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Start Gear & Galleries 2D Objects Need a new Display? Smartwatches become suitable for daily use!

Need a new Display? Smartwatches become suitable for daily use!

Smartwatches get more and more powerful and meanwhile prove usefulness not only for nerds. Beside the popular models from Samsung, Apple, Huawei et al you can find Chinese gadgets that cost only a fraction and provide even more power and features. Here we take a closer look to the LEMFO LEM5 - enriched with some useful tips.

If you look at the main specs, this little gem looks really impressive:

  • 1.39" OLED round display 400*400 in resolution
  • MT6580 quad core processor, 1.3 GH
  • RAM 1GB + 8GB flash memory (~6GB available)
  • OS Android 5.1
  • GPS / WiFi / Bluetooth 4.0
  • Cellular phone: 2G: GSM 850 900 1900 2100 MHz / 3G: WCDMA 850 1900 2100 MHz
  • 50+ styles of clock faces
  • Heart rate monitor, pedometer and sedentary reminder
  • 450 mAh battery

LEMFO LEM5 - available colors

The LEM 5 goes with a classic look with a stainless steel body, leather strap and three physical buttons on the side. It is rated IP55 water proof but not suitable for swimming / diving. It uses Android 5.1 as operating system and a set of preinstalled watch apps like calendar, browser, music player, alarm, sound recorder and several sports & health programs. You can install further watch apps from an app store. In contrast to smartwatches with Android Wear, you can install almost any app you find in Google's Play Store but not all are suitable to be used on such a tiny display. The downside may be that you can not use apps specifically developed for Android Wear but for me the flexibility and openness of Android OS counts more.

What makes this watch special is, that it can be used independently without the need of your smartphone. It features a nano SIM slot compatible with GSM and WCDMA network. You can still receive push notifications from your smartphone via Bluetooth. Although jam-packed with features, it is only 12mm thick - similar to other currently popular smartwatches that do not provide a SIM card slot.

Battery lasts about 2 days in normal usage and up to 100 hours in standby - but you can also drain it down within 2 hours of heavy usage ;-)
The OLED display provides extremely high contrast and rich colors but in contrast to LCD displays nothing is visible if the display is switched off.

Some Tips and Recommendations

  • You can select also German as menu language but in my case the software update to the latest release could only be applied with language set to english
  • You can switch the display of legacy apps between "full screen" and zoomed mode. In case you use apps with controls outside the circular crop, the zoom mode scales down the app window to fit inside the round watch face.
  • The watch provides a "clean-up" function that cleans leavings of previously used apps from memory. If an app does not recognize the switch between full screen and zoom mode, the clean-up function may help here
  • You can load and install Android apps through Android Play Store but I recommend to look first into the watch app store if there are special versions available for that watch. You find watch apps like Skype, Chrome browser, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube client etc there.
  • As mail client I found BlueMail better suited to the watch display than the GMail app
  • As offline navigation app, I found "Scout" (formerly "Skobbler", based on open street maps) quite useful. Maps can be downloaded free for one country, further maps can be purchased for very fair fees. The map of Germany requires approx 900 MB storage. You can find the app as "GPS navigation & maps" on Play Store or simply search for Scout or Skobbler.

Scout app (formerly "Skobbler") in play map mode

Scout app with voice guided turn-by-turn navigation

You can enable a PIN-based security screen to limit access to the watch but it also protects the standard watch face. I can not imagine that you would like to enter the PIN every time you want to know the current time... So you should consider using a particular user account (with disabled payment function) when using Google apps from the Play Store. This may protect you from larger financial loss in case the watch gets stolen or lost.

After reading about all these features, you may think the "LEM5" must be quite expensive - but you will be surprised:
On some chinese stores you can sometimes find deals for about 110$ (+ import taxes and customs outside China).

Product page on AliExpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/LEMFO-LEM5-Android-5-1-MTK6580-1GB-8GB-Smart-Watch-Phone/32752580321.html