This is the best budget smartwatch made by DT NO.1 yet and definitely one of the best in its price range
DT NO.1’s most recent fitness wearable, the DT NO.1 DT28 Smartwatch is, far and away, the best device the company has yet released in its category. Stepping past the fact that primarily functionality remains unchanged, the user experience is vastly superior and a lot of that comes down to some significant design changes made this time around.
The OEM is among the most prolific for fitness wearables on the market, holding to its roots as a company that creates Fitbit-like features in a watch-styled package. Most of those changes have applied more directly to aesthetics over time, with few changes to the display in use, leaving alone build materials or features.
That hasn’t held true here, in spite of similar pricing at just over $30 retail and a UI that mostly contains the same functionality and associated menus. DT NO.1 has taken itself further this time around by adding some medical functionality that, as far as we can test, seems to be highly accurate.
The body of the watch itself and the materials used in the bands and construction have been taken up a notch too.
Meanwhile, the software has gotten easier to use and much more intuitive, on top of optimizations to make this one of the smoothest operating fitness-specific wearables available. In combination, those things make this an easy smartwatch-style fitness band to recommend.
The NO.1 DT28 Smartwatch is not the most powerful gadget on the market but it doesn’t need to be since it’s running a proprietary OS and features. The software is driven by a Nordic NRF52832 chipset backed by a 230mAh, 3.7V battery and with all of that hardware packed under a 1.5-inch TFT tempered glass touchscreen. The resolution is set to a respectable, but not great, 240 x 240.
Bluetooth 4.2 drives the connection between the required application and the watch.
That’s all squeezed into a watch body that’s made of zinc-alloy, steel, and polycarbonates measuring 51 x 46mm at a thickness of 12mm and weight of 59g. Holding that to the user’s wrist is either a silicone or steel strip quick release band that measures 125mm by 95mm on the clasp side.
An IP68 rating keeps things watertight at up to 10-meters while a quad-sensor array on the underside -- coupled with a three-axis gravity sensor -- can track all sorts of heart, health and fitness metrics ranging from ECG to blood-oxygen saturation.
In The Box
As is almost always the case with watches from this particular company, the list of in-the-box inclusions is short. A user manual is packaged in with the smartwatch, drawn out in several different languages. The book is hefty due to the number of languages included more than anything else, since it is actually very easy to use. Explanations only take up a few pages in any given language.
A plastic film screen protector is pre-installed on the watch but isn't meant to stay installed, featuring a tab to peel that off once the gadget is unboxed. That's intended more as a protective measure during shipping. Finally, the company includes a USB to magnetic pin charging cable but no adapter.
Hardware & Aesthetics
NO.1 smartwatches and fitness trackers have undoubtedly improved drastically over the past several years and even over the past few months. The DT28 Smartwatch is proof-positive of that with its zinc-alloy casing, stainless steel buttons, and engraved watch face surround.
Each edge of the watch is smooth, even at its sharpest points, for maximum comfort. The rougher edge of the top-face contrasts nicely with its polished bevel and edge work. The back of the watch may be made of polycarbonates -- i.e. plastic -- but that feels like a high-quality plastic that matches well with the metal watch body.
That comes in either a black or silver variety and is attached to either a silicone or shark mesh-style steel bracelet watch band via quick-release buttons. Either style measures in at 22cm, a common enough size to make finding a more suitable band easier for any given user.
Our watch band was a silicone material variant with stitching that gives the band an almost leather look at 220mm in total length. From a distance of more than a couple of feet or with just a glance, it’s nearly indistinguishable. That fit snugly and was extremely comfortable to wear, in general. Sleeping with this watch on, despite its thickness, is not uncomfortable.
Despite its metal design and its size, laid out in the specifications above, this is one watch that doesn’t feel heavy. It weighs just enough so that it isn’t forgotten without being so light that it feels cheap, in spite of the price tag.
It’s also waterproof at up to ten meters -- just short of 33-feet. So users don’t need to worry about whether or not it can handle swimming and related activities. As we’ll discuss momentarily, it’s designed to track activity even through those conditions.
The display material is tempered glass, although the exact type isn’t listed too. Coupled with the nearly all-metal design, this watch should be able to sustain a substantial amount of abuse.
With regard to the included buttons on the edge of the watch, those operate much differently than previous watches from the company but both clicks through satisfactorily without any sign of wiggle or wearing out. Similarly, the magnets for the charger and the covering for the rear-sensors feel well made.
The magnets aren’t too strong but are strong enough to keep the charger in place through some jostling while the sensor cover, like the display and the metal surround, doesn’t seem easy to scratch at all.
The display itself is a multi-touch enabled TFT color panel that is square in shape despite the circular but that is barely noticeable compared to previous watches from the OEM and thanks to smart design choices in the surrounding material. It also happens to fill almost the entire display area and is both responsive and clear to read. Colors are moderately understated but are vibrant enough to read even in full daylight.
Touches make up the vast majority of interactions too. With swipes and taps to access applets and features. The top button, unlike previous releases under the branding, effectively acts as a power button and a way to turn on the display when lift-to-activate isn’t turned on. The second button acts primarily as a back button for the software, making this much more intuitive to use than previous devices from the company.
On the software front, the foremost point to note is that the experience of using the DT28 Smartwatch is mostly smooth. On the smartwatch itself, navigation and accessing or activating features is straightforward, lag-free, and despite the somewhat grainy imagery, easy.
On the application side of things, the manufacturer relies exclusively on third-party tracking apps and suggests one that’s made to work with the smartwatch in question. That experience is less than ideal, not least of all because a secondary company is responsible on the smartphone side and the watch requires that for more comprehensive tracking.
There are, bearing that in mind, a ton of features and metrics that can be tracked with the NO.1 DT28 Smartwatch.
For health metrics, the watch can track ECG, blood pressure, and blood oxygen, which we’ll cover a bit later. It also tracks calories burned, distance, steps, and heart rate, as any good fitness tracker will.
For activity tracking, that includes measuring the latter metrics across activities such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, basketball, badminton, table tennis, and football. 24-hour real-time monitoring of the wearer’s heart rate and sleep tracking are part of the software package too.
Metrics appear to be tracked accurately across activities and a stopwatch is included for easy time-keeping in a given activity.
The company also markets its latest watch as the ultimate travel assistant. That’s because, with connectivity to the application, it will provide users with a readout for weather information, in addition to altitude, air pressure, and a UV data report from the user’s current location.
Notifications when the user has been sedentary for too long -- with fine-tune controls for how much time needs to pass -- are built right in, as are reminders to drink a glass of water, and timers and an alarm clock.
Connection to the smartphone and application don’t end there either. With permissions enabled, users can use the watch to control music, snap a picture remotely, or find their phone if it happens to get lost in the couch cushions or out on the running path. Call and message notifications are enabled via permissions settings too.
With the tilt-to-activate function enabled, a natural flick of the wrist to look at the watch turns on the screen with no button presses required.
Ordinarily, the special features found on a DT NO.1 wearable are confined to inclusions in the standard software rather than going well above and beyond what most wearables will track. That’s not the case with model number DT28 since it not only includes Alipay for tap-to-pay services in 70 countries -- as of this writing -- including the US. It also incorporates more scientific health tracking via ECG, Blood Pressure, and blood oxygen tracking.
The first of those features is fairly self-explanatory, working like tap-to-pay on any other device via Alipay’s banking partnerships. Once the China-based service is linked to a bank account, users can use the feature to pay for items at retail locations with compatible hardware.
The other special features are more remarkable, and not solely because they seem to be highly accurate across the board.
Monitoring blood pressure can be a serious matter and while it isn’t easy to do without a pressurized cuff, the measurements taken with this watch do seem fairly accurate compared to a home-health variant of those products we had on hand. That doesn’t mean it should replace a cuff, by any means, but it will be useful for getting a quick reading on the go and taking things proactive with more active monitoring between checks with medical equipment.
The ECG sensor we weren’t able to test against medical equipment but, if it remains as accurate as the blood pressure monitoring features found on this wearable, should be useful for similar purposes. Namely, it should provide useful information between doctor visits or taking home-measurements where applicable.
Pulse oximeter readings from the watch, measuring blood oxygen levels, were within a point from the home medical device it was compared against. That particular device has previously been tested and shown to be directly on par with the meters used at a hospital.
It will always be best for users to perform their own test and make their own determination as to whether or not to trust a device for these types of purposes. However, users should be able to use the SpO2 measuring features on the DT NO.1 DT28 Smartwatch in place of a standard pulse oximeter device.
Battery life is, as far as we can tell on par with what’s advertised. Approximately five days worth of use with all of the bells and whistles turned on and activated. Seven days should be attainable simply by turning off more intensive features such as the tilt-to-activate screen feature and 24-hour continuous heart rate monitoring.
Interestingly enough. Standby mode we didn’t have time to adequately test since that’s up to 20 days. Based on our usage and the accuracy of estimates, that period of time certainly seems feasible.
For charging, we connected the USB to magnetic pin cable to a smart port, to achieve the fastest charging times allowed by the chipset. The time to fully charged for the 230mAh battery was just over what’s advertised -- 2-hours -- at around two hours and ten minutes.
Very budget friendly
Among the best designs released by the OEM to-date with laudable aesthetics
ECG, SpO2, blood pressure monitoring included
Accurate fitness metric tracking
Quality materials used
Touch screen and software is responsive and easy to use
Software UI still needs polish
No secondary application support
Still no first-party app for DT NO.1 wearables
The new DT NO.1 DT28 Smartwatch is by no means on par with an Android-based smartwatch or something from Samsung. Instead, it fill in the niche for users that want modern fitness wearable capabilities in a package that resembles a classic watch. In that space of the market, it excels.
Not only does the latest DT NO.1 smartwatch check all of the boxes for tracking fitness metrics. It throws in proactive medical tracking as well, while going well above the previous standards set by the company.
There are, of course, a few quirks. Dependency on a third-party application is one of the bigger ones but data can also be synced across apps such as Google Fit once setup is complete. Users also won’t be able to install any apps on the watch itself and the overall UI is, compared to others that might be expected in the ‘smartwatch’ category, could use some beautification.
With all of that in mind, its relatively low price tag of around $30 is well worth the cost in the fitness band category it actually competes in. Users get a fuller, more colorful display, more metrics tracked, and a classic watch style that’s suited for just about any environment. There simply isn’t much here not to love.