Regular readers know of my affinity for theĀ Amazfit Bip, an $80 smartwatch that's way better than its price would suggest. But it's been something like 18 months since that thing hit the scene. Where are all the challengers?
Read more: The best smartwatches for 2019
Here's one, and it's almost ludicrously inexpensive. The BingoFit Epic is just $28 with promo codeĀ 30ONE9C2 (which should work with any of the six available color/style options). Regular price: $40.
I know what you're thinking: At that price it must be an ugly, bulky, limited piece of junk. That's certainly what I thought, but because the watch looked so good on paper (and in photos), I decided to see for myself. Spoiler alert: This watch does not suck. It's no Fitbit Versa 2, but it's pretty impressive for the price. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Where the Amazfit Bip looks like a cheap plastic Apple Watch knockoff, the Epic looks like a stylish, spendy Android Wear knockoff: round, reasonably slim and pretty, with an admirably bright high-resolution display. When I asked random people to guess what it cost, estimates ranged from $100 to $250.
The display doesn't really go edge-to-edge; it's a square inside the circle, something you can detect only under bright lighting. And it's not really a touchscreen; everything is controlled by a touch-sensitive button just below the display. You tap repeatedly to cycle through the various menus and long-tap to engage certain features (like heart-rate monitoring). Honestly, this method of navigation may be a little slow, but it's also easier to learn. With Android Wear and many other watches, I could never remember which direction to swipe for which functions.
I tested the watch for about a week — which, incidentally, is how long it managed to last before needing to recharge. It does so via a proprietary clip/cradle thing, which seems way flimsier than the watch itself.
Here's what I liked about the BingoFit Epic:
Here's what I didn't like:
Speaking of questionable, the watch can also gauge your blood pressure and even your blood-oxygen levels — but are these results anywhere near accurate? I had nothing to compare them with, but I have serious doubts that a $28 watch could correctly measure such metrics. (That said, the HR numbers did seem pretty closely in line with what I get from my Apple Watch.)
So here's my verdict: The BingoFit Epic is a surprisingly nice smartwatch and a so-so fitness tracker. It's way better than I expected given the price (especially the $28 exclusive price), but obviously no substitute for the likes of a higher-end Fitbit.
Cambridge Soundworks makes some of CNET's favorite inexpensive Bluetooth speakers, and users are just as effusive about them. For a limited time, and while supplies last, two from the Oontz line are priced even lower than usual.
First up: The Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Solo Bluetooth Speaker (red) is just $14.99. Regular price: $21.99.Ā
This little gem promises up to 10 hours of playtime. It has a built-in microphone for speakerphone calls and an IPX5 rating for water, dust and shock resistance. Average user rating: an impressive 4.6 stars.
Want something a touch more powerful? The Cambridge Soundworks Oontz Angle 3 3rd-gen (red) is down to $21.99 — normally $29.99.
Also IPX5-rated, this one can play for up to 14 hours. CNET hasn't reviewed either of these, but check out the very favorableto get a good idea what to expect. (I'm not sure what's different about the Plus model versus this one.)
Good news: For a limited time, Amazon has the Polk Audio Command Bar for $199, which is tied for its lowest price to date.
You can also pick it up from Best Buy for $199.99, if you prefer, and if nothing else you might want to check the user ratings there. For whatever reason, Best Buy shoppers think it's a 4.3-star product, while the Amazon crowd rated it just 3.4 stars. (For what it's worth, CNET's gave it mostly high marks.)
That's quite a discrepancy, so if you already own one of these, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts about it. Share them in the comments!
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