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One of my favorite cheap smartwatches is now even cheaper: Just $20

It's not perfect, but for the price? Pretty darn good. And it's kind of a beauty, too.

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bingofit-epic-on-wrist

The BingoFit Epic is a surprisingly good smartwatch, but only a mediocre fitness tracker.

Rick Broida/CNET

Regular readers know of my affinity for the Amazfit Bip, an $80 smartwatch that's way better than its price would suggest. But it's been nearly two years since that thing hit the scene. Where are all the challengers?

Here's one, and it's almost ludicrously inexpensive: The BingoFit Epic is just $19.99 with promo code 9ZCKRR7W (which should work with any of the six available color and style options, though a couple of them are $1 or $2 higher). It's sold by SuperWatch CO. If you see a different seller listed, the code won't work.

I know what you're thinking: At that price it must be an ugly, bulky, limited piece of junk. That's certainly what I thought, but because the watch looked so good on paper (and in photos), I decided to see for myself. Spoiler alert: This watch does not suck. It's no Fitbit Versa 2, but it's pretty impressive for the price. 

Where the Amazfit Bip looks like a cheap plastic Apple Watch knockoff, the Epic looks like a stylish, spendy Android Wear knockoff: round, reasonably slim and pretty, with an admirably bright high-resolution display. When I asked random people to guess what it cost, estimates ranged from $100 to $250.

Read more: The best smartwatches for 2020  

The display doesn't really go edge-to-edge. It's a square inside the circle, something you can detect only under bright lighting. And it's not really a touchscreen: Everything is controlled by a touch-sensitive button just below the display. You tap repeatedly to cycle through the various menus and long-tap to engage certain features (such as heart-rate monitoring). Honestly, this method of navigation may be a little slow, but it's also easier to learn. With Android Wear and many other watches, I could never remember which direction to swipe for which functions.

bingofit-epic-faces

The BingoFit Epic keeps things simple with a choice of three nice-looking faces. The one on the right is customizable, including your choice of background photo.

BingoFit

I tested the watch for about a week -- which, incidentally, is how long it managed to last before needing to recharge. It does so via a proprietary clip/cradle thing, which seems way flimsier than the watch itself.

Here's what I liked about the BingoFit Epic:

  • Display: Big and bright, with a choice of three nice faces.
  • Battery life: Plan on about a week, depending on how you use it. (Continuous heart-rate monitoring, which is toggled off by default, will definitely put a dent in battery life.)
  • Notifications: For me this is the essential feature in any smartwatch. As an added perk, a little green LED flashes when you have a new one.
  • Simplicity: The watch itself is easy to use, as is the EveryFit companion app.
  • Phone controls: The watch can trigger your camera shutter and remotely control music (play/pause and track skip).

Here's what I didn't like:

  • Display: Hard to read in direct sunlight, an issue if you're hoping to check fitness stats while exercising outdoors.
  • No built-in GPS: Instead, it pulls data from your phone. 
  • Questionable step-tracking results: Like a lot of fitness bands, this one seems to think I'm taking steps even when I'm sitting down.

Speaking of questionable, the watch can also gauge your blood pressure and even your blood-oxygen levels -- but are these results anywhere near accurate? I had nothing to compare them with, but I have serious doubts that a $20 watch could correctly measure such metrics. (That said, the HR numbers did seem pretty closely in line with what I get from my Apple Watch.)

So here's my verdict: The BingoFit Epic is a surprisingly nice smartwatch and a so-so fitness tracker. It's way better than I expected given the price (especially the $20 exclusive price), but obviously no substitute for the likes of a higher-end Fitbit. If you already grabbed one of these the last time it was on sale, hit the comments and let me know what you think!

Originally published last year. Updated to reflect new sale prices, availability or both. Removed expired bonus deals.

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