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Review: SENBONO G8 – Smartwatch with GSM module for $35

Written by Tyler Rondman

SENBONO G8 – Smartwatch with GSM module for $35

A modest price tag, a set of useful features, nice colors, good design – this is just a small set of positive characteristics that come to mind when reviewing this device. The SENBONO G8 is a very good entry-level solution for those who are only becoming acquainted with the world of “smart technologies.” Read more about this watch on our review here.

Equipment

You receive the G8 in an elegant white box with the “Smart Wear” marking on the top. There are no further descriptions or features available on the packaging. The interior packaging is standard, the watch is placed on a lining, and under them is a compartment with an instruction pamphlet and a USB cable. The user guides written in Chinese and English.

Design

The body of the watch is more metal than plastic, two physical buttons, a metal top, a rubber cover under the Micro USB port, a bottom cover made of stainless steel, all, however, is standard for this price.

The G8 has no dust and water protection, despite the fact that there is a stub. By the way, the usual charging cable of a different format, will not work, because the plug is longer. The removable strap is made of medical silicone, pleasant to the touch, has a large number of “holes” for different sized hands.
However, we could not find a single-color bracelet in the standard range from the manufacturer. Mostly it is a two-color solution, which nevertheless does not prevent you from combining colors to your mood.

For example, we got the G8 in a black color, with a black-and-yellow strap, with a green internal color and the external side black. The fasteners are standard and in just a minute, you can turn the strap around. However, everyone has his or her own preferences. There are more colors available in two colors – black and chrome gray.

Features

The screen is 1.3 inches, with a resolution of 24 x240 pixels, which is worthy, but it’s not suitable for a snap of 360×360 because it looks grainy. The internal memory is incredibly low and only 128 megabytes (though there is nothing to fill it with except for messages.)

It has a 300-mAh battery that is suitable for a day use in “phone” mode, 2-3 days in smart bracelet mode and for a period of up to 5 days, if you use it in standby mode. Accordingly – the maximum working time is 5 days.

The system declared by the manufacturer is Android. Version, firmware, etc. not reported, and clarity in the settings is not available. The shell is completely closed. It uses an MTK2502 RAM processor with the less than 128 megabytes not noticeable.
The clock works like “Swiss” – without delays and “brakes,” which in other words, does not cancel out the need for charging. There are two physical buttons on the case. One is actually basic since it performs the functions of going to the menu for choosing the – watch, phone or bracelet.

It all depends on the desired power consumption when using the applications. The second physical button moves to the main page, blocks and unlocks the screen.

Screen

The display in the smartwatch, despite the low resolution, looks good, but granularity, unfortunately, is present. A reserve of brightness is present, but, unfortunately, it was not enough to ensure good visibility in direct sunlight. Under normal conditions, with room lighting, and at night the level of brightness is more than enough.

The coating and tempered glass – We can neither confirm nor invalidate it, because we did not conduct tests of strength, and therefore we will have to believe the manufacturer’s word.

They mention nothing about the matrix and most likely, they installed a TFT matrix. A standout we did note is the protective film available on the watch when received.

Sound

The sound is loud, clear, and sufficient for talking in the room, not enough to talk “outdoors.” You can adjust the volume level the maximum values are set. There is a folder of melodies for identifying notifications and calls. The user will be able to choose one of three variations per call and another of three variations per message. It is possible to transfer audio to a Bluetooth headset.

Connectivity

The Senbono G8 has a 2G module (850/900/1800/1900), which allows working with second-generation networks. The card type is a Nano-SIM. It is possible to send and receive SMS messages and make calls.
For pairing and accessing information on the phone, it has Bluetooth 4.0. In this case, in applications, there is a division of the information obtained. Separate tabs for information from the clock and received data via Bluetooth from your smartphone.

Fitness Features

The Smartwatch has a Pulsometer, pedometer, G – sensor, and sleep tracker. This is almost the most common set for any tracker. On the other hand, the manufacturer also added a blood pressure meter, a massager, and reminders for time and water which with active sports, is very important. For example – eight thousand steps for an adult and a minimum rate of 2.5 liters of water per day.
When overcoming a goal set by you, a message informs you the goals achieved. There are no additional motivations available.


This, perhaps, is one of the main differences of this device from its “relatives,” issued by other manufacturers. For example, the Xiaomi Mi Band (1st generation and its modifications) – there is no screen, but, in the application, the daily “increase in a series of victories” is controlled – the passage of a user-specified mark.
A more advanced competitor, the same manufacturer – Mi Band2 – the screen is already there, but there are a number of user-specific functions missing.

Battery and Energy Efficiency

As already stated, the battery is a 300 mAh, which is enough for 1 day used in the phone mode – calls, SMS, Bluetooth permanently on, or 3-5 days when working as a tracker or a clock, respectively.
These figures are confirmed by our tests. Charging – fast, because of the small amount of mAh. From 0 to 100% is charged for 40 minutes when powered from the USB port of the laptop. The plug is too tight to remove.

Menu

The dial can be changed to one of three standard ones with the help of “long” strips on the included screen, you can return to the “step” back by using a swipe from left to right in any part of the menu.

Swaps from the “clock” position are shown in the menu where there are items for managing the device: Phone (which is responsible for the functions of the phone), in which there are Messages, calls, phonebook and call logs. Do not forget that this is also a watch-phone, if you use a SIM card.
There are Bluetooth settings, pairing, search functions and remote buttons, as well as display notifications. The “Sport” application is a separate fitness tracker function. Pulse, blood pressure, pedometer, and sleep monitor.


The pedometer counts the extra steps even with a simple movement of the device on the hand. The pulse meter is similar in accuracy to the analogs in this price range. There is also a menu item “Tools,” responsible for the alarm clock, calendar, calculator, and stopwatch.
There is nothing special about this; therefore, we proceed to the next menu item “App” which in fact calls for scanning a QR code to the screen. This leads to the branded claim “Fun To Wear,” which is only expanded statistics on fitness indicators.

All other functions are available without pairing to your phone. In total there are 3 more programs in the menu Settings, outdoor and Application and displayed on the Smartphone application. In the last, paragraph “Application,” the remaining settings of G8 are the units of measurement, the use of the clock and the music on the phone.
The pinpoints disgusting and most categories in the menu are in English. You can find more details in the screenshots below.

Performance and Hardware

The G8 can surprise you at times. Despite the fact that nothing specials expected from this device for $35, they show that it could have cost much more. The whole experience of use is growing. First – the appearance, then the understanding of the most basic principles – the setting of banal things like the clock. Having experience working with other devices of this kind, one cannot help but note that it is extremely convenient to work with Senbono.

The manufacturer has thought of everything. Notifications from the phone after pairing come instantly and without additional settings. The display of any information from the smartphone is configured right on the clock. This function can be turned off anytime.
The user practically does not lose anything, because all the necessary functions are already on the clock itself, which, you can use as a separate phone.
Stand-alone pulse meter, pedometer, pressure meter only improves the view of the device. Accordingly, the phone only expands the range of “smart” capabilities.
If we talk about the device itself then when turned on, it can please you with one of the 3 impressive dials. There is no possibility to download additional ones, referring to the small amount of internal memory.


According to information in the Internet firmware, you can change the firmware to another one, with the possibility of changing the dials, but, unfortunately, this will disable the GSM module. There is also unconfirmed information that the manufacturer is developing a new firmware, which will have a built-in ability to change the dials, but not confirmed anywhere.
The device has very interesting and even somewhat strange functions. For example, the heart rate monitor here is not bad – MC3413-P. It has improved the accuracy of measurement. However, there is also the opportunity to measure the pressure, which is extremely surprising, since never before in a smart device have we encountered anything similar.
Let’s say at once that the function is not working exactly, which in principle is not strange, but, on the other hand, it always stays at 10 units at the upper and lower limits, which we were able to check with the help of household devices for measuring blood pressure.
There are other traits found in the fitness tracker a pedometer, reminders and the sleep mode tracks inaccurately. Yes, in principle, and sleeping with the clock is not comfortable as the size is slightly larger than that of a fitness tracker.


For example, during the test, it turned out that all the time of sleep was a deep sleep, which is simply impossible. The smartwatch was not used for a day and the result was a deep sleep, lasting 23 hours, 57 minutes. From somewhere else came 3 more minutes of “fast” sleep.
Such things are somewhat disappointing. This is what happened with the watch when testing the Bluetooth bundles – all the alerts began to come through immediately, not only from “standard” applications, but also from Viber, Skype and Gmail.
During the study of the G8, we found another interesting item – “Massager” – an application built-in by the manufacturer. All that happens is the watch vibrates continuously. We are not too certain what it is supposed to massage.
Original and interesting applications on the clock do not end there. The most interesting feature of all is you can control music from your phone remotely from the watch. Immediately next to it is the shutter release button of the camera. A convenient feature if you want to take a group photo with you and others.

However, during testing, it became clear that not everything is as good as we would like. The delay in switching music is very significant – up to 5-10 seconds, which is not convenient. The same was found when taking photographs. Therefore, in fact, the only option working is when the watch is paired with your phone. You can call the pop-up notification, with the ability to answer calls, or complete them right from the screen.

By the way, you can talk from the watch itself. Not very convenient, but such a function is present. Unfortunately, there is a minus – only the caller’s number is visible, and not subscriber available in the phone book.

Of the individual advantages, it has a removable strap, the presence of which great extends the life of the device and its reliability.

Conclusions

The Senbono G8 is an amazing smartwatch with a low price, in which the modest user will find everything you need and even a little more. It could be an excellent option for the first time buyer of a fitness wearable.

Of course, the pinpoints can be a little straining, but English is not Chinese characters, which means everything will be intuitively clear. We recommend the G8 as the first portable “smart” device, or as an inexpensive substitute for famous brands.

At the same time, power consumption is neither a plus nor a minus of the device, since I would like to have a larger battery size, say 700-900 mAh that would easily compete with any fitness bracelet in terms of use.

Pros:

The price is within $35, and perfectly combined with the functionality (alternatives cost from $60 and often do not have the same pressure gauge, and often the heart rate monitor.)

Removable straps of different colors and a lot of holes under the fasteners for different brush sizes

Availability of useful applications – remote shutter release of the camera, music switching

A full-fledged phone, if you insert a SIM

Minuses:

Small amount of memory, along with the inability to download additional dials (possibly, it will be fixed in future updates)

Bad localization, especially in the interfaced software

About the author

Tyler Rondman

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.