August 15, 2022
Fire-Bolt Beast smartwatch review: Affordable Apple Watch lookalike


The Apple Watch Series 6 is arguably the best smartwatch you can buy right now, but as anyone with a good idea of ​​how it works will tell you, it only makes sense if you have an iPhone. It is one of the most expensive options available today, so buyers with Android smartphones and those on a low budget will want to look at different options. Though the smartwatch and fitness tracker segments were limited to a few big brands till recently, they have been seen to grow rapidly in recent times with many new affordable options from smaller up-and-coming brands.

one such product fire-bolt beast, a new smartwatch and fitness tracker priced at Rs. 3,999. Resembling the Apple Watch series in many ways, the Fire-Bolt Beast will appeal to shoppers looking for an affordable yet good-looking smart wearable. Key features include SpO2 and heart rate tracking, making it an attractive option for the price. So how good is a fire-bolt beast in practice? Find out in this review.

fire bolt beast review app bubbles fire bolt

The ‘bubble’ style of the app drawer is a familiar one, and lets you quickly access any app on the smartwatch

fire-bolt beast design

With a 1.69-inch screen, the Beast is roughly the same size as the Apple Watch Series 6 and 44mm variants of the Apple Watch SE, and looks similar to them. It has a metal frame, but the area around the glass sensor area on the rear is plastic.

There are a few other major differences that aren’t surprising considering the Fire-Bolt Beast’s price. These include its traditional looking lugs and strap, the contact point for charging at the back, the center revolving dial on the right, and the shape of the screen itself, which does not line up symmetrically with the face of the watch. The included charging cable attaches magnetically to the vicinity of the contact points for charging the watch, and plugs into a USB Type-A port on the other end.

The black rubber strap that attaches to the smartwatch is snug enough and provides a good fit, but you can easily remove it and attach an aftermarket strap if you prefer. I found the Fire-Bolt Beast to be comfortable to wear consistently, even while working out and sleeping.

Although larger at 1.69 inches and with a claimed brightness of 500 nits, the display doesn’t cover the entire front of the smart watch; There’s a significant strip of non-screen space at the bottom which looks a bit odd. When using watch faces with a black background, the lack of uniformity becomes quite apparent.

The Fire-Bolt Beast is available in three colors – black, blue and pink – and I definitely like the black the most. The metal body of the watch has a nice brushed finish that looks good no matter which color you choose, but the black option is the most sophisticated and discreet. The rotating dial doubles as a button, and it’s nice to work with, with great feedback every time you rotate it a point in either direction.

fire bolt beast review dial fire bolt

On the right is a dial that can be used to change the face of the watch and navigate through the interface

While you can make use of much of the fitness functionality without even connecting the Beast to a smartphone, detailed information and charts, settings, knowing exact battery level, and notification functionality will all require a constant Bluetooth link.

The Fire-Bolt Beast is capable of step and sleep tracking, and heart rate and SpO2 monitoring. It can control music playback and camera shutter on your paired smartphone, and also show call, SMS and app notifications for major apps including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. It is also rated IP67 for dust and water resistance. You can also use Beast to track different types of workouts, among other things.

Fire-Bolt Beast Software, Interface and App

The Fire-Bolt Beast runs its own custom software, with the UI design strongly inspired by Apple’s watchOS. Some of the major similarities include the bubble-style app drawer, Control Center and its icons, and some watch faces. Other watch faces borrow from those seen on smartwatches and fitness trackers from Amazfit and Xiaomi.

Scrolling with the dial on the homescreen cycles through saved watch faces, and pressing the dial button turns the screen on or off. Swiping from left to right makes the app drawer appear in bubble view; Swiping down from the top opens the Control Center; Swiping up shows the app drawer in list view; And swiping from right to left shows fitness and biometric data like steps, bedtime and heart rate, as well as other details like the weather and controls for your phone’s music player and camera shutter.

It all felt a little awkward to get used to, and the watch often didn’t recognize swipes correctly, leaving the wrong screen open for me. The smartwatch screen doesn’t even wake up with a single tap; You have to either press the dial to wake up the screen, or use the wrist raise gesture which didn’t always work properly for me. The built-in apps are also awkwardly designed, with fonts that don’t look great, and no additional apps to be installed.

Fire-bolt works with an app called Beast Da Fit (Available for iOS And Android), which syncs and charts fitness data, push notifications, and lets you change various settings and preferences, including watch faces, DND mode, and alarms.

fire bolt beast review spo2 fire bolt

SpO2 tracking on the Fire-Bolt Beast is accurate, and a useful touch in the current environment

You can download additional watch faces for the Fire-Bolt Beast, which are quickly transferred to the watch for use, but only one non-default face can be stored on the watch at any one time. This is a very good app in terms of design and ease of use. The connection between my Android smartphone and the Fire-Bolt Beast remained stable during the review period.

Fire-Bolt Beast performance and battery life

Many smartwatches and fitness trackers from smartphone manufacturers work best (or only) with devices from the same brand. In comparison, the Fire-Bolt Beast is device-agnostic, and is designed to work well on Android as well as iOS, and even on its own. I had the smartwatch paired to an Android smartphone for this review, and had no trouble with functions that depend on this connection, including call alerts and notifications, syncing fitness data, and more.

Oddly, though, the Fire-Bolt Beast doesn’t need to go through the traditional pairing process upon startup, as is usually the case with wearable devices. The smart watch booted up normally and gave me direct access to all the on-device features. In fact, some steps were already logged in the step tracker; My initial thought was that the review unit was used, but the package was completely sealed and the device looked brand new.

Since there were no pairing instructions on the watch itself, I had to look at the included pamphlet to figure out how to go through the process. It’s easy enough once you know what to do, and didn’t take me long to complete. That said, you don’t desperately need to connect the Fire-Bolt Beast to a smartphone, or really even need to keep it connected all the time.

The pre-installed watch faces worked well, with dynamic information like step, distance, and date shown on the screen, but some faces had complications that were completely static and non-functional, notably The Apple Watches were designed to look like faces. ,

Fire Bolt Beast Review Bottom Fire Bolt

The underside of the fire-bolt beast is plastic, and has traditional lugs so the straps can be easily replaced

The Fire-Bolt Beast is capable of tracking steps, heart rate, SpO2, and blood pressure, the former three of which worked well in my experience. When counting 1,000 steps manually, the Fire-Bolt Beast measured 1,028 steps—an error margin of about 3 percent over a relatively low step count. Measured at over 4,000 steps against the Apple Watch Series 5, the Beast measured 200 steps more than the Apple Watch.

Heart rate and SpO2 tracking on the Fire-Bolt Beast was accurate when measured against an Apple Watch Series 5 and a standard fingertip oxygen saturation monitor, respectively. It takes about a minute for the watch to detect an accurate heart rate reading, at first I see strangely low levels immediately after a workout, but eventually catch up to the correct heart rate. It seemed that sweat around the sensor was causing this problem.

While the Beast also claims to be able to measure blood pressure, I wouldn’t put too much faith in the readings as it uses sensors on the bottom of the watch. These readings seem to be very rough estimates, rather than the more accurate readings you might get from a dedicated monitor. There’s also sleep tracking, which is basic but good enough for the price of the device.

There are some other useful apps, including Shutter and Music apps that work well. The former lets you use the smartwatch to control the camera shutter on your paired phone, which can come in handy when you have the phone on a tripod or stand. The latter lets you control the music on your paired smartphone. Flashlight app turns the clock screen bright white for a little light in dark rooms. There are also apps for a stopwatch, alarm, and timer on the Fire-Bolt Beast. There’s even a ‘Breathe’ app that tries to act like a soothing one on the Apple Watch, but it’s a weird and silly reproduction.

The Fire-Bolt Beast has a claimed battery life of eight days on a single charge. The real-world figure is much lower; I got about three days of use per charge under my normal usage conditions, which include regular fitness monitoring, notifications throughout the day, and sleep tracking at night. The smartwatch is quick to charge through to zero topping in less than two hours when plugged into my laptop.

Decision

It’s no surprise to see other manufacturers draw inspiration from Apple’s design and software. The Fire-bolt Beast bears a strong resemblance to the Apple Watch, but the trained eye will certainly be able to tell the difference between the two quickly. To the untrained eye or from afar, you can easily fool people into thinking you have an Apple Watch; This is a good looking smartwatch.

In terms of function, the Fire-Bolt Beast is a budget smartwatch, but that’s not a bad thing here. At Rs 3,999, it is quite good for the price with decent steps, heart rate and SpO2 tracking and a few other features that users will find useful. Although I did find some of the watch faces and navigation a bit awkward in general, the overall experience was quite good.


Are Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen the right ‘affordable’ products for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, google podcastseither RSSDownload the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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