Review: This smartwatch looks like it came from a sci-fi movie

It sounds ideal: a smartwatch screen that bends around your wrist and thus creates more space to display information than a standard round or elongated screen that only lies on top of your wrist. The screen of the Nubia Watch is not only curved, but also bendable. The watch case is completely flat at the top for a length of about three and a half centimeters and then curves around the wrist, with the screen following that bend.

The screen itself looks nice. It is less sharp on paper than the latest Apple Watch, but in practice it looks fine. The brightness of the screen is also good, the contrast is infinite and the color saturation is very high. The viewing angles are also very good, which is of course a must for a screen with such sharp curves.

Ungainly and clumsy

Unfortunately, as far as we are concerned, all of the strengths of the Nubia Watch are immediately mentioned; the rest does not make us happy. For example, the appearance is no different than to call it ‘rude’. The watch is an inch and a half thick and, despite the screen width of only two inches, just over four inches wide.

The version that we tested has green-gold-colored metal strips on both sides of the screen, which are then screwed against chrome-colored side panels. The edges of the watch also protrude above the screen, possibly to protect the fragile display.

Heavyweight

The Nubia Watch is not light either. In fact, at just under a hundred grams, it is by far the heaviest smartwatch that we have recently tested. Unlike most other smartwatches, the Nubia Watch is also not suitable for swimming, the watch has an IP54 rating, which means that it is dust and splash proof, but should not be submerged.

The first thing you’ll notice while using the Nubia Watch is that the top of the screen is difficult to read. It’s hard to turn your wrist in so far that you can see perpendicular to that part of the screen, essentially always viewing the top at an angle. The inside of the screen is easy to read.

Not an app store

The main menu of the Nubia Watch consists of large icons for apps, for example to make calls, send messages or check your heart rate. The apps shown are the only ones that Nubia offers: there is no app store or other option to add apps or functionality.

None of these ingrained features manage to impress. You can make calls via the watch, but the speaker is so soft that it doesn’t help you much. Text messages can be read, but you cannot respond. The heart rate monitor is inaccurate and the music feature doesn’t work with streaming services, it only lets you copy MP3s to the watch.

What is striking when we consider all the possibilities is that, except for the music player, none of the functions really make smart use of the long screen. The music player uses the screen best, with a list of available songs at the top of the screen, a play-pause button in the middle and navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen.

Health

The Nubia Watch’s sports features are also very limited. The watch offers profiles such as walking, running outside, running inside and ‘free workout’. Apparently they don’t cycle at Nubia and because the watch is not completely waterproof, swimming is obviously not an option.

The first thing you’ll notice about running is the time it takes to get an accurate location fix. This was more than two minutes each time. Once there is a fix, the information shown on the big screen is also very limited. The Nubia Watch doesn’t get any further than calories, heart rate, pace and distance.

Battery

The battery life of the Nubia Watch varies greatly, depending on use. Nubia promises 36 hours in ‘smartwatch’ mode and up to 7 days in ‘power saving’ mode. We have not tested the latter; the watch then only displays the time and date, and you obviously don’t buy such a device for that.

In smartwatch mode, we can easily reach that 36 hours, as long as we do not use the screen in always-on mode and do not perform sports activities with GPS. With always-on mode switched on and the screen brightness at 50 percent, the cake is completely finished after just under 7 hours and the battery also runs out during exercise. Running for 45 minutes with GPS costs 35 percent of the total battery capacity.

Conclusion

We already wrote, the Nubia Watch seems to come straight out of a science fiction movie and we can continue that link with Hollywood. From the outside, the decor looks flashy, but if we look behind the facade, it appears that there is nothing behind it.

The screen of the Nubia Watch is beautiful, is technically good and undeniably attracts attention. We are already less enthusiastic about the rest of the design, including the raised edges on either side of that screen, and when we assess the functionality of the clock, we cannot but be very disappointed.

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