Hands-on: Huami’s affordable Amazfit smartwatch, first look

After weeks of rumours, Xiaomi released earlier this month its Amazfit smartwatch. As is the case with all its wearables, the watch comes with a very low price tag. Particularly when you consider all the features that it offers.

The company rolled out a wearable for kids earlier this year, and has now followed it up with a version for adults. The watch is manufactured by Xiaomi’s ecosystem partner Huami, the same company that makes the Mi Band.

img_3910Amazfit arrives in minimalistic but smart packaging. In the box you will find the smartwatch, a proprietary USB charging cable and a little instruction booklet.

The watch itself beautifully made and feels very smart to the touch. It is just as stylish as the current offerings from Apple or Withings.

There is a single button in the top right-hand corner which you can use to power on the device. The button is not really visible, but you can feel it when you slide your finger along the edge. The strap is made of anti-sweat soft silicone that does not feel cheaply made.

The circular 1.34 inch screen boasts a decent, 320 x 200 resolution display. The ambient light sensor ensures the screen is clearly legible even in bright sunshine. The bezel of the device is made of ceramic, which makes it scratch resistant.

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In terms of performance, the watch has pretty good specs under the hood. It runs on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with half a gig RAM and 4GB of internal storage. A 280mAh battery powers the whole thing.

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Amazfit supports Bluetooth 4 LE, Wi-Fi, GPS, and AliPay (Alibaba mobile payments). This is the first smartwatch to include a 28nm GPS radio, which promises better energy efficiency and saves on battery life.

long-awaited-xiaomi-amazfit-smartwatch-with-gps-003In addition to sporting a pedometer to track your activity, the watch sports an optical heart-rate sensor for advanced fitness tracking. Flip the watch and you will see it in the back.

The built-in Lithium ion battery promises 35 hours of battery life with all functionality, including real-time GPS tracking enabled. While that may not sound like much, keep in mind that it is nearly double the Apple Watch’s claimed 18 hours. If you use it normally, running half an hour every day and with notifications active, it can reach 5 days. This goes up to 11 days if you use it just as a pedometer.

The Amazfit is certified IP67, making it resistant to dust and water, so don’t plan on going swimming with it.

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Being developed with Xiaomi’s help means the Amazfit watch works with the latest Xiaomi MiFit app for Android and iOS. At least, that is the plan. Right now the device only works with Android phones, with an iOS app soon to follow.

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It is worth noting that the English version of the software has not been released yet (although there are unofficial English versions to be found on the internet). To get everything working, you need to scan the QR code on the package or manual to download the Android app.

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Amazfit smartwatch
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The Amazfit smartwatch goes for a pre-sale price of around $145, and ships after October 2nd. If you are keen to get your hands on Xiaomi’s new smartwatch, you can purchase it outside of China on Gearbest.

We will be testing the watch thoroughly in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for our full review.

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