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Smartwatch S999 review - a LEM-T alternative?


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Posted (edited)

After some deliberating, I decided to make an experiment and rather than buying LEM-T I've seen multiple people use on this forum, I went for S999. It's in the same category of cheap China smartwatches with a "full" Android, but it is newer - it has more computing power and Android 9.0. Some technical parameters are here: https://www.chinesesmartwatches.com/s999-4g-smartwatch/, I will focus more on how it feels and EUC.World compatibility.

The overall build quality is pretty much what I expected. Nothing to be in the awe from, but it looks solid enough to not shatter when it falls on the ground from a table (already tested :D). On the other hand, the charging cable is really flimsy. It's a cheap magnetic port that barely holds in place - if the cable is just a little bit pulling away, it won't hold the contact. And I'm afraid how long will the cable last. Luckily, fabricating a replacement, or maybe even a docking station with 3D print should be quite easy.

If you fancy mounting it directly on an EUC, the straps can be very easily removed (Allen H1.5), and the watch itself is locked in a quick-release mechanism on the central part of the strap, so if you use that as a dock on the EUC, you can get the watch out for charging with a single button push. Be careful to check that it's really locked - if not, the watch will fall out and tumble when you are riding.

Display is cheap and as expected, terrible in bright light, but looking under the right angle and shading it with a hand helps a lot. I would like to compare this with LEM-T, but given the price tag, I guess that it might be on par. Even an old Apple iWatch 2 is far, far better in this regard, but again, this is expected with this price tag.

Battery life seems to be pretty weak, so expect putting it to a charger after every ride. But I haven't yet taken it on a long distance ride, just some short hops around, to a grocery and so on, so I'm not sure how it will fare during a half day trip.

Now to sound. I didn't expect a good quality, but I expected a bit more power. From my testing, I would say that during a ride, it's weaker than V11's quiet beeping despite holding it closer to my ear. In other words, forget speed alarm beeps. Vibrations are good and strong, though, so if you have it on a wrist (even over a coat), it still notifies you. But see the next paragraph.

GPS is really unstable. Even when riding on a street with low buildings around, it is losing the GPS lock for moments all the time. It’s usable, though.

The Android OS looks customised a lot, settings are missing a lot of options. It’s not possible to change BT name, or screen orientation lock, etc. I tried to install a 3rd party settings app that provides shortcuts to various setting screens, and some toggles, but it looks like those settings pages are really removed and not just hidden. The watch has Google Play Store, and it reports itself as Kenbo K9Pro to Google. Translation is… well, even English has some hiccups, and I hadn’t the desire to try anything else.

Now the biggest issue I have with this: it vibrates and beeps on ALL notifications. Including low-priority ones which are ignored by every other Android device I've had in my hand and which many apps are using internally. So it vibrates whenever something is downloaded and the progress bar moves, or, most importantly, whenever something changes in EUC world. Which happens all the time and makes any vibration alarm completely useless. And you can't disable vibrations for notifications only - it's all or nothing. So I had to mute all notifications and turn off all vibrations. Luckily, it still plays media sounds.

EUC.World itself works just fine, though. So, if the GPS issue can be fixed somehow, it’s usable device. Still, if LEM-T has no vibrations issues, and if Android 7 is supported by EUC.World for a long time yet, the S999 not worth the few more bucks over LEM-T.

Edited by Zopper
updated with more information about the vibrations issue
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1 hour ago, Zopper said:

@Seba Can I somehow disable the GPS lock/loss notification in EUC.World? Not just the spoken announcement, but vibrations as well.

There are no vibrations when GPS is lost. For voice notification go to "Sound & Speech" and disable "GPS & BT status messages".

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11 hours ago, Seba said:

There are no vibrations when GPS is lost. For voice notification go to "Sound & Speech" and disable "GPS & BT status messages".

I've done some more experiments and it seems that the watch vibrates to plenty of things. For example, when downloading some offline maps, it vibrates every time the progress bar moves. Enabling/disabling a search for an EUC (the circle button next to logging) vibrates as well. OTH, the no-connection beep from EUCW does not vibrate. Does EUC.World emit any kind of notification on a GPS status change? Even if it is not apparent to the user? And I made sure that all alarms are disabled, so it can't come from this direction.

Unfortunately, in the watch settings, there is nothing to change about this - I can disable vibrations entirely, or enable them for absolutely everything. :(  It doesn't vibrate in a map application, so it's coming from EUCW, somehow.

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55 minutes ago, Zopper said:

Unfortunately, in the watch settings, there is nothing to change about this - I can disable vibrations entirely, or enable them for absolutely everything. :(  It doesn't vibrate in a map application, so it's coming from EUCW, somehow.

EUC World periodically updates notification that displays speed, distance etc. But this shouldn't cause phone to vibrate or beep, as notification priority is set to low. But it may be possible that this watch system is somehow modified, so vibrates on low priority notifications, or EUC World notification priority has been changed by the user or system.

https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/notifiers/notifications

1 hour ago, Zopper said:

Does EUC.World emit any kind of notification on a GPS status change?

The only notification of GPS status change is voice message that can be disabled.

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On 5/4/2021 at 9:50 AM, Seba said:

EUC World periodically updates notification that displays speed, distance etc. But this shouldn't cause phone to vibrate or beep, as notification priority is set to low. But it may be possible that this watch system is somehow modified, so vibrates on low priority notifications, or EUC World notification priority has been changed by the user or system.

You are right, it really looks like the watch is playing sounds and vibrating even on low priority notifications that should be silent. Sadly, I didn't find a way how to change it. (And I almost bricked it in the process. :D) If I find a way, I will post an update, but for now, I've decided to go with disabled vibrations and a small BT speaker to hear the warnings. Not what I wanted, but it's probably the best option now.

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  • Zopper changed the title to Smartwatch S999 review - a LEM-T alternative?

Hi there,

What was the price of this watch, and does it worth it, in your opinion, compare to other watch based on the various feedback?

About the notifications, have you tried with other EUC App?

 

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13 minutes ago, Camenbert said:

Hi there,

What was the price of this watch, and does it worth it, in your opinion, compare to other watch based on the various feedback?

About the notifications, have you tried with other EUC App?

 

I got them for about 130€ ($160) which was probably the lowest price I've seen on Ali at the moment. LEM-T can be found cheaper. And if LEM-T doesn't have that issue with vibrations for absolutely everything, it's definitely better than S999 if all you want to do with it is EUC.World.

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