The No. 1 D5 SmartWatch Review – A Full Android 3G Enigma

By March 23, 2016Tech/Science

    To say there are a lot of Smartwatches on the market right now to choose from, would be an understatement, and as a consumer you can begin to feel a bit confused for a multitude of reasons, and you begin to ask yourself the tough questions,  “what brand should I get?”  “What features do I actually need in a smart watch?” “Do I even need a smartwatch?”
 Tough questions indeed.

Well here is another one for the list, a little known Chinese company called No. 1 has released a new Smartwatch called the D5, jam packed with all the features you could think of, but as a whole does the watch work? Does it all come together to create one of the most unique and advanced smartwatches on the market or does it fall flat on its face? well I decided I’d click the order button and find out for myself exactly what is the No. 1 D5.

 

​Full Android

    The watch comes built with full android 4.4, not Android Wear, not Tizen, but full blown android 4.4, with all the positives and the negatives that brings with it, and believe me there are some negatives that I never had considered. Firstly yes this is full Android Kitkat, but it is a very stripped down version, some settings are hidden, others seem removed, but you have access to the Google Play Store and its treasure trove of apps that are not at all optimized for a round screen.

The IPS 360 by 360 screen is definitely impressive for a watch, but its still only 360 by 360, So yes you can watch Netflix on your wrist, but should you? The best thing about full android is that it is customizeable, therefore even with the downsides I mentioned, the brave and adventurous can still find ways to make it work. There currently is a fantastic community on XDA of D5 enthusiasts that are determined to do just that. 

 

CONNECTIONS

 

     The D5 comes sporting Bluetooth 2.0 and Bluetooth BLE 4.0 to which can connect to your smart phone to receive notifications and to your wireless headphones. To receive notifcations you must use a third party app called Watch Helper which doesn’t do much, basically it pops up a grey scale message with your notication on the watch face, you cant reply or do anything with the notication pop ups unfortunately.
You also have access to a sim card slot thats hidden underneath the back plate(you’ll need to use the included screw driver to unscrew it) which allows you to connect to 2G (GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz) and 3G ( WCDMA 850/2100).  If you’re in the US then you might be worried about those bands, and rightfully so, most of those bands are only used in China and other countries not including the US so if you use ATT(which is the only carrier I could get to work with it) you at most you will get a 2G connection and maybe if you’re lucky a 3G one, but dont count on it.

 

LOCATION

    Built into the watch band is a GPS antenna (therefore the band is not removeable) and it works particularly well, I tested it out in my neighborhood in Seattle and discovered its very reliable (although I had no 3G connection so had to stay within WiFi range). Again though the spotty Cellular connection will put a damper on the GPS as well since google maps needs a connection to work, but you can go around this by downloading the local map before leaving, that is, if you have enough space in the internal memory.

 

MEMORY, PROCESSOR AND OTHER

Now the important geeky stuff, the watch uses the MTK6572AW dual core processor, built in is an accelerameter and heart rate monitor and speaker. It also houses 512mb of ram and 2gb of internal storage, but oddly the watch seperates that 2GB as phone storage and then uses a very small 630MB of internal storage for apps, and after all the system and preinstalled apps already on the watch, you’re left with maybe 150mb, I downloaded only a small few of neccessary apps like Google Now, a better browser and a couple other apps and the watch was already telling me I was out of storage space.

The MTK processor does a fine job running everything you need to, but if you run too many apps at once it will start to sputter and lag. But for the most part you wont be running anything too exhaustive on the system anyways due to that low memory available.

 

LOOK, FEEL, BUILD QUALITY

         

Now this is where the watch truly shines, although not without some scuffs, the build quality is very nice, the smooth and shiny silver edges are polished and go well with a nice shirt and tie. The leather band looks the part, but once you put it around your wrist you realize its flaws. The black leather band houses the WiFi and GPS antennas, and therefore is not replaceable, it also has a very rough hard feel too it, and doesn’t lay very well on the wrist, the left side pushes out a  little bit instead of lay flat. But overall the watch does look nice.

 

 FINAL THOUGHTS

 

After using the No. 1 D5 for a good solid month I am left feeling conflicted, I do like how it looks on my wrist, and I love that I can stream Google Music to my wireless headphones while Im at the gym so I dont have to bring my phone with me, texting and calling using google hangouts over wifi is very nice indeed, but without that 3G connection I am left still tethered to a wifi signal, and feel more restricted than I would with an Android Wear watch which can connect to my phone to send and receive messages, and even browse the web through bluetooth, but the D5 cant do any of that, it feels more like I have a tablet strapped to my wrist, instead of a phone companion or stand alone cell phone, I do see potential in this device and the future of stand alone smartwatches, and perhaps new updates from NO.1 will make the watch better over time, I guess we will have to wait and see, but until then I think Ill go back to using my good old Moto 360 android wear smartwatch.

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Author Jesse Duffy

When Jesse is not writing for Rockably he can be found playing music, enjoying new tech and tasting unique beers!

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