easy navigation no matter where the individual finds themselves.

The use of wearOS by Google offers the user access to a wide variety of apps that can extend the functions and uses for the smartwatch.

Apart from its compatibility with Android devices, the Ticwatch S2 can also be used by iPhones and other devices that run on Apple’s iOS operating system. Unfortunately, the battery life can be a problem for some users. The battery life can roughly last 2 days. 

Pros

  • Available for under $100
  • Powered by wearOS

Cons

  • Low battery life
  • Best for: Lower budget
Ticwatch S2 Waterproof Smartwatch Ticwatch S2 Waterproof Smartwatch
4.2

This is one of the cheap smartwatches that are able to provide the perfect balance between affordability and functions. This is one of the lower-priced options on the list, and still provides a range of functions to help in a person’s day-to-day life. 

Pros:
  • Waterproof design
  • WearOS by Google offers access to a variety of apps

iPhone Value Option: Apple Watch Series 3

An Apple Watch is no longer a high-tech device meant for folks in Silicon Valley. Now, many people can enjoy and appreciate the features of this brand on a daily basis.

Designed to take your workout to the next level, the cheap smartwatch can track calories, sleep quality, stress, and heart rate. Although it may not be the cheapest unit on the market, it still makes for a fine health accessory. 

One of the main reasons people choose an Apple Watch is for that extra convenience. Particularly for individuals who are constantly on the go. The product is here to pay remote attention to your wallet, texts, and a lot more. Paired with the high-tech, and the smooth design, it is easy to see why the Apple brand has made such a notable impact.

The thing is, plenty of cheap smartwatches are tailored towards Android devices. Meaning that you would need to get pretty selective to choose an option that’s suited for an iPhone-compatible unit.

This option below can be exactly what you are looking for when shopping for the best cheap smartwatches. 

4. Apple Watch Series 3

Many people think that the Apple Watch series is expensive – without realizing that a few entry-level options are available.

While not the cheapest on the market, the Apple Watch Series 3 is still a good entry in the range of smartwatches offered by the brand and comes at a reasonable price.

The watch uses aluminum in the construction of its case. Two sizes are available, including the 38mm and the larger 42mm model. The Series 3 watch comes in two colors, including Space Gray and Silver Aluminium.

The watch features Bluetooth technology, built-in Wi-Fi, a GPS module, as well as a sleep monitor and pedometer

The battery life with this one is about 18h. But, the battery life could drain sooner depending on use. 

Pros

  • Case is made from aluminum materials
  • Comes with a sports band

Cons

  • More expensive than many alternatives
  • Best for:  iPhone users
Apple Watch Series 3 Apple Watch Series 3
4.8

Apple Watch Series 3 is still a good entry in the range of smartwatches offered by the brand and comes at a reasonable price.

The watch uses aluminum in the construction of its case. Two sizes are available, including the 38mm and the larger 42mm model. The Series 3 watch comes in two colors, including Space Gray and Silver Aluminium. 

Pros:
  • Built-in GPS and Wi-Fi
  • Swimproof
  • Sleep monitor and pedometer
  • Stores music, podcasts, and audiobooks

TicWatch E2- Rugged Design That Is Worth the Effort

Every smart wearable device has its shortcomings. Whether it is the battery life or overall design, there is a limit to its usefulness. If you are an avid explorer, adventurer, and traveler, then you know just how important it is to have a cheap smartwatch that can last.

To ramp up its durability and effectiveness, a rugged unit makes for a better pick

One of the key features of well-made cheap smartwatches is water-resistance, shockproof, and scratch-proof protection. The unit should be robust, but comfortable to wear. That’s how you get the complete package for hiking, running, cycling, or working out.

A rugged design acts as a sporty timepiece, capable of both monitoring and supporting your progress. The seamless design and features can handle a lot more than a flimsy cheap smartwatch would.

But, then again, there is the price to consider. It’s not hard to find a smartwatch with a rugged design with a high price tag.

To procure something that’s easy on the wallet and still maintains a similar quality, it’s important to be a bit picky. With careful observation and use, we decided to narrow down the search for you and picked the best cheap smartwatch that can be to your liking.

Here is what you can expect from the best cheap smartwatch with a rugged design. 

5. TicWatch E2 Smartwatch

When durability is the primary concern, then the TicWatch E2 might be a good option.

This smartwatch features a stylish design, with matte black detailing on the case. Military-grade materials are used in the design of the case, making this a shockproof and water-resistant option.

The smartwatch is compatible with different fitness apps on the user’s smartphone, including the brand’s own TicMotion. Users may also choose to sync the data from the watch with the Google Fit app. 

This one has a battery life that might seem a little short, lasting about 2h.

Pros

  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring
  • Attractive interface options

Cons

  • No alternative bands available 
  • Best for: Durability 
TicWatch E2 Smartwatch TicWatch E2 Smartwatch
3.9

This smartwatch features a stylish design, with matte black detailing on the case. Military-grade materials are used in the design of the case, making this a shockproof and water-resistant option. 

Pros:
  • 24hr HRM and Build-in GPS
  • Shockproof
  • 5 ATM Waterproof

Tips That Can Help You Land the Perfect Wearable

Despite the various styles and features, each cheap smartwatch is good in its own right. Of course, neither are “one size fits all”. From options like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch to Fitbit Versa Lite, their tech, battery life, and overall built-in metrics will vary. 

So, before you jump the boat and choose one model, it’s important to push its capabilities further and see whether it makes for a fine pick. These tips below can help you decide how to shop for the best cheap smartwatch. 

  • Don’t go for a cheap smartwatch that’s not compatible with your phone. For instance, an Apple Watch only works with iPhone, Tizen watches from Samsung, and the OS platform from Google works with both iPhone and Android. 
  • Choose the best cheap smartwatches with the longest battery life to suit your needs. Especially if you like to travel, hike, or work out during the day. The battery life will be your best bet and the most trustworthy feature on any cheap smartwatch. 
  • Double-check the buckle of the cheap smartwatch when shopping. It should be a comfy fit and super easy to work with. If the band breaks, make sure a replacement is always within reach. That way you can avoid stressing out when the wearable needs fixing. 
  • A best cheap smartwatch should have a couple of apps to go for. But, they are not as detrimental as their compatibility, style, and overall built-in options. What you need are the best cheap smartwatches equipped with the most practical features you’ll be using on a daily basis.

Key Decision-Making Factors:

  • Pricing: We are looking at budget smartwatches – which is why pricing should be the very first thing taken into consideration. There is no fixed amount to spend when looking at a budget-friendly smartwatch. Instead, the individual needs to take a look at how much they can spend – and this will allow them to find a watch that falls into the appropriate range. Also shop around and compare different watches – sometimes, it is possible to get a watch with the exact same features for a lower price. 
  • Brand: When looking at budget smartwatches, many people think that they won’t be able to buy a brand name option. Sure, some brands tend to charge thousands for smartwatches – but there are a few companies who are well known, but still offer a selection of lower priced smartwatches. Apple, Samsung, Ticwatch, and many other brands have affordable entry level smartwatches that can still do everything the person demands. 
  • Functions: Taking a close look at the specific functions offered by a smartwatch is also important. When considering functions, the individual does need to take their own needs into account. When opting for a watch, there’s no need to pay extra for features that won’t be used. Basic functions like a fitness and sleep tracker can be useful. If the individual needs a watch that can call and message, as well as use third party apps, then they should consider one that is powered by a smart operating system, such as wearOS from Google or watchOS from Apple.
  • Design: The smartwatch industry has evolved significantly and now offers watches that come in a wide variety of designs, shapes, and sizes. It is important for a person to ensure the watch they buy provides a suitable appearance when taking their own preferences for fashion and outfits into consideration.

Products to Avoid

6. Motast Smart Watch

Why avoid: While the cheap price makes this an appealing option for many people, it is always important to consider compatibility, functionality, and design.

No military-grade materials are used in the design of this smartwatch. It also has a very small screen that only measures 1.69 inches in diameter.

The watch does come with an IP67 waterproof rating, but the submersion time and distance are limited.

There are also only four different brightness levels, giving you less control over the visuals on the watch’s display. Apart from these drawbacks, also consider the fact that the watch only comes with a single strap – which has limited adjustment options and no alternatives are available from the brand itself. 

Motast Smart Watch Motast Smart Watch
3.9

Full 1.69 Inch Touch Display and Sleep Quality Tracker: Our smartwatch have a advanced 1.69 inch colorful touch screen, make it easy to operate and easily check detailed data reports. fitness watch automatically records your sleep activity, recording your deep sleep, light sleep and awake duration. You can get a comprehensive sleep quality analysis and healthy insights in Hero Band lll app.


Pros:
  • Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor
  • Sleep Quality Tracker
  • Waterproof

LCD Vs. OLED – Does The Display Matter?

The majority of the best cheap smartwatches are equipped with AMOLED or LCD screens. That’s why you are able to see applications, images, and other types of content. They feature vivid colors and a relatively brighter hue.

These units have great efficiency but can come with shorter battery life.

For the longest battery life, people are opting for a cheap smartwatch with a black-and-white screen. It may not be the best choice for viewing photos, but it is worth a shot for those whose battery life is of significant importance.

Wearables that come with a heftier price tag provide a crisp OLED display. As a result, their unit features a slimmer design, as opposed to the cheap smartwatches. Apple became a stepping stone for the first OLED display making their first-generation Apple watch as thin as it could possibly be. Also, Samsung was the one that came up with the OLED smartwatch – the first ever to hit the market. This was back in 2013 with the Galaxy Gear. 

Touchless Vs. Touchscreen – Picking Out the Interface

For many shopping for the best cheap smartwatches, having a touchscreen is a must. It just makes the wearable stand out. But, navigating through a smartwatch touchscreen is not as easy as it looks. You can have trouble selecting smaller icons. There will be a lot of swiping and time spent browsing through the menu. 

The Samsung Galaxy watch features a bezel that the user rotates when using the menu, which can be used combined with touch.

Apple went for a combination with their Apple Watch. Providing consumers with both a digital crown and a touch display. The crown comes in handy for zooming and scrolling, while the screen relies on Force Touch to recognize the difference between a long-press and a short tap. 

Customization and Styling – When the Look Matters

When personalizing the best cheap smartwatch, many consumers want a unit that will be a perfect replica of their style. With the best cheap smartwatches, you can still get that and more. Today, manufacturers provide a number of styling opportunities for cheap smartwatches. For example, people can choose the color of the material they want to buy. 

They can analyze the size and overall look of the best cheap smartwatch. Since there are a lot of brands that sell the best cheap smartwatches, there are countless options that will surely meet your needs.

More and more units on the market have a round design, giving it a traditional look. Newer models, however, are looking to reduce the size and create a slimmer design. So, if fashion is on the top of your list, then jump on board the cheap smartwatch bandwagon and choose the option that looks and feels right. 

Do have in mind that the best cheap smartwatches are constantly maturing. So, manufacturers will keep adding more features, longer battery life, and polishing their user interface to please every customer. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for the latest devices that hit the market. In time, you too can find those solid cheap smartwatches that are worth every penny. 

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