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Review: ZeBlaze ZeBand Smartwatch

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ZeBlaze is another low cost brand from China that offers smartwatches at prices so affordable that is quite impossible to believe. Their first breakthrough was the ZeBlaze Crystal which was modeled heavily after the Apple iWatch. Now, the have launched another very affordable smartwatch – ZeBlaze ZeBand.

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The ZeBand is meant to be a simple fuss-free watch, with a simple design and robust build at an amazing price. If anyone here is a stark Fitbit fan, you might realize that the watch actually looks similar to one of Fitbit’s offerings – Fitbit Alta.

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The ZeBlaze ZeBand quite a few substantial hardware into its small slim body:

  • 0.94 inch 160*68 pixel OLED screen
  • 90mAh Li-Po battery for up to 15 days of standby
  • IP67 Certified water resistance
  • Optical Heart Rate monitor with Elevate Heart Rate chipset
  • Pedometer
  • Bayer-made Silicon band
  • Swimming Mode

HRM on ZeBand

As a fitness band, the watch is able to do the pretty standard tracking including steps, time, distance traveled, calories burnt and all these data are shown on the watch by navigating through the touchscreen. The heartrate monitor can be set to monitor constantly (which actually just means a few minutes) or not constantly (which just means periodically). The latter would of course consume much less battery though not as accurate.

Swimming mode on ZeBandWhat ZeBlaze has done with the ZeBand to set it apart from competition is the swimming mode. With a IP67 rating bringing it to a casual swim or regular shower is fine. But what is swimming mode? Swimming mode basically changes the fitness tracking algorithm from tracking movements on the ground, to tracking your swimming pattern including the number of strokes, calorie burn and swim duration.

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Whilst ZeBlaze did tout the screen to have a touchscreen, it is only partially accurate – not the entire surface was touch sensitive – basically only the bottom portion of the screen was which basically meant it was just the portion where that circle is. The watch only recognizes two types of inputs – touch, touch and hold. You can touch gently to navigate around the options and displays, whilst touching and holding it to select an option (ie selecting to activate/deactivate the swimming mode.

hplusGoing into the application wise, the watch seems to be running on the HPlus eco-system which means that you need to use the HPlus Watch application to manage the data on the watch to the smartphone. In addition, however, using it on the Blackberry Priv, the watch does not sync with Google Fit and other applications like Runtastic could not access the watch or application data. This could be a bummer for many of the fitness buffs who like to track and share with their favourite fitness apps. On the data presentation wise, the HPlus application worked well to display all the data out in an easy to use graph though there are some limitations to it.

The HPlus application is available natively on both iOS and Android, which means this would work well with the BlackBerry Priv, DTEK50, DTEK60 and the watch works in tandem with the BlackBerry Priv without a hitch. However, for some reason, it does not seem to like the BlackBerry 10 OS’s Android Emulator and it had a hard time trying to communicate with the watch.

Apart from being a mere fitness watch and display, the watch also allows you to receive notifications which, is from the Android Notifications (or in BlackBerry device’s wise, BlackBerry Hub as well). However, that said, this also means that there is absolutely no way to custom pick the notifications that you want from the phone to your watch – you end up receiving every single notification there is.

According to ZeBlaze, the watch can last up to 15 days in standby mode, however, realistically, it has only lasted 2-3 days with continuous heart rate monitoring and 3-4 days without. It does not help as well, that the watch uses a proprietary charging clip, so yes it is yet another charging cable to the collection. On the positive side, the battery takes less than an hour to finish charging from zero.

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Overall, the watch works fine as a watch, as a fitness tracker, however, in terms of smart features, it is pretty basic, especially in the area of the notifications. But, again, I have to stress that at such an affordable price point, this is without doubt an well built IP67 fitness band that is capable of of going with you for swim and also armed with a real-time heart-rate monitor and an attractive design. With the price point at a mere USD$29.30 with free international shipping, budget hunters would find this watch of much use, though you would have to keep an keen eye on the battery.

PROS

  • Very good price
  • Nice texture and material used for the band
  • Good build overall
  • Tracking is considerably accurate in tandem with other smartwatches (of same range)
  • Water resistance
  • Swimming mode is unique and helpful for swimmers
  • Loads of hardware packed into it

CONS

  • ‘Smart’ Features are limited (Especially notifications)
  • Battery life is limited
  • Uses a proprietary cable for charging
  • Data can’t be access outside the eco-system

For a limited time, the watch is available at an even lower price on GearBest for just US$19.99. ZeBlaze ZeBand is available 4 colours which includes black, blue, purple and green. This might just be the Christmas/Thanksgiving present you are looking for!

Note: GearBest provided us with a sample of the product for this review.

Gallery – Comparison with XiaoMi MiBand 2

Gallery – ZeBlaze ZeBand Modes

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