Affordable Fenix rival packs GPS and can measure your VO2 Max
Xiaomi offshoot Huami has seen a string of successes recently with the Amazfit Bip and Cor. Its next act is a multi-sport smartwatch, building on what it did with the Amazfit Pace.
Enter the Amazfit Stratos, first launched in China and now being made available in the US. The iOS and Android-friendly smartwatch was developed in partnership with heartbeat analytics firm Firstbeat who provide the HR insights and Zepp Labs who deliver some of the unique multisport tracking sensors packed into the wearable.
Design-wise, you can expect a carbon fiber case with a polished ceramic bezel around a 2.5D Corning Gorilla glass. Three stainless steel buttons adorn the sides and you’ll have a 22m silicon strap. There’s an always-on 1.34-inch 320 x 300 transflective LCD touchscreen display to view your data on and a 5ATM water resistance rating means you can take it swimming in water up to 50 metres deep. It’s hard not to look at the Stratos and think of a Garmin, though perhaps one of the more svelte ones, like the Vivoactive 3.
Stratos sports tracking
There are 12 different sport modes available on the Stratos, including swimming, cycling, football (soccer), tennis, running, mountaineering, trail running and triathlon. Zepp Labs does already make dedicated sensors for football and tennis, so it’ll be interesting to see how that tracking works from the wrist. The Stratos does also double as an activity tracker counting steps and monitoring sleep automatically.
On the sensors front, there’s a optical heart rate monitor and a barometer to track elevation, which should come in handy for activities like mountaineering or trail running. The built-in GPS + GLONASS support means you can map outdoor sports accurately from the watch and gives you another reason to leave that phone in your pocket.
Thanks to Firstbeat partnership, you’ll be able to measure VO2 Max and inherits some of the new training features we’ve seen crop up on Garmin’s high end wearables. So you can expect to tap into Training Effect, Recovery Time and Training Load modes too. Training Effect highlights the specific workouts that have improved your abilities. Recovery Time will recommend the amount of rest you’ll need to optimize the effect of your session. Finally, Training Load will let you know the combined impact of all your workouts over the past week.
Xiaomi Huami Amazfit Stratos & Pace Smartwatch
Standard smartwatch features
This is a smartwatch as well of course and the Stratos runs on its own custom operating system that offers notification support letting you see emails, text messages, calls and third party updates from the Stratos. There’s also 4GB of onboard storage to let you transfer your music to the smartwatch too.
On the battery front, you can expect up to a week’s worth of use, although there’s no details on how it handles regular GPS use. But on the face of it, it doesn’t look like it’ll have the battery reserves we have come to expect from Garmin’s top end multisport watches.
In terms of features though, it seems clear the Stratos is aimed for the person who wants a multi-sport behemoth like the Fenix 5 but doesn’t want to, or can’t splash that much cash on a watch. The Stratos is priced $199.99 and is available to buy from the Amazfit online store now.
We’ll be getting one in soon to put it to the test and see if this affordable sporty smartwatch is worth your time.