Amazfit Pace: a fitness tracker or a smart-ish watch?
Although the brand isn’t very well known, Huami is actually the second largest manufacturer of smart wearables in the world. As such, it was... Amazfit Pace: a fitness tracker or a smart-ish watch?

Although the brand isn’t very well known, Huami is actually the second largest manufacturer of smart wearables in the world. As such, it was only a matter of time before the Chinese manufacturer, which provides wearable technology to Xiaomi, made its way onto our shores. Huami and Xiaomi established their partnership in 2014 and have since sold over 24 million Mi Bands.

Amazfit was launched in 2016 and was quickly scooped up by Huami. They were best known for the Moon Beam and Equator fitness trackers, but Huami and Amazfit together launched the smartwatch we will be looking at today, the Amazfit Pace.

The Amazfit Pace weighs in at 54.5 grams and measures 9.8×1.8×0.5 inches. The watch features a 1.34” always-on transflective color LCD touch screen and supports a resolution of 320 x 300. The watch also incorporates a 1.2 GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of total storage. The Amazfit Pace includes Bluetooth 4.0/BLE, WiFi connectivity, GPS + GLONASS binary positioning, and an Optical (PPG) heart rate sensor. At a price of $159.99 USD, is the amazfit pace worth it? Does it deliver what promises?  Let find out!

Build and Appearance:

I’m going to come right out and say it – I think the Amazfit Pace is beautiful. It strikes a great balance between sporty and classy that not too many other smartwatches can achieve. The Amazfit Pace includes a round, flat-tire watch face and features a zirconia ceramics and glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate case. A little button on the right side of the watch face turns the device on and off. The silica gel strap is available in black or red. The strap is fairly comfortable and includes a number of notches for different size wrists, which fit quite snuggly on my wrist. The watch features a clean, sporty design which may not be appropriate in professional environments, but is attractive nonetheless. The strap can be replaced with standard watch bands, however, Amazfit does not sell substitute styles. This watch is nevertheless the perfect aesthetic match for those who love the sporty chic look.

The Amazit Pace carries an IP67 rating, which indicates that the watch is resistant to dust and can withstand being submerged in 1m of static water for up to 30 mins. As for the display, the Pace features a 1.34-inch transflective color circular LCD display that runs at 320×300 resolution It’s certainly not the most high quality display I’ve ever seen, but it is very impressive, especially for this price point. In theory, this means the watch face will automatically adjust for the level of light hitting it, but due to the automatic settings it’s rather difficult to see in the dark. So, the more daylight that hits the screen, the easier it is to read outdoors. Like other trackers, the Amazfit also features several different watch faces; roughly 13 watch face already available on the watch, you can customize the background only and also the position of the widget. The good thing is that the company still pushes update from time to time with new features as well as new watch faces.

Performance & software:

The Amazfit Pace’s software is actually a custom OS implementation; however, the device is compatible with both Android and iOS phones. Users will need to download the Amazfit Pace app from the Google Play store. After installing the app, it will walk you through the process of pairing the Amazfit to your phone. This process requires scanning a QR code that pops up on your watch. The pairing procedure should have only taken a few minutes. The watch’s settings can be adjusted in the mobile app once paired. Users can choose from thirteen watch faces that instantly update once selected. You can also enable push notifications for your various mobile apps, adjust the sequence of applications on your watch, view how much battery life your watch has left, sync to your phone, etc. The changes made in the mobile app were quickly reflected on the watch interface. There is also a help section on the bottom of the app with frequently asked questions and the terms of service.
Like most GPS-equipped fitness trackers out there, the Amazfit PACE will track your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, resting and active heart rate, and sleep. As far as step tracking is concerned, the Amazfit PACE is pretty much in line with most of the other fitness trackers we’ve tested before.

The Amazfit Pace features screens dedicated to a clock, weather, a compass, an alarm, a stopwatch, music, and the user’s sleep patterns, heart rate, and step count. The user’s sleep pattern, heart rate, and step count update every time the user swipes to that specific screen. The watch also offers an in-depth look at the user’s heart rate. The sensor will evaluate the user’s heart rate and then ask whether the user is exercising or at rest, and whether the user feels relaxed, tired, or sick. The user’s responses indicate their overall well being. For example, if the user had a high heartrate and reported that they were at rest and feeling sick, the watch would inform the user that they were unwell and should monitor their basal body temperature. The sleep pattern, heart rate, and step count detectors all appeared to be accurate, or at least as accurate as other wearable with similar sensors.

There is also a screen dedicated to starting, ending, and monitoring work-outs. Users can choose between running, walking, running indoors, and running on a trail. Once the user has selected their activity, the watch will search for a GPS signal. The signal is not necessary to track a workout; however, it does help the user see their route at the end. Once you have finished your work-out, you will be told your heart rate and mileage and be given a map of the route you took.

I do need to bring something up here, though, specifically in regards to checking your stats during a run. Because the watch’s touchscreen is disabled until you press the physical button on the side, this can get quite annoying when you’re out on a run and simply want to scroll through to see your activity stats. I know I sound like a broken record here, but this feature really does get in the way all too often.

Since this is a smartwatch, after all, you’ll also have the option to receive smartphone notifications on this device. While the implementation of the notifications may be slightly underbaked, the number of notifications you can receive on your device is quite impressive. You can receive virtually any notification you’d like on the PACE, from pretty much any app that’s installed on your phone. Just go into the Notification settings section of the Amazfit Watch app, press the toggle next to the app you’d like to receive notifications from, and that’s it. Easy, right?

Notifications on the watch are kind of a mixed bag, though. Unfortunately, this is one of the most underbaked parts of the watch’s software, as I’ve consistently found bugs almost every time I interact with them. While I’ve had, no problems receiving notifications from Facebook, Inbox or Gmail, it’s the interaction part that’s buggy. Once you receive a notification, you can swipe right to dismiss it, or swipe left to block the app from showing up, that’s all you can do to interact with the notification.

Much like other fitness trackers out there, the PACE also features move reminders. In case you’re unfamiliar with the feature, the watch will remind you to move every so often if it senses you’ve been sitting for too long. It works pretty well most of the time, and is actually quite useful… especially for someone like me who sits at a desk all day.

Users are able to download up to 400 songs on the Amazfit Pace and rock-out during their workouts with wireless Bluetooth earbuds, headsets, or speakers. This feature allows users to listen to music with their watch without having to tote around their phone. There are limitations, however, to this capability. First, the watch is only able to store MP3 and M4A file formats. Second, the watch is not compatible with third-party apps like Spotify. Last, you are unable to skip songs on the watch. Users will need to create a playlist that they enjoy from the get-go before downloading it onto their watch.

One the battery front, The Amazfit Pace is powered by a 280mAh lithium polymer battery. They claim that the watch lasts eleven days under basic use, five days for regular use and thirty-five hours with continuous heart-rate and GPS tracking. What is basic use versus regular use, you ask? Basic use means that the Amazfit Pace functions as just a watch. “Regular use” would include notifications from your smartphone, playing music, etc. If you are an athlete, “GPS mode” will be enough to get you through a 100km marathon. I did find that the watch lasted between 3.5-5 days in regular use mode, which is very good. It takes roughly two hours to charge the watch, from dead to 100%. Overall, the battery life is great, and significantly better than other smartwatches we have tested in the past.

The actual interface is quite responsive to the touch. There was no lag swiping between screens and animations are smooth and fluid. It is important to note that you must double-tap your watch to “wake” it up and there will be a one or two second pause before the user can start swiping away

Wrap up:

is the amazfit pace a fitness tracker or a smart-ish watch? Well it’s both. The Amazfit Pace has a lot of potential. The watch’s hardware is top notch. The glossy ceramic bezel is eye-catching and the silica gel strap is comfortable and well-made. Many people will probably love the sporty-chic aesthetic and black and red designs. The GPS, sleep pattern, heart rate, and step count detectors all seemed accurate and informative. The Amazfit Pace’s battery life is perhaps its greatest strength. The watch’s average of 3.5-5 days of regular use is excellent compared to many competitors.
The Amazfit Pace is unfortunately lacking in the software department. We found the pairing process to be particularly tedious and frustrating. With that said, the team at amazfit are working on pushing update in a continuous manner which helps improve the software experience.

The minimal third-party app integration is also disappointing. Strava is the only mobile app that can track and document workouts for users. There is also no way to permanently record users’ sleep patterns, steps, and heart rate, or work-outs that do not include running or walking. The watch only receives notifications for third-party apps and is unable to respond to text messages and other social media notifications. To top it off, users are unable to access music apps like Spotify. Users must instead download MP3 and M4A files and create playlists, a process which could also be somewhat time-consuming. But for a price of a $159.99 USD it totally worth it.

Disclaimer:

I was provided the Amazfit Pace as a review sample. Head over Amazfit website to know more about their products.

Amazfit Pace

$159.99
Amazfit Pace
8.5

Design

8.5/10

Build Quality

9.0/10

Performance

8.0/10

Pros

  • Beautiful, sleek design
  • Watch straps are high quality, comfortable
  • 5-day battery life
  • Inexpensive for a GPS-equipped watch

Cons

  • Can only sync with Strava
  • Limited activity tracking options
  • On-device software is slow
  • Notification interactions are very buggy

Sellami Abdelkader Freelance Writer

Computer engineering student at the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in Algeria. Passionate about Web design, Technology and Electronic Gadget.