Now that the fruity company from cappuccino has deigned to launch its version of a swart watch the world and the world’s media has been paying a little bit more close attention to the category. Being an old hand with such things, dating back to the Sony Ericsson MBW-100 (it came out in 2006) and although mine had since aged to the point its little OLED screen was dead, it still vibrated on notifications and told the time. Well, that was until I managed to lose the thing somewhere. Still I’ve been using a “smart watch” for a long, long time. So when I was asked to have a look at the OUKITEL A28 I was duly interested to see how a product I’d never heard of before holds up to the big name brands. So let’s have a looky shall we.
OUKITEL, well yeah I’d never heard of them either. Shock horror, there are approximately 500 bajillion tech companies in china it would seem and everyday another hundred seem to appear as if by magic. I think thus we can forgive both you and I for having never heard of OUKITEL before. Visually, in pictures anyway so far, I’m thinking it looks rather nice doesn’t it? I can’t help thinking ZenWatch though maybe that’s unfair of me as just how many looks can a “watch” be given before it’s going to look pretty similar to another. Right away though, my eye catches that it looks like you can change the straps and fit standard, normal watch straps. Something I notably cannot do with my Moto 360 or Smart Watch 3. Now I know I probably wouldn’t change the strap but it irritates me when companies don’t use universal standards, not that I’ve ever changed a watch strap but its beside the point.
Right, what about the software of the thing? One of the key points on this device is that it can play nice with both iOS and Android. Why is that interesting you might think but at present, the Apple Watch and any of the Android Wear watches are not compatible with both. Apple is iOS only and Android Wear is Android only. Given you’ll already have your phone that pretty much dictates which you have to look at if any. The A28 however works with both, Android 4.4 (Kitt Kat) or iOS7 and onwards so that should cover just about everyone. No joy for Windows Phone, yet anyway. As to what exactly it runs I want to say Android, it looks like Android but they are curiously silent in the spec, honestly it probably doesn’t matter as its your phone is the bit that going to do the thinking.
Hardware up next and it would seem to be running with a Mediatek 2502 CPU, Bluetooth 4.0, RAM is claims 128M and ROM as 32M. Now I’m taking M to mean MB or megabytes but 32meg ROM storage? Maybe it means 32MB is free? One of the sometimes endearing, sometimes hilarious and sometimes frustrating issues with Chinese companies is that their English translations aren’t always perfect. Not that I’m criticising, my multilingual skills extend to asking where the library or train station is in German. Still, you get what I mean. Otherwise the screen numbers look good. A 240 x 240 pixel, IPS LCD screen so it should look nice and have good viewing angles too. The battery is a 250mAh and that has me a little concerned, that’s not huge. My 360 is 320mAh and it is isn’t great. Hmm, that’s an area I’ll really want to remember and look at in detail I think.
One curious hardware point (they even highlight it) is that it has the same heart rate sensor as is found in the iWatch. Now as much as I don’t love Apple software they usually use pretty good hardware and if this is the same sensor, given the Apple watch with a leather strap is £600 you at present could buy 15 of the OUKITEL A28’s and still have change left over. No idea what you’d do with 15 of them but you’ve got to admit that is a bit of a price differential!!!! If it works as well, that’s just an insane cost difference for the same bit of hardware. It’s just so extreme I find myself being sceptical which I don’t know if is warranted or just that a part of me can’t believe that even Apple would so insanely price gouge its customers, or that they would take it. I mean 2 or 3 times the price is one thing but 15????? I just don’t think I want to believe that can be true.
Okay, by this point and having now got that pricing stuck in my head that with the pedometer, heart rate monitor and sleep monitoring alone this thing already has all the functionality of a Fitbit, more even that the Flex, and yet it’s still cheaper. Now we all know that sometimes the spec doesn’t tell how well it all works and I’m still worried by that battery but…… if it’s as good as it would seem to be on paper it could be epic. Lol though I find that part of me doesn’t want it to be, having a Smart Watch 3 and a Moto 360 if the ever so pithily named OUKITEL A28 can largely match them I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it. Another part of me wants it to be great because who doesn’t love good but cheap tech, right??? Well, Johnny Ive probably but since he and I live in ever so slightly different financial circles I’m going to go with cheap as being a highly desirable trait. Hopefully we should have one in soon to have a real look at it first hand and see just how the reality lives up to the spec.
UPDATE: Our friends over at GearBest have just furnished us with a discount code for you, if you use “A28” you will be able to pick up one for only US$50 or just £34 right now.