NO.1 F13 Smartwatch Review: Affordable Refresh For An Active Lifestyle

The NO.1 F13 is an easy-to-justify wearable device that's well-suited for the most active enthusiasts.

NO.1's latest smart sports watch doesn't necessarily break any molds but it is a natural progression towards a more modern design and aesthetic. Dubbed the F13, this wearable also doesn't move too far beyond previous entries' functionality. However, given the high number of sports that can be tracked and accurate metrics recording on offer, that's not really a bad thing. Instead, this smartwatch represents a non-Android addition to an already saturated market but with hardware, materials, optimizations, and software that allow budget pricing without sacrificing on the most commonly sought features. What's more, it does so without being completely unfashionable or buggy. That means it should serve as a great entry-point for smartwatches in general or an easy to justify supplement to any fitness enthusiasts wardrobe.

Specs

As with many NO.1-branded wearables, the F13 isn't necessarily the most impressive on the specs front. Under the hood, a Nordic NRF51822, built around a 32-bit 2.4GHz ARM Cortex M0 CPU with 256kB storage and 32kB RAM, powers a proprietary OS created specifically for fitness tracking. A heart rate monitor and pedometer are included, with Bluetooth 4.0 or GPS providing connectivity and power provided via a 350mAh lithium polymer battery. That's packed behind a 1-inch 3D spherical sapphire glass TFT display panel embedded in a polycarbonate frame measuring 252mm x 8mm x 18mm. Weight sits at approximately 45 grams, including the TPU strap, and the whole package is ruggedized to IP68 for up to 164-feet of water resistance. For a price typically ranging between $25 and $35 - although sales sometimes dropping the price to around $14 - that's available in gray, red, or 'venom green.'

In The Box

The contents shipped alongside the F13 are fairly standard. That means there aren't a lot of noteworthy inclusions out of the box. Aside from the smartwatch itself, NO.1 includes a standard USB to proprietary magnetic pin charging cable. There's no rating on that cable for power throughput but it should work with just about any USB wall adapter, car charger, or computer-based USB port. Charging will, of course, depend on the power source used. There's also a user manual in the box. That's only around a quarter-inch thick but only a few pages are dedicated to each language, introducing users to the various parts of the watch and providing a couple of key warnings - such as not to let it get wet while charging.

Hardware & Aesthetics

In terms of design, the NO.1 latest F13 fitness wearable is a step in a more modern direction compared to others in the company's lineup. To be clear, it still bears resemblance to a traditional 'sports watch' design but the updated materials, color screen, and overall smaller size is much more endearing than past variants. It is bulky by comparison to those found in the Wear OS family but not unbearably large and the on-wrist feel is great for a device in its price range. The buttons and screen are solid and slimmed back from prior models, allowing for a more sleek appearance. In fact, it feels like a great value for what it is and the tasks it's meant to perform. Despite its durability, the F13 is very lightweight. In a more formal or business setting, the F13 might look a bit out of place. However, it is well-suited for a casual atmosphere such as on a hike, in the pool, or any other active environment. There's no display resolution information available but it is much clearer than other NO.1 smartwatches, which adds to the aesthetic appeal considerably.

On the durability side of the hardware equation, NO.1 has created an effectively perfect design by current standards. Polycarbonates make up the frame while stainless still is used in the clasp and on the back side of the watch. The only exception to that is the covering on the heart rate sensor and the magnetic charging port. The display is covered in a smoothly rounded sapphire glass and the strap is TPU. Taken in combination, that is going to prevent the vast majority of damage and drops are almost certainly never going to be an issue.

Software

The software is proprietary, as with almost all NO.1-branded wearables. That's not necessarily a bad thing since it means that the OS is well-optimized for the hardware. We didn't notice any lag at all during testing as a result. However, that also means there's no Play Store or Android apps and customization is severely limited. In fact, that's confined solely to adjustments made to the clock function itself and there are only a total of four watch faces available. None of those is perfect but, as mentioned above, they are better than many others in the cost bracket. Vibrations and "buzzing" for notifications, activity reminders, and the like are adjustable as well. On a more positive note, the drawn back user interface means that features and functionality are easy to navigate via the side buttons and single point touch area.

Meanwhile, the software includes a "find my phone" feature, a stopwatch, push notifications for any and all on-phone apps, and remote camera use via Bluetooth. Heart rate and sleep tracking are thrown into the mix for good measure, in addition to step counting, distance tracking, and calories burned recording functions. For sports, those metrics and timekeeping are available for walking, climbing, cycling, running, table tennis, badminton, basketball, football (soccer), and swimming. That means users can accurately keep tabs on their workouts or activities without hassle.

Special Features

Other special features are also present on the phone side of the equation, though a handset isn't required to use the above-mentioned features. All of the information gathered by the NO.1 F13 is synced to and held in records in the company's application. That allows for long-term tracking over time but also lets users easily share their results with others from directly in the app - which may be helpful from a health perspective or for competitive purposes. Further metrics such as pacing information and weather data for a given activity are also calculated and shown in the app as well. Moreover, that's going to be the primary place for adjusting various settings such as date and time, which applications can send push notifications, sedentary or water drinking reminders, alarms, and a 'do not disturb' mode. Units of measurement can also be changed in-app and syncing via the app is required for updates.

Battery Life

The average charge-up time of the F13 is right around 2-hours. That figure matched up neatly with our own timing of the process using a standard smartphone wall plug rated at 5V/2A. Simultaneously, the device will hold a charge for up to 50 days according to the manufacturer and for as many as 120 days on standby. That's not necessarily exceptional for a fitness wearable in the NO.1 F13's category but it is very good and could even be considered overkill for most users. Our own testing seemed to line up with those numbers by the week's end with around 13-percent of the battery drained over that time frame.

The Good

Very affordable

Software functions smoothly

Operation of the watch is more intuitive and generally better than prior iterations

IP68 with sapphire glass for superior durability

Battery life

Aesthetics won't look out of place at a gym or on the running trail

Straightforward usability with a shallow learning curve

The Bad

No Android Wear

Aesthetics are better than previous versions but not great

Limited customization

Bulky compared to competing devices

Touchscreen functionality is limited to a single touch-point

No Compass or mapping features

Wrap Up

There's not really anything to complain about with the NO.1 F13 with consideration for which end of the price spectrum it occupies. Depending on the user, it may even be difficult to justify not buying one for those who live an active lifestyle or just want to keep tabs on their heart rate periodically. That's particularly true for those who want to accomplish that but don't necessarily want to spend a lot of money or who won't need a wearable that's on their wrist all the time. As is almost always the case with smartwatches, there are tradeoffs. In this case, those are tied mostly in with the device's looks. This is one wrist-borne technology that won't be turning any heads but it also isn't lacking in terms of features. So it would be difficult not to recommend for anybody just getting started with connected wearables or who won't need the extras or aesthetics that come with much more expensive timepieces.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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