Elephone W2 Smart Watch review

We've seen a few smartphones from Chinese brand, Elephone, but not a smartwatch. The W2 offers an analogue watch combined with smart features like activity tracking and a three month battery life to take on Android Wear rivals. Here's our Elephone W2 Smart Watch review.

See also: Best smartwatches 2016.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch review: Price and availability

If you go and buy the Elephone W2 from the official store, you're looking at £52 (or $79), which is very cheap for a smartwatch. However, at the time of writing, it's available for a crazy low price of just £33 on Gearbest which offers free worldwide shipping. The deal technically ends in a few days but we doubt the price is going to shoot up too much.

If you don't fancy shipping one across the globe, it's available from Amazon if you're happy to pay a little more at £59.

At this price, the Elephone W2 is one of the cheapest smartwatches we've ever tested and although it's not packed with features like some, it certainly makes it worth consideration.

Read: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear will make all kinds of wearable devices better.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch review: Design and build

The Elephone W2 Smart Watch is a smartwatch without a battery draining touchscreen. Instead it combines a traditional analogue watch with LEDs and sensors to provide smart features. We'll explore them properly later but there's one light above the logo to let you know which mode you're in and a set of 10 lower down the face for displaying information. We've seen some similar devices like the Martian Notifier.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch design

The watch itself is fairly think, but no more so than the Moto 360, and it comes in a normal Silver colour or a more bling-centric Gold option. We took a look at the more understated silver option and we're impressed with the design and build quality of the W2.

It certainly doesn't feel as premium compared to many rivals in the smartwatch market, like the Withings Activité, but it cost a lot less so were expecting it to feel cheap and nasty. With the main body made from stainless steel and glass, this is far from the case.

Although the strap is genuine leather, we're not overly impressed with the texture and how comfortable it is. Even after a few weeks of wearing the W2, the strap didn't soften up as much as we're used to. It's a standard 22mm quick release design so you can change it easily.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch strap

Two buttons straddle the traditional crown and are easy to use. A surprise it that the Elephone W2 is waterproof to 30m. The worrying thing is that you can take the back off to get access to the battery, so make sure you put it back properly before taking the plunge.

Elephone says the watch hands are made from 'top-notch Swiss luminous material' and the effect can last up to eight hours but we haven't really noticed this feature unless we deliberately hold the watch under a light to give it charge. There's no backlight so that's a shame.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch review: Hardware, specs and features

There aren't many specs to mention for the W2 since the device is namely a 'Swiss Ronda Movement' analogue watch. The smart bit comes in the form of Bluetooth 4.0 which means you can connect it to your phone.

Once you've downloaded the Elephone W2 app (compatible with iOS 7.0+ or Android 4.3+ but we can't find the iPhone app) and connected the watch to your phone, the smart functions are available. The wearable can track activity, sleep, alert you to incoming calls, be used as a silent alarm and more.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch features

The main feature is activity tracking and you can press the bottom button to check your progress. You'll see how you're doing based on how many LEDs light up – each one represents 10 percent and they light up from right to left oddly. That's a basic amount of information but the app gives more detail such as the exact amount of steps, distance and calories burned. You can view figures for days, weeks, months or the entire year.

You can also track your sleep if you don't mind wearing the watch in bed with info on length of deep sleep, light sleep and hours awake. However, you have to switch manually between sleeping and exercise modes holding down the top button. Tapping it once will show you which you're in via the LED above the logo – green is for exercise, blue is for sleeping and red means low battery.

Within the app you can choose which other smart functions you want to use. Call alert is arguably the most useful and makes the 100 percent LED at the bottom flash and the watch vibrates. However, this is set to eight seconds by default which is simply too long so you'll want to change it to three (the minimum).

Elephone W2 app

Other optional features include a 'Find Phone' option, which we can't figure out how to use (there's no mention of it in the supplied instructions), the silent alarm, a sedentary alert if you want to be prompted to move around after say 30 minutes of inactivity, and a camera which you have to load via the app.

The latter has the advantage of using the watch buttons as a remote shutter. However, this section of the app is squashed on our Nexus 5X and the image from the main camera is upside-down. That's a bit of a failure then.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch battery

While most smartwatches only last a day or two, the Elephone W2 will last up to three months. This is because it runs on a traditional button battery which you'll need to replace once it dies. To do this, you'll need to remove four tiny screws and take the back off. It's fiddly but not too much of a problem. Elephone kindly supplied the screwdriver and two spare batteries so you're good for around nine months without need to pop down the shops.

Without using Bluetooth, the watch can supposedly run for three years but that's not the idea here so three months is the figure. We're going with official numbers since we've only had the W2 for a few weeks - oddly the app still reports 100 percent battery.

Elephone W2 Smart Watch: Specs

  • Android 4.3+ compatible
  • Rhonda 762 analogue watch
  • Stainless steel & Sapphire Crystal glass
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 210mAh Maxcell 203 battery
  • 30m waterproof rating
  • Android 4.3+ compatible
  • Rhonda 762 analogue watch
  • Stainless steel & Sapphire Crystal glass
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 210mAh Maxcell 203 battery
  • 30m waterproof rating

OUR VERDICT

The Elephone W2 Smart Watch offers decent design and build quality for the price – it's something of a bargain with the current Gearbest offer on this front. It also offers excellent battery life due to being an analogue watch with smart functions. However, beyond activity tracking and call alerts those functions don't work properly - or at all - leaving us pretty disappointed. The Martian Notifier is a better option for this type of smartwatch.