Realme TechLife Watch S100 review: Affordable, but is it?

Several brands including Realme, Realme TechLife and Dizo now operate under the aegis of Realme, benefiting from the company’s research and development capabilities, sales and service network, and brand reputation in India. Realme TechLife has a wide range of products in India, which includes vacuum cleaners, wireless earphones and smartwatches. The product I am reviewing here is the Realme TechLife Watch S100, an affordable smartwatch that promises a lot of features for the price.

Retail sales Rs. 2,499 in India, the Realme TechLife Watch S100 is one of the most affordable smartwatches you can buy right now across the company’s various brands. In terms of features, there’s a lot to offer here, including heart rate and SpO2 tracking, as well as body temperature monitoring. Is this the best affordable smartwatch you can buy right now? Find out in this review.

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Realme TechLife Watch S100 has sensors to measure heart rate, blood oxygen and body temperature

realme techlife watch s100 design

Many affordable smartwatches sport rectangular screens, including some of Realme’s offerings. Most of these designs are inspired by the Apple Watch. The Realme TechLife Watch S100 borrows that look, but its low cost is naturally reflected in the design and build quality of this device. That said, it is a good looking smartwatch for its price.

The Watch S100 sports a 1.69-inch rectangular color display with a resolution of 240×280 pixels and a rated peak brightness of 530 nits. The screen is housed in a plastic casing with thick borders all around. There’s a single physical button on the right. Underneath the watch are the contact points for the magnetic charger, optical sensors for monitoring heart rate and blood oxygen, and a sensor for measuring body temperature.

A single button on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 controls power (long press to turn it on or off), and standby (short press to wake screen or turn screen off). It even takes you a step back if you’re on the menu. For navigation and device control, the touch screen responds to swipes and taps to cycle between menus and selects within the user interface.

The 20mm rubber strap on the Realme Watch S100 is comfortable, and has plenty of adjustment points for a perfect fit. It is also removable and replaceable. The smartwatch is available in two colors – black and gray – and is IP68 rated for water resistance, making it safe to use in most everyday situations, including in the shower or swimming.

At 34g, the Realme TechLife Watch S100 is lightweight and easy to handle. It has a 260mAh battery and an accelerometer, in addition to temperature sensors and optical sensors used to monitor heart rate and blood oxygen. For connectivity, the smartwatch uses Bluetooth 5.1 and works with the Realme Fit app to maintain a connection with your paired smartphone.

Included in the sale package is a charging cable, which attaches magnetically to the bottom of the watch at the charging points. The wall adapter is not included in the box but you can use any charger you have or a computer USB port. The cable attaches easily to the watch, but can come off with the slightest movement, so you’ll need to make sure it’s secure when charging.

Realme TechLife Watch S100 Software, Interface and Apps

As is the case with most low-cost smartwatches, the Realme TechLife Watch S100 runs its own software, but requires a companion app to handle the synchronization with the paired smartphone. The user interface of the smartwatch is quite straightforward, and it is similar to what I have seen on other realme smartwatches like the realme watch 2 pro.

Swiping and tapping on the watch’s display will help you navigate the UI of the Realme TechLife Watch S100. There’s a quick setting menu for easy access to battery status, brightness controls, DND toggle, flashlight, and a settings menu. There’s a notification shade for showing notifications from selected apps, and widgets for fitness and health tracking data. You can access the full list of apps that come pre-installed on the smartwatch.

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A single button on the right side of the Watch S100 serves to control power and some navigation functions

The watch faces can be changed directly on the smartwatch by tapping and holding on the home screen. Three watch faces are preinstalled and always available, while a fourth can be selected and synced using the companion app, and are replaced if you choose a new one from the watch face library.

There are specific apps on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 that let you use all of its functionality such as its sensors and health tracking features as well as the flashlight. You can set alarms and timers, track workouts, trigger your phone’s camera shutter, and control music, among other things. However there is no way to install new apps on this smartwatch.

Unlike the Realme Watch 2 Pro and many other devices from the company that rely on the excellent Realme Link app, the Watch S100 uses the Realme Fit app. The app is available on both Android and iOS, and lets you select apps that allow you to view detailed fitness and health data, control workouts, change device settings, and send notifications to the smartwatch.

When paired with my OnePlus 9 (Review), the app worked well, ensuring good connection stability and reliable notification push. However, the app itself is not designed like the Realme Link. I noticed weird typos and weird phrases that appear to be translation gaffes. This led to a strange experience at times. It certainly would have been better if the company had gone with the tried and tested Realme Link app instead.

Realme TechLife Watch S100 Performance and Battery Life

Most wearables cost Rs. There are 3,000 fitness tracker varieties with small and basic screens. It is therefore worth noting that the Realme TechLife Watch S100 looks and behaves like a smartwatch with a large color screen, fitness and health tracking features, and a large collection of watches for customization and personalization.

The big screen makes a big difference in terms of legibility of text, and you can check notifications with ease. You can only see basic details in some notifications and you can’t respond to them with the smartwatch. You can dismiss notifications for incoming calls, but your phone will still ring when you tap the ‘decline’ icon on the Watch S100.

The watch faces on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 look great. Many of the watch faces have preset complications, including live indicators for things like heart rate, steps, and body temperature. I liked the pre-installed faces the most, but the Realme Fit app has over 100 faces to choose from.

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With two separate readings for skin and body temperature, temperature monitoring is an interesting feature on the Realme TechLife Watch S100

Health and fitness capabilities on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 include steps, sleep, heart rate, blood oxygen and body temperature tracking. Workout tracking uses step and heart rate data to estimate distance covered and calories burned. Other smartwatch tools include a flashlight (which illuminates the screen with a bright white light), stopwatch, timer, alarm, weather report, camera shutter remote and music playback remote, all of which work as expected.

The watch tracked my sleep accurately and also provided some insight on the breakdown of light and deep sleep. The app maintains charts to help you keep track of how well you’re sleeping over the course of a week or month. The device can log a variety of workouts, including walking, cycling, yoga, cricket, football and basketball, and various free training exercises. These are said to be geared towards measuring specific activity for each exercise or sport, but for this review, I stuck to the basics and tested the Realme TechLife Watch S100 with just walking.

When counting 1,000 steps manually, the Realme TechLife Watch S100 counted 1,048 steps, which is an error margin of slightly less than five percent. Compared to the Apple Watch Series 5 at longer range (with both devices worn together), the error margin on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 on the Apple Watch jumped to about 1,055 steps per 1,000 steps. This wide error margin can be expected from a device in this price range, but such an overestimation will affect the accuracy of your workout tracking.

Heart rate tracking on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 was accurate only when sitting or standing, and even then, it usually took a few seconds to reach readings that matched those of my pulse oximeter. When running, readings rarely match what the Apple Watch reports, often dropping to 20bpm.

Blood oxygen readings on the Realme TechLife Watch S100 were similarly iffy, with completely different results from what the pulse oximeter showed. These readings also fluctuated 1-2 percent every few seconds, while the pulse oximeter’s numbers remained constant.

The body temperature sensor offered two different measurements, one for skin temperature and one for body temperature. It is difficult to say how accurate these readings were because measurements vary depending on where they are taken, and there is often a significant difference between skin and body temperature. The readings didn’t quite match what I got from a contactless thermometer, but the Realme TechLife Watch S100 seemed generally accurate and reacted fairly quickly to changes in skin temperature.

The battery life of the Realme TechLife Watch S100 was decent, with the device lasting around eight days on a single charge with normal usage. It is similar to the more expensive Realme Watch 2 Pro which has a bigger battery and GPS connectivity, but is still great for a device in this price range and with this feature set.

Decision

Affordable smart wearables often focus on fitness and health tracking, and are really the only fitness bands with modest smartwatch functionality. Devices like the Realme TechLife Watch S100 are designed to look like premium smartwatches while keeping costs down. It may offer all kinds of functionality, but it’s especially great when it comes to smartwatch fitness tracking, and its main appeal is really its large color screen and notification functionality.

In my experience step counting, heart rate, and blood oxygen tracking were all pretty inaccurate. The app is a bit weird in design as well. However, good screen, reliable connectivity, legible notifications and good battery life make it a must-watch smartwatch if you have a budget of less than Rs. 3,000. If you don’t mind the fitness band form factor, you can also consider the excellent Mi Band 6, which is priced at Rs. 3,499 in India.


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