Best budget smartwatches – affordable choices from just $20

Top picks that won't break the bank
Best budget smartwatch picks for 2021
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If you're looking for a cheap smartwatch under $200/£200 there's never been more choice. And for the first time there are sub-$100/£100 smartwatches that stack up as excellent smartwatches.

The likes of Amazfit and Xiaomi are making genuinely powerful smartwatches for low prices, and Apple has had to respond by slashing the price of its Apple Watch Series 3.

While top smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 still command top prices for features like ECG, there's an influx of cheaper devices going big on features and little on price. And in 2020, they're actually offering good experiences that are easy to recommend.

If you've been trawling the nonsense sold on Amazon, check out our guide pulled from devices we've tried and tested.

Update: We first published this article in September 2014. It was updated in January 2021 with a host of new smartwatches some of which have not been reviewed by the Wareable team and have been marked as such. But such is the vibrancy of the market, a decision was taken to offer a better comparison of available devices.

Amazfit Bip U Pro

Price when reviewed: £59.99

Amazfit Bip U Pro

The Bip U and Bip U Pro is now available worldwide and is a huge update to the Bip S – at the same price. The screen has been improved most notably, and it boasts a larger 1.42-inch display, up from 1.28-inch on the Bip S.

The resolution has been doubled to 320x302, although the TFT screen tech is no-where near as good as the AMOLED you’ll find on Fitbit, Apple or Samsung rivals.

The Bip U Pro includes GPS, as well as SpO2 tracking, stress monitoring and breathing training, and your heart rate vitals are tracked with the Amazfit BioTracker 2 module. That will also help provide data from over 60 workout profiles.

And the Bip U Pro also supports Alexa on the wrist – if you like that kind of thing.

If you want to save extra cash you can pick up the standard Bip U, which doesn’t include native GPS or Alexa support. But at just $79.99 for the Pro version, why not splash out?

We've reviewed the Amazfit Bip U Pro and were astounded by the value on offer. It really is a strong package that doesn't hold back features from more expensive Amazfits and belies its low price. Yes, there are sacrifices in terms of the build quality and yes, health data isn't quite up to Fitbit/Apple levels. But it's not that far short. A really savvy buy for bargain hunters.

Read our full Amazfit Bip U Pro review.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Price when reviewed: £79.99

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Another budget Amazfit – the GTS 2 Mini comes in at £99.99, putting it between the budget Bip U and the fully-fledged GTS2/GTR 2.

So what’s the difference between the Bip U and the GTS 2 Mini? Not as much as you’d think. The build of the GTS 2 Mini is a little more stylish, and you get a superior AMOLED display over the Bip U. The case materials are better and it's smaller. It's only £20 more and we think it's worth that little bit extra.

So the next question is why buy the GTS 2 Mini over the full blown GTS 2? Well, that's a no brainer in our books.

The only real sacrifice over the flagship GTS is music storage, the on-board speaker and voice assistant. And all of those elements didn't wow us on the GTS at all.

The GTS 2 Mini boasts a 40mm case over a 42mm on the full GTS 2, and shrinks the screen down to 1.55-inch. The resolution is also reduced to 306 x 354 pixels, but still punches out at 450 nit. It only weighs 20g, and you still get GPS, SpO2, the BioTracker 2.0 heart rate sensor and 14 days of battery life.

In terms of sports tracking, there are 60 workout profiles built in, and you get the same feedback in the Zepp app – plus support for third party APIs such as Strava.

And the best bit? It's £79.99 compared to £159.99 – and you barely lose any features. We criticized the GTS 2 for being too expensive – but the GTS 2 Mini rights that wrong.

Read our full Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review.

Huawei Watch GT2e

Price when reviewed: £119.99

Huawei Watch GT2e

The Huawei Watch's potent mix of sport and health features and great price has seen it surge to second in the global shipments leaderboard – and it's easy to see why.

The 1.39-inch AMOLED display is bright and clear – and you get a bunch of sport profiles including swimming (thanks to 5ATM water resistance), cycling and an excellent running experience and decent sleep tracking.

It runs Lite OS rather than Google’s Wear OS, and the pay-off is excellent battery life with 14 days solid use.

Huawei Watch GT2e is actually really good for runners, thanks to loads of metrics, a clear screen, and Firstbeat’s VO2 Max and recovery stats. The only downside is that due to a lack of third party plugs ins, so you can’t boot data out to Strava, and there’s no other apps to use.

There are a couple of caveats, as usual.

Android smartphone users can benefit from native music storage and stress tracking too but for iOS people the app feels a little under-cooked and bare.

Read our Huawei Watch GT2e review

Apple Watch Series 3

Price when reviewed: £199.99

Apple Watch Series 3

When the latest generation of the Apple Watch was announced in September, the older Series 3 was cut into budget smartwatch territory for the first time - now available at just £199.99.

And as we go into Black Friday or the holidays, you may be able to nab it for even less.

However, be aware that this base price tag is for the 38mm, GPS model. If you want the cellular model, or indeed the bigger, 42mm case variation, you'll have to pay slightly more.

So, what else do you get for your money? Well, the Series 3 is able to run on the same watchOS 7 software as the Series 5, and you still get GPS for location tracking, 4G/LTE for cellular support, Apple Pay, swim tracking and heart rate monitoring.

You'll have to put up with the slightly boxier design, and you don't get things like the always-on display or ECG monitoring, but the core features are all still here.

Read our full Apple Watch Series 3 review

Realme Watch S

Price: £74.99 (Wareable review in progress)

Realme Watch S

RealMe’s second budget smartwatch is a much more polished affair than the first (listed below), with a round design and AMOLED display.

Front and centre is a 1.3-inch, 360 x 360 touchscreen AMOLED display, so it really looks the business, even if it’s lacking under the hood.

There’s no GPS, and only boasts an IP68 water resistant rating, which unfortunately means it's not suitable for swimming or showering. That’s slightly unusual, even in the budget smartwatch world.

Despite the lack of GPS, you do get 16 sports profiles, including running, cycling, table tennis, basketball and indoor rowing and cycling.

There’s an optical heart rate sensor that tracks resting heart rate and measure effort levels during workouts. It can also take blood oxygen measurements using the SpO2 sensor.

On the battery front, you've got a 390mAh capacity one that Realme claims can get you up to 15 days before you need to reach for the charger.

It’s not really shaking it with the Amazfit army, at similar prices to the Bip U Pro, and US availability is shady.

TicWatch GTX

Price when reviewed: £54.99

Best cheap smartwatches from just $20

Mobvoi’s TicWatch GTX is the first in the range to dispense with Wear OS – but manages to offer two weeks of battery life and a $59 price tag in return.

It's pretty big, with a 48mm case that will dominate even large wrists. That will please many people, but it's certainly not unisex.

Things do feel a bit more budget when it comes to the screen, though it's not as bad as we expected. You're getting a 1.28-inch, 240 x 240 resolution TFT display, which certainly isn’t the best here. It has IP68 water resistance, which makes swimming dubious.

Instead of Google's Wear OS, we're getting something Mobvoi calls freeRTOS to take care of all things software.

There's an accelerometer to count steps, enable sleep monitoring and track outdoor activity. There's no built-in GPS or connected GPS, which means you shouldn't expect accurate distance tracking, but there is a heart rate monitor.

It’s generally a capable basic activity monitor, but in our time with the device, we couldn’t get the sleep tracking to work.

Overall, it’s a decent looking smartwatch – but the shortcomings around fitness tracking, lack of GPS and the lacklustre display, it’s not the most recommendable smartwatch on our list.

Read our full Ticwatch GTX review.

Fitbit Versa 2

Price when reviewed: £149.99

Best cheap smartwatches – the pick of our reviews from just $20

With the launch of the Fitbit Versa 3, the Versa 2 seems to be universally on sale at around £149 – and is a great buy at that price.

The smartwatch features top-notch activity and sleep tracking, as you'd expect from Fitbit, with an SpO2 sensor on board, which is used well for sleep tracking and Health Metrics (for Premium users).

As a smartwatch you get notifications, Fitbit Pay and a suite of apps and watch faces.

And the week of battery life certainly isn't to be sniffed at.

It offers 300 x 300 pixel resolution and 1,000 nits in brightness, and, with all these powers combined, the Versa 2 screen is easier to see under sunlight.

There's no GPS, a glaring omission that was rectified on the new Versa 3 - so it's not one for runners. But for general users that want a good eye on their health, it's a smart purchase, if you can bag it at the right price.

Realme Watch

Price when reviewed: £50

Realme Watch

The Realme Watch's £50 price tag makes it worthy of consideration – if you use an Android smartphone. That's because the Realme Watch only pairs using an Android app, so iOS users can't get on-board.

You have to make sacrifices at this price point, but if you can look beyond some weaknesses, there's good value here.

The 1.4-inch, 320 x 320 touchscreen colour display but it lacks responsiveness when swiping, and suffers from a big black space around the display that ruins the effect. Plus it's only splash-proof so you can't take it in the shower, and there's no GPS.

However it's a capable fitness tracker, and the sleep monitoring stood up well in our testing – and you get 4 days of battery life.

And it even has an SpO2 that lets you spot check blood oxygen.

There are 14 workout modes, and you can piggy-back your phone's GPS if you want.

The heart rate monitor stood up well in our tests, and was comparable to a chest strap in steady runs, although lost the plot during HIIT sessions.

The Realme Watch isn't nearly as stylish, complete or functional as most rivals on this list – but if you're trawling the horrible cheap options on Amazon wondering what to choose, you're much better off here.

Read our full Realme Watch review.

TicWatch E2

Price when reviewed: £145.99

Ticwatch E2

If you prefer the look of Google's Wear OS to something from Apple or Fitbit, the TicWatch E2 is the best option you can pick on a budget.

Mobvoi's smartwatch gives you a balanced, affordable entry into smartwatches. Everything you want is here: a design that'll remind you of an old Swatch, solid GPS performance, waterproofing, apps, customizable watch faces, Google Assistant and more.

A little disappointingly, battery life is only around 24-36 hours, but it's a solid all-rounder that does a great job for the price.

Just be aware that this only comes in a 46mm case, which is also 13mm thick and only available in black; it's by no means the prettiest smartwatch you can buy, but one that should suit those with larger wrists just fine.

Read our full TicWatch E2 review

Incoming: Xiaomi Watch Lite

ETA: Q1 2020 | Price: TBC

Xiaomi Watch Lite

The Xiaomi Watch Lite is one of the most exciting forthcoming budget smartwatches – although we’re still waiting for official confirmation of price and release date. However, the Redmi Watch, on which it seems to be based, retails for $45 in India, so we have high hopes for an aggressive price.

The full specs of the Mi Band Lite are expected to be a 1.4-inch TFT color display with a 320x320 resolution, and 5ATM water resistance. That puts it on par with the Bip U.

There will be 11 workout profiles, with GPS built-in for the accurate tracking of outdoor workouts. Xiaomi quotes the GPS battery life as 10 hours.

There’s running, cycling, swimming with an open water mode, trail running, trekking and cricket tracking.

There’s a heart rate monitor on board, but no mention of SpO2, which seems to be landing on every smartwatch going right now.

We’re still waiting for official word on pricing and timing – but the prospect of a budget smartwatch in the West from Xiaomi is certainly worth close interest.

Incoming: Wyze Watch

ETA: Q1 2020 | Price: $20

Wyze Watch

US brand Wyze has a reputation for bringing solid products at super-low prices, and it’s turned its hand to a $20 smartwatch.

The Wyze Watch is made of aluminum, which should give it a premium feel, and weighs in at 40g.

And it’s not holding back on features.

The Wyze Watch boasts a nine day battery life, heart rate tracking and even an SpO2 sensor.

Sleep monitoring and activity tracking are big on its features list – although it's only water resistant to 2 metres, so this isn't one for the pool.

The Wyze Watch will arrive in Q1 2021, and will be available in 44mm and 47mm case sizes, which pack in a generous 1.4-inch/1.75-inch display respectively.

It’s just an LCD panel (rather than AMOLED on big-name devices) but still the 44mm boasts a 320x320 display, and the 47mm a 320x385 panel.

At $20 smartwatches don’t come much cheaper, and like the rest of the company’s wares, we don’t expect it outside of the US. We’re awaiting our review sample.