Features to Look for in a Budget Smartwatch

In the age of connectivity, smartwatches have become a go-to gadget for many tech enthusiasts. These devices, once considered luxury items, are increasingly becoming accessible to the masses. This transformation is largely due to the emergence of budget smartwatches, which offer an array of impressive features at a fraction of the cost of high-end models. This blog post aims to guide readers through the key features to look for when buying a budget smartwatch, ensuring that you get the most out of your hard-earned money.

Understanding Smartwatch Basics

Before delving into what to look for in a budget smartwatch, it is crucial to understand what a smartwatch is and what it typically offers. A smartwatch is essentially a wearable computing device that closely resembles a wristwatch or other time-keeping device. In addition to telling time, smartwatches provide a range of functionalities, often through applications similar to those found on smartphones.

Smartwatches can perform functions like sending and receiving text messages, answering phone calls, providing weather updates, monitoring your heart rate, tracking your physical activity, and even guiding you to your destination through GPS. Moreover, they can sync up with your smartphone, so you can control many phone features from your wrist.

On a broader level, smartwatches come with different operating systems like Wear OS (Google), watchOS (Apple), Tizen OS (Samsung), and others. Each operating system offers a unique set of features and apps, so the user experience can differ significantly from one smartwatch to another.

However, not all smartwatches are created equal, especially when considering budget models. Thus, it’s essential to understand what features you should expect for your money. In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the features that you should prioritize when choosing a budget smartwatch.

Defining ‘Budget’ in Budget Smartwatches

When we refer to ‘budget’ smartwatches, we are generally talking about smartwatches that are priced significantly lower than high-end models but still offer a valuable set of features. The term ‘budget’ can be subjective and varies from person to person. However, for the purpose of this blog post, we consider budget smartwatches as those typically priced under $200.

The goal of buying a budget smartwatch should be to find a device that offers the best value for money. This means it should include as many of the essential features as possible at the most reasonable price. But bear in mind, with lower cost often comes some compromises, such as reduced build quality, fewer features, or lower performance compared to premium models.

Essential Features to Look for in a Budget Smartwatch

Now, let’s delve into the features that you should prioritize when choosing a budget smartwatch.

  • Display quality: This is the interface through which you interact with your smartwatch. Look for a clear, bright display that is easy to read in different lighting conditions.
  • Battery life: A good budget smartwatch should last at least a full day on a single charge. Some models offer multiple days of battery life, which can be a great advantage if you don’t want to charge your watch every night.
  • Operating system compatibility: Your smartwatch needs to be compatible with your smartphone’s operating system, whether it’s Android, iOS, or something else.
  • Fitness tracking capabilities: Even budget smartwatches often come with features such as step counters, heart rate monitors, and workout tracking. If you lead an active lifestyle, these features can be invaluable.
  • Connectivity: At the very least, your smartwatch should be able to connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Some models also offer Wi-Fi connectivity, which can allow for more functionality.
  • Durability and water resistance: Your smartwatch should be able to withstand everyday wear and tear. Water resistance can be a valuable feature if you plan to use your smartwatch while swimming or in the rain.
  • Notification support: One of the main advantages of a smartwatch is the ability to check notifications without having to take out your phone. Make sure the smartwatch you choose supports notifications from your most-used apps.

In the next section, we’ll discuss some nice-to-have features that aren’t strictly essential but can greatly enhance your smartwatch experience if your budget allows.

Nice-to-Have Features

In addition to the essential features, there are several “nice-to-have” features that can enhance your smartwatch experience, provided your budget allows for it.

  • Built-in GPS: While many smartwatches require a connected phone to track location, some models have built-in GPS. This is particularly useful for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as running or hiking and want to leave their phone at home.
  • Mobile Payment Capability: Some budget smartwatches come with NFC (Near Field Communication) that enables contactless payments. With this feature, you can pay for purchases right from your wrist, adding a layer of convenience to your daily transactions.
  • Sleep Tracking: If you’re interested in tracking your sleep patterns to gain insight into your overall health, consider a smartwatch with sleep-tracking features. This can provide valuable data on the quality and duration of your sleep.
  • Voice Assistant Integration: Some smartwatches integrate with voice assistants like Google Assistant, Siri, or Bixby. With this feature, you can issue voice commands to your watch, such as setting reminders, making calls, or even controlling smart home devices.

Top Budget Smartwatch Models in 2023

Let’s now look at some of the best budget smartwatches available in 2023 that offer a balance of the above features:

  • Amazfit Bip U Pro: This smartwatch stands out for its incredible battery life that can last up to nine days on a single charge. It comes with health tracking features, built-in GPS, and even Alexa built-in for voice commands.
  • Fitbit Versa Lite: Fitbit is known for its fitness-focused devices, and the Versa Lite is no exception. It offers comprehensive health and fitness tracking, a vibrant display, and is water resistant up to 50 meters.
  • Garmin Forerunner 45: Ideal for runners, the Forerunner 45 provides advanced running metrics and includes a built-in GPS. It also offers heart rate monitoring and can last up to seven days in smartwatch mode.
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active: The Galaxy Watch Active offers an array of features including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and workout detection. It is also compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Remember, the best smartwatch for you is the one that fits your individual needs and budget. So, assess what features are most important to you before making a decision.

Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Budget Smartwatch

As we’ve discussed the essential and nice-to-have features of a budget smartwatch, it’s equally important to understand some of the key factors that should influence your buying decision:

  • Balancing Features with Cost: While it’s great to have a watch packed with features, the key to choosing the right budget smartwatch is to balance these features with the cost. Determine what features are most important to you and prioritize those when making your choice.
  • Future-Proofing Your Purchase: While budget smartwatches might not offer all the features of premium models, choosing a watch that supports software updates can help ensure your watch stays relevant for longer. This is particularly important if you plan on keeping the watch for several years.
  • Checking Compatibility with Your Current Devices: Ensure the smartwatch you choose is compatible with your current smartphone or other devices. While most smartwatches work with both Android and iOS, not all features may be available across both platforms.


Choosing the right budget smartwatch is all about understanding your needs and finding a device that fulfills them at a price you’re comfortable with. While you may have to compromise on some features due to budget constraints, the vast variety of smartwatches available today means you should be able to find a device that suits your needs.

Remember, a smartwatch is a personal device, and the best one for you is the one that makes your life easier and more enjoyable. We hope this guide has helped clarify the important features to look for in a budget smartwatch, and happy shopping!


Stay tuned for our next blog post where we will be taking a closer look at some of the top budget smartwatches in 2023 in more detail. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with the latest in smart technology.

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