Amazfit Cor is Huami’s latest addition to its line of affordable activity trackers. The Fitbit competitor is a device that ticks most boxes when it comes to basic 24/7 activity tracking. What makes this one stand out from the crowd is its sturdiness, great water resistance rating and long battery life, features that are usually the preserve of more pricey fitness bands and smartwatches.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
While the Amazfit Cor has been available in Asia since the end of last year, the company has only recently announced its international availability. You can pick it up on amazfit.com for $79 and Amazon (check price).
I’ve been testing the tracker over the past couple of weeks to see how it stacks up against the competition. This is what I made of it.
Amazfit Cor comes across as a blend between Microsoft’s discontinued Band and Fitbit Charge 2. All in all, a pretty decent looking device. Despite weighing only 32 grams, Cor feels very robust when worn and has obviously been built to last.
The device comes in various colours and has a very bright and sharp, 1.23 inch IPS LCD screen. Protected with scratch-resistant 2.5D Corning gorilla glass, the display is off by default but springs to life when you lift your wrist or tap lightly along the bottom edge. Visibility is pretty good both indoors and out as is the screen responsiveness.
When creating Cor, Huami was looking to build a wristband for people who are in the elements, work demanding jobs or regularly come into contact with dirt and water. Which is why it seems a bit odd that the company opted for a modern buckle with a pop stud and small loop rather than a standard watch buckle. In my view, a classic buckle would have been the better of the two options. For the most part the tracker did feel securely fastened, but in the few weeks of testing I did have one occasion where the fitness band fell off.
Nevertheless, the industrial design of the wearable means you can wear the tracker not only when exercising, but also in demanding environments when not exercising and all weather elements. The Cor’s internals come enclosed in premium materials such as the marine-grade, 316L stainless steel housing. To that end, the fitness tracker is also ensured against complete submersion in water for swim and underwater activities down to 50 meters.
Still, Cor has a lot more going for it that the sturdy design and large screen.
The device offers comprehensive fitness tracking thanks to its 3-axis accelerometer and optical heart rate sensor (PPG). The combination of the two allows it to track a wide range of metrics although its worth noting there is no altimeter or built-in GPS. The heart rate measurements are continuous, but you can also trigger on-demand readings.
In terms of battery life, the 170 mAh lithium polymer battery will offer more than 12 days of regular use which is actually quite impressive. Especially when you factor in the continuous heart rate tracking and full colour display. I only needed to top-up once in the time I tested the product. When recharging, the proprietary cable slots into a USB port on one end, and attaches via small magnets to the fitness band on the other.
Cor offers users a wide gamut of activities that can be tracked. It keeps tabs on your heart rate (current and continuous), daily stats (steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, sedentary time), sleep, exercise and it will dish out optional movement reminders.
For the average person interested in monitoring their fitness 24/7, the band covers pretty much everything they need. Its not super-sophisticated but it does the job well and works seamlessly. Probably the only thing that is missing is an altimeter for counting floors, but this shouldn’t make too much of a difference to most.
By default, the rectangular screen shows the current time and date, along with a bright yellow circle which fills as you approach your daily step goal. Tapping along the bottom of the screen or lifting your wrist wakes up the tracker, while swiping up takes you through the various functions. This includes status which shows your daily activity stats, notifications, exercise and a number of auxiliary functions.
As mentioned, Cor also monitors your exercise. This includes running, walking, biking and swimming. The exercise screen provides the time, calories burned, current heart rate and heart rate zone information. A long press along the bottom of the screen pauses the activity, and you then have the option of ending or resuming your exercise. When you end your activity, the tracker will also show your HRmean and HRmax values.
More detailed stats can be found in the accompanying smartphone app. The tracker works in conjunction with MiFit, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android. Once you open the app, the Bluetooth pairing is instant and automatic. It takes about 30 seconds for the data to sync.
The software is a pretty comprehensive, its clean and polished and provides lots of options for delving deep into your statistics. Data junkies should feel right at home. The app also plays nice with Apple Health and Google Fit so you can tie the steps and sleep info with other activities.
To start off there is a daily summary screen. Tapping on pretty much any metric will take you through further screens which group your data by date, week, month. The app is well laid out and does a decent job in displaying your activity.
But stats on their own have limited use. This is why the app will dish out coaching advice and tips. It will look at your trends and pick out interesting bits of info to flag up. There are also comparisons to users of the same age and gender. This is particularly useful as it gives you an idea of areas where you could concentrate your efforts to improve.
For sleep, you’ll get info on deep sleep, light sleep, awake time, along with an overall daily sleep score. Furthermore, the software will provide you with quality analysis such as “You fell asleep late”, “Deep sleep time is too short”, etc. These are all useful tips if you take the time to read and digest them.
Perhaps what surprised me the most was the quality of data. Throughout my testing, I wore the rather pricey Garmin Forerunner 935 on my left wrist, and Cor on my right wrist. Most days, the step count difference was less than 100. At most it climbed to around 200. In terms of the resting heart rate, Cor averaged me out at 55 beats per minute versus the 51 on Forerunner. Sleep data was the only bit of the equation that was a bit off – but this is not surprising considering the difficulty in tracking sleep precisely from the wrist.
What perhaps surprised me most was how well the heart rate monitor performed during exercise. I logged two runs and while the maximum heart rate was slightly different, the average heart rates were exactly the same on both occasions. The minus with the Cor is that it doesn’t have built-in GPS so you don’t get detailed maps of your routes. But that’s probably to be expected considering the price.
There is also little in terms of community or competitive elements that you’ll find in some other apps. You do have the ability to add friends and view their activity and sleep info, but that’s pretty much where it ends.
In terms of non-fitness features, like most connected fitness trackers Cor provides access to calls, messages and other app notifications. There are also some useful extras such as a 7-day weather forecast, alarms, timer, stopwatch and settings to change the watch faces, adjust the screen brightness, and a “find your phone” function.
There’s clearly a lot to like about Huami’s latest fitness tracker. This is a smart, affordable wearable that you can take anywhere, come rain or shine. Despite weighing only 32 grams, Cor feels very robust when worn and has obviously been built to last. In terms of design, I only wish the company opted for a standard watch buckle rather than the pop stud and small loop, but this may be a personal preference.
The fitness band provides everything an average person needs in terms of 24/7 activity tracking. Its not super-sophisticated but it does the job well and works seamlessly. What perhaps surprises most is the accuracy of data which is not something you’d expect in a low cost wearable. The only sensor that’s missing is an altimeter for counting floors, but this probably will not make a difference to most people.
If you are after a no-hassle water-resistant activity tracker with great battery life and a decent app, Cor ticks all the boxes. It stacks very well against the competition and is definitely an option worth considering. If you are a serious runner or exercise junkie, a device with built-in GPS might be a better fit.
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