A smartwatch is one of the coolest pieces of technology that you can get, not only for health tracking but for generally using it as a smartphone.
The only problem is that they can easily cost up to $400 or even more, so we decided to write this article with the best smartwatches for around $80!
A decent smartwatch, cheap or not, should come with at least a few valuable features, water resistance, a durable build, decent software, and a few other things that we are about to mention below.
So, without any further ado, let us get right into it!
- 1 How We Picked the Best Affordable Smartwatches for About $80
- 2 1: Xiaomi Mi Bands: Best Under $50
- 3 2: Fitbit Inspire Series
- 4 3: Amazfit watches
- 5 4: Garmin vivofit 4
- 6 5: VTech KidiZoom DX2
- 7 FAQ
- 8 Best Smartwatches around $80: Wrapping Up
- Fitbit Inspire 2 VS Garmin vivosmart 4. Here’s what you should know
- 5 Best Fitness Gears for iPhone Users this year
- 3 Best Blood Pressure Monitors to Use With Apple’s Health App
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How We Picked the Best Affordable Smartwatches for About $80
When we create any list of the best products for a specific group, including the best smartwatches under $80, we don’t just pick them based on our personal experience and user reviews – even though that plays a significant role as well.
We find some standards and some attributes that the device needs to meet to qualify, and then we review them based on these.
Here is what we look for in smartwatches – and what you should also keep an eye on when checking out a potential new buy.
First, you should ensure that your smartwatch is compatible with your smartphone or tablet. Most cheap smartwatches don’t come equipped with Cellular/LTE connectivity, which means they can not work independently of a paired phone. That’s one of the main reasons that compatibility with your primary device is a must.
Most smartwatches are generally compatible with both Android and iOS. But there are always a few exceptions.
For example, the Apple Watch only works with Apple devices, while older Samsung smartwatches can only work with Samsung devices, and newer Wear OS models only work with Android or Samsung. So, keep an eye on that.
Compatibility is a must for setting up certain things and fully taking advantage of its features. More about that is down below!
2: Software and Features
There are plenty of operating systems for smartwatches out there—WearOS, Wear OS 3, WatchOS, Tizen, etc.
Some of them offer more functionality than others. For example, Mi Bands come with the most essential software and features you can find – especially the older models.
Pricier variants such as a Galaxy Watch or an Apple Watch offer much more functionality and additional storage for storing music, and pictures, or even installing different apps!
But that’s not what we’re after today. In this article, you’ll find some of the more basic options.
Still, there are many features to look forward to – even budget options—step tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate tracking, music playback, notifications, etc. So, keep an eye out for whatever you need while checking out watches.
Battery life is very important. Nobody likes having to charge his smartwatch every single day.
However, one thing that may not be so apparent is that you can sacrifice certain features in exchange for much more battery life.
For example, the Mi Band can last for about 20 days on a single charge. But, in exchange for that, they come with a much smaller display and generally fewer features than a full-fledged smartwatch.
On the other hand, a full-fledged smartwatch usually offers more features and hardware at the cost of battery life. Generally, you can expect to get about one to three days with most smartwatches.
Of course, the exact battery life that you’ll get can significantly differ depending on what’s activated. Our Mi Band, for example, can last anywhere from a few days with everything enabled to more than 20+ days with everything disabled.
4: Build Quality and Water Resistance
Just because we’re looking for the best smartwatches for about $80 doesn’t mean that we should completely sacrifice build quality along with dust and water resistance.
And build quality isn’t just about showing off. A well-built smartwatch, apart from looking beautiful, is also going to be a more sturdy smartwatch.
Furthermore, you should also look out for water resistance or, even better, waterproofing.
Most modern bands and smartwatches can be submerged up to a certain depth for a certain period without any issues. But it’s still something to look out for.
Thankfully, IP certifications can accurately tell us how much “pressure” a device can take. The higher the number, the higher the depth and underwater duration a smartwatch can withstand. So, you don’t have to take the manufacturer’s word for it.
Watches have long been not just a tool but an accessory item as well. And the situation isn’t that different with smartwatches – even if we’re talking about the best smartwatches under $80.
Some are round, others are square, and some are rectangular. You’ll find a lot of different shapes–look for one that you like and is comfortable. For example, a lot of people prefer a round smartwatch vs. a square and find it more comfortable to wear.
Since style is 100% a matter of personal preference, we can’t give a generalized review in terms of looks except on how good a watch looks to us. But, again, it’s not the same thing as rating performance, storage, features, or anything similar since there’s no scale for beauty.
So, while reading reviews and focusing on things such as features or build quality, don’t forget to check out how the watch looks as well.
The display is something that people tend to omit as far as smartwatches are concerned. And that’s also true for the best smartwatches for about $80.
We assume that’s because smartphone displays are pretty standard. They come more or less at the same size, resolution, and quality – at least as far as you’re looking at the same price bracket. However, that’s not true for smartwatches at all.
Even at the same price points, a display’s size, quality, and resolution can greatly differ from smartwatch to smartwatch. Certain options don’t even have colors at all (Mi Band).
7: Size and Fit
Most watches should fit your wrist just fine. But, some of them offer additional options as far as watch radius is concerned. So, consider paying attention to that – especially if you have particularly big or small hands and wrists.
More often than not, size is but a matter of style. For example, if you’re very short with very small hands, a small fitness tracker will probably look better on you than a big, traditional smartwatch.
Still, both size and fit are one of the lesser aspects that we should be worried about.
So, with all that out, let us start checking some smartwatches!
1: Xiaomi Mi Bands: Best Under $50
Xiaomi Mi Bands are more of a fitness tracker than a full-fledged smartwatch. They are affordable fitness trackers that also offer some bells and whistles to help you monitor your activity and manage your daily life.
So if you want a wearable that runs apps, has built-in GPS, stores, streams music, and allows you to answer or make calls, you should skip the Mi Band.
But if you’re looking for an affordable option that offers dedicated software while performing tasks such as sending notifications or tracking steps, the Mi Band is the first brand you should check out!
Depending on what features you want and the price you wish to pay, Xiaomi offers many options, from the latest model, the Mi Band 7, to earlier models like the Mi Band 4.
- Compatibility: At least iOS 9.0 or Android 4.4 (Mi Band 4) to Android 6.0 and iOS 10+ (Mi Band 7)
- Main Features: Heart-rate tracking, step counter, notifications, Bluetooth 5+, Zepp Life app (formerly MiFit), workout tracking, sleep tracking, customizable watch face, behavior tagging, and more
- Battery: 2 hours to charge and up to 20 days of usage. Mi Band 5 or Mi Band 4 offer the best battery performance overall.
- Sensors: heart rate sensor (PPG heart rate sensor on Mi Band 7+), 3-axis accelerometer sensor, 3-axis gyroscope sensor, SpO2 sensor (Mi band 6 and above), Barometer, Proximity sensor
- GPS: Connected GPS (uses your paired phone, no built-in GPS)
- Water and Dust Resistance: 5 ATM
- Display: from 0.95 inches at 120 x 240 (Mi Band 4) to 1.62″ AMOLED at 192×490 (Mi Band 7)
First of all, this is one of the very few smartwatch brands that offer a dedicated app (Zepp Life). That’s an app that you can use to easily track everything going on while also setting up the watch in any way you want to. And you’ll find this app for both Apple and Android devices.
A huge pro is its battery life. While most watches can barely last for more than 1-2 days, Mi Bands can generally offer about 20 days with one charge, depending on how often you use the watch and what you do with it.
That on its own is enough for us to brand the Mi Band as one of the best smartwatches under $50!
- Xiaomi is One Step Ahead: #1 Wearable brand in the world. New Mi Band 7 is another big step forward.
- 1.62" AMOLED Display, High Res 192x490 and up to 500 nits brightness. Big improvements upon Mi Band...
You can generally find the older Mi Band models at about $30. So, it’s also one of the cheapest watches on this list.
And for that price point, you get all the features we mentioned above and a few other minor additions, plus 5ATM of water resistance. If you are not familiar with it, 1 ATM of resistance equals 10 meters of depth.
So, 5 ATM means that the Mi Band isn’t just waterproof but can also withstand submerging up to 50 meters of depth.
There aren’t as many differences between the older and cheaper Mi Bands and the latest Mi Bands–the biggest difference is mainly the screen size. All bands offer most of the features you need at an affordable price!
While we recommend purchasing a newer model Mi Band like the 7, the Mi Band 5 and Mi Band 4 are still great options with most of the same features as the 7–and these older models particularly excel in their longer battery life.
In terms of downsides, the lack of built-in GPS, the small screen size, and the fact that it needs a smartphone to be used to its full extent can undoubtedly be a turn-off for a lot of people.
- Extremely lightweight due to plastic construction
- Huge battery life
- Fully waterproof
- One of the cheaper variants
- Magnetic charging on Mi Band models 5 and above
- Small display
- No onboard GPS for any model
- Some people are allergic to the plastic in the Mi Band’s construction
We also like the similar Amazfit Band 7, also made by Xiaomi. The Amazfit offers slightly more battery life between charges at 28 days using battery saver options and weighs a little less (due to its slightly smaller HD AMOLED screen.)
- 【Large HD AMOLED Display】 Amazfit band 7 fitness tracker features a large 1.47” always-on...
- 【18-day Battery Life】 Say goodbye to daily recharge. When fully charged, the 232 mAh battery of...
2: Fitbit Inspire Series
Now that we’re moving away from the very cheap option, we finally have room to check out some more popular smartwatches.
And as far as smartwatches under $80 are concerned, the Fitbit Inspire is quite possibly the best you can get.
- Compatibility: Android and iOS.
- Main Features: Step counter, notifications, Bluetooth, Fitbit app, sleep tracking, exercise tracking with 15+ modes, Fitbit Premium, and more
- Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, Optical heart rate monitor, Vibration motor, Red and infrared sensors for blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, Ambient light sensor
- Battery: 2 hours to charge, about ten days of usage
- Water and Dust Resistance: 5 ATM
- Display: Color AMOLED screen
The Fitbit Inspire is one of Amazon’s best sellers as far as Fitness trackers are concerned. So, it’s generally hard to go wrong with it.
Ironically, despite being a bit more costly than our previous picks, it’s also a small downgrade in certain aspects compared to some of the cheaper smartwatches that we’ve checked out until now.
The Fitbit Inspire series is an excellent option for health and fitness tracking and includes things like notifications, a step counter, workout tracking, sleep tracking, etc.
While you can save some money by purchasing an older model, we recommend you buy the latest version, which is priced at around $100 but is often on sale for less than $80.
If you’re interested in heart rate tracking, you get better build quality, significantly better waterproofing, Fitbit Premium, and a few more minor additions.
Some people may say that it’s overpriced. But that’s your choice.
- Great build quality
- Great software
- Waterproofing up to 50 meters in depth
- Maybe a bit too expensive for what it offers
- Inspire 3 is the tracker that helps you find your energy, do what you love and feel your best. All...
- Move more: Daily Readiness Score(1), Active Zone Minutes, all-day activity tracking and 24/7 heart...
If you can spend a few more dollars, the Fitbit Charge fitness band features everything on the Inspire plus built-in GPS along with additional health sensors, including the EDA and ECG sensors.
- Optimize your workout routine with a Daily Readiness Score that reveals if you’re ready to...
- Get a daily Stress Management Score showing your body’s response to stress and take steps to...
3: Amazfit watches
We’d love to see one of the best smartwatches under $50 come with built-in GPS. But, alas, that’s yet to happen.
So, if you are after an affordable watch with GPS, spending a few more dollars and getting an Amazfit is quite possibly the best thing you can do!
- Compatibility: Android 7.0 and above, iOS 12.0 and above
- Main Features: Built-in GPS, heart-rate tracking, step counter, notifications, Bluetooth, Zepp app, sleep tracking, multi-sport tracking, and more
- Sensors: 2 PPG biometric sensors for heart rate tracking and blood oxygen saturation, 3-axis accelerometer, GPS 4 satellite positioning
- Battery: 2 hours to charge, up to 14 days of usage (7 days with heavy use)
- Water and Dust Resistance: 5 ATM and IP68
- Display: 1.69 inches, 240×280 TFT touchscreen
Built-in GPS is usually something that you’ll find in more premium smartwatches. Budget variants often simply connect to your smartphone for GPS tracking, which means you can’t use them independently.
The Amazfit BIP PRO, on the other hand, has its GPS, and that’s what allows you to leave home without a smartphone and do your thing. You get 60+ sports modes, 24-hour heart rate, stress monitoring, AND a bloody-oxygen level (SpO2) feature. Additionally, it offers abnormal/irregular heart rate warnings, stress level tracking, sleep tracking, and female menstrual health tracking.
However, one thing to remember is that there is no LTE or Wi-Fi connectivity. So, you’ll still need a phone for calls and notifications. It’s only the workouts that you can do independently.
Other than that, its battery life is also amazing. If you don’t rely on GPS and heart rate tracking, you can get as much as 14 days on a single charge out of it with a battery saver. This is one of the most efficient GPS watches we’ve seen yet.
As far as downsides are concerned, we don’t have anything significant to report. The bezels are a bit too thick, and there have been complaints about faulty devices now and then (as with every other watch). But that’s just nitpicking at this point.
- Huge battery
- Built-in GPS
- Big, colored display
- Relatively thick bezels
- 【Big on Screen, Big on Style】Immerse yourself in the 1.69" supr-large and colorful HD display,...
- 【Explore a Big Open World】The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro smart watch suports 4 satellite positioning...
4: Garmin vivofit 4
Garmin’s smartwatches and bands are usually quite expensive. But, thankfully, you can find the Vivofit 4 for less than $80! It’s a basic activity tracker and does not include a heart rate sensor, but the battery lasts up to 1 year! So no daily or weekly charging is necessary.
- Compatibility: Anything with Bluetooth should do
- Main Features: Activity, distance, step, calorie, and sleep tracking
- Sensors: Accelerometer
- Battery: 1+ year depending on usage (uses 2 SR43 coin batteries)
- Water and Dust Resistance: Swim (similar to 5 ATM)
- Display: 88 x 88, sunlight-visible, transflective 8 color memory-in-pixel (MIP)
Let us start by saying that this is one of the oldest smartwatches on this list. And that’s possibly why it is so cheap. Garmin doesn’t usually release any cheap watches. That is also why the screen looks inferior in terms of quality compared to today’s models.
Still, despite its age, the Vivofit 4 can compete with most of today’s smartwatches at this price range for keeping track of your activity without needing regular charging.
This design allows it to withstand water pressure up to 50 meters. So you’ll never have to worry about getting your watch wet again.
However, having a non-removable band can prove to be a fatal flaw in case something goes wrong. You break that band, and the watch is as good as useless without it.
And, unfortunately, many people have been there before. So the non-removable band is no doubt a big downside in this case.
At the very least, the Garmin Connect app is one of the most stable ones we’ve tried yet—bonus points for that.
- One of the cheapest Garmin watches
- Long battery life of up to 1 year
- Waterproof up to 50 meters
- Mediocre build quality with a non-removable band
- Bad display by today’s standards
- No heart rate or other health sensors built-in
- Features always on customizable color display and 1 plus year battery life; no charging necessary....
- Tracks steps, distance and calories burned, monitors sleep and provides a personalized daily step...
If you’re willing to spend a few more dollars, we recommend the Garmin Vivosmart series (3 and above), which you can often find for less than $80.
- Easy-to-use, comfortable smart fitness tracker, once setup through the Garmin Connect app, has a...
- Get an uninterrupted picture of your health with up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode;...
The Vivosmart series includes a lot of extras, including a heart rate monitor and blood oxygen sensors. With those sensors on board, you get a lot more personalized data on the tracker itself and inside Garmin Connect.
The sacrifice is that you need to charge it more frequently, every few days.
5: VTech KidiZoom DX2
Last but not least, we decided to make a slight twist and include something for our future readers. As you’ve probably already noticed, all of the watches on this list are targeted toward adults.
Except for this one.
This is a smartwatch for kids, and if that’s what you’re after, then it’s no doubt one of the best affordable smartwatches!
- Compatibility: At least MacOS X 10.9 or Windows 7
- Main Features: Dual camera, mini-games, 250 megabytes of storage, USB connectivity, alarm, step counter, watch faces, and more
- Battery: 1-2 hours to charge, lasts up to 3 days at most
- Water and Dust Resistance: None
- Display: Unspecified
As a smartwatch for kids aged 4 to 12, this has a few tweaks compared to your typical watch. As far as physical differences are concerned, it’s designed for much smaller wrists than “normal” variants, while it’s also very rugged in case your child drops it while taking it off.
That said, when you move in, you start to notice just how different it is.
First of all, there’s no Bluetooth. This means no notifications or GPS tracking, or syncing with a smartphone. Then again, kids don’t have any social media or emails to keep up with.
Other than that, there’s actual built-in storage and a dual camera that you can use to take photos. You obviously shouldn’t expect too fancy. But it is pretty fun as a game, and you can transfer the pictures to a computer, too, if you want to keep them.
And at the end of the day, this wouldn’t be called a smartwatch if it didn’t have any means of accessing apps and features.
There are plenty of mini-games, apps, and watch faces to choose from. Furthermore, there’s also a pedometer that Kidizoom claims are there “for fun.” Make of that what you will. But we can probably safely assume that this translates to, “It counts steps but is not as accurate as fitness trackers.” ‘
- Great toy for kids
- The limited built-in storage is a welcome addition
- Plenty of mini-games and apps (With more options on the official website)
- Charging with USB is a bit outdated as far as smartwatches are concerned
- No Bluetooth
- No Water resistance or waterproofing
There are now quite a few smartwatch and tracker options designed for children out there, including these we’ve reviewed:
- Keeping your kids active in 2022: A review of Garmin’s Vívofit jr. 3
- Toobur Fitness Tracker for Kids, is it worth it?
- Fitbit Ace 3 VS Garmin vivofit jr. 3: what’s the best activity tracker for your kids?
Are Budget Smartwatches Worth it?
Smartwatches can typically cost anywhere from $15 or so up to hundreds and hundreds of dollars. So, the question is, “If I can get the same thing for a fraction of the cost, why shouldn’t I?” Are budget smartwatches worth it?
To put it bluntly, it depends. If you don’t need much from a smartwatch, a budget offering is 100% worth it. Budget options can track steps, send notifications, monitor your heart rate, and more.
However, actual, full-fledged smartwatches come with the considerable advantage of being able to be used independently from smartphones. You can use them to make calls, browse the web, listen to music, install apps, and more. If that’s what you’re after, then we’re sorry to say you’re not going to get it from a budget alternative.
Why Are Smartwatches so Expensive?
As we mentioned above, smartwatches can easily cost hundreds of dollars. This happens because, despite their small size, they are not just watches – they are mini-computers/smartphones.
They operate similarly as they allow you to install apps and do all sorts of things. Both their hardware and software cost a lot. So, it’s no wonder that these watches are so expensive!
What Does a Smartwatch Do?
A smartwatch can do anything from just showing you the time to acting like a stand-alone smartphone depending on how much you’re willing to pay.
You can think of expensive variants like mini smartphones that sit on your wrist. The cheaper variants, such as the ones on this list, are a bit more basic. But you can still use them for things such as:
- Reading your phone notifications, calls, and messages on the watch
- Track your steps
- Look at your heart rate
- Track your sleep quality
- Use them as a silent alarm
- Track your workouts
- And more
One thing newcomers should remember is that smartwatches, unlike “traditional” watches, don’t have replaceable batteries. Instead, you can recharge them as you would with a phone, tablet, laptop, or any other modern device.
Are Smartwatches Safe?
Yes. Simple as that. There is zero evidence that smartwatches are harmful in any way.
There have previously been worries that wireless connectivity, in general, can be harmful to humans. But even after two decades, we still don’t have any proof of anything like that.
Best Smartwatches around $80: Wrapping Up
These are our best smartwatches for around $80 for now. If you have any other recommendations or want to ask anything, feel free to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section below!
And if you’re still looking for the best affordable smartwatch, we’d say there’s no such thing. Each pick has its pros and cons. So, it all comes down to personal preferences and needs.
The Amazfit is probably the most balanced pick as it offers a little bit of everything with built-in GPS and a big battery.
The Mi Fit bands or the Fitbit Inspire may be the better picks if you prefer smaller bands.
So, just look around and choose whatever personally fits you best. Also, if you liked this article, feel free to follow us on social media for more!
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