The ID205 looks like the Apple Watch, but costs sig­nif­i­cant­ly less.

Rick Broida/CNET

Last year I posed a ques­tion. How good could a super-cheap smart­watch pos­si­bly be? Ver­dict: Sur­pris­ing­ly good, if you keep your expec­ta­tions in check.

See, these watch­es claim to be jacks of all trades — fit­ness track­ing, heart-rate mon­i­tor­ing and so on — but often prove to be mas­ters of none. And that’s OK, pro­vid­ed they’re effec­tive at some things, which many are. For exam­ple, maybe you just want a watch that looks decent, tells time (duh), con­trols music play­back on your phone and noti­fies you of things like calls, appoint­ments and text mes­sages.

With that in mind, I tried anoth­er cheap­ie wear­able — one I found to be sur­pris­ing­ly good in many respects. Here’s the deal, fol­lowed by what you need to know: For a lim­it­ed time, and while sup­plies last, SmartWear Tech via Ama­zon has the Bin­goFit Fit­ness ID205 smart­watch for $22.54. That’s after apply­ing pro­mo code I4Q7KZV5 at check­out. 

See it at Ama­zon

A quick note about nomen­cla­ture: 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 Bin­goFit Fit­ness; last time around it was the Eden, and if you scroll down on the Ama­zon list­ing page you’ll see it from sev­er­al oth­er brands as well. That’s stan­dard prac­tice these days with a lot of Chi­nese prod­ucts.

The ID205 looks a lot like the Amaz­fit Bip, which in turn resem­bles the Apple Watch. It’s rec­tan­gu­lar, with a square embed­ded 1.3‑inch dis­play and a fair amount of plas­tic bezel sur­round­ing it. It’s not an always-on dis­play like the Bip’s, but it’s also much brighter and sharp­er. Thank­ful­ly, it’s also read­able out­doors, unlike some of the cheap­ies I’ve tried.

From left to right: The Lets­fit ID205, Amaz­fit Bip and Apple Watch Series 3.

Rick Broida/CNET

The ID205 employs a touch­screen, along with a func­tion but­ton on either side. The left one imme­di­ate­ly engages your pre­ferred fit­ness activ­i­ty; the right one is a Back but­ton. Oth­er options are all just a swipe away from the watch face, of which there are four to choose from.

Here’s what I liked about the ID205:

Dis­play: Big and bright, and rea­son­ably vis­i­ble outdoors.Battery life: Plan on about a week, depend­ing on how you use it.Notifications: For me this is the essen­tial fea­ture in any smart­watch, and the ID205 does a decent job with them. You can tog­gle noti­fi­ca­tions for about a dozen indi­vid­ual apps (though Slack isn’t among them).Simplicity: The watch itself is easy to use, as is the Very­Fit­Pro com­pan­ion app. (That app can share data with Apple Health and Strava.)Miscellaneous: It has handy fea­tures includ­ing basic music con­trols, a breath­ing exer­cise, a stop­watch, low-pow­er and do-not-dis­turb modes and even a flash­light func­tion.

Here’s what I did­n’t like:

Look and feel: Like the Bip, the ID205 looks like a cheap, plas­tic watch. (Which, let’s be hon­est, it is.)No built-in GPS: Instead, it pulls data from your phone. Only four watch faces: These are func­tion­al but a lit­tle meh; the one pic­tured up top is the snazziest.Not ful­ly water­proof: Although the watch promis­es to with­stand sweat and rain, it’s not ful­ly water­proof, mean­ing it does­n’t belong in the show­er or pool. That’s in direct con­tra­dic­tion to the main prod­uct descrip­tion, which says “water­proof,” and one of the accom­pa­ny­ing pho­tos, which shows it being used by a swim­mer.

Anoth­er impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion: How good could a $23 smart­watch pos­si­bly be at heart-rate mon­i­tor­ing? I did a quick, high­ly unsci­en­tif­ic test: One after the oth­er, I mea­sured my rest­ing heart rate using the ID205, Amaz­fit Bip and Apple Watch. To my sur­prise, all three were with­in a beat or two of each oth­er (63 beats per minute on aver­age, if you’re curi­ous). But I was­n’t able to con­duct any exer­cise tests, and here results can def­i­nite­ly vary, espe­cial­ly as a watch moves on your wrist and encoun­ters sweat.

Bot­tom line: If you buy this expect­ing an Apple Watch, Sam­sung Galaxy Watch or the like, you’re going to be dis­ap­point­ed. But if you want basic smart­watch fea­tures, sol­id bat­tery life and an incred­i­bly low price, there’s a good chance you’ll like this very much.

Your thoughts? If you ordered one of these last time out, hit the com­ments and let your fel­low cheap­skates know how it’s going!

Note: Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished last year. Updat­ed to reflect new sale prices and/or avail­abil­i­ty. Removed expired bonus deal.

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