Smartwatches are everywhere now, so much so it’s sometimes hard to figure out which one you should buy, or if you need to buy one at all. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the smartwatch market. It’s teaming with contenders for space on your wrist, all of which seem shiny and loaded with features.
In this article we take a look at a mid-range device, the Xiaomi Amazfit Pace, to see if it meets or exceeds expectations for a $100 smartwatch.
Note: As part of the Gearbest 4th Anniversary celebration, the Xiaomi Amazfit Pace Smart Watch is having a 42% discount and selling at a price of $99.99. We are also happy to have Gearbest sponsor a watch for us to give away. You can participate in the giveaway here:
If you are a lover of Xiaomi products, Gearbest is also having a Spring sale of Xiaomi products. Don’t miss it!
Xiaomi Amazfit Pace
Let’s get the technical stats out of the way: it has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a 1.34 inch 300×300 pixel display. There are WiFi and Bluetooth aerials inside, 512Mb of RAM and 4 GB of onboard storage. The rechargeable battery is 280mAh, which means if you use it a lot, you get about four to five days of use, but eleven days on standby if you turn off WiFi and Bluetooth. It has a nice sensor bundle including PPG heart rate sensor, an acceleration sensor, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor (that’s a posh way of saying compass), light sensor, and GPS.
The build quality is very nice. The smooth bezel on the top of the case isn’t metal. Apparently, it’s some kind of ceramic. The back of the watch is polycarbonate and holds four connectors for the cradle, a neat little clip that takes a USB for charging and data transfer.
In the centre of the back it also has the LED sensor for the heart rate monitor which presses against your wrist. The strap is soft, smooth silicone and is comfortable to wear, even when you’re asleep (but we’ll come to that in a second).
The face of the watch is a gorilla glass touch screen, and there is a ceramic home button on the right side of the case for activating the watch. The case is dust- and water-resistant to the IP67 standard, which means it’s totally dust-proof, and you can dunk it in up to a meter of water, and it won’t kill it. Wearing it in heavy rain is therefore not a problem.
Amazfit in Use
This is a classy watch. It’s modern, very well-designed and easy to use. By default, the watch is set to wake up and backlight when you flip your wrist up to read it, and this works quickly and reliably. But the display is also reflective and is clear and intelligible in even bright sunlight. Like a normal watch, you can just hold it up to the light.
To use the watch you have to pair it with a phone, and both Android and iOS versions of the app are available. The app uses a QR code on the display of the watch to pair with the phone.
Pairing also means you can receive alerts on the watch from your phone and of course SMS messages. But it also means that the watch can send data to the app for analysis.
The pedometer seems pretty accurate and counts your steps and charts your physical activity. There is a sedentary alarm which lets you know when you’ve been sitting down for too long. If you wear the watch in bed, and it’s comfortable to do so, it will monitor your sleep patterns of deep and light sleep and give you a graph on the watch so you can see your overall sleep quality.
For sports, the watch can monitor the distance you travel when walking or running using the GPS sensor. These can be recorded, and later on you can see the stats on your watch or phone.
If all this wasn’t enough, you can also use it as a sports music player, store 4GB of music on it and listen to the tunes as you run or walk with your own Bluetooth headphones. And out on the Internet there are hundreds of open-source faces to download for the watch in the .WFZ format, which you can install via USB and switch in and out with the app.
- Solid build quality, useful and well-designed software, reflective/backlit display and open-source faces.
- No speaker, vibration only, you need to add Bluetooth earphones for music.
This is not just a watch for extreme sports folk, although it would certainly be a useful tool for those kinds of people. It’s also useful for normal humans who don’t have a lot of time to go to the gym, go running or even walking. What it does do well, regardless of your level, is quietly and efficiently record all the physical activity stats of your day and give you accurate readings you can see later.
If your goal is to maintain or improve your fitness, then seeing the stats written down is a very good motivator. You may think you are reasonably active, but when you see the numbers it can be a bit of a wakeup call. But it’s about a healthy lifestyle, and that’s something we could all use more of.
The Xiaomi Amazfit is definitely worth the money if you are looking for a good value, mid-range smartwatch that’s modern, stylish, has well-designed, functional software and provides useful tools for your active life.
If you have any questions about the Xiaomi Amazfit or smartwatches in general, please leave them in the comments below.