Always assumed a quality smartwatch was out of your budget? Think again!
There’s now an enormous choice of budget smartwatches that are less than $50 – and in some cases, you’ll have dollars to spare.
This doesn’t mean settling for something substandard; if you know what to look for it’s possible to pick up an absolute bargain that delivers outstanding performance.
We’re going to run through five of the best smartwatches on the market that are under $50, with hints and tips about what to look for.
Recommended Smartwatches Under $50
These are the essential smartwatches for under 50 dollars. We’ll start with our favorite.
Top Pick – TicWatch GTX
A smartwatch under $50 doesn’t have to mean compromises, as the TicWatch GTX proves. An all-round excellent performer, the TicWatch comes loaded with features that you’d expect to see on a more expensive model.
The TicWatch won’t bust your bank balance but you can have the best of both worlds. It’s made by Mobvoi, a manufacturer renowned for quality items that also offer a sense of style. This budget smartwatch looks appealing, and offers the ability to change watch faces, should you want a different look.
Battery power is always a good place to start and the TicWatch will give you a full 10 days if you’re in power saving mode. In regular mode, you’ll still get seven days of use before a recharge is needed.
Is this the longest battery life in the market? No. But it’s also better than most others, and long enough not to be irritating.
For those interesting in tracking fitness, a TicHealth app with 14 integrated exercise modes is an excellent feature. All the usual modes are included as well as some of the less common forms of exercise so you can measure your activity very accurately.
The heart monitor can track your heart rate while you’re working out, but also while you’re asleep. Wear your watch while you’re napping and it can identify light and deep sleep cycles, giving you unparalleled information about the quality of zzz’s you’re getting.
With so many other features, it’s easy to forget about the basics but TicWatch can also handle call and messaging notifications. It’s a one-way system so you’ll need to get your phone out if you want to respond. You can also receive alerts for other applications that you set up, such as calendar, weather and social media.
- Uses Realtime OS
- Battery life: 10 days
- Certified as waterproof to IP68
- TicHealth app with 14 exercise modes
- Sleep tracking and heart monitor
- One-way notifications for calls, SMS and social media applications
Our conclusion: If you didn’t see the price tag, you’d think this watch was much more expensive. Its feature-packed design competes with smartwatches which are several times more expensive! Offering far more than just the basics, the TicWatch GTX is our pick for combining affordability and smart function.
Wildcard – Amazfit Bip
Stylishly simple, the Amazfit Bip has the same modern appearance as an Apple Watch but costs just a fraction of the price. It’s also crammed full of handy functions which you wouldn’t expect to see on a watch for under $50.
The blank screen of a smartwatch is a controversial design feature for many. The Bip sidesteps that with the always-on face, meaning you won’t have to tap or touch your watch and wait for it to wake up.
You might think that the always-on feature would drain the battery but that’s not the case. The Bip has a market-leading 45-day battery life which means you could go on vacation for six weeks and not have to worry.
One of the reasons that this smartwatch has such a phenomenal battery is because it draws on outdoor light to reduce battery use. The brighter the natural light, the lower the drain on the battery. This reflective color display ensures that the display remains clear while preserving battery power.
If you like spending time outdoors exercising, the Bip offers a myriad of sports and fitness trackers. There are reminders to get moving if you’ve been stationary for too long, plus detailed feedback and sports modes which measure heart rate, duration, distance and speed.
Consolidating its reputation as a smartwatch that is well-suited to adventuring, the Amazfit Bip includes an integrated GPS. This only uses a third of the usual power, thanks to the advanced Sony GPS chip.
Messaging and call notifications don’t get overlooked with the one-way alert system. Set it up for your social media, calendar and other features, but as a budget model, you’ll need to get your phone out if you want to respond.
- Available in a range of colors
- Fitness and multi-sport tracker
- Battery life: 45 days
- Integrated GPS
- Heart rate monitoring
- Lightweight for comfortable wear
- One way alerts for phone calls, emails and SMS messages
- Notifications for social media, WhatsApp, Slack and other compatible mobile apps
Our conclusion: The Amazfit Bip ticks all the boxes you need, and many more that you don’t with comprehensive features at a ridiculously tiny price. Phenomenal battery life is the standout feature but there are many reasons to pick this smartwatch over ones which are several times its price.
Best for Fitness – Amazfit Band 5
If you like all the features on the Amazfit Bip but want to focus on your fitness even more, the Amazfit Band 5 might be a good alternative. Loaded with many of the same functions as the Bip, the Band 5 has some useful extras not readily found elsewhere.
There are 11 sports modes to track your performance which includes running, cycling, rowing and also swimming. It’s water-resistant to 5ATM so you can wear your watch in the pool without any problem.
It can be difficult to collate all of the data from your exercise but the Huami-PAI health assessment system makes it easy. It converts data from your activities and heart rate into a single score to enable you to understand your health more easily.
There’s an extra function specifically designed for women: the menstrual cycle tracker. This helps you to keep track of your ovulation and menstrual cycle and receive alerts and notifications.
Staying healthy isn’t just about physical exercise, it’s also about your mental wellbeing. A stress monitoring feature checks your stress levels and guides you through breathing exercises when needed.
The heart rate tracker is essential for exercise, to make sure you’re in the right zone. But this heart tracker works 24/7 so you’ll get feedback about your heart rate whenever you want. The BopTracker 2 PPG is a precise tool and includes automatic warnings about high heart rate when detected.
There’s also a blood oxygen saturation tracker, a premium tool not often found on budget smartwatches. It can be useful when you’re at altitude or in a low-oxygen environment but it’s also handy when you’re carrying out hard physical work or feeling below par.
The Band 5 has a huge focus on health, fitness and wellbeing but it has all the functions of a regular smartwatch too. Alexa is automatically integrated so you can benefit from all the usual features – on your wrist!
- Battery life: 15 days
- Integrated Alexa
- Customizable watch faces
- Blood oxygen saturation monitor
- 24/7 Heart rate monitor and sleep tracker
- Health assessment system
- 11 sports modes
- Female health tracking
- Water-resistant to 5 ATM
Our conclusion: We’ve checked the price on this smartwatch more than once as it’s hard to believe it’s less than $50! For fitness freaks and anyone who just wants to be more active, this smartwatch has everything you need – and more.
Best of the Rest – Yamay Smartwatch
For an all-round smartwatch that’s compatible with both Android and Apple, the Yamay hits the sweet spot while still costing substantially less than $50. Incredibly good value, it’s packed with a whole host of features which wouldn’t look out of place on a more expensive model.
Whether you’re an Apple-lover or an Android fan, you can pair up with the Yamay. It’s compatible with iOS 9.0 and above as well as Android 5.0 and higher. This includes smartphones, iPads and tablets.
By pairing your smartwatch with your phone, you can receive notifications of calls, SMS messages and other social media alerts. Like many other budget watches, this is a one-way system so you won’t be able to respond without pulling your phone out.
The fitness tracker is excellent, with 13 different sports modes. As well as the usual suspects like walking, running and cycling, there are also modes such as ping pong, rugby and alpinism. If you need a hand to get going, the sedentary reminder will let you know when you’ve been stationary for too long.
A heart rate monitor is included in the package which provides valuable feedback on your exercise performance. It monitors your heart rate 24/7 so you can check your resting heart rate throughout the day.
Keep your Yamay on your wrist while you’re snoozing and the sleep tracker will do its thing. This means analyzing your sleep cycle and providing feedback about how much light and deep sleep you had. When it’s time to wake up, you can take advantage of the gently vibrating alarm – there’s no need to disturb anyone else!
There are also handy extra features on this smartwatch, including remote controllers for your music and camera. If you want to remotely flick on the camera or change your music, it’s just a tap on your wrist.
If all of that wasn’t quite enough, you might be convinced by the customization available. As well as picking from the available watch face designs, you can also upload your own images to use.
- Battery life: 7-10 days
- Customizable watch faces (including uploading your own images)
- Waterproof to IP68
- A fitness tracker with 13 sports modes
- 24/7 heart rate monitor
- Sleep tracker
- Remote camera and music controller
- One-way notification for calls, SMS and social media
Our conclusion: A great all-round smartwatch that doesn’t leave anything out. Water-resistant and with multiple sports modes, it’s great whether you want to get active or just chill at home.
Best of the Rest – Tinwoo Smartwatch
The Tinwoo Smartwatch is a big and bold design, ideal if you’re looking for a model which has a larger screen. The watch face is 1.3” and can be customized with 14 different images.
The big benefit of the Tinwoo is that it’s compatible with both Android and Apple, but only smartphones, not tablets or iPads. Connecting your phone will allow you to receive notification of calls, messages and other alerts from all the social media platforms. You’ll need Bluetooth 4.2 or higher.
Similar to other budget smartwatches, you won’t be able to reply using your Tinwoo watch. However, you can hang up on any unwanted calls, useful if you want to stop your phone from being a disruption.
The battery life on this smartwatch is pretty good for a budget model. On a single charge you’ll get 10-15 days of regular use and 20 days standby. It only takes two hours to charge and it’s compatible with wireless charging (although this will need to be purchased separately).
The GPS and fitness tracker provide in-depth feedback on your activity and exercise, with nine sports modes. It’s also certified as IP68 water-resistant which means you can go swimming or take a shower without removing your watch.
A sleep tracker and heart rate monitor complete the package, giving you complete data about your physical wellbeing even while you are snoozing.
- Large 1.3’ watch face
- Choose from 4 colors
- 14 interchangeable watch face designs
- Battery life: 15 days
- Charging time: 2 hours
- Compatible with wireless charging
- All-day activity tracking
- Certified as waterproof to IP68
- Remote controls for camera and music
- Sleep tracker
- Nine exercise modes
- Find my phone function
- Can be used with iOS 9.0 or higher and Android 5.0 or higher
- One-way notification for calls, SMS messages and other social media alerts
- Terminate incoming calls from your watch
Our conclusion: Great value doesn’t mean sacrificing the necessary features, and the Tinwoo has everything you need, plus a few extras. And as a bonus, if you switch between an Android and iOS phone you won’t need to worry, as it’s compatible with both.
Smartwatches are available at all price points and your budget doesn’t need to be a barrier if you do your homework. It’s perfectly possible to pick up a smartwatch at a very reasonable price, including plenty under $50.
Of course, even though there are many topnotch smartwatches available for $50 or less, you won’t get the same range of features that you’d expect on a model valued at $500 or more. It’s therefore essential to be realistic about what you will get.
Plumping for quality rather than quantity of features is the best approach. Consider what you think is essential and what you will use. When you’re on a budget, it’s important not to be distracted by extras.
There are some components which are worth checking for everyone, regardless of how you plan on using your smartwatch. Here’s an overview of a few things you should consider.
Recommended: Check out our guide to the 5 best smartwatches under $100 next
Most people plan on tethering their smartwatch to their phone. This is even more likely if you’re buying a budget watch as the phone will provide the necessary tech. You’ll therefore need to ensure that your smartwatch and phone are compatible.
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to have the same brand of phone and watch. Many pair beautifully together, even if they come from different manufacturers.
However, that’s not the case universally. Having the same operating system helps. In other words, even if your phone and watch are different brands, if they both use Android you’ll find life easier.
Cross-compatibility between different operating systems has improved over the years but it’s still not perfect. So if you’ve got an iPhone you could find it difficult to pair it with an Android smartwatch. It is possible and there are some workarounds, but you’ll never get full functionality.
This doesn’t mean that you only need to buy Apple watches if you have an iPhone. Or that you need to stick rigidly to Android if that’s the operating system your phone runs on. There are some third party systems compatible with either Android or Apple, but just make sure you check before you buy.
Having to constantly recharge your smartwatch is a nuisance and ultimately means that you’ll probably end up not wearing it so frequently. Running out of battery power just when you need it is a major inconvenience.
Unlike traditional watches, a smartwatch runs on rechargeable batteries which will need to be regularly topped up. The length of time the watch can run between charges varies hugely and is something to look out for when making a purchase.
Some smartwatches may need to be recharged every few days while others can last for weeks between charges. This offers a huge difference in terms of practical function. For example, going on vacation and not having to take along a charger would make life much easier.
Battery life is one area where having a cheaper smartwatch can be an asset. With fewer features to drain the battery, you might find more models with a long battery life. The more features there are, the more likely it is that your battery power will run out quickly.
The other aspect to consider is how long the watch takes to recharge. A watch that takes several hours to recharge each time might be less practical than one that needs to be recharged more often, but charges quickly. This is a matter of personal preference and depends on how you plan on recharging your watch battery.
Calls and messaging
This is one of the most basic functions of a smartwatch and one of the main reasons why many people want one. The ability to receive notifications about calls and messaging means you don’t need to constantly have your phone at hand.
However, if you are hoping to be able to use your watch as a surrogate phone you might be disappointed. At the budget end of the market, the notifications tend to be one-way. This means that although you can receive notifications about messages, calls and social media, you won’t be able to respond.
To take your call or send a message in return, you’ll need to get out your phone. This isn’t always the case and watches with a higher spec can operate independently. At the lower end of the price bracket, it’s more likely that the notifications will be one-way only.
You will want your smartwatch to stay looking its best for as long as possible so durability is something to consider. Wearing a watch every day means it will be exposed to wear and tear, so a model which is tough is preferable.
Scratch-proof or reinforced glass are features that get the thumbs up. They will help to protect your watch and keep it looking good and working well.
It’s not just about bumps and scrapes; water is another big threat to the lifespan of your watch. A smartwatch may be exposed to the rain and if you’re a bit forgetful, it may even be plunged into the water occasionally!
You don’t need to buy an expensive watch to benefit from water resistance. Different models have varying degrees of water resistance. The best will be certified to IP67 or IP68 and are fine to be submerged in deep water.
If your watch appears to be water-resistant, make sure you understand the certification. Some may be only splash-proof while others are suitable for swimming.
Not everyone buys a smartwatch because they’re a superfit athlete, but most people have at least a passing interest in their activity levels. And if you didn’t before, you probably will have after you’ve been wearing your watch for a while as it’s addictive tracking your steps!
Nearly every smartwatch has some degree of fitness tracking. There are specific modes for tracking movements in certain sports which can be very useful. As well as simple activities such as running and rowing, you also find sports modes which include yoga, skipping and swimming.
A heart rate monitor is the other component of fitness tracking. A smartwatch can provide accurate heart monitoring, helping you to plan, track and assess your activity levels and fitness more accurately.