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Best cheap smartwatch 2021: great budget devices for your wrist

Best cheap smartwatches
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

With so many options out there, picking the best cheap smartwatch mostly depends on your budget and taste. Many will allow you to track your fitness workouts as well as send over notifications as and when needed, all without breaking the bank. A cheap smartwatch might not have every feature possible but it'll generally still offer more than enough to keep your tech loving heart and your bank balance happy.

The best cheap smartwatches here are all £150/$150 or less. That means a few decent recent options like the Huawei Watch GT 2e miss out but there's still room for the likes of the Fitbit Versa Lite and TicWatch E2. Both watches should suit everyone's tastes and needs.

It's important you have a think about what you need most from your smartwatch and you take a look at each entry to learn more. Do you need health and fitness tracking for runs and workout sessions, or is a smartwatch that will remind you of appointments more important? Bear all this in mind when picking one out. 

While the best cheap smartwatches are, well, cheap, some of them still have useful extra features like NFC for mobile payments as well as GPS for phone-less run tracking. Whether you need such features depends on your plans so be willing to make concessions to get the right balance for you. Be sure to read each individual review for a full run down so you can make the best decision for your lifestyle.

(Image credit: Fitbit)

1. Fitbit Versa Lite

Like a Fitbit Versa, but lighter on features

Specifications
OS: Fitbit OS
Compatibility: Android 5+, iOS 10+
Display: 1.34" 300 x 300
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: N/A
Battery duration: Around four days
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: IP67
Connectivity: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than other Fitbits+Small and comfortable design
Reasons to avoid
-No Fitbit Pay-No onboard storage for music

You've probably already heard of the Fitbit Versa in your search for a new smartwatch, but did you know the company now has a less feature-rich and therefore more affordable version of it? It's called the Fitbit Versa Lite, and it's now our best cheap smartwatch.

It isn't the most comprehensive smartwatch experience as notifications are limited, you can't listen to music and there's no contactless payment tech, but all of that said, if you're looking for an attractive timepiece that tracks your workouts as well as offering a few basic smartwatch features this may suit you.

Before you buy the Fitbit Versa Lite, we'd recommend checking prices for the Fitbit Versa. In some markets it has cost a similar amount to the Lite, and if you can get the original watch you'll get additional features such as music and swim tracking too.

If not, the Fitbit Versa Lite is a great companion if you're looking for a fitness focused smartwatch.

Read our full Fitbit Versa Lite review

(Image credit: Mobvoi)

2. TicWatch E2

Basically the only great cheap Wear OS watch

Specifications
OS: Wear OS
Compatibility: Android 4.3+, iOS 8+
Display: 1.39" 400 x 400 OLED
Processor: Snapdragon Wear 2100
Onboard storage: 4GB
Battery duration: Around 48h
Charging method: Magnetic connecting pin
IP rating: IP67
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price+Easily two day battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No NFC for payments-Bland design

The TicWatch E2 isn't a phenomenal upgrade upon the TicWatch E, but it will offer a waterproof design and better battery life for a similar price to the original watch.

The design of this watch hasn't been improved much, so it still doesn't feel particularly premium on your wrist but it's still a good looking piece of tech that we're happy to wear at all times of day.

You'll get around two days of battery life from the watch, there's GPS built-in and swim tracking as well if you like to take your devices into the pool for a dip. 

One of the biggest frustrations is the lack of NFC which means you can't use Google Pay on the watch, but you do get all of the rest of the benefits of Wear OS here. That's something nothing else on this list offers.

Read our full TicWatch E2 review

(Image credit: Amazfit)

3. Amazfit Bip

Looks like an Apple Watch, but it's not as smart

Specifications
OS: Amazfit OS
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Display: 1.28" 400 x 400 LCD
Processor: MediaTek N/A
Onboard storage: Just for fitness data
Battery duration: Up to 45 days
Charging method: Proprietary charger
IP rating: IP68
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4
Reasons to buy
+Stylish design+Excellent companion app
Reasons to avoid
-Auto-pause feature doesn't work-Finicky UI

OK, this isn't the most inventive smartwatch you're going to find to buy in 2020, but it is one of the cheapest. In fact, it may even be the most affordable watch that is actually worth buying.

It looks quite like an Apple Watch, but this device is a whopping six times cheaper than a top-end Apple Watch Series 5 when bought brand new.

It doesn't do anywhere near as much as the Apple Watch, but it does sport some incredible battery life at 45 days and lots of features for cyclists and runners including a heart rate sensor.

Read our full Amazfit Bip review

(Image credit: Garmin)

4. Garmin Forerunner 30

A pared-back run tracker that packs in some serious features

Specifications
OS: Garmin OS
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Display: 0.93" 128 x 128
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: Just for fitness data
Battery duration: Up to 5 days
Charging method: Proprietary charger
IP rating: N/A (Garmin claims 5 ATM)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Clear screen+Fantastic app
Reasons to avoid
-Design isn't incredible-No touchscreen

The Garmin Forerunner 30 is the first dedicated fitness watch you'll find on this list, and this is mostly built for runners. It's a device you'll want to wear if you're big into your jogging, but it does have some features suitable for cyclists too.

It has GPS onboard, a heart rate monitor - that we found to be accurate in our testing - and a few other features that make is stand out as one of the most affordable running watches. 

It has a VO2 Max monitor, which allows you to record your fitness level over time, something that is usually reserved for top-end devices. There's no touchscreen, but it does have a fantastic app that you use to control it.

Read the full Garmin Forerunner 30 review

(Image credit: Polar)

5. Polar M200

Another running watch for your consideration

Specifications
OS: Polar OS
Compatibility: Android/iOS
Display: 26mm diameter
Processor: N/A
Onboard storage: Just for fitness data
Battery duration: Up to 6 days
Charging method: Proprietary charger
IP rating: N/A (Polar claims water resistant)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Accurate GPS+Good battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Dated screen-Not a premium design

The Polar M200 is one of the most affordable running watches money can buy and you'll find it includes almost all of the fitness features you'll want from a smartwatch.

We found the GPS could be a little slow at times, and the design isn't as premium as some of the other devices we've seen from Polar, but apart this is a solid running watch with great battery life.

This won't offer notifications and apps like some of the other devices on this list, but if fitness is the main aim for you the Polar M200 is an affordable choice that offers a variety of top features.

Read the full Polar M200 review

Photo illustration: TechRadar; Mobvoi; Amazfit; Garmin