CMF Watch Pro 2: A Surprisingly Good Cheap Smartwatch

There are good homages and not-so-good homages. The CMF Watch Pro 2 falls into the good category, which is excellent news because the first CMF Watch Pro was a bit of a miss. Let me explain why I’m happy with the design of this new, affordable smartwatch and why a cheap smartwatch from a brand you’ve probably never heard of deserves your attention.

Never heard of CMF? It’s a safe bet that not everyone is familiar with the CMF brand, but you’ve likely heard of its parent company. CMF is a sub-brand of Nothing, the flashy phone maker (you might have noticed the “CMF by Nothing” branding on the smartwatch’s bezel). It’s been flying under the radar with some affordable earbuds and mobile accessories, but with the release of the CMF Watch Pro 2 and the CMF Phone 1, that’s all about to change. Together, they might be the most exciting mobile device pairing of the year.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and we’ll get to why CMF’s new phone and smartwatch are so tempting later. First, it’s crucial to understand why the smartwatch is far more intriguing than you might initially think.

The CMF Watch Pro 2’s chunky round case and crown placement at the 2 o’clock position immediately evoke Swatch’s streetwear-inspired Big Bold series, and it’s a smart move on CMF’s part. The brand targets the same audience as Swatch, and this design is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. Whether it’s a genuine homage or not is debatable, but I prefer it to the first CMF Watch Pro model, which had a square body clearly inspired by the Apple Watch. We all know the Apple Watch exists and is incredibly popular, but mimicking it feels lazy and lacks creativity. Thankfully, the CMF Watch Pro 2 is far from lacking creativity.

Like the Xiaomi Watch S3, the CMF Watch Pro 2’s bezel can be twisted off and replaced with another in a different finish to match a new strap, which can be easily swapped out. Currently, you can choose from two leather straps in blue or orange or two sportier silicone straps in light green or blue. Changing the strap makes the biggest difference to the look, but the bezel is a nice bonus.

While Swatch watches are known for being made of plastic, the CMF Watch Pro 2 boasts an aluminum body and frame, and the bezel is also metal. The good news is it’s lightweight on your wrist, but the aluminum and metal don’t feel drastically different from plastic here, so don’t expect it to make a high-end statement. Plus, the case back is plastic, which makes it feel a bit sweaty when it’s hot or you’re exercising.

The CMF Watch Pro 2 packs many features you’d expect from more expensive smartwatches. You rotate the functional crown to navigate menus, it has a microphone and speaker for Bluetooth calls, and it includes built-in GPS. The AMOLED screen is modestly sized at 1.32 inches, but its 466 x 466 resolution ensures it’s crystal clear. However, the automatic brightness adjustment isn’t very effective, and it was often too dim to see in sunlight until I manually increased the brightness. The back houses a heart rate sensor that monitors blood oxygen levels. The watch also tracks exercise, stress, sleep, and menstrual cycles. It promises automatic workout tracking for walking, running, and cycling, and the app connects with Apple Health, Google’s Health Connect, and Strava.

That’s right, the CMF Watch Pro 2 is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones. The CMF Watch app adheres to Nothing’s familiar pixel-art, minimalist design style, with large, clear blocks showcasing all the information you need at a glance. Starting a workout on the watch is simple, and the results from a 40-minute outdoor walk closely matched the data collected by my Oura Ring, although the CMF Watch Pro 2 did estimate a slightly higher average heart rate. I’m using the watch ahead of its release, so it’s too early to assess accuracy definitively. I’ve also noticed smoother scrolling when using the touchscreen compared to the rotating crown, which might improve with a software update.

I like the design and customization options of the CMF Watch Pro 2 and appreciate the use of metal over plastic, even if it doesn’t feel as high-quality as I expected. The same goes for the leather straps, which might look the part but aren’t as supple and comfortable as other options. The screen looks good, but the ambient light sensor isn’t calibrated correctly at the moment. And while the rotating bezel has a satisfying action and haptic feedback, it translates to a somewhat jerky on-screen animation. The CMF Watch Pro 2 is a bit of a mixed bag, but it still does everything you’d expect from a pricier smartwatch, including offering desirable features like Bluetooth calls and GPS.

But here’s the kicker – the CMF Watch Pro 2 isn’t an expensive smartwatch, it’s incredibly affordable. It costs just 69 British pounds, or about $88. For the price, it represents astounding value, and the minor flaws are simply not a big deal. I’ve been using the CMF Watch Pro 2 paired with the CMF Phone 1, the brand’s first smartphone, and you can buy the two together for just 280 pounds (or about $358). That’s a smartphone and a smartwatch for less than the price of the Samsung Galaxy A35 on its own, and the best part is, you aren’t compromising much at all. The CMF Phone 1 is a fantastic bargain, and while I don’t think the CMF Watch Pro 2 can quite claim the same title for smartwatches, it certainly won’t leave you disappointed.

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