Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

Decent display and build wasted by key features simply not working
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Wyze Watch
By Wyze
The Wyze Watch is likeable – how could it not be at $20? The build quality is admirable, it has good waterproofing protection and a screen that defies the price point. However, a buggy smartwatch where key features like workout tracking simply doesn’t work can’t be recommended, even if it’s only $20.

  • Decent display and build
  • Simple interface
  • Waterproof
  • Continuous HR
  • Activity tracking doesn’t work
  • So many bugs
  • No GPS

The Wyze Watch is a smartwatch like nothing we’ve ever seen. It costs just $19.99 – even less than the surprisingly decent Wyze Band we reviewed earlier in 2021. The Wyze Watch promises smartphone notifications, activity and sleep tracking, continuous heart rate monitoring and a few other bells and whistles, including blood oxygen monitoring.

There are no real rivals for this, at this price point. You can get an Amazfit Bip U Pro for , which we gave a 4-star review in January. That has GPS, Alexa and 60 sport profiles, unlike the Wyze Watch.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite is £50 in the UK, but lacks availability in the US. It has similar specs to the Bip U Pro. Other than that, you’ll be paying over for something like the Huawei Watch GT2e, which has Wear OS and takes you into a different category altogether.

Perhaps a leftfield alternative is the oft-overlooked Amazfit Neo, which at offers some decent fitness tracking in a retro Casio case. However, it’s not a full-screen smartwatch like the Wyze.

So the Wyze Watch, which is only available in the US right now, stands alone. Can it do enough to make it a worth the price point? Or is it still too expensive at half the price?

Note: Wyze has acknowledged several bugs that are being worked on, which we’ll discuss throughout. The plan is to fix with a software update. The company is also sending us the larger Wyze Watch 47 as it plans a relaunch of the Wyze Watch 44 in the coming weeks. We will update this review in due course.

Wyze Watch review: Key features

  • Step and sleep tracking
  • Sport mode for activity tracking
  • 24/7 HR tracking
  • IP68 waterproofing and fully submersible
  • Smartphone notifications
  • 10-day battery life (advertised)
  • 1.44-inch TFT screen
  • Limited control of Wyze smart home products
  • Cycle tracking

Wyze Watch review: Design and build

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

For a mere $20, the Wyze Watch isn’t a bad looker. Sure, it doesn’t have the sheen of an Apple Watch, but it’s not noticeably unattractive either.

The square touchscreen is surrounded by large bezels, while the device offers a single button for controlling the UI. The silicone straps have a traditional release mechanism, while the rear offers a heart rate sensor and charging pins.

There’s 256KB if RAM and 16MB of storage, so you won’t be transferring music, adding apps or any of that jazz.

The Watch does have great waterproofing protection with an IP68 rating. Connection with the app comes through Bluetooth 5.0. However, there’s no internal or phone-connected GPS and no support for voice assistants.

Wyze Watch review: Display

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

  • 1.4-inch TFT LCD screen (320 x 320 pixel, 16-bit colour)
  • Small, vivid display, but bezels are huge
  • Decent Touchscreen

On the Wyze Band 44, the 1.4-inch touchscreen display is surrounded by comically large bezels on all four sides. The situation is different on the Wyze Watch 47, which has a much larger screen to body ratio for its 1.75-inch touchscreen display. It looks much better for it.

Overall though, for the price point, the Wyze Watch 44 display overachieves in the display department.

The touchscreen is responsive enough, especially compared to the Wyze Band, which had a finish and pressure-based touch UI approach that made operation tricky and the display hard to see in sunlight. The screen is bright and vivid, despite the low pixel density, and decently visible in sunlight.

Wyze Watch review: User interface

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

  • Lots of bugs still need ironing out
  • Simple interface works well (when it works)
  • No Alexa, unlike Wyze Band

The interface, albeit the same, works a little better in watch form than it did on the awkward fitness tracker, although it helps that the display is better too. Everything just makes a little more sense here and it feels minimalistic in a good way.

Press the only button to access the app menu, press it again to go back. Swipe down to access notifications, swipe up to access quick settings. Hold the power button to change the watch face. Many more aesthetic changes can be made in the Wyze app, where you can also set your activity goals, notifications, and more.

While the Wyze Band did provide notifications, it wasn’t much fun reading them. The thin rectangular display could only accommodate a couple of words on each line. Things are much improved here. You can read enough from the preview to get the gist, even though you can’t reply or interact with the notifications in any way. However, the watch also regularly disconnects from the phone and requires resyncing so it’s not really something you can rely on.

There are plenty of weird bugs too. The ‘time to stretch’ inactivity alert has the tendency to just keep vibrating until the watch restarts. Now and again the watch automatically restarts on its own. Those plenty of weird quirks too. When you start a timer, you’re stuck with it on the display until it expires, or you manually stop it. Ideally you’d want that running in the background while you do other stuff.

One thing missing from Watch, compared to the Band, is Alexa support. It wasn’t hands-free, but it was handy if you wanted to control some tech linked to your Amazon account. That’s absent, but if you have other Wyze products like the cameras, smart plugs and bulbs, you can set some shortcuts via the Wyze app. For example, if you’re leaving the house and want to turn your camera on, you can do so from your wrist.

Wyze Watch review: Battery

  • Battery life much shorter than advertised
  • 15-mins charge for 25%

Wyze advertises a battery life of 9-days plus from the 260mAh battery. We got around half that, from 3pm on Saturday to 9pm the following Wednesday. And this was without using it all that much and with continuous heart rate monitoring switched off.

Charging time is 2.5 hours, but we got 25% after a 15-minute blast. Unfortunately, you can’t get beyond the charging screen when connected, so you’ll need to disconnect from the proprietary charging pins if you want to access anything on the watch.

Wyze Watch review: Heart rate and activity tracking

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

When compared to an Apple Watch Series 6 and the Whoop Strap 3, we found the Wyze Watch more than held it’s own when registering a resting heart rate, within one beat. No problem at all there. There’s also a useful blood oxygen monitor too, which was in line with the Apple Watch Series 6. We were unable to really test the heart rate effectiveness while working out because of the below…

When using a $20 smartwatch, you expect to make some concessions, but unfortunately the workout tracking on our Wyze band just didn’t work. There’s only one ‘sports’ mode, which is essentially a running mode that offers estimated pace and distance (there’s no GPS, so it’s step-based), time and live HR. So, it’s not really that useful for resistance training, yoga or any non-step-based activities beyond HR and estimated calories.

My first run, tracking halted out after 11 minutes and the watch restarted. On my second, a TRX workout, I got in five minutes before the company logo showed up on screen following a reset. Extremely frustrating. There’s not a lot else we can say at this point. The feature just doesn’t work. Wyze acknowledges these are known issues that will be addressed in a forthcoming software update.

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

We were unable to fully test the accuracy of the step-based approach, but during our first run, the GPS-based Polar app had us at 1.25 miles, while Wyze had registered 0.89. I managed to get a 2-mile notification on another while Polar had me at 2.46miles. Then the watch crashed both times.

Just like the Wyze Band, the watch nudges you to stretch when you’ve been inactive for too long. It’s a nice and useful feature if you bother to pay attention to it. First time I received the notification, the vibration just continued until the watch rebooted. This is another known issue Wyze acknowledged to us.

The IPX8 water resistance means its suitable for swimming too, but there’s no specific swim tracking mode. You can also set your own activity targets within the app.

Wyze Watch review: Sleep tracking

  • Basic automatic sleep tracking
  • Weird date syncing issue

Wyze Watch 44 review: Buggy watch isn’t worth $20 yet

No sleep data had been synced with the Wyze app for the first days I’d been wearing it, until we unpaired and repaired the watch, after which it all started syncing. The watch tells you how long you’ve slept, while the Wyze app breaks it down in to deep and light sleep and time awake.

The watch’s Activity app tells me I slept for 6 hours and 8 minutes on May 5, while the app registered 2hr 49m and 3hr 19m of light sleep. Apparently, I wasn’t awake at all.

The Whoop Strap 3 worn on the other wrist counted 6:30 minutes of sleep, so it’s within the same ballpark, but sleep stages are broken down differently as you can see in the screen shots below.

TAGGED Smartwatches

How we test

Chris Smith


Chris has more than decade of experience writing for the UK's foremost technology publications including TechRadar, T3 and more.

 A freelance journalist based near Miami, Florida, Chris has written for Wareable since its inception in 2014. From reviews of the latest fitness devices, and in-depth features on bleeding-edge wearable devices, to future-gazing interviews with some of the industry's brightest minds, Chris covers the lot. He also writes about sport for The Guardian and is the author of many technology guide books, while also dabbling in film, music, beer, travel and political commentary.

When he's isn't smashing away at the keys of his MacBook, Chris can be found at his favourite craft breweries, dangling his rod in the warm waters of the Florida Keys, or exploring the Shropshire countryside.

You can follow his on Twitter but beware, it's mostly sporting and political hot takes, occasionally interspersed with tech-based tweets.

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