Smartwatches

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Is Zeblaze’s Latest Smartwatch A Success?

The Zeblaze Cosmo is the latest smartwatch from the company and a followup to the excellent Zeblaze Crystal which I reviewed last year, opting for a more traditional style than its predecessor.

Is Zeblaze’s latest wearable another must have timepiece or a useless gadget? Read my Zeblaze Cosmo review to find out.

I want to say thanks to GeekBuying for sending me a sample to review. Use coupon “PDBGRRCO” to get $12 off!

Check Price at GeekBuying

What’s In The Box?

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Inside the box, you get:

  • Zeblaze Cosmo smartwatch
  • Magnetic Charging Cable
  • Instruction Manual

There’s no charger inside the box but any USB port should work.

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Design

The Zeblaze Cosmo’s design is far more traditional than its predecessor, losing its rounded edges for a thinner, more rectangular design that does a much better job at hiding that it’s a smartwatch at first glance.

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Opting for a rectangular 1.61 inch screen sporting a 320×256 pixel resolution, it’s easy to mistake the Cosmo for a traditional watch at first glance. The bezel around the screen is around 1mm so it’s not too bad.

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The only button, styled like a traditional watch’s crown , sits on the right side.

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Flipping the unit over reveals the heart rate sensor and the new magnetic charging connector.

Zeblaze-Cosmo-Review-BackThe microphone and speaker is incredibly well hidden, sitting where the band meets the top of the watch.

Speaking of the band, the Zeblaze Cosmo ships with a 22mm leather band that’s comfortable for all-day wear. Thankfully, it seems to be a standard 22mm band so swapping it out for something more to your tastes should be easy. I’ll be picking up an all-stainless steel band soon enough.

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There’s two colors available, gold and silver. I’ve opted for the silver model due to my well documented dislike of gold.

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Using It

Holding down the button will power on the Zeblaze Cosmo, taking a few seconds to load the UI. The Zeblaze Cosmo’s UI is largely the same as the one that shipped with the Crystal. It uses pages of colorful icons that can be swiped through vertically. There’s another color scheme available that swaps out the rounded icons for squares and a more subdued color scheme. I found both equally attractive so it’s up to you which you prefer.

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There’s a few things that bother me about the software. They’re minor but they detract from the unit’s overall polish. Some of the app names are not capitalised correctly so they don’t match the other icons. Some labels also get cut off which is disappointing.

The screen itself is nice and sharp, definitely benefiting from the higher resolution compared to previous models. The new IPS display also offers far better viewing angles. This leads to a smartwatch that is far easier to read, even in bright sunlight.

In terms of functions, there’s a massive amount of variety here, including a calculator, Bluetooth camera shutter, music player, pedometer and even two separate heart rate monitors (one does continuous heart rate monitoring whilst the other only does it at a point in time).

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They all work well, though I’d argue that the two heart rate apps should really be combined into one. It’s great to see that iOS users are well catered for, with a dedicated app for triggering Siri and a special iOS mode for the Bluetooth shutter to make sure the functionality gap between Android and iOS users is minimized.

The heart rate monitor’s as accurate as other optical heart rate monitors I’ve tested, regularly coming within a few BPM of my Xiaomi Band and other heart rate monitors I had on hand. I wouldn’t rely on it for any serious medical analysis (and you really shouldn’t rely on any wrist-based heart rate monitor due to inaccuracies inherent with the technology) but it’s accurate enough to tell how hard you’re pushing yourself.

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The pedometer function is also works well. It’ll run in the background and reset automatically at midnight which is a nice touch. Accuracy was reasonably good too, counting 2807 steps on my morning walk vs 2998 on my iPhone 6’s motion processor.

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There’s also some really handy motion controls that worked well during testing. After enabling them in settings, you can have the watch automatically turn the screen on when its raised, reject calls by flipping your wrist and. They’re welcome additions that worked well.

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Connectivity and Notifications

Pairing the watch up is a simple case of navigating to the connection menu and selecting your phone from the menu. This will allow you to take calls and play music through the watch. In order to access notifications, you’ll need to make a secondary link to the Cosmo via the appropriate smartphone app.

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The Zeblaze Cosmo supports both iOS and Android devices via either the Fundo Wear (iOS/Android) or Mediatek SmartDevice (iOS/Android) apps.

Fundo Wear features fitness and sleep tracking, in addition to sending notifications to your smartwatch. However, I don’t find the app intuitive, with much of the smartwatch and connectivity options hidden by obscure icons. I hate the fact it forces you to create an account in order to even access the notifications options and the sync function didn’t seem to work at all.

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Those wanting a simpler option would be better suited to Mediatek’s app. It’s definitely my preferred option. To get a feel of how the app works, check out my Zeblaze Crystal review.

Notifications were able to work with both iOS and Android, though the Android experience was far better.

Android users are able to filter which apps can send notifications. You can also respond to messages using a set of preset responses which is a nice touch and a far better approach than the full keyboard provided in the No.1 S3 smartwatch. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way of customising these which is a shame though they do cover off the most common situations.

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iOS users get every single notification pushed to their wrist. Whilst it works well, there’s certain apps that you want notifications on your phone but don’t need them on your wrist. Of course, this isn’t Zeblaze’s fault – blame Apple’s locked down OS. I also had a frustrating issue where a single notification would sometimes cause my iPhone to push all the notifications again. I’m suspecting it’s an issue with the app though.

The Bluetooth connection was reasonably stable, with only the occasional drop out. Thankfully, the watch reconnected quickly when it did.

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Watch Faces

The Zeblaze Cosmo has five completely new watch faces on offer (4 analog and 1 digital) but I found they weren’t as interesting as those on the Zeblaze Crystal.

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The lone digital watch face uses an odd card motif that leaves much of the screen empty space. It looks too sparse given the fantastically

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The analog designs vary in terms of their attractiveness. I really liked the blue face, with its multiple working dials for the day and battery remaining. It’s the only face that felt like it belongs on a smartwatch.

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Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Audio Quality

The Zeblaze Cosmo has a built in speaker and microphone. Speaker quality is about what you’d expect for a tiny speaker mounted to your wrist. Audio lacks bass, but it’s fine for speech and is fairly loud, though it may be hard to hear people if there’s a lot of background noise.

Microphone quality was reasonable, with the other party reporting clear audio as long as you kept the smartwatch near your mouth.

Zeblaze Cosmo Review: Charging and Battery Life

The new magnetic charging connector is simultaneously a handy improvement and failure when compared to the charging cradle that came with the Crystal. It’s far easier to hover the new connector over the back of he Zeblaze Cosmo and have it automatically connect that the Crystal’s clip-on cradle. It’s also polarised so it can’t be connected backwards which is a nice touch.

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That said, the magnets are fairly weak so I could only get it to stay attached when the watch was face down. The fact that a small knock could stop your watch from charging really is disappointing and there were a number of occasions where I woke up to a flat watch as I’d knocked the charger during the night. Stronger magnets would have been a good idea.

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Battery life on the Zeblaze Cosmo was decent. With the motion sensors active, I was able to get 2 full days of usage before the unit shut down. Of course, lowering the brightness and turning off the motion controls will allow you to extend this further.

Verdict

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The Zeblaze Cosmo is a successful followup to the Crystal which simultaneously feels familiar and different.

Zeblaze haven’t expanded their smart-watches features, opting for what is ultimately a cosmetic upgrade. If you prefer the Cosmo’s traditional style or watch faces or are new to  smart-watches,the Zeblaze Cosmo is a good buy. However, Zeblaze Crystal owners will be hard-pressed to fork out for such an incremental upgrade.

Getting One

The Zeblaze Cosmo is available from GeekBuying for around $69.99. Use coupon “PDBGRRCO” to get $12 off!

Check Price at GeekBuying

Alternatively, it’s available from GearBest, Banggood, and Amazon.

No.1 Sun S2 Smartwatch Review: Round and Stylish

The No.1 Sun S2 is the latest smart watch from smartphone maker No.1.  Following up on the fantastic No.1 G2, the No.1 Sun S2 maintains the stylish metal build but swaps out the Galaxy Gear-inspired design for a trendy round screen and fancy bezel.

Thanks to GearBest for sending me a sample to review. Click here for the latest price.

What is the No.1 Sun S2?

The No.1 Sun S2 is a stylish smartwatch that allows you to receive notifications, make phone calls, control your music and a whole host of other features, all from your wrist.

No.1 Sun S2 Technical Specs

  • Chipset: MTK6260
  • Screen: 1.54 inch TFT Screen(240×240 pixels), Sapphire Glass
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 130W pixels
  • Battery: 350mAh Li-polymer battery
  • Other Features: Speaker, Microphone, Water Resistant (IP67 Rating)

What’s in the box?

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The No.1 Sun S2 comes with the basics.:

  • 1 x No. 1 Sun S2 Smartwatch
  • 1 x Micro USB charging cable
  • 1 x Charging Cradle

No USB charger is provided but the smartwatch charges from a standard USB port.

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No.1 Sun S2 Design

When I first set my eyes on the No.1 Sun S2, I was impressed. I’ve once again opted for the all-metal variant which helps distinguish the No.1 Sun S2 from most smart-watches which look like toys due to their plastic frames and rubber straps.

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Compared to the No.1 G2, the new round screen helps the device look like a traditional watch. It looks great flanked by a patterned bezel.

The stainless steel band is essentially identical to the one on the No.1 G2, which is to say it’s elegant, comfortable and easy to adjust. It is lightweight, but whether this is a pro or con depends on personal preference.

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The charging cradle is now magnetic rather than the mechanical lock on the No.1 G2’s cradle. This is a massive improvement. It’s far easier to just place the device in the cradle and than having to physically clip it in. It only takes about 30 mins to fully charge, so it’s easy to plug in it before you head out and be ready for the night.

Using It

After holding down the power button for a few seconds to boot up the watch, you’re greeted with the home screen. Unfortunately, it’s nothing like the iOS inspired renders from the marketing materials. I’d go so far as to say it’s a step backwards from the No.1 G2. I’m hoping No.1 improve it in a future firmware update. On the plus site, you can now set a custom wallpaper to improve the situation and make it look more stylish.

Going into the apps, the UI looks far more polished, with colorful pages of icons. It looks great and animates nicely. Swiping and tapping my way through it felt responsive.

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The round 240×240 pixel screen is nice and bright. Although the screen is relatively low-res, text is easy to read.

Unfortunately, like the Motorola 360, the screen isn’t perfectly round. There’s a black semi-circle at the bottom which hurts aesthetics. You do get used to it but it doesn’t look as good as it should.

The round face has clearly caused issues for the UI designers. A number of screens suffer from cramped or cut-off text which detracts from what is otherwise a cool gadget. Important text like alerts or notifications are fine but some of the menus may have a partial letter or two.

The included watch faces look really nice, with all the dials working like a real watch. This is a massive improvement from the relatively bland inclusions in the No.1 G2. Thankfully, viewing them is no longer a chore, with the screen now automatically turning on after raising the watch.

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Push Notifications

Pairing with my Android was a breeze. Simply open the watch’s QR app, snap the QR code and install the BTNotifier APK it links to. The app guides you through setup, letting you set up which notifications you want pushed to the watch or trigger the “find watch” function.

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iOS users aren’t so lucky however. I had no problems pairing the smartwatch to my iPhone 6 but the MediaTek app used for the No.1 G2 wouldn’t sync. That means that iOS notifications can’t be pushed to the device – a real shame. I was still able to use the watch to answer and make calls and skip tracks. However, it’s times like this that I lament Apples locked down OS.

Included Apps

The No.1 Sun S2 has a fairly comprehensive set of features. Some are genuinely useful, such as the Bluetooth Shutter used for taking photos remotely, whilst others aren’t that handy. For example, it’s nice to have sleep monitoring in there but I personally can’t imagine going to bed with a hunk of metal strapped to my wrist.

The messaging system has been revamped to be more flexible but this is both a blessing and a curse. You can now send any message instead of the handful of canned responses in the No.1 G2. However, trying to tap out any sort of message on a tiny keyboard without T9 prediction is a nightmare.

The heart rate monitor seems reasonably accurate, particularly given the issues with optical heart rate monitors in general. I did experience occasional instances where my heart rate reading fluctuated between within seconds of repeat tests so I wouldn’t rely on it for any serious monitoring.

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No.1 Sun S2 Sound Quality

Being able to take a call from your wrist is pretty cool and thankfully, the No.1 Sun S2 does a great job here. Audio was clear, although was lacking a little in volume. According to the other party, they could hear me fine so the microphone’s up to the task.

No.1 Sun S2 Camera Quality

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The No.1 Sun S2 features a camera like its predecessor. Unfortunately, this isn’t an area that No.1 have improved. Located on the faux-crown, the camera is low-res, outputting a 640×480 image. It’s pretty useless when trying to take a photo of anything that’s not bathed in sunlight and even then, it can be a little muddy.

Video quality is terrible and can only record video at 320×240 at 5 fps.

No.1 Sun S2 Battery Life

Battery life was pretty good, getting around 2-3 days out of a single charge with the motion-activated setting on. I’m sure if you disabled it, battery life would be longer as it’s the screen that drains the most power.

Should I Get One?

The No.1 Sun S2 is a solid followup to the No.1 G2 smartwatch. For Android users, you’re getting a great looking smartwatch that covers off the key features you’d expect. However, the loss of iOS compatibility from the No.1 G2 and some clunky UI decisions do detract from the experience. At around $60, it’s not a bad way to dip your toes into the world of smartwatches.

Getting One

You can purchase the No.1 G2 from GearBest. Click here to view the latest price.

Alternatively, it’s also available from GeekBuying and Amazon

No.1 Sun S2 Additional Photos