The NO.1 D7 is a non-traditional smartwatch with familiar features.
Smartwatches these days are generally running Android Wear, Tizen, or Apple’s WatchOS. At least for the mainstream smartwatches. There are tons of different smartwatches out there running on different operating systems, some of them running full versions of Android. The NO.1 D7 is one of those running on a full version of Android, though it is worth noting that this isn’t a current version of Android as it’s running on Android 4.4 KitKat. That being said, you do get access to the Play Store and plenty of other functions, so it can be a functional smartwatch for whatever purposes you need. On top of all of that it’s not just a smartwatch with Bluetooth that you’ll need to connect to your smartphone for a web connection. It also has Wi-Fi capabilities, and it’s got a slot for a SIM card so you can use the watch without linking a smartphone. The NO.1 D7 is not your typical smartwatch that most consumers will probably come in contact with. It's a non-traditional smartwatch with familiar features, so let’s take a closer look at what it offers and how it stacks up.
To get started, let’s go through the specifications as the NO.1 D7 actually has somewhat better specs than what you’ll find on other smartwatch options, though not entirely. It comes with some of the standard stuff you can see on other device options, such as a 1.3-inch display. The screen size is pretty standard, and it comes with a fully round display so you won’t have the flat tire look that some of the watches have had in the past. It’s also got Bluetooth 4.0 and it’s compatible with both iOS and Android, so you can connect it up to whichever smartphone type you have. As stated above it’s running on Android 4.4 KitKat, complete with Play Store access. But, just because it’s running a full version of Android don’t expect to use it like you would a smartphone. It is a smartwatch after all so there will be plenty of apps which won’t really be too suitable for a screen size this small.
Beyond the display and Android version, it comes powered by a dual-core processor from MediaTek, specifically the MTK6572 CPU, and it also comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage space, though this is the production model, and the prototype model comes with only 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. To reiterate, we have the production model, so both the RAM and internal storage have been doubled which means this is what consumers will get when buying this watch, which costs all of about $80 at retail. It has support for NFC, which means it should work just fine for mobile payments, and it also comes with support for GPS as well as a compass. It also has a gravity sensor and a heart rate sensor on board so you can use it for tracking your heart rate during exercise, or if you just feel like checking it throughout the day.
In The Box
There isn’t a whole lot inside the box here like what you’ll find with some smartphones. Once you open up the box you will find just the watch itself on top, and under it you can find the quick start guide/manual, as well as a USB charging cable, and that’s it. There is nothing else that you get in the packaging. That said, this is a smartwatch so there really isn't anything else you need.
Hardware & Design
The design of the NO.1 D7 resembles, at least in part, the Samsung Gear S3. It has a similar looking bezel around the face of the watch, complete with the notches, though this isn’t a rotating bezel like on Samsung’s offering. That's where the similarities end though, really. The watch casing and underside appear to both be made of plastic, while the wristband is made of leather, giving it a rather traditional watch look, meaning it won’t really look too much like a smartwatch at a glance. The watch features one single button on the right side, the crown button, and on the underside is where you’ll find the SIM card slot. This doesn’t require a screwdriver to get into, though I personally found it challenging to open the SIM slot with just a fingernail and you may need something to pry it open. Overall the D7 looks like a decently styled watch, though I found it to be a little uncomfortable after wearing it for an extended period of time. This won’t necessarily be the case for everyone, but I found it less comfortable to wear than some of the Android Wear smartwatches I’ve had the ability to test.
Feature-wise the NO.1 D7 is pretty packed with capabilities. Because it’s full Android with Play Store access you can download a large number of apps, and not just apps tailored to a smartwatch experience like with Android Wear options. Moving beyond the Play Store access and the apps that you could choose to install, the watch has most of the functions (if not all of them) that you would expect a smartwatch to have, including an activity tracker for keeping track of your steps, your distance, your calories burned, and your history of tracked stats. There’s also a built-in clock, and a communications menu which is where you’ll find options for initiating phone calls and messages, as well as a contact book with all of your contacts, if you choose to import them or add them in one by one. The watch can also be used as a Music Player if you wish, though you’ll need to connect a Bluetooth headset to listen to the audio. You can also use the audio recorder option if you need to take a voice note. If you’re the type who likes to keep track of their sleep stats and other sleep-related data, the D7 has a Sleep Model feature which tracks your sleep stats too, which you can find in the standard menu of features, accessible by tapping on the display from the main home screen.
If you’re big on health, the watch is capable of sending you reminders to move so that if you’ve been sitting still for a period of time, you’ll get an alert telling you to get up and move around to get a little bit of exercise, and this menu also contains the option to turn on alerts for drinking water so you get enough water in your system. You can also access the compass or the heart rate sensor from this menu, and there’s even a nifty Bluetooth remote control option that, when connected to a smartphone, can be used to control playback of music from your phone remotely, as well as control of the phone lock, and a remote control button for taking pictures, which could come in quite handy if you use your phone for taking pictures often enough, though it’s a lot more useful if you’re using it for selfies as you could set the phone up to use the rear camera for a picture, say with a tripod, then tap the remote control button on the watch to take the photo. This is full Android, so there are lots of potential options and uses. Really, the full scope of what this watch can do depends on what you choose to install on it. I found that getting any apps to install was more of a task than I anticipated, as it seems to take forever to load the Play Store on the device. Not only was it a challenge to get my Google account set up due to the small display and the lack of ease of use with the keyboard, but once all that was finished, tapping on the Play Store button in the menu simply led to me staring at a loading screen which never seemed to provide me with the available apps I was able to load onto the watch.
The user interface also takes some getting used to as I never found it to be relatively easy to navigate. For instance, tapping on the display to bring up the menu, or app drawer as it were, as opposed to swiping to the right on an Android Wear device. On the same token, swiping to the left in certain menus would bring up additional options. For instance, when in the Play Store, swiping in from the left brings up the hamburger menu just as it would on a smartphone, though with less options. The challenging user interface is a direct result of the UI overlay. While this is Android 4.4 KitKat it's running what NO.1 refers to as FunOS, which is their own specific flavor of Android, based on KitKat. The OS could have something to do with the lack of being able to get the Play Store to load, though I wasn’t able to pinpoint the cause of the problem. The watch was constantly connected to my Wi-Fi network at home yet it wasn’t able to load up any app lists, which was a pretty big disappointment as the Play Store will be a main resource for getting the watch to have more functionality. It’s possible that not all users will have this same problem, but it was certainly an issue for us. It could also be different and less taxing if the device is connected to a cellular network, but since I use Project Fi I wasn’t able to get the watch connected to the internet this way. When it comes down to it, our experience with the NO.1 D7 felt severely limited compared to what it’s capable of, all because we couldn’t seem to get the Play Store to load so we could install apps on it.
Moving on, the watch does have other capabilities that you might find useful. For example, the tools menu has a calculator, a calendar, and a browser option if you need to get something off the web. If you have your Google account signed into the watch it will ask you to set up your account preferences to a degree, though because this is a smartwatch with an absolutely tiny display compared to anything else you might browse the web on, don’t expect to use this feature very often as it won’t be easy to use. The screen is much too small to read anything comfortably, but if you absolutely need to look something up it’s there as an option. Since it’s not Chrome, linking your Google account also doesn’t do much as none of the Chrome-related aspects will be there, which makes the browser feel like more of a novelty than anything else. On a final note, the D7 doesn’t appear to have an accelerometer, which means lifting your wrist won’t engage the wake option for the display. This means you’ll have to press the crown button on the side to wake it. This won’t be an issue if you’re simply walking or running, but it is less convenient, and I found it to be quite cumbersome when trying to look at the watch display when riding a bike, as I could only check things when stopped since I had to take my hand off the handlebars to access the crown button. This might not be a problem for everyone, but riding a bike is the most common time where I personally wear a smartwatch or a fitness tracker, so it was a little annoying to have to press the crown button to wake the display.
Heart Rate Sensor
The heart rate sensor is located in the main phone menu where you’ll find all the other features by tapping on the display from the main home screen. It seems to work as intended and was able to capture my heart rate pretty quickly. This will prove to be useful during any runs or other types of exercise if you’re intent on keeping up with your heart rate. Simply tapping the display from the this app will start the tracking, and tapping it again will stop it. Overall this appears to work well with no issues.
Despite running a full version of Android the NO.1 D7 seemed to have pretty decent battery life. On average it seems I could keep it going for around three days before having to recharge it, which is a little longer than normal compared to other smartwatches. This is great for anyone who is looking to keep things as minimal as possible when it comes to charging their devices, as this will be one less device to have to charge on a daily or nightly basis. That said each person’s mileage will vary as everyone uses their devices differently, and how you use the D7 will determine how long the battery lasts. What’s more likely if you use it to its full capacity is that it will last about two days, or almost two days before needing to plug it back in.
Decent battery life
Full version of Android (Android 4.4 KitKat)
Heart Rate Sensor
Traditional watch design so it doesn’t look too much like a piece of tech
Not too bulky or heavy
Cell network support
Had troubles getting it to connect to the Play Store. Was never able to get the Play Store to load which means I wasn’t able to install apps on it
Crown button feels janky
No accelerometer, meaning you have to press the crown button to wake the display
Touch responsiveness was not the best
Not compatible with mobile payments
When it comes to smartwatches, the NO.1 D7 is a mixed bag. It comes with full on Android which is certainly a possible benefit over other devices, as it should do more, though this will depend on you being able to get the Play Store to function properly. That said, the D7 is a capable smartwatch and a decent option for those looking to get into smartwatches for the first time, especially considering the cost which is about $80, which is a good amount less than what you’ll have to pay for something that runs on Android Wear. The downside is that you get what you pay for, and the D7 may or may not give you the experience that you’re hoping for.
Should you buy the NO.1 D7?
That depends on what you want out of a smartwatch. It features many of the same capabilities as other smartwatches, though it won’t necessarily operate as smoothly. This means you’ll need to weigh out whether it’s more important for you to have something that runs flawlessly or whether you want something that will cost you less money, even if it means running the risk of picking up a watch which won’t work as well as other options. From our point of view, the D7 certainly has the necessary hardware to run well, and it should, but the software doesn’t seem too optimized. When it comes down to it, you’re likely better off spending an extra $100 to $150 to pick up something running on Android Wear.