Smartwatches have been here for a while now and improving in functionality. They come in different shapes, sizes and functionality. Some support a SIM card,

Review: VAWLT S29 watch phone

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Smartwatches have been here for a while now and improving in functionality. They come in different shapes, sizes and functionality. Some support a SIM card, while others don’t and merely synchronise with your phone. Some pack both functionality. Note though that they don’t deliver any real benefit that isn’t already available on your smartphone.

S29 watch phone on wrist homescreen

The Good
The S29 looks good and pairs with Android, iOS and BlackBerry smartphones. It delivers notifications and can also function as a standqlone device offering voice calls, SMS and GPRS internet. Applications include a pedometer, audio player, camera, voice recorder, alarm, calculator, calendar, among others.

The Ugly
Camera and web browser are poor (and not needed, to be honest). Who wants to type URLs and browse on a 1.5-inch display? Phone notifications are currently limited to Android and iOS phones only. The loudspeaker is not very loud.

The Bad
What is bad here is bad across all existing smartwatches: typing. Text entry via typing is horrible. Limited capability web browser.

The S29 design is faultless, being an exact replica of Samsung’s Gear 2. The size is right. The weight is right. The design is good and the watch feels comfortable on the wrist. It didn’t feel like I was wearing anything other than a regular watch.

The display is clear and seriously bright, but it gets a bit washed out in direct sunlight. Navigation is by swiping. The button at the bottom of the screen returns you to the homescreen.

Phone Watch. Watch Phone
S29 Phone Dialler
This wearable supports a micro-SIM card with GSM and GPRS compatibility. It handles phone calls, SMS and GPRS internet via that SIM card. I popped in a SIM and I have had no issues making/taking calls, receiving and replying to SMS (other than that all replies are very brief because of the challenge of typing on such a tiny display).

It has a loudspeaker that is not so loud. Odd that it is placed facing away from the user at the top end of the watch.

S29 front camera

I took a call on it while driving with my hands on the steering wheel all through. In-call audio over the speaker was loud enough for me to hear, though I would have loved it louder. Perhaps the average volume is just perfect for when you have passengers in the car and would rather they do not hear your caller. I can assure you that they won’t be able to make out a thing. Well, not unless one of them has Superman’s super hearing. My caller however had no issues and said I was loud and clear at his own end, so it looks like the microphone is quite sharp.

You can also use an included headset with the S29 for your calls and for listening to music.


Phone Compatibility, PIM Sync and Push Notifications
The VAWL S29 pairs and syncs personal information with Android, BlackBerry and iOS smartphones. This allows the user to receive calls coming in on the paired phone or initiate a phone call, listen to music stored on the paired phone all via Bluetooth. I have had this unit for only 48 hours, so my tests are not all encompassing. However, I tested these features on an Android smartphone and a BlackBerry 10 smartphone and can confirm that these built-in features work.

If you want to sync notifications from third party apps, you will need an Android phone or iPhone. To get push notifications from apps like BBM, WhatsApp, Facebook, and others, you need to install an APK file on your Android smartphone via barcode. The app gets downloaded from Google Play. Once installed, the user can select what phone apps he wants notifications for on the S29. After setup, I have received notifications for BBM, WhatsApp, Facebook, and others that I selected. It is just notifications though. The ability to respond isn’t there.

Fitness and Health
S29 Pedometer
Fitness is a thing these days, and the S29 comes with a pedometer built in. This feature counts the number of steps taken, calories burnt and distance covered during workout. So, if you are into keeping fit, the S29 is a watch to consider. An icon for the pedometer is placed on the homescreen alongside the Phone Dialler and Settings icons.

There is also a Sleep Monitor app built in.

Other Applications
Other applications built into the S29 include: camera, phonebook, audio player, file manager (which lets you browse folders and access files in the watch, as well as on your inserted microSD card), FM radio (you need to connect a headset to use the cable as antenna), Calendar, Alarm, Sound recorder, Calculator, Remote capture for shooting photos via the connected Android phone’s camera, Video recorder, Image viewer, Video player, Smart search, and Web browser.

Quick extensive. It is good that they are there for when one absolutely needs them, but I doubt that most people will use them on a day-to-day basis.

Web Browsing
Take the web browser for example. My network’s internet settings weren’t automatically configured, so I had to manually enter them. Painful experience it was, but brave old Mo got it done. However, it is my opinion that a web browser on a 1.5-inch screen is pushing it too far. You have to love pain to want to do that. But beyond that, it is also a limited browser (WAP 2.0). That means that trying to load many modern mobile websites on this browser returns an out of memory error. Only the most basic mobile sites load. But like I said, a web browser on a 1.5-inch display is pointless anyway.

Battery Life
Battery life seems good enough. One doesnt need the watch synchronising with a smartphone all the time, so I keep it disconnected when I don’t need that feature. Using it that way, I drained the battery to about 50% each day. That suggests that I will get at least two days on each full charge. I suspect that this is because the VAWLT S29 does not run a full-fledged OS like Android Wear or Tizen OS. You can check out the full VAWLT S29 specifications.

Final Thoughts
The VAWLT S29 is a beautiful smartwatch. It tells the time and can serve as an extension of your smartphone by delivering important notifications to you in controlled environments. If you want to loosen yourself from the control of your smartphone a bit, this is a good accessory. Keep your smartphone in a drawer, your pocket or your bag and get your calls and only the most important notifications. You pick up your smartphone only to attend to the most important messages and then put it away again.

It will also likely be a hit with fitness-conscious people. The fact that the pedometer icon is one of the three icons on the homescreen suggests that the manufacturer is targeting this class of users.

The S29 is also a cool way to carry around a second mobile line (if you are not a fan of dual SIM devices) without lugging a second smartphone around.

s29 sales pack

The VAWLT S29 retail pack comes with the phone, a manual, a charger and a microUSB cable. The watch phone sells for just N17,000.00 in Nigeria.

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  1. You can also use an included headset…

    A WIRED headset?

    Talking to my wrist is funny enough. Having a wire going from my wrist un my ear is just too much!

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