Amazfit a company that brings unique and affordable fitness wearable in the market was able to do it again, by bringing an affordable fitness smartwatch with a good hardware and features.
The company name might not be that popular but its products are, in partnership with Xiaomi they were able to bring the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 a cheap fitness band loaded with cool fitness features, it is currently the best selling cheap smartband that cost less than $50 U.S dollars (as of this writing it cost $22 dollars at Gearbest.com)
And now this product of Amazfit that was released last quarter of 2016 is following the footstep of Xiaomi Mi Band 2, introducing the Amazfit Pace, a smartwatch that is GPS enabled with variety of fitness tracking options.
Design and Build
The Amazfit Pace is one of the smartwatches under $150 U.S dollar range that has a solid built, it has a beautiful look, classy and you can really see that is has an impressive design, solid look and premium feel. According to Amazfit, the Pace has a ceramic bezel, making it durable as well as giving it a good look. The circular shape, shiny smooth bezel and its premium watch band makes it very comfortable to wear.
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On the top upper side of the smartwatch, it has a small physical button that is sometimes hard to access, it works as a power/home button, most of the time you interact with it to activate the touch screen interface of the Pace. I score high on the design and build quality of the smartwatch, can’t say anything really negative on this part, except maybe on the small power button of the wearable that is sometimes hard to access.
When it comes to the display and resolution, it is somewhat hit and misses for the Pace. It has one of the most unique display screen for smartwatches, in these days where AMOLED and full color LCD display is the trend, Amazfit Pace uses a transflective display screen. This display provide several advantages like making a clear and readable display output both indoor and outdoors. It might not be that sharp compared to AMOLED display but still it provide a readable clear text and graphics.
Its a miss for the brightness of the smartwatch, it is sometimes dim and hard to read, in some situations. Sadly there is no option to adjust this issue as it is already set-up by default, you can only disable the backlight, or set it to auto mode, unlocked, always on or disabling the backlight. On a positive note, the display “Always On”, which shows a dim static display of the watch face in idle mode is a good feature, saving a lot of battery without turning off the screen.
Based on my experienced, I think the feature that disables the touch screen feature of the smartwatch when it is in idle mode is annoying, this gives a negative user experience, I hope there is an option to disable this or at least add a time delay for disabling the touch feature, anyways you have the option to set to “Tap on Wake” to activate the screen. Here is how it works, when you flip the watch, the screen’s backlight activates, double tap the screen to be able to use the touch features, its a good solution but I still hope there is a feature to totally disable the locked feature for the screen.
Hardware Specs and Features
Aside from its beautiful look, the Amazfit Pace has a good hardware, it might not be that impressive but it does the job pretty well. With its 1.2 Ghz processor and 512 MB of RAM, accessing its menus, swiping back and forth is smooth, with just some minor delay, I am not just sure whether it is due to the screen or memory issue. The 4 GB of storage ( 2 GB Only for MP3’s) let you store several Mp3 files, play and listen to it with your bluetooth earphone. According to Amazfit you can store up to hundreds MP3 songs to the smartwatch.
It also include a built-in GPS which track your location without the need to bring your smartphone, it works well in an open area, but mostly fails when you are indoors. The heart rate monitor works ok, it is able to monitor my heart rate with the result close to other smartwatches based on my test, it includes graphs and you can also have the option to monitor your heart rate continuously or not. The pedometer is also working good, so far close to my manual count which is good especially that most of the cheap smartwatches right now always fails in this area. Other additional fitness features include run, walk, run indoor, bike, bike indoor, trail run, and the recent update elliptical exercise. This feature is great especially for outdoor, sport enthusiast such as cyclist or runner.
The main menus (can be access by swiping to the right) are pedometer, heart rate monitor, weather which can be set in the support app. Music, Alarm, Compass and Stop Watch. Everything works ok as advertize, except for notifications that is poorly set-up. Sometimes you received it after several minutes, there are times it pop-ups, sometimes they don’t. Please take note that you can’t reply to the messages you receive, you can only ignore it or clear the notifications. The Sleep feature is in auto mode, no need to press the button to monitor your sleep, the Pace automatically detects and provide you the sleep stats when you wake-up.
The Amazfit Pace has a pretty solid features, it might not that sophisticated compared to Garmin or Fitbit but it does the job pretty well. Before I forget, the Amazfit Pace is IP67 water resistant but not waterproof, it has 480 mAh battery with a standby time of 5 days which is pretty good, thanks to its power saver screen.
With all the good looks and good fitness tracking features. It is just disappointing that Amazfit Pace don’t have a dedicated fitness app to record your history and progress. Instead it relies on Strava to see your stats, which in my experience is buggy especially when syncing with the Strava. Anyways Amazfit announced that they are planning to release a dedicated app to record your stats, so far if Strava will not work for you, hopefully when the dedicated app is available you can check the recorded stats activity on your smartwatch as well as the smartphone.
Connecting to the support app is a breeze no issues or errors that I encountered, sadly there are only few options available, an option to change your watch face, setting the apps to provide notifications, syncing with Strava as well as application sequencing and option to set from imperial to metrics. So far that’s it, no useful information about the activities that you can check on the support app, just settings and few personalization option for you smartwatch.
OverAll – can’t complain really on the overall performance of the smartwatch, the wearable offers much more based on its price, its look and features outweighs the negative part of the wearable. I think it could par with popular current smartwatches in the market. Its sport features is basic but just enough if you just want a simple options to track your activities.
But if you are a serious outdoor enthusiast and want more details for your activities, you might want to pick a more expensive smartwatch like that of Garmin or Fitbit. Hopefully firmware update, and additional support app could bring or fix the issues I already stated, if it is address right away, the Amazfit Pace will climb to the top, when it comes on the best affordable fitness smartwatch.
What We Like – Beautiful design, great battery life, built-in GPS, variety of fitness tracking options, great technical support and OTA update.
Misses – auto brightness, the button press to activate the screen is a annoying ( double tap is an alternative), no support app for mobile phone to see the activities, to sync and see the history.