Zeblaze THOR 5 review: 4G smartphone and fitness smart band combined
3.4 (68%) 5 votes
Zeblaze announced recently the world’s first Dual System Smartwatch, but to be honest it’s a bad marketting name to use as there are many smartphones that have dual mode operation (as mentioned). What Zeblaze should have stated is that this THOR 5 smartwatch is the world’s first Dual Processor Smartwatch. Dual System wearables combine smartwatch and smart band advantages, without leaving something out. A Dual Processor wearable uses a different SoC for each mode, being customised exactly for each function. We were just curious to see what’s new on this futuristic tech, and we were simply amazed.
3G smartwatches started a trend in the wearables a couple of years ago. Up to then, smartwatches were being synced with a smartphone to record fitness or health data while passing over notifications, music control e.t.c. However 3G connectivity upped the game with the ability to include a nano SIMin the smartwatch, thus turning it to a standalone smartphone-watch. People liked the concept of not having to carry their flagship smartphones during their training, outdoor activities or even places where carrying an expensive smartphone is risky.
Zeblaze is a Chinese company founded in 2014 in Shenzhen, China. Its expertise is smartwatch development and production. In the past 5 years the company has managed to join the smartwatch industry leaders by having exceptional best-sellers with outstanding quality and competitive pricing. Their latest development is THOR 5. This smartphone is an update to the company’s portfolio in every possible way. It has a world’s- first achievement by being the first wearable with two processors. The later offers two self-contained modes of operations.
- Smart Watch Mode utilizes a MediaTek SoC to provide an excellent 4G smartwatch mode, where the watch can be used with or without a smartphone synced in.
- Smart Wristband Mode utilizes an energy efficient Nordic processor thus turning the wearable into a fitness/health smart band with up to four days of usage.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Specifications
- Dial material: Case Material – Zinc alloy, Strap Material – Silicone
- Dimensions: 54 X 50 X 15.2 mm, Weight: 67g
- Display: 1.39 inch AMOLED (454 X 454 pixels)
- Chipset: MTK6739 1.25Ghz, Quad CoreNordic 52840
- Memory: RAM – 2GB, ROM: 16GB
- Operating Mode: Capacitive Multi-touch
- GPS: GPS/GLONASS/Beidou
- Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 4.0
- WiFi: Dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) single stream 802.11a/b/g/n, MAC/BB/RF802.11d/h/k compliant
- SIM Card Slot: Single SIM (Nano-SIM)
- Network Frequency:
GSM: 850(B5) / 900(B8) / 1800(B3) / 1900(B2)
WCDMA: 850(B5) / 900(B8) / 1900(B2) / 2100(B1)
4G FDD: 2100(B1) / 1900(B2) / 1800(B3) / 850(B5) / 2600(B7) / 900(B8) / B12 / 800(B20),
TDS-CDMA: B34 / B49, TDD: B38 / B39 / B40 / B41
- Sensors: Heart-rate Sensors, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer
- Camera: 8.0 MP Front Cameraport
- Battery: 545 mAh
Standby Time (Watch Phone Mode): About 1 days
Standby Time (Smart Wristband Mode): About 4 days
Charging: About 3 hours of magnetic charging
- Operating System: Android 7.1.1 – APP Name: Willwatch 2
- Compatible OS: Android 4.4 or above , iOS 9.0 or above
- App Language: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French,German, Italian, Русский, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
- Watch Language: English, Português(Brasil), Português(Portuguesa), Русский, Español, Italiano, Français, Polski, Bahasa Indonesian, Deutsch, Tiếng Việt, Türkçe, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Bengali, Thai, Burmese, Korean, Japanese
- Color: Black, Blue
- Special Features: Phonebook, Heart Rate Monitor, Pedometer, Call or Message Reminder, Voice Search, Offline Music, Weather, Clock faces & Notifications, Browser, Auto Light-up Screen, Stopwatch, E-book, OTA Upgrade, Google Play, Alert Type, Ring, Vibration
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Retail Package
THOR 5 arrives in a tasteful black case of hardened paper. Inside you will find the typical contents of a modern smartwatch.
- 1 x Zeblaze THOR 5 Smartwatch
- 1 x USB Charger Cable
- 1 x Screw Driver
- 1 x User Manual
User manual is in English. It is very helpful, as it provides details and icons suitable also, for a novice smartwatch user. There is no charger in the retail package. You will have to use your smartphone’s 5V charger or a power bank.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – External Characteristics
The case of the smartwatch is made from a zink alloy – in back color. The watch looks and feels as a rugged sport watch. Its size is big and I guess it’s suitable only for men’s hands. It is a bit heavy but not as much as to be an inconvenience. I tried it for a week, typing for more than 8 hours a day without any issues. It is a matter of time until you’ll forget it is strapped in your hand. The excellent wide strap, made out of silicon has a strong grip around the wrist, and THOR 5 is not dangling around. The feel is smooth on the skin, both for the strap and the interior of the smartwatch.
The big round AMOLED screen is protected by a rim a millimeter over its surface. In the left side we can see two wide buttons, one used as On/Off/Menu and one as a – very very helpful – Back button. On the right side there’s a selfie-camera protruding, designed for some Skype calls if you like the whole thing. The microphone is a small hole in the side of the camera module.
On the back of the smartwatch you can see the heart rate sensor, the pogo pins for the charger cable and the single SIM tray.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Characteristics
As we mentioned earlier, this is the world’s first Dual Processor smartwatch. A Mediatek MTK 6739 quad-core SoC is the workhorse behind the smartwatch mode (Smart Watch Mode). The MT6739 is a cost-effective, yet highly modern featured smartphone SoC that delivers a great Android experience and the potential of beautiful, large display phone designs to value-driven markets. Yes, this is a smartphone SoC! Combined within the MT6739 is a highly efficient 64-bit quad core, ARM Cortex-A53 CPU that operates up to a frequency of 1.5GHz.
A Nordic 52840 SoC is used for the smart band mode (Smart Wristband Mode). The nRF52840 is built around the 32-bit ARM® Cortex™-M4 CPU with floating point unit running at 64 MHz. Exceptionally low energy consumption is achieved using a sophisticated on-chip adaptive power management system. The nRF52840 is fully multiprotocol capable with full protocol concurrency. It has protocol support for Bluetooth 5 and 2.4 GHz proprietary stacks. It offers generous memory availability for both Flash and RAM, which are prerequisites for such demanding applications.
The 1.39’’ round AMOLED display has a resolution of 454X454 pixels. It is very bright and clear providing an excellent visual experience. From setting up the phone, adding WiFi password, the user can observe firsthand the touch effect of this display. Each letter is selected without errors, an amazing sensitivity, missing from most of the smartphones/smartphones in the market today. The display has a variety of customized dials. The user can personalize the device even more either by downloading new dials or adding a picture of his choice to an existing dial.
Having a smartphone SoC and a smartphone display, Zeblaze provides THOR 5 with a smartphone internal memory. There are 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM! Not only can you multitask (quite easily I might add) but you can also play games or see a movie in YouTube! The ROM is enough to keep your favorite MP3 tracks in, in case you don’t want to carry your smartphone around or connect to a cell network. Yes, you have a standalone offline media player here!
Are you amazed? I am not finished yet! The most amazing part of this smartphone smartwatch is the 8MP selfie-cam. 8MP selfie-cam! You can take pictures of your friends or… you can make a video call (via Skype), right out of your wrist.
Video calls and streaming and much more like proper phone calls, are able due to THOR 5 4G LTE connection, using the intern SIM tray. This wearable supports 22 global bands! Yes you can call and accept call in your wrist!
THOR 5 supports WiFi in case you are home or in the office. 4G or WiFi connection is used to update the device using OTA updates from Zeblaze! Google Play is always synced with your email account to download any application you need like Spotify, a 3rd-party Maps, Gmail, games etc.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Tracker
Don’t forget that this Zeblaze smartwatch is also a fitness band, with full support of all kinds of tracking with a wide array for sensors. It supports GPS, GLONASS, Beidou precision tracking for your athletic activities plus any kind if map navigation either from Google Maps or other similar application. As mentioned earlier, in the back of the phone there is the heart rate sensor.
It works both in real-time or by providing rates in sport activity analysis. Other from the GPS tracker and Heart-rate monitor, the user can find the typical information applications: Step counter, Calories Counter and Speed and Cadence Monitor. The package is boosted by standalone applications for various sport activities like cycling or basketball. By turning into Smart Wristband Mode the user can take advantage the low power consumption and record his sport / outdoor activities for up to four days without carrying around a power-bank.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Software
THOR 5 runs on Android 7.1.1 and not Android 5 found in most smartwatches today. Since it is not Wear OS it has a lot of advantages. Right from start, setting up the smartwatch, a QR code is provided in the AMOLED display. Scanning that with your smartphone and you can download and install WiiWatch 2 app. Note however that this is not the best of applications – it is very basic – but works properly. From there you can sync your smartphone to THOR 5.
Attention must be given:
- To add the smartwatch in the paired devices accepting all permissions
- To keep the app always on so syncing is done smoothly without interruptions.
In WiiWatch you can set your age, sex, height and weight as to have proper tracking and correct results. You can set also the Notifications being sent to the smartwatch. You cannot reply to them from the device, you need to do that from your phone. From the app you can alter various settings, send files up to 50MB and lookup for the device. THOR 5 makes a loud ring as for you to be able to find it in house, car etc.
Android provides Google Play as mentioned. You can use any application possible having the display size as the only limitation. From the smartwatch you can decide on a rounded or square display of all applications. The former setup has a larger font but the sides are lost under the display. The latter is fully visible but the font is too small to use without eye strain. Voice search (yes that too) is usable though Google Assistant.
Navigation is easy not only by the amazingly sensitive display but from adding a second back-button. In the main dial (that can be customized as per user needs) there are 4 main “screens”.
- Sliding-Down we can see the 5-part main operations screen. There are:
- Main control – shortcut screen with time, date, battery, Bluetooth Connection Switch, airplane mode and QC code provider.
- Switches for: Hand Bright Screen, Quiet Mode, Bluetooth, Brightness, Location, and Data.
- Clean cache memory
- Local Music Player
- Weather Display
- Sliding-Right we can see the Notifications
- Sliding- Up we see the tracking screens. The first screen has the daily distance walked, calories burned and steps walked. Second screen has the week average for the steps / km in two different graphs. Clicking on settings of this page the user can insert daily targets for: Distance, Calories, Steps. A fourth setting can apply ass the user’s Age, Height, Sex, Walk Target.
- Sliding-Left brings the full menu of this smartwatch: Contacts, Phone, Messaging, Settings, Browser, Downloads, Calendar, Clock, Camera, Gallery, Music, Sound Recorder, File Manager, Heart Rate Monotor, Fitness, Weather, Voice Search, Play Store, Maps, Assistand, Sports Target, Long Standby, App Store.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Battery Life
What is left? Battery life! As advertised it has a full day of battery life at the smartwatch mode. Battery life goes up to four days in smartband mode but there are some limitations. There is no touch screen or multiple dials and applications. It’s only usage is tracking: steps, distance, hourly activity, active minutes and calories burned.
Zeblaze THOR 5 – Conclussion
The whole experience is immersive. Either connected to a 4G network, a WiFi router or simply carrying it offline (without SIM), Zeblaze’s THOR 5 provides the best that smartwatches and smartbands can offer. I only wish its battery life was a bit better though…