Imilab KW66 is a new fitness-focused round wearable. The Imilab KW66 looks like a typical smartwatch, boasts 13 different sports tracking modes, and promises a 30-day battery life.
I put the KW66 through the paces to find out how good it actually is. But before we get into the review, let’s first get a bit of background on IMILAB.
IMILAB is an IoT company focusing on smart devices in the Xiaomi ecological chain enterprise. Xiaomi’s ecological chain enterprise is an independent entity but with investment from Xiaomi. However, it is not a Xiaomi subsidiary. Xiaomi does not control the companies in this enterprise. But it is deeply involved in product design and quality control. Each company in the Xiaomi ecological chain enterprise focuses on different product areas.
We have all heard of Huami which is a fitness-focused wearables brand within this Xiaomi ecological chain enterprise. Justin Diaz recently reviewed their Band 5. This is IMILAB’s foray into the fitness-focused wearables market. Let me just say this, it looks really sleek and more upscale than the suggested MSRP.
Now I know that it looks like a smartwatch and is even labeled as a smartwatch. But it does not support Google Maps or Spotify or…well you get the idea. So if you are looking for a true Android smartwatch you need to look at WearOS or Samsung’s Galaxy line of watches. But on the other hand, if you are looking at a sleek round-shaped fitness wearable with great battery life under $60 then the KW66 is an interesting proposition.
Unboxing the Imilab KW66
The retail packaging is quite simple but really well put together. For a budget device, I thought the packaging was quite extravagant looking. Inside the package is the watch protected by a foam cutout. Underneath we have the charging cable and a multi-language manual. Since there is no power brick, you need to provide one. The recommended charging voltage is 5V so any charging brick with 5W output works. In my case, I used an Amazon Basics 5W charging brick.
Imilab KW66 Design and Build Quality
I like the look of the round shape along with the subtle matte finish on the metal zinc alloy case. There is one button on the right-hand side which basically wakes the device up or helps you return to the home screen. The review unit sports a black silicone strap similar to a conventional watch strap. Thank goodness for this. I am definitely not a fan of the clasp type straps that are a copy of the one Apple makes for its smartwatches.
There are 14 holes in the watch strap allowing a nice snug fit to the wrist. Additionally, the two loops help keep the strap nicely in place. This allows for no movement during physical activities and fairly accurate heart rate monitoring.
One issue is that the strap tends to pick up lint and dirt easily and is difficult to wipe it away. Took me about 5 minutes to get it cleaned enough for the picture in the review.
The device size is slightly on the larger size but looks okay even on my medium size wrist. The bezels are on the larger size (5mm) and the 3D curved glass doesn’t help in this particular situation.
I also like how easy it is to swap out the strap even though it uses pins instead of magnets. Supposedly there are 4 colors available – black, silver, pink and green. So there should be plenty of color choices available along with the ability to easily swap out watch bands.
The display is plenty bright
The display is bright and colorful. Outdoor visibility is surprisingly quite good especially considering the price. But no pixel peeping, please. Because while the screen is bright and sharp looking when viewed at over a foot away as soon as the watch is about 6-8 inches away from your face you can easily see the pixelation.
There is no microphone or speaker so keep that in mind. The vibration motor on this device is great especially at this price point.
Overall, it is a fairly comfortable device to wear on a daily basis. A relatively modern and casual design, combined with an IP68 rating, metal frame with a matte finish, and a 3D curved screen. With all of these features, the KW66 offers a lot of value for the money considering it is priced comparable to just some regular fitness bands.
Using the KW66
It has a button on the right side for powering the device On/Off with a long press. While a single press will either go back or ‘Return to Home’ depending on what you are trying to do. Navigation is possible by swiping up or down and left or right. Swiping up brings up the notifications. You can keep swiping up till you reach the end of the notifications and tap ‘Clear all’ to clear out the notifications. Swiping down brings you to adjusting brightness, viewing mode, find your phone or settings. You can also check the battery life in this view.
Swiping left brings you to the various functions feasible with the device – training, heart rate, activity status, sleep mode, stopwatch, and messages. You can tap on each icon to get to that particular option. A press on the side button will bring you back to the menu and one more tap brings you back home.
Swiping right shows activity status, heart rate, sleep details, training, and music controls. Note that 4 of these 5 options can also be accessed by swiping left and tapping the icon in the menu. Oddly enough you can only access the stopwatch via left swipe and music controls via right swipe. The only exception is messages which can be accessed via left swipe and tap or just by swiping up from home screen which is easier in my view. Note that the notifications in the messages view are not interactive. They just let you know that you have a notification. So to get more info or details you will need to view the actual app (Gmail, Twitter, etc) on your smartphone.
A long press on the main screen allows you to change watchfaces on the fly. However, there are only 6 saved watchfaces besides the one you are currently using in memory. If you want a watchface that is different than the 7 options available, you need to change it via the app. More on the app operation in the next section.
There are 4 levels of brightness and I encountered no issues with the brightness level even in the outdoor sun. The glass can get smudged easily with fingerprints but this is not very different than other wearables. Haptic motor feedback was decent especially considering the price of this wearable.
Connectivity via Bluetooth
In terms of connectivity, the KW66 connects to your phone via Bluetooth 5.0. It has an always-on heart rate sensor and an accelerometer. Unfortunately, if you want a GPS or altimeter, those are not available. However, the watch works just fine for looking at the time, checking movement activity levels, basic notifications, and heart rate/sleep tracking.
Speaking of notifications, they don’t overlap and you can read them individually, even if many messages arrive from the same conversation. For large messages, you can only view them partially and of course, you can’t view photos or hear voice messages. Music control is basic, play/pause, skip but hey it’s better than nothing.
KW66 and Glory Fit app
To setup the KW66 you need to download the GloryFit app from the Google Play Store or iOS App Store. Once the app is installed pairing is quite easy with the KW66. During the initial setup you can customize your profile (gender, age, weight, height) to ensure correct activity measurements. You can see that the app is trying to pick and choose menus/settings from the Xiaomi MiFit and Amazfit apps. While it is not the best, it has adequate functionality.
The Home page shows target activity, heart rate, and sleep data. Next up is the Sports page where you can see a summary of the last physical activity. An additional tap shows the details of last activity in terms of time, steps, calories burnt, and heart rate.
The Device page is what allows the tweaking of various items to set up the watch to your individual preferences. First up is the dial setting which lets you choose the watchface including making your own watchface with a picture from your gallery. Next, you can choose to turn on various functions such as heart rate monitoring, call reminder, app reminder (notifications or messages), sedentary reminder, alarm clock, raise hand to activate display, and DND. The app reminder setting is where you choose which apps can notify you from a list – not all your apps will be supported.
Universal settings include things like changing onscreen time (default 5 seconds is too low) and choosing device language and 12-hour time system versus 24 hours. There’s also an SMS reminder – the watch vibrates when you get a text and a bracelet finder. Lastly, there is a shake to take a picture which I found to be very gimmicky and prone to taking pictures at the slightest movement of my wrist.
Firmware upgrade checks to see if the device is up to date or not. Luckily my KW66 didn’t need any firmware updates. To find current firmware on the device, swipe down from home, choose settings, tap info, and match version to the firmware shown in the app. You can also clear the data with a simple tap and unbind the watch from the app prior to recycling it.
The last screen is ‘Me’ where you enter personal information and set up your workout routines and target activity goals. You can also set up background activity permissions and third party access (limited to WeChat Sports currently). The System settings in buried in this menu which is unintuitive in my opinion. So if you want to use the British system of units you need to get in the Me menu to change everything to miles from kilometers.
Sensors and workouts
The Imilab KW66 has a heart rate sensor on the back and is capable of continuous monitoring of the heart rate. This comes in handy especially when you are trying to track your training or workout routines. Speaking of workouts, the watch is capable of tracking 13 sport activities.
I like outdoor running, power walking and hiking. For the most part, the KW66 works just like my daily activity tracker which happens to be an Apple Watch 4. Side by side comparison results show that the heart rate sensor is fairly accurate and on average it is within 5 bpm of what my AW4 shows. But the distance and calories burnt cannot be correlated by any stretch of the imagination. My readings show 10% less distance travel during outdoor activities. Overall during the day as well, this error was substantially greater. The calories burnt difference was almost 50% lower with the KW66 when compared with my AW4.
I did not use the sleep tracking function because I typically do not like to wear a device while sleeping.
Battery life on Imilab KW66 is simply amazing
The onboard battery is a fairly large 340 mAh. Imilab claims 27 days with light usage, 15-16 days for medium usage, and 7 days with heart rate monitor and notifications turned on. The last scenario resembles my use case. Over the last 6 days, battery depletion is only 25%. So this is one area where this wearable is substantially better than my AW4.
To charge the KW66 you need to use the included charging cable. On the bright side, you will not need to charge this device often. The battery life is absolutely stellar on this wearable.
Charging the watch is easy with the special cable with magnetic pogo pins. If you happen to lose it worry not because you can easily find replacements on Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress. I don’t have any idea about full charging time because I typically leave the watch to charge overnight.
Imilab KW66 is a beautiful fitness tracker / hybrid smartwatch
In conclusion, Imilab KW66 is a good looking fitness tracker / hybrid smartwatch that is priced just a tad bit more than an average fitness band. The KW66 offers good looks, a bright display, notifications via a decent vibration motor, an IP68 waterproof body, and long battery life. So if you are looking for just a fitness tracker but would like it to be more like a conventional watch, the KW66 is a stylish and smart choice.