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Top Smartwatch Question #3: How good is GPS? Part 1

There are certain questions that are asked over and over in the comment section of these videos. This miniseries will be an attempt to answer the top questions in a way that, hopefully, satisfies each viewers' unique concern. This video addresses the third most asked question, "How good is GPS?"

If you are viewing this video by following a link you were given as a response to a question you have asked, then please watch the video as your answer is probably covered.

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Comment (48)

    1. +SmartWatch Ticks just a thought , is the reception any better outside? Some of my clone Samsung phones will not Aquire inside but work just fine outside.

  1. Thanks. Great video as always but gps needs to be tested outside to make any sense. Under a roof does not give any where near accurate results. As regards battery. When down the screen with ‘high accuracy mode’, see if you can click that writing and put it to ‘gps’ only. just as accurate and a big battery saver.

  2. Hi Mr. Ticks,
    I really enjoy your videos on the different smartwatches. I have a Finow X3 and would like to know what can I improve its tethering capabilities with my LG G3 smartphone? Even at close range, the watch constantly disconnects from the phone.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  3. the A gps on your watch is using the internet to find get the gps places, else it will take a long time to find them

    1. It should be released soon. They sent out the prototype, and the D5+ is out, so the X1 plus should show up soon!

  4. As other people  have mentioned, you really want to try the gps outside. I’ve got a garmin vivosmart hr+ that really struggles to get a lock indoors, if it manages it at all, but then I don’t tend to have a need for gps indoors. Outside though it woks fine and has accurately tracked my movements when going for a walk. It can take a few minutes to get a lock initially but then it works fine.  If you need gps it’s nice to know if it works not before buying the watch.

    1. I’ve found on the X01S at least that it doesn’t actually make it any more usable outdoors for most applications. You get a lock eventually but the accuracy shoots out to 60-90 feet or more with frequent drop-outs, which isn’t a lot of use for exercise tracking , golf or even driving etc.

      I suspected there might be some capacitive coupling or something going on here but attempts to damp it down a bit with various materials between wrist and watch haven’t made much difference.

    2. Funny you should mention the X01S, as I have the same watch. I ordered from gearbest  in the presale stage. I’ve not bothered with the GPS until today as I use my HR+ or phone if I want to track my route. So far I’ve only used the Engineer Mode application used in the video, and so far GPS seems to work fine from my limited test. Took the dog out for a walk and got a lock in about 30 seconds, with an average of 6 satellite locks and a max of 8 whilst on my wrist. Indoors however I struggled to get any lock, managed to finally get a lock in my bedroom if I stood by the window after about 90 seconds and only managed 5 satellites dropping down o three, again whilst wearing the watch.I’ve just downloaded Track my Trip from the playstore and will see how that works tomorrow.

    3. Very possible it’s just a quality issue I guess, with some watches working better than others, but I was interested of course to see that both the watches ST tested in this video exhibited exactly the same kind of behaviour that my X01S does. It would be interesting to know whether the lock you get is stable and how accurate it is. GPS Test from the Play store should give you a quick readout if you don’t mind running that.

  5. HI there. I’ve been trying to assess smartwatches and their ability to hold calendar appointments and how they deal with reminders. There doesn’t seem to much out there that gives me the detail I’m looking for. Was hoping you may be able to answer a few questions.

    Q1. For non-standalone smartwatches – can they operate in the absence of the phone or are they rendered useless if you don’t have the phone with you. Specifically do they cache appointments and notify when that appointment is about to start.

    Q2. For standalone smartwatches – do they synchronise with google Calendar and notify when appointments are about to start.

    The smartwatch is intended for my son. He is autistic and has a tendency to be easily distracted and sometimes forgetful. A suitable smartwatch would be one that would remind him what he has to do and when without the need to carry a phone.

    I’ve notice there are a few kids GPS GSM watches that track movement, can make calls send message, (Filip2, DokiWatch, etc), but there does not seem to be the appointment reminder functionality with google calendar syncing. There is also a watch called the WatchMinder, but this lacks any GSM connectivity.

    Any help or advice on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I can’t answer all of your questions, but I am a bit familiar with Google calendar on android Smart watches. You have to disable the calendar app that comes with the watches first, then you can install Google calendar and it will work. It’s a technical process, but I did cover it in one of my videos. For non-standalone watches, by their nature, they need to connect to a phone in order to work. Standalone watches, by their nature, work just like a small phone. They have their own SIM card, separate phone number, and work just like a phone. As for her kids GPS GSM watches, I don’t have any knowledge or information about them. You may want to check some online blogs or community groups on how others address this situation with technology.

    1. Yes, if you look at Tick’s review of the X01S I pointed out the GPS doesn’t work on your wrist problem a few weeks ago.
      “And the last wrinkle on GPS..take it off your wrist and re-initialise it..quick lock, satisfactory performance. Put it on you wrist (or just hold a couple of fingers on the back) and do the same thing in the same place..no lock for minutes!

      Some coupling going on here perhaps, putting insulating tape on the back improves it a little but not much.

      In any event they’ve managed to make a Smartwatch with GPS that works..as long as you don’t wear it!

    2. That’s terrible 🙁

      We have one on the way for my father-in-law. We were hoping to use it to locate him when he’s out and about since he’s starting to show signs of Alzheimer’s. I guess the GPS part won’t work…

    3. Looks from Chezzy’s post down below as if he may have one that works a little better, if so I do hope you get one the same!

  6. Thanks a lot for these informations very important… The best GPS Android watch is omate truesmart, because it have a ceramic gps antenna, with this antenna, signal is fast and accurate even you wear it at your arm.

  7. Hi Mr Ticks, thank you for this GPS test on the D5+. Knowing how it behaves under MTK (which by the way has a very good result for indoors, looking at your video, and can only have a better result outdoors) has had a great influence on me and I have ordered 2 of these watches (D5+). I know now I can work on a way to make watch’s GPS more efficient on wrist. And will keep you informed.Thanks again. Adrian.

    1. Thanks Adrian. I’ll be shooting an outdoor segment for the FINOW and No.1 watches soon. Just now publishing a piece on the four large round Android 5.1 watches on the market. I think I saw this coming with that simple 15 minute test. I know me, and I just can’t quit once I start. Sorry for balking at first, but this is an entire category of videos for me, and, it is a very hot topic. So kick back and enjoy what you started! And please do keep me posted on your results, tips and tricks so we can both share with others.

    1. I agree, but with the addition of microSD would come the need for a much more powerful battery to play hours of songs or record gobs of video. It’s a tradeoff, I guess.

  8. Good job highlighting this problem Mr Ticks..it’s been around for a while on most smartwatches I’ve seen but curiously doesn’t occur to anywhere near the same degree on my Sony SW3 Wear watch…better overall design and lower power drain on noisy power circuitry I imagine.

    The issue though is even more complicated. On my X01S take it outdoors and the signal to noise ratio improves and it eventually gets a lock on 4 or 5 satellites but the location accuracy is terrible (60-90 feet) with frequent drop-outs. You can see it even more easily by downloading GPS Test from the Play Store and running it. SNR plummets and accuracy shoots out when the watch is worn or you even just place a couple of fingers on the back.

    1. OMG! That’s way more than I wanted to know. Good to know, but it takes this whole GPS thing into three dimensions or more. Ah, well, I just wrapped up a part two to this video and did the X01S test, but only strength of connectivity, not the two finger touch. Ultimately, I think folks just have to decide upon and buy a watch and check it out in their real world conditions. We can only go so far with the testing.

  9. great video bro…. one question…. is marshmallow update of this watch possible????????? please please please reply…..

    1. Only Android 4.2 (very early watches), Android 4.4, and Android 5.5 are supported so far. I haven’t seen any other version of Android on these watches.

  10. thanks for answering…….. for the d5 plus model…… have developers developed any custom Roms that can be flashed and update the Android version….. please reply here as well…… thanks

    1. This is the best place to discuss your question: Join the “Round Android Watches Proboard” here: http://roundandroidwatches.proboards.com 
      Simply set up a free account, explore the various sections available to you, and jump in. There are many watch users and technical experts discussing just about everything related to smartwatches. From general watch questions to updated watch firmware you’ll find it, and you’ll find many answers in the extensive FAQs as well.

      For technical support regarding No.1 smartwatches, please choose one of the following:
      Send an email to [email protected] 
      Post in the No.1 official google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/108993240225376107397 
      Post to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/459194697623709/requests/ 
      or ask in the No.1 blog http://www.chinawatchs.com/

  11. I have a golden tip! For the people that want to game on their watch, download a app called rotation lock, SO it won’t rotate!

    1. and I have a Question, When I install apps on my D5+ my newer ones wont show up anymore if I look them up with the playstore I can open them but I cant see them

    2. That’s really strange. I haven’t heard of that before. Try shutting down the watch and restarting. IF that doesn’t work, you could try a factory restore, but you might need to reinstall the apps.

    3. That probably forced the system to reload the installed apps index, or something like that. Great news!

  12. I’m new to smartwatches and I’m looking at getting a Lemfo Lem6. I will be using it at work and while golfing so I need it to be waterproof. The question I have is do I need a Sim card to use the the GPS while using golf aps for their maps or can it just be tethered to my phone?

    1. The LEM6 is only splash proof, not waterproof. Check the chart in our Resource Center to find the Android watches that are waterproof. I’m not sure about requiring a SIM to use GPS in golf apps. That’s something you’ll probably have to tell us about after you’ve tested it in your new watch.
      SMARTWATCH RESOURCE CENTER:  Compare Android watch features and specs, look up the appropriate tethering app for many different watches, check out various  recommended apps for Android smartwatches, see common Android watch FAQs, and more. Visit the updated DTNO.1 Sponsored “Smartwatch Resource Center” here:  tinyurl.com/AndroidWatches

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