In a sea of budget smartwatches, Fire-Boltt’s Phoenix Ultra stands out. This is mainly because of two factors — its price and design. The smartwatch is currently available in India at Rs. 2,199 makes it one of the most affordable smartwatches to sport a classic watch design and metal body, which feels familiar and appears more like a traditional timepiece than a smartwatch. I was a bit excited to see how it was possible to deliver such a device at this price point, but after a couple of weeks of use, I think know how it pulled it off.
Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra price, design and specifications
The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra is currently available in single option which is officially priced at Rs. 2,999, but can be purchased for as low as Rs. 2,199 from online retailers. Fire-Boltt provides the smartwatch with a silicon strap, an extra magnetic metal loop strap, and a two-pin magnetic charger in the box.
The smartwatch is available in three case finishes – steel, black and gold. These finishes come with various strap combinations in the box. I received the steel finished case with a magnetic blue metal strap and soft grey silicone strap.
At a glance, the steel finish of the 44mm case sure looks classy and very similar to traditional timepieces. For an entry-level smartwatch, the finish of this metal case is surprisingly good and devoid of any sharp or rough edges. The back of the case is made of plastic with the sensor laid out dead-centre and the metal charging contacts closer to the edge above it. The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra weighs 55g without the strap and also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.
The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra with both metal and silicon straps is quite comfortable and does not feel heavy. The 22mm silicone strap has a quick release mechanism for attaching itself to the case. The metal loop strap has a strong magnet to hold the watch in place. During the review period, the watch never came undone no matter which strap I used.
The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra has a rather basic 1.39 inches LCD display with a resolution of 240 × 240 pixels and a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It is surrounded by some really chunky bezels and the display in my unit seemed misaligned as the bottom bezel was a lot thicker than the rest.
The smartwatch has only one button and pressing it either wakes the display and shows the watch face or turns the display off. If you are in any other menu or app in the watch interface, pressing the button gets you back to the watch face directly.
Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra software and performance
The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra offers a very basic software interface. While it lacks any support for third-party apps, even the basics aren’t covered here. For example, there’s no way to set the display timeout on the watch, which is set to five seconds by default. There’s no basic calculator app either. I could not even check the charging status of the watch.
The Fire-Boltt Phoenix Ultra needs to be disconnected from the charger in order to view the watch face, which is the only place that displays the battery status. Setting an alarm, timer or stopwatch requires one to enter the settings menu, which is a layer down from the main menu.
Navigating this simple software interface is quite easy using swipe gestures, which is why the usefulness of the crown is reduced to simply powering the display on or off as the flick-to-wake gesture also works just fine.
Moving to the companion app, it’s as basic as the smartwatch’s UI and is available for both iOS and Android smartphones. The Da Fit app has three main sections — Today, device settings and My (which is basically the user’s profile). Setting up the app using an Android smartphone was a fairly easy experience, its just that you have to keep the app locked in the phone’s Recents menu to keep receiving notifications on the watch.