Lenovo Carme NA smartwatch review: should this be your first smartwatch?

Rating: 8.5/10

Yay:

  • Flat design
  • Plenty of tracking features
  • Aggressively priced

Nay:

  • Lenovo Life app could use more changes
  • Could’ve had a better build quality
  • Notifications don’t work

Introduction

Smartwatches are clearly the rage these days. Once considered a waste of effort, the concept has now grown so much that every brand wants to be a part of it. Now, while Lenovo has been making smartwatches for a while now, those haven’t taken off. The Lenovo Carme smartwatch, however, seems to be a step, or a couple of steps, in the right direction. It offers a lot of features and a price tag of Rs. 3,499 indeed makes it a compelling option. But is it the right option? Read on for my full review of the Lenovo Carme Smartwatch.

Design and Build Quality

The Lenovo Carme smartwatch features a square watch design, with a 1.3-inch IPS color display. However, like most budget smartwatches, this isn’t a touch display. Instead, you get a touch button at the bottom of the display, along with two additional menu/navigation buttons on the sides. The overall design is simple, neat, and cost-effective. 

One thing I’d like to highlight is that the watch actually rests flat on a surface. I genuinely admire this. This doesn’t aid in anything to be fair, but it is just a personal preference. The silicon strap here has a rugged texture to it that adds on to the grip of the device. It feels smooth, though I did have some trouble finding the perfect hole for my wrist size. But then again, that’s just me.

On the whole, the Lenovo Carme’s design is pretty neat and should appeal to someone who wants a simple-looking smartwatch with a not-so massive dial. 

User Experience

Okay, so with any smartwatch, the user experience basically boils down to how customizable it is, how good the app is, and finally how good the watch is in day-to-day usage. Let’s talk about the first one since it shouldn’t take too long. The Lenovo Carme smartwatch isn’t customizable, period. You get a total of three watch faces, all of which are not up to the mark. And that’s about it. There had to be some cost-cutting, and this is clearly one.

Next up, is the app experience. The Carme uses the Lenovo Life app. Setting your account is fairly easy, and while there are a ton of translation issues here and there in the app, I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Overall, the app experience has been good. You get a simple to navigate the app, with all the tracking options you’d need easily accessible.

The watch does come with active heart rate monitoring, and you can easily check your stats from within the app. That said, one issue that I do have with the app is that I couldn’t get notifications to work on this thing. As a result, the Lenovo Carme smartwatch was rendered basically a fitness tracker in a watch-like design.

As a smartwatch, Carme is surprisingly good. It has one of the brightest displays I’ve ever seen on a smartwatch in this price range, and navigating inside despite the single touch button wasn’t that hard. That said, the raise to wake feature wasn’t that good, and there were times I actually had to tap on the display to check the time.

Accuracy

While reviewing the Lenovo Carme smartwatch, I had a Fitbit Versa Lite on my other hand to compare for accuracy. Yeah, I’m that guy who wears two smartwatches, deal with it. In my testing, the Lenovo Carme was actually quite good when keeping a log of steps and my sleep. However, the heart rate measurement was always off by 10bpm, which is weird.

The watch works well to not register fake steps while shaking your hands, which is always a good thing. On the whole, the Carme watch does perform quite decently.

Battery Life

One of the best things that I love about the Lenovo Carme smartwatch is its battery life. The watch comes with a 200mAh battery capacity which the company claims should last you up to 7 days of usage. In my testing, I was able to push this up to 5 days with active heart rate monitoring. I expect that to reduce once the notifications are turned off, that is, if you can get them to work them in the first place.

Nonetheless, the overall battery life of the Lenovo Carme is actually pretty good and puts it ahead of most other smartwatches in the same or slightly higher price band.

Should you buy the Lenovo Carme smartwatch?

So, is the Lenovo Carme smartwatch worth your buck? Well, let me first address it for what it is. Think of the Lenovo Carme smartwatch as a fitness tracker that looks like a watch. That’s it. The moment you think of it in this sense, you’d start to appreciate the overall value for money it offers. The thing with fitness trackers is that most people don’t think it can fully replace their day-to-day wristwatches. With the Lenovo Carme smartwatch, you can finally do that. However, the moment you think of it as a full-fletched smartwatch, the lack of apps, watch faces, and notifications creep in making it feel like a failed product.

On the whole, the Carme watch is a good smartwatch, and if you keep your expectations real, this is one product that I can easily recommend.

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Varun Mirchandani
varun.mirchandani@u2opiamobile.com

Varun is your go-to guy for everything related to technology. Someone with a keen interest in the Android world, he installs a new custom ROM every week and is always living on the bleeding edge of technology. When not writing for Mr. Phone, you can find him gaming on his beastly gaming rig which is also his prized possession.