Review: Burg 16 smartwatch

66
9.0 Great smartwatch

The Burg 16 packs a lot of features and capabilities into a small, slim smartwatch. At under $200 it can also have its own SIM chip so it can make and receive calls and text messages without being paired to a smartphone.

  • 9.0
  • User Ratings (13 Votes) 4.7

A couple months ago I reviewed the Burg 12 smartwatch. It was a bit bulky and rough around the edges, but all-in-all the Burg 12 was a great smartwatch for the money. The Burg 16 is the next-generation evolution of the Burg 12—a more refined and polished version of a smartwatch that packs a lot of punch into a small, wrist-borne wearable gadget.

Design

The Burg 16 is significantly slimmer, but with less unique style than the Burg 12. The watch body is a simple square—1.54 inches per side with a 240 x 240 touchscreen display. It’s just over half an inch thick and weighs a mere 2.3 ounces. It is designed to be water resistant to a one-meter depth.

At the bottom of the left side is the only physical button on the device. This is the button you press when you want to wake the smartwatch up to see what time it is or access its many other functions. On the middle of the left side is a microUSB port for charging / syncing—no flaky metal door covering it like the Burg 12. The right side just has a small speaker.

Function

The Burg 16 runs on a proprietary OS. It can pair with either iOS or Android smartphones, but when it comes to apps you’re limited to whatever Burg has developed for the device. You probably won’t be disappointed, though, because there is a lot of functionality packed into this little device.

Obviously it has a standard watch option for telling time. There are 12 different watch faces included in an array of styles and colors. You can cycle through the watch face options with a short tap in the middle of the display. It also has a semi-obligatory alarm scheduling function.

Then things get interesting. The Burg 16 includes apps for calendar, calculator, file manager, audio player, FM radio, image viewer, video player, and sound recorder.

As mentioned above, it can be paired via Bluetooth 4.0 with an iOS or Android device. When paired it is able to make and receive calls through the paired device and make and receive text messages as well. It can also play music from the smartphone through the watch over Bluetooth.

Like the Burg 12, this smartwatch has a secret inside. It can also have its own SIM chip, enabling it to make and receive calls on its own without any smartphone pairing. In addition to the SIM chip slot, there’s also a microSD memory card slot inside the watch housing that allows you to add up to 16GB of additional storage.

My Experience

This smartwatch virtually defines versatility—and I’m not just talking about the features and functions mentioned above. Included in the box with the Burg 16 are two additional watchbands and watch faces in alternate colors, along with a tiny tool used to push the pin out of the way so you can swap the watchbands. It also has a microUSB charging / syncing cable, earbuds with a microphone that plug into the microUSB port, and a Bluetooth earbud with a tiny charger. Suffice it to say the Burg 16 comes ready to be and do just about anything.

It isn’t the “sexiest” smartwatch I’ve tested—that title still belongs to the Samsung Gear 2. It’s stylish enough, though, especially since I can quickly change it from black to blue to white with the different options included in the box. It’s definitely slimmer and lighter than the Burg 12, but still a tad thicker than some of the other smartwatches out there. When you consider all that Burg has squeezed in there, though, and the fact that it houses both a SIM card and a microSD memory card it’s actually almost miraculously thin. It’s comfortable to wear—which is really the most important factor.

The display is decent. It’s an OK size and has good color and brightness. The touchscreen sensitivity is pretty good as well. It takes a little practice to get used to tapping tiny options on the screen—especially with larger fingers—but once you get comfortable it’s pretty smooth. I wouldn’t recommend watching a movie on the Burg 16, but theoretically it could be done if you store the MP4 on the microSD memory card.

The FM radio uses the earbud wire as its antenna, so you have to connect the microUSB earbuds in order to activate the FM radio even if you’re actually listening to it over the Bluetooth earpiece. The reception was adequate, but not great. I don’t consider that a huge deal, though, because I can’t imagine really wanting or needing to listen to FM radio over my smartwatch.

You can’t have the Burg 16 paired with your iPhone or Android smartphone and also use a Bluetooth earpiece for phone conversations. It can only do one Bluetooth connection at a time. If you don’t want to engage in Dick Tracy style speakerphone conversations talking to your wrist you can use the microUSB earbuds / microphone that come with the Burg 16.

Battery life was impressive. I was able to go a couple days before charging, which is plenty of time in my opinion. I don’t wear the device to bed so I actually just make a habit of charging the smartwatch every night while I’m sleeping.

The Verdict

The Burg 16 is a smartwatch that has just about every feature except a kitchen sink, and it comes with a box that includes just about every accessory except a kitchen sink. At under $200 it provides a lot of bang for the buck.

It’s got less potential than an Android Wear device or Apple Watch because its proprietary OS limits the apps that can run on it, and it doesn’t have any of the health / fitness features built in. It won’t count your steps or monitor your pulse.

It is a comfortable, relatively stylish device, though, and the price is very reasonable.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 rabbits, 2 ferrets, a pot-bellied pig, and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

66 Comments

    • Agreed. The good news is that I am fairly sure these are just standard watchbands. That means you can go to Amazon or wherever and buy a stainless steel band for $20 and transform the watch to fit your needs.

  1. When you say it has no health/fitness features built in, does that mean it lacks the hardware needed, or would an app be able to add those capabilities?

  2. Benjamin Fasel on

    I’m wondering how the earbuds work with this? I think it would be pretty annoying having a cord attached from your ears to your wrist. I’d love to be proven wrong, though.

  3. I_know_a_thing_or_two on

    The Burg 16 sounds like a pretty nice watch, but I’d rather they omit the cellular and FM radios to make it smaller/thinner/cheaper. At $200, they aren’t competing on price and yet their feature set is weakened by the proprietary OS. Dropping those features means they could compete on price or be more competitive anyway.

  4. Michael Johnson on

    I am very intrigued by the watch’s ability to make/receive phone calls on its own. Very versatile!

  5. If we could get more smartwatch manufacturers to pay attention to the aesthetics and improve on that aspect too, they would see much greater success in sales. Too many of these look clunky and out of place on your wrist. That’s not to say I wouldn’t try this one if it were given to me. 😉

  6. Brian Carabine on

    A watch like this is the ideal companion to a smart phone and allows one to utilize the phone to the maximum. It appears to be an function addition to one digital life.

  7. The battery life is the main problem with all smart watches. If this one last two days that better than all the other ones.

  8. If it is a smaller footprint maybe it could be worn by a woman. It is good that it can pair with os. Thats what I have. Would love to have one that I can wear.

  9. Love the idea of an SD card slot. Load it up with tunes or podcasts, pair with Bluetooth earbuds and go for a run without your phone. Or swap in the phone sim too. Nice!

  10. A SIM chip slot and a microSD in a good looking watch sounds almost too good to be true. Finally something on our wrists that’s not a toy!

  11. My son is always running late, as he hasn’t worn a watch in years. He doesn’t care for the standard watches we’ve shopped for in the past, this would be great. He loves his devices though. He can do without the kitchen sink, it’s the watch I want for him. No more excuses when it is on his wrist. 🙂 Would love for him to give this watch a fair try.

  12. Christopher Wunker on

    I like the SIM card capability. I think it really opens up the possibilities.

  13. It seems like people are using FM radio less and less these days, at least outside the car. But I still find it useful when I’m in a location where the internet isn’t available. And there are even some sports and entertainment venues that broadcast their own FM signals onsite. This can be great for noisy events and/or for those who are hard of hearing. I love that my Note 4 is FM capable, but it seems like there aren’t too many phones that have this capability these days. Having it on a watch could help people juggle fewer items in their crowded seats.

  14. Watch looks nice and functional. The question is, does the manufacturer have legs? If they fold, this is an orphaned device without any support.

  15. I like the look of this watch better than the Samsung. It looks stylish and yet has great function. I would also love the radio part. I find it attractive and nerdy enough to satisfy my inner geek.

  16. Deni Tigner-Anderson on

    I didn’t know this brand exisisted but I am now interested in checking them out. Nice review!

  17. I like the versatility with the different options and like the style. Not sure about the proprietary OS/apps – could be limiting, but sounds like they are off to a good start with apps. Like the battery life – multiple days is key.

  18. John Stolarz on

    The only thing that would drive me crazy is that my phone is currently synced to my car when I am in it. Since Bluetooth can only sync to one device will it get confused between the watch and the car. Will i have to constanly un-sync one and then sync the other.

  19. John Sullivan on

    Sounds pretty decent. The battery life sounds a little iffy but then most smartwatches do. Surprising number of features.

  20. Brian Whittam on

    Sounds good. I like that it can operate as a stand-alone watch/phone. Would make a nice compliment to my Gear 2 Neo.

  21. I’m one of the few people I know who actually still wear a watch. While the Apple iWatch would be overkill this seems more reasonable. I’m still not completely comfortable with the potential privacy issues related to devices like this but given the cost as compared to a high end watch it might be worth a look.

  22. With each new update, these watches look more and more like something people would normally wear. I like the look of the Burg 16. The functionality is also a plus.

  23. I love my Galaxy Gear I got when it first came out, however this could sway me to try a different one.

  24. Style is very important when it comes to smartwatches since a watch is a fashion accessory and this one looks very good

  25. Nice review. Even though the OS is proprietary, I’m glad it will pair with Android and iOS.

  26. Pairing with both iOS & Android is a must. Not keen on it being over .5″ think; but, I like the look in the lone pic provided.

  27. Different bands adds to the value of this watch. An FM radio seems silly. I would be willing to give it a shot.

  28. Arnold Knack on

    The watch looks like it would be easy to use despite the high tech features and fun.

  29. marksmith66 . on

    Used to own a fitbit. Lost it due to crappy band. This would be an awesome replacement.

  30. It seems like a nice comfortable watch, and not something that would stand out, or be an eyesore like others I have seen. Also, I really want to see what this whole smart watch craze is about and like, without having to shell out big bucks to say find out it sucks or I hate it.

  31. Sean Flanagan on

    Very stylish smartwatch. I am curious how much use the sim card slot will actually get.

  32. The main thing I don’t like about this watch is that it is not on my wrist. Maybe y’all will do something about that.

  33. The Burg16 seem like a fairly highe end device. I like the normal size and high content. I’ not sure I’d be looking for phone funtion on a watch, in that my phone is nearly a tablet now and I dont see leaving it behind for a watch with tiny screen space. The ‘Dick Tracy’ image was excellent, but nearly every user will opt for the BT earpiece, and then stay with the phone for its screen and storage.
    All that said, it is still a killer piece of wrist tech that I’d love to try out to seee just how much function I’d wring out of it on a day-to-day basis. Interesting!

  34. Al del Rosario on

    I seem to miss calls/texts/etc. when my phone is in my pocket or not on my body. A smart watch might help

  35. Andrew Brandt on

    This one looks so much nicer than the cheap-as-anything Chinese phone watches I bought last year. Those ones looked like the old fashioned calculator watches — and the watch part was actually nonfunctional out of the box, if you can believe it. this looks like an actual timepiece.

  36. I have other means than a smartwatch to determine if I have a heartbeat 🙂 The described functionality of the Burg seems interesting and I would value a chance to explore it.

  37. want2bawinner on

    It would be fun to try out this Burg smartwatch. Interesting that it has it’s own OS. I guess that is why it is compatible with Android and Apple.

  38. Would like to try out a smart watch before dropping $$$ on an iWatch or something similar.

  39. I’d really appreciate the ability to listen to fm radio. I’ve only found that feature on lower-end cell phones, so having a radio on my wrist would be helpful.

  40. Rhonda Callow on

    I don’t like that it doesn’t have any built-in fitness features, but I do like the price and it looks great!

  41. William Howard on

    I want this particular smartwatch because it has it’s own sim card and space for a micro sd card. In it to win it.

  42. chris greene on

    Proprietary software stinks but days worth of battery life is a big bonus versus 18 hours (shameful Apple).

  43. Will this work with Iphone6/7 as it does not seem to bluetooth to them. Any suggestions?

  44. hi there, i need information where i can get replacement for my burg 15 smartphone watch