-Fairly recently, as you all may know, we saw the beginning of the end of Pebble, the smartwatch brand. I loved Pebble, loved the simplicity, the slightly retro geeky look to it, and the community was and still is amazing.
-But for me, it was time to look for alternatives. I can’t afford to replace something because of the lack of warranty – I needed something that I could return should it be broken, and something that could be refunded if necessary. I hunted for something similar. As an android user, I first looked at android wear. Most of the devices using android wear looked good – especially the Asus Zenwatch 3 (I loved the steampunk style that it had – it was unique, like the pebble).
Suffice to say this didn’t last. The battery life was a killer for me. I wanted a device that wasn’t going to run flat over the weekend should I forget to charge it one night. So I kept looking, straying away from Android wear.
-Then I found Huami. Huami is a budget Chinese wearable manufacturer, who seems to be funded by Xiaomi, don’t hold me to that. Earlier last year, they released their first attempt at a watch, called the Amazfit Pace. This device had GPS, a heart rate monitor, sleep and step tracking, a long battery life… It seemed to have everything I wanted and more, and had a very low price point. The problem was, it was only sold as a Chinese model. You could change the language, but I didn’t want the hassle. Luckily for me, they’d just released an English version and were taking pre orders. Here is a quick few-days-in review of the Huami Amazfit Pace.
-Before I talk about this watch, I want to mention how fast I received this device. I pre-ordered the Pace on the 20th December, 2016. They shipped it out on the 22nd from the US, with standard USPS shipping. I didn’t expect this device until at least February, especially as it was during the Christmas period and I was in the UK. The last thing I expected was to get the device before January – it arrived at my local post office on December 30th! Not to my door, unfortunately, due to customs charges.
-Now, onto the looks and build quality. In my opinion, this watch looks okay. The ceramic bezel stands out, and gives the watch a premium feel. The strap gives a sporty look, but soon got changed out for a Clockwork Synergy leather strap. I don’t really like silicone myself. But, if you do like silicone, the strap seemed nice. I did only use the original strap for around 5 minutes, but it was soft, just like the strap on the Pebble Time.
-The display on this device is like the Pebble line of watches – it uses memory LCD, which reflects sunlight and doesn’t use a whole lot of battery life. This has the benefit of being able to have a thinner watch, as the battery doesn’t have to be as big, and a longer battery life than the competition. Unlike Pebble this device uses a touchscreen like android wear watches, rather than the buttons I was used to. I quickly got used to the difference though. The touchscreen is activated with a button on the top right of the device, slightly out of sight behind the bezel.
-Here I’ll move on to the user interface. I haven’t tried many other devices to compare this watch to, but overall it seems pretty simple. After a few hours of use I was familiar with where almost everything was located. Swiping down reveals notifications, swiping up reveals quick information like the weather and whether silent mode is on (activating this disables vibration) and the settings. Swiping across from the right shows steps, heart rate, music, alarms, and almost everything else. Swiping from the left gives you the option to start a workout.
-This brings us to our next aspect of this review, Software. The phone app doesn’t show a whole lot it’s very simple. It gives the option to change the watchface, sync health data, and adjust notification settings. That’s all. No tables or graphs showing health data, and no app store. It’s the early days for the English version but it would be better if I was shown a table of my step counts on the app. Much like how the Pebble app worked, I did like that. However, to give credit where credit is due, this can be seen on the watch though. Everything missing from the app seems to be shown on the device instead. I can see steps from the week, past heart rate readings, sleep information, how long since I last charged the watch and how long my watch would last in workout mode. I would talk about other features but there isn’t really much to talk about. It shows me all I need, and is easily accessible.
-About the battery life. This watch supposedly can last up to 11 days if the heart rate monitor and GPS aren’t used, and I don’t have any reason to argue against it. I haven’t given this watch a decent charge yet. I had it out of the box, had it on the charger for 15 minutes, then began using it. So far the watch is at 55% and I’ve been using it a lot for over 2 days. I’ve messed with the settings, backlight, notifications and vibration, the heart rate monitor and even GPS. I’d imagine once the watch and I both settle in, it should last a little longer (not that it needs to).
-Anyway, that’s about it. I don’t really want to talk too much about hardware, because it’s easily accessible through Google, so if you’re interested check it out. If you were a Pebble fan, you might enjoy this smart watch.Thanks for reading. Expect a comparison to the Pebble Time soon.
-Time keeps on slippin slippin slippin into the future-