No.1 Sun S2 Smart Watch Review
Thanks to GearBest for the sample
First Impressions: Having already had a “first look” at the device, that being a read up online all about the thing, I had a fair idea of what was coming. The box seems alright, nothing too fancy. Inside there we have the watch. It looks nice in the flesh. Though I’m still not sure I love the triangular pattern round the edge, feels like it’s there just to make it look more watch like. Mind you given how often I smack the face of my other watches off of things maybe it’s there and so raised to act as a defensive measure?
Picking it up I rather like it. I like metal bands and while I’ve seen reviews say its strap feels so light and cheap I can’t say I agree. Maybe normal watch straps are made of lead but to me it feels nicely weighted. Very flexible too, I like very much. I have never loved tightly fitting watches, I like them a little loose on the wrist and with this I can. Don’t think the heart rate thing will like that but how often will I use that?
Specifications: Built-in chip type: MT6260, Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 3.0, Waterproof Rating: IP67, Health tracker: Pedometer, Heart rate monitor, Alert type: Ring, Vibration, Screen: LED, Screen resolution: 240 x 240 px, Screen size: 1.33 inch, Camera pixel: 0.3MP, Battery capacity: 350mAh, Standby time: About 90 hours, Product weight: 0.120 kg
Actually there are tons of more details in the full spec list but I’ve skimmed to the bits that I think matter. Some spec too are variable, like the band material. My one is metal, silvery metal but you can get black too or leather of varying colours. The bands are actually standard watch straps so you can change it for anything you want. You hear that Motorola, Sony!!!! Standard bloody watch straps! So if you don’t like the strap or just feel like a change you can use anything you like and you shouldn’t have any trouble doing so.
Screen: The screen is pretty nice. It does do the Moto 360 “flat tyre” thing. You know where the bottom of the round screen has a black flat cut off at the bottom. For the most part this doesn’t really bother me as I’m used to it but….. when you use a round dial its really noticeable that 6 is missing and the faces all seem to pretend that the bottom is there. I don’t know why, the 360 does this too, just acts like it’s there when it’s not. Otherwise though the screen is pretty damn good. I was expecting poo viewing angles give the low cost but it’s actually really wide. It’s not perfect but its works great all the way to angles you would never encounter in the real world. It can get rather bright too. I’m really impressed for the price.
UI: This if anywhere is where things drop. The UI is not Android Wear. The UI is a proprietary thing I think made by Mediatek. While China has absolutely got hardware nailed I cannot say the same in regards to software. It all works, functionally but it can be odd. Like there is just 3 fascia’s for the watch. The white backed one I don’t like as the flat tyre is so noticeable. The two black ones, one having silvery typeface and the other goldish. Now it so happens I really quite like the silvery one so I was happy to use it but I could find no way to add any more options. Then when you go past that first face you are greeted with a digital, in yellow with a call button and a message button below it. You cannot change this screen and it’s different from the one in the photos, the one it the photos doesn’t seem to exist anywhere which I found really odd. The UI on the whole is quirky, once you start delving into menu’s you often feel a bit lost. Now you’ll hardly ever do it but you know. The rest of the functions, there are all fairly easily accessed. Somethings on there though, I don’t get. Like what use is the video playback app or the video recording when the storage space is so super tiny? Like I said, quirky but for the most part it’s pretty simple.
Features: The Sun 2 has a couple of really unusual bits. Now you see how the face looks like a watch and it has the little dial on the side where you would either wind it up or set the time? Well obviously you do neither with it, so you may wonder what it’s for, just decorative? Hell no, that thing is a camera!!! Yes you read that right, a camera. Granted it’s a low quality, 0.3 mega pixel camera but the 10 year old in me thinks it’s kinda awesome. Come on a real camera in your watch, that is some James Bond type gadgetry right there!!! Oh and you know what else!?!?!? The damn thing has a speaker and a microphone built in so it can initiate and receive calls, on the watch!!! Now I get you may look weird taking a call on your watch but…… come on, that is so James Bond. I can tell you if I was 10 and had this thing I would be ecstatic. As a grown up, I love the idea but I think I might feel too self-conscious to use in public.
Weirdly you can also use the watch to playback music on from your phone. I don’t know why you would chose to do this. I hoped I could use the watch as a remote control for audio being streamed to a Bluetooth pair of headphones but the Sun 2 and the headphones (Blueudio T2S) refused to be both connected to the phone (Moto G) at the same time.
Where you can use the watch as a remote control though is for your phones camera. It’s a little bit odd, there is no live transmission so you can’t see on the watch what your about to snap on the phone. Still it’s kinda cool that you can. I’m not quite sure what you’d do with it, maybe some more James Bond spying perhaps?
The other features that you may want to make use of are the health stuff. Now things like the pedometer it seemed to act more like a stopwatch than being some background, always monitoring feature. Same for the sleep monitor and sedentary reminder. So I don’t know if it was me missing something but they just seemed realistically of minimal use. The “Heart Rate” and ECG apps seem to be pretty much the same thing. They don’t continually monitor but if you’re interested in your heart rate they will tell you. I found it be really very accurate too.
Build Quality: It feels rather solid. Now it doesn’t exude luxury it doesn’t look or feel like a piece of jewellery. It feels like a man’s watch. Some plain stainless steel, polished on the face, brushed on the band. It’s a pleasant, plain, functional object. It appeals to my sense of the functionally aesthetic. Well bar that triangular bevelling, I still have mixed feelings about that. It feels like decoration for decorations sake. The rest of the thing looks fairly chunky, functional, and manly. You can barely see them unless you take the watch off but near the strap attachments and the underside you can see that its screwed together. I like that.
Usability: Well it depends what you want to do. If you’re happy to pair it up, just let it notify you of calls and texts you’re golden. It does this very ably. If you want to start doing things on the watch, like initiate a call or god forbid send a text, not so much. The round screen is a pain and to make things more awkward the big bevelled facia makes it hard to hit things near the edges. It sadly is awkward to do much more than hit the answer button or to acknowledge the notification of something. Stick to the basics, which is what I really want a watch for anyway, you cannot over estimate how handy a vibrating notification on your wrist is in my opinion. In these days of giant phones, leaving your phone on your desk or pocket means you might miss the vibration but when it’s on your wrist, you notice.
Battery: The battery life I found to be quite variable. I had the thing set to light up with a flick of a wrist. It would seem that while sleeping some nights I did this a lot and others not so much. Therefore sometimes the battery would last nearly 3 days others it would be dead in the morning when I went to use it. You should really just get in the habit of charging it overnight anyway. Like you do with your phone, it’s what I would have done normally if I wasn’t specifically reviewing to see how long it would last.
What was more of an issue I found was the charging dock. It is a little dock that magnetically clamps to the underside of the watch. The thing is it didn’t always seem to quite get the contacts lined up. More than once I put it to charge and sever hours later I discovered it hadn’t been. That got really annoying, if it just had some light or something to let you instantly see if it’s charging or not would have solved this. There is not, if you want to see you have at wake it up and see if the battery meter is animating.
Connectivity: I’ve seen people say they have had issues connecting different smart watches to their phones, so this category is here but I can’t say I did. There is some issue with the variety of apps available. Having the latest “Meditek SmartDevice” app it paired saw each other and worked just fine. Its range seemed more sensitive than my android wear watches, if I left the phone and wandered to the other side of the flat it would start ringing and vibrating to let me the Bluetooth connection had been lost. When I wandered back it reconnected automatically. That is with multiple devices all over the place too.
Value: Ahh value, there is no getting around the headline fact that as “smartwatches” go this is cheap, hell’a cheap. Right now it’s for sale, with a little Xiaomi LED light thrown in, for US$63 or with the handy discount code GBSS2 its US$54. At present exchange rates that’s just £35. So £35, with the cool wee light and delivered to your door. So that’s pushing one tenth of what an Apple watch would cost you. While I found the Sun 2 more limited and a little quirky, if what you want, the most important aspect for a smart watch for me, the notifications right there on your wrist. You feel it vibrate where you rarely feel your phone in your pocket and you can glance to see if it’s worth bothering to dig your phone out. With phones getting stupid big this matters ever more. Tbh even if you just use it for a watch, it’s still kinda bargain priced.
Conclusion: So I have 6 different “wearables” in arms reach right now. Yes I have issues, I know. You know you can never really judge an item on its own without having some other thing to compare it to. You know, your mothers Victora Sponge is cake and all cake is nice, then you have a big slice of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte that’s had a generous drizzling of Kirsch. One is good, one is to die for. The Sun 2 then, it falls into the first category. It isn’t a device that will wow you, change the way you look at existence, have you pondering in awe of the miracle that is human creativity. The Sun 2 is a good product, a solid product that has a clearly defined parameter of functionality.
The Sun 2 is about just a few things, telling you the time, looking like a proper watch and notifying you of people trying to reach you. Both calls and text notifications come through perfectly. Its functionality that my long vanished, ancient Sonyericsson MBW-100 that I so loved, provided. The Sun 2 replicates those functions admirably and throws in some little extras. Most of those extras are things you probably won’t use. Like the camera, it’s a super cool novelty but not actually useful. It’s just a cool little gadget.
Would I buy one, I dunno. I’ve gotten used to my Android Wear watches that do lots more but then they cost a lot more too. This therefor I see appealing to the young, seriously 10 year old me would have freekin’ loved this thing beyond belief. The other group being those who want the notifications in a reasonably looking package. To both those groups it suffices perfectly. It also is a really cost effictive way to see if you can get used to wearing a watch but mostly I see it being for those who are forever not noticing calls and texts. When something strapped to your wrist vibrates, you notice it. It is that simple. So do you think you fall in to those categories? If so it’s a nice, functional, pleasant, watch looking way to get that without having to throw down considerably more money.