It looks pretty cool doesn’t it? Similar in looks to the Garmin Forerunner 935. Perhaps that was intentional?
Actually a more important question might be “Who knows what this product(s) is actually called?”. I’ve put all the name variants in the headline and could be wrong but here’s my take
- I thought that Huami = Xiaomi. And that none of us Westerners can pronounce the Cantonese (?) name Xiaomi properly. But apparently they are different companies and Huami make the hardware.
- Amazfit = The brand name. “Amazing Fitness”. Not exactly the coolest of names but maybe “It does what it says on the tin“. Actually, if that’s true, I kinda like that sort of honesty/straightforwardness in marketing.
- Smartwatch = it is what it is. But actually the ‘smartwatch’ is another product version of the Pace 1
- Pace 2, Pace 2S, Pace 1, Stratos, Pace 2 Multisport, Smartwatch, Pace 1 Smartwatch = Confusion
- The box says: Amazfit Stratos. Luckily we now know for sure what it’s called. Except…..
- The name on the invoice of the one I just bought says “Huami Amazfit Stratos Smart Sports Watch 2” #YepConfusion
Disclaimer: This post was written before I received my device and I found it hard to get any information from the company. This post may well be edited frequently if either my review preparation conflicts with any assumptions I make below or if you correct what I already know. This post is half a personal research project and half educational for all of us. Huami/Xiaomi are one of the dark clouds on the horizon I referred to in my 2018 ‘peaktastic’ predictions.
Only read further if you are interested in a general read. This is absolutely not any kind of buying guide or review and may contain inaccuracies.
Around 2016, Amazfit started with the Bip Bip sports watch and a few sports activity bands (Arc, Equator). They scored highly on the ‘meh’ scale.
However The Amazfit Pace 1 was released in late 2016 and looked pretty cool on print. It was readily available in the Far East in 2017 and retailed on Amazon for around $150/GBP120 as it eventually made its way Westwards to our shops. Here’s the Amazon ad, below, just for reference. You can click and see the Amazon reviews, formal features and so on. I’m not expecting anyone to buy it! But please feel free to so some research. The point being: it’s got a lot of good reviews 😉
The Amazfit Pace 1 was initially a running watch with bike profiles added later in 2017. It looked super-pretty on the photoshopped display images. It had 35 hours of GPS-on sports usage. Yep, 35, maybe if wasn’t per-second but that’s not too shabby. It had on-board music. Yep..back then. 2Gb worth for playback through BLE headphones (normally music watches now have 3-4Gb that might be available for musc storage). It had optical HR that, apparently, had many bad days but showed potential at times too. The activity tracker was poorly supported and once the oHR was turned on then battery life slipped to more sensible levels of under 10 hours and that is with the GPS/GLONASS on. It did wi-fi but no ANT+. It took until mid-2017 to get a half decent partner app working.
So a bit of a performance mish-mash all round? Perhaps the hardware is notably better than the software? But POTENTIAL sprang to mind as an appropriately capitalised word.
Amazfit in 2018
In December 2017 this was announced, the AMAZFIT Stratos (Huami Pace 2 Sports Smart Watch)
Initially this is a Chinese version and a Western version(s) will likely hit the US shops at less than $200 (yep). I think the STRATOS is the same basic version but in a carbon-fibre-like shell. Maybe.
- GPS+GLONASS (latter might just mean the chip is GLONASS-capable)
- 50m waterproof
- PPG oHRM + external chest strap support
- Touchscreen @320x300px resolution
- Sport modes: running, walking, outdoor riding, swimming pool, open water swimming, indoor running, indoor riding, elliptical machines, mountaineering, trail running, Triathlon
- Other inbuilt sensors: Triaxial acceleration sensor, Gyro, Geomagnetic sensor, Barometric pressure sensor 4, Ambient light sensor
- Battery Life: 5 days (running 30 minutes a day, pushing 200 messages) 35 hours (full open GPS, full heart rate monitoring)
- Onboard music: Bluetooth Music , Phone-free music: connect wirelessly to Bluetooth earbuds and enjoy music and media with the Internal storage for unencumbered phone-free running.
- Metrics include: running distance, time, pace, heart rate, calories, speed, cadence, pace, altitude, and elevation gain/loss. Power NOT MENTIONED
- Notifications, apps, SMS and calls
- Alerts: vibration
- AliPay mobile payments
- App Compatibility: Android 4.4 / iOS 9.0 and above
- Amazfit Watch 2 and Watch 2S are priced at 999 Yuan (approx $150) and 1499 Yuan (approx $225)
- A ‘Plus‘ version also exists and the only incremental difference appears to be sapphire glass.
- Firstbeat Analytics – VO2max, TE, TD, Recovery Time, the next sports recommendation, real-time sports guidance
Hang on there. Firstbeat Analytics. That normally means something. Let’s look at what Firstbeat say. First up they call it the Amazfit Stratos by Huami. But look the Amazfit Stratos has 8 onboard Firstbeat metrics. Maybe more isn’t necessarily an indication of being the ‘best’ (the Garmin 645m has 11 FB features for what it’s worth here) BUT I would take that level of cooperation with Firstbeat as an indication that they are taking their product very seriously.
Here is my ‘first runs’ post with my new STRATOS…cool!
It really does come below $200 with those specs. It looks like a great deal. I just can’t see it taking on the Garmin 935 in the real world of pro-tri – as the devil will be in the detail. The detail of the headline functions will probably hide gaps in the software/hardware combo.
But But But as a tri-lite model it might take on the Garmin 735XT or Suunto Spartan Trainer WHR – even though it might not be technically as good as either of those two, the price will still cause ripples. Let’s face it; how many people do we know who are doing their first tri and want to buy a tri watch…$200 sounds good. Caveat Emptor. $500 for a Garmin 935 sounds like jumping in the pricey deep-end.