Can this $28 fitness tracker possibly be any good?
Normally $40, this no-brand band is surprisingly capable -- but not without its limits.
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Question for today: Can a $28
knockoff possibly be any good? Because that deal exists: For a limited time, and while supplies last, the Kasmer Fitness Tracker is $27.99 with promo code KO83GJXP.
I'll admit I had low expectations for this Chinese product, which literally doesn't have a name other than "Fitness Tracker." Look at the "related items" section on the product page and you'll see lots of very similar products with very similar price tags ($30-$40 for most of them).
On paper, it's pretty impressive given the price: In addition to tracking steps and sleep, it can measure your heart rate and blood pressure. I'm not sure how accurate the BP readings can really be in a device like this, and indeed my systolic and diastolic were both higher and lower, respectively, than during my last physical. As for the HR monitor, it seemed pretty accurate, at least compared with the readings taken by an
The water-resistant Kasmer doesn't have an always-on display; rather, you have to tap the metal band below the display. Repeated taps cycle through the various modes, while long taps allow you to navigate menus. There's also a "wrist sense" mode that's supposed to activate the display when you "turn the wristband to you," but in my tests this didn't work well at all: The display came on when I didn't want it to and didn't come on when I did.
By sticking with tap-to-activate, the battery should last you around 10 days, according to Kasmer. That's solid for any fitness band, but I didn't have time to properly test battery life.
The band can display notifications, and within the companion app you can pick and choose which apps should deliver them. Unfortunately, you can't adjust the font size for onscreen notifications, and the default is pretty small.
One thing I really like about the Kasmer: To charge it, you just pull off the bottom end of the band and plug the whole unit into a USB port. No separate cord to lose, no weirdo dock to mess with.
Sounds pretty OK, right? Especially considering that out of a baker's dozen user reviews, the Kasmer scored a 4.3-star rating -- and both Fakespot and ReviewMeta give those ratings passing grades.
Unfortunately, the Kasmer suffers from one fatal flaw: Though sharp and colorful, the display is impossible to read outdoors. I took it outside on a sunny day and simply couldn't make out anything, even with the brightness cranked up to maximum.
If that's not important -- if you spend most of your days and workouts indoors -- then this might be something to consider. As wearables go, I still consider the Amazfit Bip -- currently $70 at Amazon -- the deal to beat. Its display looks amazing outdoors, and it can last 10-20 days on a charge depending on the selected watchface and options.
Even so: notifications, step-counting, heart-rate monitoring and more for $28 is pretty compelling. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: Speaking of inexpensive Chinese products that sometimes rival much pricier name-brands, you can get the Mjyun truly wireless earbuds for $27.99 with promo code W6FNXULQ. They normally sell for $40.
, but without the goofy dangly stick-part, these in-ear buds have no wires between them. They're good for up to 2 hours of play time, but the included charging case can recharge them up to three times before needing a trip to the charger itself. (That case has a USB-C interface, in case you're wondering.)
So if you've wanted to try truly wireless earbuds without spending a fortune, here's your chance. Interestingly, Fakespot says all seven user reviews are questionable; ReviewMeta says they're all OK. Wish I could break the tie, but I haven't tested these myself.
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