Watch watching: Apple’s smartwatch competition

You get what you pay for.

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Once declared a “flop,” the Apple Watch has been a hit for Apple and taken command of the smartwatch category. Turns out it actually is a category and there are other options than Apple’s offering, if you dare to look at them.

CNet’s Rick Broida has done just that, putting his own wrist at risk to evaluate some of the Apple Watch’s esteemed competition (esteem not included).

“This Apple Watch copycat is surprisingly good for just $19.”

That is a crazy low price. Frankly, if it even works as a watch and nothing else it’s a decent price.

How good can a super-cheap smartwatch possibly be? Turns out, surprisingly good, if you keep your expectations in check.

At $19, trust The Macalope when he says he’s waaaay ahead of you, Rick.

Broida provides an interesting and honest peek behind the seedy curtain of Apple Watch knock-offs. This is the world that some pundits believe we should be forced to live in because “all markets commoditize” and, therefore, Apple is a weird anomaly that is fueled by Cupertino marketing and the mindless zealotry of the Apple faithful. It’s OK that these cheap devices exist. Some people can’t or don’t want to spend anything more on a smartwatch. But for those of us who do, it’s also nice there’s a premium option.

You can see the difference between these products by the names alone.

The ID205 is the manufacturer's name for this watch, but it's sold under a number of different brand and model names. Here it's MoreFit; last time around it was BingoFit Fitness…

Wow, The Macalope’s sorry he missed it when it was that.

Person A: “Oh, Apple Watch?”

Person B: “No, BingoFit Fitness!”

Person A: “Ha, what?”

Person B: “BingoFit Fitness!”

Person A: …

Person B: "BINGOFIT FITNESS!"

Person A: [Slowly backs toward door]

Presumably they changed the name because the association with the character Bing Bong from the movie Inside Out was too much of a downer. He’s still stuck in that pit, by the way, and he’s never coming back.

The wacky watch names don’t stop there, though. In fact, they may never stop at all.

The ID205 looks a lot like the Amazfit Bip…

Okay, now you’re just making these names up. (He is not making those names up.)

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch has recently been taken to task for its middling track record in detecting AFib “at a heart rate greater than 120 beats per minute.” It is very important to note that while the Apple Watch may help you identify a heart condition and has done that for an increasing number of people, it is not at all fool-proof. Which is why Apple warns users of this on its website.

It is great that the Watch is alerting some people to heart conditions they have and were not aware of. But it would be not great if the stories of these successes lead people to think the Watch is a replacement for being examined by a cardiologist.

One does wonder how well the BingoFit Fitness tracked AFib before it became the MoreFit, although its real name is the ID205. Probably not great, but for $20 you can put them all up and down your arms and hope one of them works.

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