I recently had the opportunity to review the LG-128 Smartwatch. Now don’t let the name/model number fool you, this is not an LG watch. It is not made by the company that made the LG Nexus 5X, LG G5 or the LG Watch Urbane. Unfortunately I’m not quite sure who made the watch as their name is in Chinese. Despite the lack of a brand name I have been quite impressed with this watch as an entry-level device.
The watch comes in a cardboard box with a standard USB-A to micro-USB charging cable, an instruction manual and a screen protector. The folks at Banggood.com were kind enough to apply the screen protector prior to shipping me the watch but unfortunately the screen protector wasn’t the right size for the watch. It was close but not quite there. They did the best with what they had and it saved the watch from being scratched when my son accidentally ran into a wall with it.
The cable worked as it should and charged the watch without any issues. The instructions were a little rough though. The instructions were translated into English but suffered from a few issues with the translations not being perfectly clear. Overall if you spent some time thinking about it and looked at the pictures then you could figure it out without much trouble. The one section I really struggled with was the directions to scan a QR code to set up the notifications service. There was a REALLY small sample QR code (we’re talking a QR code that fit in a line of size 7 text without messing up the spacing) in the directions but it was the only thing even close to a QR code anywhere in the box. I went so far as trying to scan the sample QR code but had absolutely no luck with that. After about fifteen minutes of trying to find a QR code online, in the box, etc I just gave up and was ready to give the watch a bad review. It wasn’t until I was playing with the LG-128 for a few minutes that I stumbled on an app with the name “Quick Response”. I opened it and lo and behold it was the QR code I had looked for! Despite the frustration with the directions my opinion of the watch was redeemed!
The watch itself was quite sturdy and built from a durable plastic. The watch band was a thick rubber, it was thick enough that it wouldn’t tear but not so thick that it was unsightly. One positive point about the watch band was that it came with two restraining hoops (the little pieces that hold down the watch band when wearing it). I always seem to have issues with the end of the band coming loose and popping out but I didn’t have any issues with that using both of the hoops.
The specs on the watch were a little on the lower end, but again, this is an entry-level watch. The specs don’t need to be insanely high. It comes with an MTK6260A processor that is rated at 360 MHz, it has 128MB of onboard storage and 64MB of memory. Despite the specs being on the low-end of the spectrum I had no issues with lag or not being able to handle the tasks I threw at it.
As far as features go, the LG-128 had a huge amount of features! It comes with a SIM card that supports the following bands: 850, 900, 1800 and 1900. It also comes with SD card support for up to a 32GB card (I was able to use a 64GB with no issues). It comes with a pedometer, notification support for just about any type of notification, a sleep monitor, a phone/device synchronizer, a camera, a camcorder and more!
I let my boys try out the watch and they fell in love with the camera. One of them hid behind a door and would try to take pictures of people as they came in and out of the room. He got bored waiting for someone to come in to the room and started playing around with it some more. He was disappointed that there weren’t any games on it but then he found something better than a game, he discovered the camcorder. Rather than sitting and waiting for people to come to him he started running around the house and would record everyone with what has now become dubbed as the “spy watch”. The camera and camcorder only have 1.3 megapixels but the pictures were surprisingly clear. The camcorder was more grainy but still quite impressive for a watch.
Another feature that impressed me was the speaker. The sound quality was amazing! I wasn’t expecting the watch to even have a speaker. I only discovered it when I had a call come in while my phone was paired to the LG-128. Unfortunately for myself and the caller, the phone call happened to correspond with my son using the “spy watch”. My son answered the call on the watch and the poor woman was greeted by my son making animal noises (I think he was trying to grunt like a pig). From across the room I was able to hear her clearly and she was able to hear me without much difficulty. I tested it further by listening to some streaming music from the phone to the watch and was again impressed by the quality of the audio. I was expecting it to sound tinny and faint but it came through loud and clear with only a hint of tinniness.
The biggest downside to the LG-128 that I found was not actually the watch itself, but the app you need to install on your phone to get notifications from your phone to the watch. Initially I had the watch paired to my Nexus 5X running the latest version of Marshmallow and was only able to get one or two notifications before the app on the phone would crash. After that every time I got a notification I would get a little pop-up message saying the app had crashed and nothing on the watch. For the sake of the review I tested the watch further by pairing it with two other devices, one running Lollipop and the other running Kit Kat. When paired to these two devices I had no issues getting notifications. The response time from the phone and then it popping up on the watch was insanely fast. A second or two at most!
The issues I had with the notifications also carried over to some other areas like the Bluetooth messaging and phone calls (using the watch to send them or to make the call). The practicality of making a call or sending a text from a watch escapes me but I couldn’t get it to work with the Nexus 5X even once. It worked flawlessly on the Kit Kat and Lollipop devices though!
All in all the LG-128 was an impressive watch for the price of $38.99. As with any entry-level device there are flaws and quirks but in this case they were outweighed by the features and the bang for the buck. I would not recommend this watch to someone looking for a smartwatch experience like that of the Moto 360, Fossil Q, LG Watch Urbane and other high-end smartwatches. I would however, recommend the LG-128 to someone looking to try a smartwatch for the first time or to look for a cheap smartwatch solution.
My friends at Banggood.com were kind enough to give us a coupon code for $5.00 off the price of the watch. When ordering use the promo/coupon code of “44315c” (without quotes) to have $5.00 taken off the total price! The coupon is good until 5/22/16.
While you’re at it be sure to check out our YouTube video review below!
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Roy likes to dabble in all things Android and contributes everywhere he can. He owns the site rwilco12.com and its accompanying forum, he develops his own apps and ROM’s, is a Moderator and Recognized Developer on XDA-Developers.com and is the VP of Public Relations for AndroidFileHost.com.