Amazfit Verge first look: GPS sports watch launches in the US

Huami has announced today the launch of its Verge smartwatch in the US. Coming in at a competitive $159.99, it sports a plethora of sensors including a very accurate heart rate monitor, NFC support and built-in GPS.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

The device was originally announced back in September and has been selling since in China. It comes on the heels of Amazfit Stratos – another GPS sports watch that, considering its specs and price, is giving the likes of Garmin and Polar something to think about .

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We got our hands on an early test model of the Verge a few days ago. In looks, the timepiece is not all too dissimilar from Stratos. Clearly targeted for the sporty types, it comes with a silicone strap, reinforced plastic casing and a bright red physical button on the right.

Having seen pictures of the watch earlier, we were expecting something with perhaps a plasticky feel. That’s not the case in reality, though. While it may not attract the fashionistas, the watch is perfectly fine to use whether you’re in the home, going for a jog, in the office or at a formal dinner function.

Verge is actually slightly smaller (diameter 43mm versus 46mm) and quite a bit lighter (46 grams versus 70 grams) than Stratos, making it more suitable for both sexes. Its AMOLED screen is very bright and readable both indoors and out. Measuring 1.3 inches (360 x 360 pixel resolution) the display is protected against the elements with Gorilla Glass 3.

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Under the hood there is a lot going on. The list starts off with a 1.2 Gh dual-core processor designed to work with the proprietary operating system, 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage that can be used for music. There’s a GPS and GLONASS module, WiFI and Bluetooth 4.0. In terms of sensors, you’ll find an accelerometer, heart rate sensor, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, ambient light sensor and atmospheric pressure sensor.

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This is primarily a sports watch so its not a surprise that there are lots of sports modes to choose from. This includes running (outdoors and indoors), trail running, walking, mountaineering, tennis, skiing, football, cycling (outdoors and indoors) and elliptical. Don’t look for swimming, though, it’s not there. Unlike Stratos (5 ATM), the whole thing is only IP68 certified for water-resistance.

You can expect to get all the usual fitness stats. It’s worth pointing out that Verge comes with an improved the heart rate sensor. Huami says, the watch is able to keeps tabs on your ticker with an accuracy of 98% and 80% lower power consumption than Stratos. This allows it to perform some nifty tricks such as identify cardiac arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation.

Non-fitness functions include notifications and contactless payments. There are also other smart features such as a voice controlled Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the ability to make phone calls (via Bluetooth connection on Android).

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Battery life is a decent 5 days on a single charge which is impressive considering the specs. Expect this to come right down, though, with GPS switched on.

Verge launches today in the US. You can purchase it Amazfit.com and the product will ship by December 18th. Stay tuned as we will follow this story up with a full review in the coming weeks.

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