Amazfit Pace Review: Affordable GPS Watch Off to Good Start

January 29, 2017 - running watch

It’s not easy to mangle into a running-watch marketplace when determined competitors such as Garmin, TomTom and Fitbit browbeat a space. Yet that’s what Amazfit is attempting to do with a Pace, a $159 GPS watch that offers a startling array of facilities — such as a heart-rate monitor, a built-in song actor and a customizable watch face — during a rival price. It’s a clever initial effort, yet some-more work is indispensable for a Pace to keep adult with a leaders.

Design

The Pace has a simple, dull watch face that has a many cleaner demeanour than many regulating watches. The tip bezel is finished of dim ceramic, that is discriminating to a neat shine; a lugs get identical treatment.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuidePhoto credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom’s GuideStill, I’d cite a reduction minimalist approach; a usually earthy symbol on a Pace is on a right side, and it’s dark by a span of a watch. Though inconspicuous, a symbol is tough to press, generally when you’re out for a run. Plus, a usually duty is to spin on a backlight and clear a display; all navigation is finished by swiping a screen, that isn’t a many fit method, generally when you’re running.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's GuidePhoto credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom’s GuideThe Pace’s 1.34-inch, 320 x 300-pixel arrangement isn’t as splendid as a AMOLED shade on a Samsung Gear S3, yet it was copiousness bright, and it’s always on. It’s aided by a transflective layer, that uses object to boost a readability of a screen. There’s also a backlight that can be incited on, possibly by dire a Pace’s symbol or by branch a watch to your face.

MORE: Best Smartwatches – Top Picks for Android and iOS

Interface: Intuitive, But Swiping Required

With 16 watch faces to select from, a Pace doesn’t offer scarcely a volume of customization we get from bona fide smartwatches or Garmin’s Connect IQ-enabled GPS watches (such as a Forerunner 235), yet it’s a good start. we privately favourite a “Marathon Life” face, that shows not usually a time and date, yet also battery life, daily stairs taken and miles run during a week.

Amazfit’s Pace runs a really simple form of Android (not Android Wear) and is sincerely easy to navigate by a array of swipes. Included are screens for your heart rate, daily steps, notifications, a weekly forecast, a stopwatch and more. When we appropriate down from a tip of a categorical screen, it also shows we a demeanour during a day’s weather, battery life, wordless mode and additional settings.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom's GuidePhoto credit: Jeremy Lips/Tom’s GuideDuring an activity, a categorical shade displays your distance, heart rate, calories burnt and time elapsed. That doesn’t seem like a lot of information for one screen, yet it took me a tiny while to get used to a view. we wish there were a approach to customize a categorical display, generally because, in sequence to strech delegate screens, we have to clear a watch by dire a side button, and afterwards appropriate adult or down.

One shade we did like was a map display a route of where we had run; like a bread particle underline in a TomTom Spark, it’s accessible if you’re regulating in an unknown plcae and wish to know how to get behind to where we started.

Working Out: Needs Work

Currently, a Amazfit can lane usually 4 activities: run, walk, run indoor and route run. While those consecrate some of a many renouned workouts, a preference is still a distant cry from those offering by a competition, such as swimming, biking and cross-training.

Photo credit: Mike Prospero/Tom's GuidePhoto credit: Mike Prospero/Tom’s GuideOn my initial tour with a Pace, a GPS took about a notation to acquire a signal, yet on successive runs, it took usually a few seconds. On all of my runs, though, it accurately available my location. we also favourite that a watch buzzed during each mile, and gave a outline of my final split.

Photo credit: Mike Prospero/Tom's GuidePhoto credit: Mike Prospero/Tom’s GuideIts heart-rate guard was a bit some-more erratic, however, as my beats per notation jumped adult and down over a march of my runs. we did like when a watch alerted me when my heart rate exceeded 180 beats per minute.

Credit: Mike Prospero / Tom's GuideCredit: Mike Prospero / Tom’s GuideYou can set aim time, distance, gait and path alerts, yet other running-centric features, such as interlude training and walk length, are missing. To postponement or stop a run, we have to press a Pace’s tiny symbol and afterwards appropriate right. we tend to cite earthy buttons, as persperate on my fingers can simply make a hold shade tough to use.

Note that with a Pace, Strava is a usually app we can sync information with; nonetheless that’s a renouned app, we would like to see some-more options, such as MapMyRun. Viewing your activities on your smartphone is a two-step process: First, we have to sync a watch with a Amazfit app, and afterwards we open a Strava app to see your data.

Other aptness facilities embody a nap tracker, as good as a pierce warning that encourages we to mount adult if you’ve been sitting too long.

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Music On Board

A good underline of a Pace is that it has 4GB of onboard storage and a built-in song player, so we can listen to song and not have to lift your phone with you. It’s another one of my favorite aspects of a TomTom Spark 3, and I’m blissful to see it here, too. It was easy to change marks and a volume from a watch — that is, once we pulpy a tiny symbol to clear a screen.

Adding song to a Pace requires we to bond it to your computer, regulating a enclosed USB charging cable; Mac owners will also need to implement a giveaway Android File Transfer app on their computer.

Limited Smartwatch Features

Similar to a duty on Garmin’s Connect IQ-enabled watches (such as a Forerunner 235), a Pace can uncover alerts from your smartphone, such as texts and notifications. It also has a caller-ID feature, and allows we to answer or reject calls from your wrist.

Credit: Jeremy Lips / Tom's GuideCredit: Jeremy Lips / Tom’s GuideLastly, a Pace will also uncover a internal continue forecast, yet it’s not intelligent adequate to know when you’ve switched locations; we have to go into a Amazfit app and manually refurbish a city.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery-life claims, Amazfit is regulating some choice facts. The association says a Pace should final adult to 35 hours with continual heart-rate and GPS tracking. That would put a battery life on a standard with those of many some-more costly models, such as a $599 Garmin Fenix 3.

In practice, we found that after a 37-minute run regulating GPS and a heart-rate monitor, we had emptied a Pace’s battery from 100 percent to 84 percent.

If you’re not regulating it for an ultramarathon, a Pace should final for 5 days of unchanging use and 11 days with simple use. (The latter means regulating it usually as a watch and step counter, with notifications, GPS and a heart rate guard incited off.

MORE: GPS Watch Buying Guide

Bottom Line

Amazfit is off to a good start with a Pace. It’s an appealing and comparatively inexpensive GPS watch that has a splendid and colorful screen, a heart-rate guard and a built-in song player. we also favourite some of a smartwatch-like features, such as notifications and a customizable face. You won’t find this multiple of facilities for a cost this low in any other device.

Yet there are a lot of tiny annoyances that supplement up. For example, a Pace’s tiny button, that we have to press to get anything done, is formidable to use while running. It’s also unwieldy to have to appropriate and daub a shade to start and stop runs. Amazfit’s app is rudimentary, and it’s a pain that we have to sync it with Strava — and usually Strava — to see your aptness data.

For about a same price, a TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music gets we many of a same facilities as a Pace (including a song player), yet that device lacks a tone shade and smartwatch notifications. More importantly, though, a Spark 3 gets all a tiny things right.

The Amazfit Pace still binds promise, though, and I’ll be meddlesome to see how it develops. 

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