In the past three years, the smartwatch and wearable market have really started to grow exponentially. With both Google and Apple launching their own smartwatches - albeit Google's is more of a platform versus just a watch - we've seen many other smartwatches coming out too. Including a good number of them from China. Zeblaze is a rather new company, having only been around for a few years now, and they have only created smartwatches so far. Having made about four smartwatches so far, the Zeblaze Cosmo is their latest in their lineup, and it comes in at just about $75. That's cheaper than even the Pebble smartwatch, but does it stack up, or is it just another inexpensive smartwatch from China?
Arguably the most important aspect of a smartwatch these days is the hardware. With many smartwatches sporting the same internals, this is what really sets the smartwatch apart, is the looks of the watch. The Zeblaze Cosmo is a rather interesting one, at least to me. Its display is a rectangle, which measures about 1.61 inches in size. Pretty comparable to most other smartwatches out there. It sort of reminds me of the Samsung Gear Fit from a few years ago, except the display is not curved and it's a bit wider. The resolution here is 320x256, and it doesn't look half bad. Now it's important to remember here that the more pixels you have in your smartwatch display, the larger the battery you'll need so it'll last a decent amount of time.
The case here is available in gold or silver. It is an aluminum case, it's a 316L grade aluminum case, which is pretty good grade. The case does look pretty nice on the Cosmo, although I think the gold one looks a bit better. We do have a button on the side, which is made to look like the typical chronograph watch you see one many of the older, traditional watches out there. This is part of you interact with the watch. It does have a touchscreen, but using the button you are able to jump back, or even turn it off. On the backside of the watch, you'll find the pins for charging the Cosmo as well as a heart rate sensor. As is the case with many other fitness trackers and smartwatches, don't expect the heart rate sensor to 100% accurate all of the time. The charging pins work well, sometimes. The charger is pretty similar to what you get with Apple's Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, where it's magnetic. But I've found that it doesn't always stay connected. Sometimes the charger would fall off of the Zeblaze Cosmo and thus, stop charging. This is definitely something you'll need to look out for if you plan on picking up the Cosmo.
Zeblaze fits the Cosmo with Italian Leather straps here. To me, they don't feel as nice as the Horween Leather found on the Moto 360, however, I'm also not a fan of how thin these straps are, so that could play into it. Similar to the Moto 360, Zeblaze has built in a pin mechanism underneath so you can quickly swap out the watch band whenever you want. It's a 22mm strap, so any other 22mm strap will work perfectly fine with the Zeblaze Cosmo.
Inside the Zeblaze Cosmo we have some pretty decent specs actually. It's sporting the MediaTek MT2502 C processor, which is a SoC made for wearables and such. There's 128MB of RAM and 64MB of storage on board. It also supports Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting to your smartphone. Dimensions are 54mm x 36mm x 10.9mm. With a 250mAh battery inside that can last up to 72 hours on standby, or 120 minutes on calls - yes you can make calls over Bluetooth with this watch.
App & Software
Here's where things get a bit interesting, especially for those outside of China. The companion app needed for the Zeblaze Cosmo is the Fundo Wear app. It is actually available in the Google Play Store, and many of the smartwatches from China use the Fundo Wear app these days. Once installed, set up is pretty simple, but you will need to create an account on Fundo - which you can do in the app.
The app is actually really well designed. It doesn't do much, but it does allow you to view your fitness for the day. As with most watches, you are able to keep track of your steps throughout the day and see how active you truly are. You can set your goals including the number of steps you want to take each day, as well as how active you are. you are able to set your step goal between 4,000 and 20,000. The Cosmo can also track your sleep, it may not be super accurate, but it's something that most other smartwatches don't do at all.
There are a number of other apps available within the Fundo Wear app here on the Zeblaze Cosmo. There are four other watch faces that can be installed, including Digital Clock, White Clock, Grear Clock and Black Clock. There is also Yahoo Weather, and that's primarily because I have that app installed on my smartphone. It's unclear if there are others that can be installed, but that's all that is showing up under my applications within the Fundo Wear app here.
The functionality of the Zeblaze Cosmo is quite a bit different than you'd expect from a typical smartwatch, especially one running on Android Wear. It can connect to your smartphone and pull in notifications, like a true smartwatch, but it can drop that Bluetooth connection. For instance, if you walk away from your phone and leave it in the car, or far enough away that the connection breaks, it will not connect again without you manually connecting it on the watch. Maybe not the biggest of issues, but definitely something to be informed of.
There are plenty of pretty sweet features included in the Cosmo. One of them is the ability to take pictures with your watch. This is also a feature of Android Wear, and similar to Android Wear, the viewfinder on your Cosmo is pretty slow. The frame rate appears to be really low, as does the time from when you hit the shutter button to when it actually takes a picture. Maybe not the best way to use your camera on your smartphone, but for those that are wanting to get a nice selfie in, this is a good way to see if you're in frame before taking the picture.
Other functionality includes a slew of fitness tracking features. As mentioned in the app section, Zeblaze Cosmo can track your steps. But it's a bit tricky. So you actually need to physically go into the pedometer app on the Cosmo and have it start tracking. Otherwise, it seems to be pretty close to on track with the Fitbit Charge HR (which I was wearing at the same time as the Cosmo). That was a bit interesting, considering smartwatches are usually pretty inaccurate when it comes to fitness tracking, specifically steps.
There are a few apps on here, which make you scratch your head and wonder, why? This includes the Phonebook, dialer and calculator. So the calculator I could see why it would make sense. Given the super small buttons on the Cosmo, it does make it a bit difficult to use it, but it still does work quite well. Now when it comes to the phonebook and dialer, I'd much rather use my voice to make calls than to dial numbers on this small 1.61-inch display. It just makes things so much easier - given the voice dictation actually works well.
Calling on the Zeblaze Cosmo was definitely an interesting experience. It did work pretty well. Users that we called with the Cosmo said that they could hear us just fine. Although, in some situations, it became tougher for them to hear us, like say at a Baseball Game, or anywhere that's noisy. This can be a really useful feature for those times that you are on the phone and might be carrying groceries from the car, which means your hands are full. But do keep in mind, that everyone around you can hear the entire conversation.
Unlike with Android Wear, there's no way to get concrete battery stats from this smartwatch through the Fundo Wear app. Having said that, Zeblaze quotes the watch as being able to get up to 72 hours on standby and 120 minutes of call time - which is over Bluetooth. In a normal day, we were able to use the smartwatch all day long and still have plenty of battery left. By "all day long" we mean taking it off the charger at around 7:30am and putting it back on at around 11pm. Now we did make a few calls, but none of them were anywhere near 120 minutes. That's actually quite good for a smartwatch, and slightly better than our experience with Android Wear. Also, keep in mind that Android Wear does a lot more tasks in the background, which means it'll use more battery when not in use.
So the Zeblaze Cosmo is not your typical Android Wear watch, especially considering it doesn't run on Android. But it's also much cheaper. Right now it's on sale for just $65, which is a pretty insane price for this smartwatch. While it may not be the best looking smartwatch - the Huawei Watch probably still holds that title - it is one of the cheapest out there and you should definitely give it a try. It's full of all sorts of great features and apps, many of which you may not ever use, but it is nice to know that they are available if you do happen to want to use them.
The Zeblaze Cosmo is a great inexpensive smartwatch, and now to answer the question we asked at the beginning of this review, this isn't just an inexpensive Chinese smartwatch. It's one that I would definitely use each and every day. Although I may throw on a different strap, as I'm not entirely fond of the one included here.