No.1 S3 Smartwatch Review: How Good Is No.1’s Latest?

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The No.1 S3 is the newest smartwatch from smartphone manufacturer No.1. No.1 have put up released two solid smartwatches with the No.1 G2 and No.1 Sun S2, and their new model is no different.

Keeping the round screen of its predecessor and adding a SIM card for phone-free calling, is it any good? Read our No.1 S3 review to find out.

Thanks to No.1 for sending me a sample to review. You can purchase the No.1 S3 from the following stores:

No.1 S3 Technical Specs

  • Chipset: MediaTek 2502
  • Screen: 240×240 pixels, Tempered Glass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 350mAh Li-polymer battery
  • Phone: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz (Micro SIM)
  • Storage: 64Mb + micro SD (up to 16GB)
  • Other Features: Speaker, Microphone
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Leather

Who’s It For?

If you’re looking for a budget smartwatch with style, the No.1 S3 is a good option. For it’s price, it’s got a solid set of features, particularly if you’re an Android user.

No.1 S3 Review: Design

The No.1 S3 looks far more subdued than the No.1 Sun S2. The No.1 S3 pairs a black metal body with a matching leather wristband. There’s also a gold variant that features a brown leather band.

A single button breaks the circle. It acts as the only physical interaction with the watch, pulling double duty as a power button and to show the time.

The back of the watch is relatively bare, featuring only the charging port.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-Back

The cover underneath comes off revealing the sim card slot, micro SD card slot and a removable 350mAh battery.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-09

To account for the removable back cover, the heart rate sensor is now located in the wristband. Unfortunately, this means you can’t swap it out with aftermarket bands which is a shame.

The 240×240 round screen looks great. It’s got enough brightness to read during the day and the touchscreen is responsive. It rarely missed a swipe.

It’s not perfectly round however, suffering from the same “flat tyre” design in early round screen devices such as the Motorola 360. The black semi-circle definitely detracts from the overall aesthetic.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-05

No. 1 have included several watch faces in the No.1 S3. The analog faces are really nice, featuring various dials representing the time and date. However, I thought the digital watch face was a little bland. It’s disappointing, particularly after being spoiled by some of the stylish faces on the Zeblaze Crystal. An additional digital watch face can be installed via the Android app however.

The charger works well but feels like a step backwards. It uses a mechanical grip rather than the awesome magnetic charger included with the No.1 Sun S2.

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No.1 S3 Review: Using It

After charging the smartwatch for around 30 minutes, holding down the button for a second turns on the unit.

The UI uses pages of bright icons, each representing a different feature. Navigation is intuitive, using the typical swipes and taps. Tapping an app launches it, swiping right goes back and tapping-and-holding on the watch face brings up the watch face menu.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-03

In terms of functions, there’s an impressive amount in here as per usual from No.1. From a calculator, messaging and fitness tracking, the functions fluctuate from genuinely useful to pure novelty.

The heart rate monitor was reasonably accurate, compared to a few of the other heart rate monitors I had access to. You can only measure your heart rate at a single point in time though. If you need continuous heart rate monitoring, you’ll need to look for another device.

I compared the inbuilt pedometer with my Fitbit Zip. After my morning walk, the No.1 S3 registered 1494 steps compared to the Fitbit’s 1582. That’s respectably close given that I’m comparing a wrist-based tracker to one on my waist. With so many variables impacting accuracy of pedometers, the result is great.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-04

A smartwatch’s main function is to partner with your phone. Thankfully, pairing the watch is a breeze. After pairing via your smartphone’s Bluetooth menu, snap the included QR code to download the app for your smartphone. Android users should use the Fundo Wear app whilst iOS users can use the MediaTek Smartwatch app from the App Store.

The iOS experience was pretty smooth. Once I connected the watch and linked it via the app, I was able to reliably get my notifications. Unfortunately, iOS notifications are an all or nothing affair so prepare to get bombarded with everything. However, this isn’t No.1’s fault as devices such as the Pebble Smartwatch have the same limitations.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-02

If you’re an Android user, you’ll get a far more pleasant experience. You can choose which apps can push notifications, focusing on what should be pushed to your wrist.

You’ll also be able to respond to messages. However, No.1 have opted to provide a full keyboard rather than canned responses. This flexibility comes at a cost, as trying to type on the tiny keyboard is a nightmare.

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-08

Both platforms can place and answer calls via your smartphone, browse your contacts and use the watch as a remote camera shutter.

By inserting a SIM card, you can actually place calls without being paired to a smartphone. There’s actually separate sections in the Contacts app for local and phone-stored contacts.

While the feature works, it’s usefulness is questionable. It only supports 2G networks (which are being shut down in many countries already) and I never leave the house without my phone anyway so I personally can’t see this is a must-have feature.

No.1 S3 Review: Sound Quality

Sound quality using the on-board microphone and speaker was respectable. It was a little quiet when there was lots of ambient noise, but fine for most situations. The other party found it easy to hear me during a call.

No.1 S3 Review: Battery Life

The battery life on the No.1 S3 was great. I regularly got about two full days out of it with the motion sensor switched on. That surpasses several popular wearables in the market today.

Should You Get One?

No.1-S3-Smartwatch-07

The No.1 S3 is a good smartwatch. No.1 have clearly learnt from the No.1 Sun S2 with a UI that’s more tailored to the round screen. The SIM slot is a bit of a novelty and I’m not a fan of having the heart rate monitor moved as no changeable wristbands is disappointing for those who wanted to customize beyond the software.

However, the impressive amount of features, great watch faces and solid smartwatch functionality outweigh the handful of rough edges. If you’re looking for a cheap smartwatch, the No.1 S3 is definitely worth the price of admission.

Getting One

The No.1 S3 is available from the following stores for around $65:

  • Righteous637

    Thank you for the excellent review. I was wondering if during your reviews of the various smartwatches from No. 1 if you tried to pair the watch with a Bluetooth headset, to answer calls or even listen to media? I tried with my S3 but failed, so I guess the only way to make and answer calls is with the watch’s microphone and speakers, or is it? I thank you for any information you can provide.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked the review.

      The watch itself won’t pair to the headset as it essentially works as a headset itself. What you’d want to do is pair the headset with your phone at the same time and make sure audio is going to the headset. The watch should still give you call notifications, etc. but the audio would go to the headset.

  • Zavisza

    So is this watch really working with iOS? On some other webpage, in different review, I’ve found info that notifications are not working. Did you check when writing a review?

    • Hi Zavisza,

      At the time of the review, notifications were working with iOS. However, this could have changed with new versions of iOS.

      Everything I write in my reviews is tested by me personally – I’ve seen some sites which basically just regurgitate marketing material which is terrible.

  • BradleyBarks1

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  • akbar

    hey there ,is there any watch by no.1 which can be directly paired with bluetooth headset ?

    • I’m not sure if it’s possible with their new watches that run Android as I haven’t got any to test but it’s not possible with the one’s that I’ve reviewed.

  • Glad you liked the review. It’s been a while but I seem to remember there being an icon for it. I can’t be sure though.