If you are in the market looking for a budget fitness tracker, you have a few options to choose from. You can go for the tried and tested Mi Band 3, which tracks activity quite well, or the Honor Band 4 which has more features and tracks sleep as well. In a market that is packed with competition, Lcare has launched the Lcare watch, priced under Rs. 3,500. This device offers a bigger form factor compared to fitness bands, and also boasts of a blood pressure monitor. Should you pick this over the crowd favourites? We review it to find out.
The Lcare Watch is designed to look like a digital smartwatch. Its body is made out of hard plastic and is slightly curved to sit against your wrist. It has rubber straps that are screwed into the watch's body and don't seem to be changeable. Usually, smartwatches have removable straps and are made to standard dimensions. You are stuck with this rubber strap and cannot change it easily, but its quality is decent. It has an ordinary clasp with two loops to ensure that it is securely tied to your wrist.
The Lcare Watch has a square display with thick bezels on all sides. While the official listing mentions the screen type as OLED, it wasn't crisp or vivid. Sunlight legibility was also pretty average compared to the Honor Band 4. There is a capacitive button below the display which is the only way to interact with the device's UI. A short tap cycles through the UI while a long-press selects the option on the screen.
Turn the watch around and you can see a heart rate sensor that is slightly raised from the otherwise flat back. There are two pogo pin connectors on the back for charging the device. Lcare supplies a clip-type charger with this watch, which isn't well designed and needs you to align the charging pins every single time you attach it. The quality of material used for the watch as well as the charger feels average. The Mi Band 3 and the Honor Band 4 have significantly better build quality and chargers.
Like most other smartwatches and fitness trackers, the Lcare watch has a raise-to-wake feature, but it did not work as expected all the time. The first screen on the Lcare Watch displays the time, date, day, battery level, number of steps taken, and hours of sleep completed. The next screen shows the number of steps, percentage of step goal achieved (this can be set up in the app), calories burned, and distance covered.
The third screen is for heart rate, and the design here seems to be heavily "inspired" by the Apple Watch. There's also a graph with the previous reading that the watch has measured. The fourth screen is for blood pressure monitoring and is very basic, showing only the current blood pressure reading.
Sleep tracking is next, and this gives you a summary of your last period of sleep broken down into deep and light phases. It also rates the quality of sleep out of five stars to give you an idea at a glance. The next two screens are for a stopwatch and sport tracking.
While using the sport tracking feature, we found that the Lcare Watch started tracking immediately instead of giving us a 3-5 second countdown like most other wearables do. When sport tracking is enabled, the watch tracks the wearer's heart rate continuously while showing the number of calories burned and steps taken.
For step tracking, we counted 1,000 steps while walking and found that the watch counted 954 steps in comparison. The step accuracy is very inaccurate, for instance, the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 recorded 1004 in the same test and was off by just 4 steps. We walked a distance that we knew was exactly 1km, and the band recorded it as 1.2km.
We used this device during a cardio session at the gym and found the heart rate tracking to be a bit inaccurate. Most of the time, it showed a lower reading than an Apple Watch Series 1 worn simultaneously. The Lcare watch measured it as 71bpm whereas the Apple Watch reported 74bpm.
This is a small but acceptable deviation, especially considering the price of the Lcare Watch. It will also vibrate to warn you if your resting heart rate is high. We found this to be inaccurate and not highly reliable, as it would go off at times when we weren't even wearing the watch. We could see our heart rate through the day in the companion app.
We tested the blood pressure monitoring feature as well, and compared the readings with those taken using an Omron blood pressure monitor. While the Omron device displayed a reading of 121/81, the Lcare Watch displayed 126/84 which was slightly higher. The band can be used to casually track blood pressure, but if you have a history of medical issues this device cannot replace a dedicated blood pressure monitor.
There is an Lcare companion app that can be installed on Android and iOS devices to sync data from the watch. We used the Android app on a Google Pixel 3 (Review) and found it to be basic compared to some of the companion apps that other manufacturers offer. We observed that the app displayed a full-screen ad for the latest products from Lcare the moment we launched it, which was quite annoying.
The app shows your step count, sleep details such as the duration and quality of sleep, heart-rate, and blood pressure. By default, the watch takes a heart-rate reading automatically every 30 minutes and measures the blood pressure at 10-minute intervals.
Sleep tracking with the Lcare Watch was fairly accurate during our review period, and it could also detect us waking up in the middle of the night. It breaks sleep down into light and deep segments but does not show REM sleep like some fitness bands do. During our time with the watch we got only one wrong sleep tracking result which started sleep tracking from 6am in the morning instead of midnight.
You can enable notifications for calls, SMS, and WhatsApp. In our experience, the smartwatch would vibrate for an incoming call or message but we couldn't answer the call or reply to these messages from the watch directly.
Battery life depends heavily on how you use the watch. With normal usage which included the heart rate and blood pressure tracking enabled at their default intervals, WhatsApp notifications, and sleep tracking, one full charge lasted us for two days. When we had exercise tracking on, the battery life dropped to a day and a half.
You can extend battery life by not enabling app notifications, but we couldn't find a way to switch off continuous heart-rate and blood pressure tracking. The bundled charger takes close to 45 mins to charge this device completely.
The Lcare Watch is priced at Rs. 3,495 on Amazon and is available for Rs. 3,395 on the brand's official website. This device offers blood pressure tracking, which isn't commonly found on fitness wearables at this price point (with the Lcare Band 2S being another exception). Blood pressure tracking accuracy with this device is good enough for casual use and observing general trends, but we wouldn't recommend relying on it completely. If you are just looking for a general-purpose fitness tracker, you could opt for the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 or the Honor Band 4, both of which offer better value for your money.
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