Microwear, a small Chinese firm, perhaps isn’t that well known to many, but then, the Chinse firm is making waves in the wearables market, as it has established itself as a force in the entry-level smartwatch segment. The firm has a couple of smartwatches to its credit, one of which is the Microwear L3 smart watch – the follow up to the Microwear L2 which we reviewed a while ago. Stuffed with some unique feature that makes it a go-to for would be shoppers, and all the bells and whistles you could want from a modern smartwatch, does the Microwear L3 live up to the hype? that and more you would find out in our quick review below.
The microwear L3 has a simple and minimalistic design. On top is a circular frame that houses the display, with a USB port on the left for charging, and 3 side control keys on the left.
One thing I really love about the Microwear L3 is the choice of its strap design, while some other brands settle for some sort of material design that makes them uncomfortable to wear, the Microwear L3 opted for a soft and silky dual-color silicon straps made out of eatable grade silicone material for a comfortable and safe use. However, the strap cannot be switched for another, in case you happen not to fancy the strap.
The underside of the device is made of plastic that makes the device fits on your arm without undue effect, and on it, you will find a tiny cut-out that serves as the windows that house the sensor with which the device monitors your heart rate and some other basic functions. We are not quite sure the Microwear L3 has IP68 waterproofing like the Microwear L2 and X2, so we advise you try as much as possible not to get it in close contact with water.
Overall, the Microwear L3 is considerably slim and lightweight, though it leaves some speckles on my wrist largely due to the fact I have considerably fat one, it should be fine on a slimmer wrist.
This is probably one of the reasons I have never been a fan of any smartwatch, and the Microwear L3 has given me more reasons to refrain from using any smartwatch. While it takes just about an hour to jack up the L3 battery from a zero point till it is fully charged, you’ll have to drop the device in a couple of hours so it can get recharged.
With the battery half charged, it takes just about 20 minutes to get it fully charged, and can take you through 2 – 3 days of use when not paired with your smartphone Bluetooth, but only last for a day or two when used actively with Bluetooth pairing.
Sports tracking and app
You may have to have a rethink if you think the Microwear L3 is entirely a geeky device. First, the device is not LTE- capable, which means it is not always connected, so it has to be paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth using the Fundo app which you can download from Play store. Aside from its basic function of a watch, the Microwear l3 like most other smartwatches has an inbuilt alarm, calculator, calendar and stopped watch.
One feature I found useful here is the L3 heart rate sensor which I actually had a tough time getting it to work. To get the heart rate sensor to function normally, you have to tighten the strap, a loosed strap would hardly make any contact with your skin, so you won’t get accurate heart rate when loose. Oddly, the heart rate sensor works only when you make some sort of physical movement, I particularly noticed it never worked when standing still, or even when it does, it is often inaccurate. Generally, we found the heart rate measurement to be as accurate as the measurement from some other control devices.
Also, the Microwear L3 has many sports modes, which include walking, running, climbing, biking, soccer, horse riding, badminton, table tennis or basketball, so the device can be your companion in any sporting activities.
There is also the sleep mode and the Pedometer which monitors your level of activities while also keeping track of the calories expended. The sedentary mode when activated will alert you if you have been desk-bound for up to 30 minutes, so it basically reminds you of the need to take a walk for some minutes.
Display and Hardware
The Microwear L3 has a circular form factor fitted with a 1.2-inch panel with a 240×240-pixel resolution. It has a surface hardness of Mohs 7 or higher, wear resistance, corrosion resistance and better transmission of light. The device got just three control buttons located to the right of the circular frame, however, most of the navigations are done via on screen.
The display is quite colorful and responsive all through the time spent using the device. It is powered by the Mediatek MTK2502 processor coupled with 32MB of ROM AND 32MB of RAM which ensures seamless running of the device.
- CPU: 1.1GHz MTK2502
- Display: 1.2″, 240 x 240 P resolution
- RAM: 32MB
- ROM: 32MB
- Compatible OS: Android 4.4 and above, IOS 8.0 and above
- Battery: 380 mAh, 2-3 working days
- Bluetooth Version: 3.0, 4.0
Basic Call and Messaging functions
Perhaps the most important and most impressive part of the L3 is its basic calling and messaging functions, the Microwear L3, when synchronized with your smartphone via Bluetooth(compatible with both iOS and Android phones with Bluetooth 4.0 and above), allows you to use it for voice calls and texts provided you are within allowable Bluetooth distance.
It has the dialer, call history, phonebook and the messaging feature, so you can initiate calls and even view your call history remotely from the device. Notifications, as well as call audio quality, is top notch. However, we recorded a number of dropped calls, but not sure it has anything to do with the device. The messaging function is currently not supported, so receiving or sending messages via the device is not on the card.
Final thoughts: What’s your preference?
Notwithstanding its poor battery life, and non-changeable straps the Microwear L3 is a modest smartwatch suitable for both professional and amateur travelers and sportsmen. If you do not mind taking the device of your arms for recharging every 1-2 days, you might want to get the Microwear L3.
Where to Buy the Microwear L3
If you are impressed with what the Microwear L3 has to offer, then you might want to consider buying one. The device is well priced and available on Microwear official store on Aliexpress.com. You may also wish to connect with Microwear on Facebook to get updated on promo and giveaway offers.