Amaz­fit Pace

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS -

The Amaz­fit Pace is high-end on specs, but pleas­ingly not so on price. It packs GPS with run track­ing, a heart-rate mon­i­tor, mu­sic con­trols and more – so does the cheaper price mean it cuts some cor­ners? The an­swer is yes, but not in the worst ways pos­si­ble.

De­sign

The Pace might not be to ev­ery­one’s tastes de­sign-wise, but if you’re into your reds and blacks, then you’ll be fine. AFC Bournemouth fans will be laugh­ing. Past that, the watch has a sur­pris­ingly de­cent look and feel for its price point. Leav­ing cost aside, we used the black with red colour op­tion and liked the cir­cu­lar me­tal­lic rim around the face, giv­ing it a near premium feel.

The rear cas­ing that sits next to the wrist is com­fort­able to wear (Amaz­fit says it is ce­ramic), and has four flat con­nec­tors for the pro­pri­etary charg­ing dock. Th­ese sit above the heart-rate sen­sor, while the stan­dard 22mm strap con­nec­tors hold a rub­berised band that’s fine for work and for ex­ces­sive sweat when ex­er­cis­ing.

The screen and body aren’t tiny, but it never felt like it dwarfed this writer’s rel­a­tively small wrists. The screen also has a flat tyre ef­fect that is an­noy­ing on smart­watches. But be­cause the en­tire screen has a thin black rim be­tween it and the me­tal­lic rim, you don’t re­ally no­tice it. Then again, it’s a shame that the screen doesn’t reach fully to the edges of its own cas­ing.

The ce­ramic, metal and rub­ber com­bi­na­tion is a win­ner for the Pace. As long as you like the colour op­tions, this is an at­trac­tive watch with a de­cent, re­as­sur­ing weigh to it.

Fea­tures

The cir­cu­lar dis­play is 1.34in across with a 320x300 res­o­lu­tion. A neat trick is its al­ways-on trans­flec­tive colour LCD. Watches rarely do al­ways-on ex­actly right, and it’s the same here. Think of it like a screen­saver, where power con­sump­tion is re­duced by dumb pro­jec­tion. The Pace will still tell you the time and all your stats on the watch face in al­ways-on mode, which turns on af­ter a pe­riod of in­ac­tiv­ity. The only way to come out of the mode is to press the only phys­i­cal but­ton on the watch, which is on the right at two o’clock. It’s a small nig­gle, but not be­ing able to tap the screen or turn a bezel to wake is a tad less con­ve­nient and in­tu­itive.

The screen also has trou­ble with au­to­bright­ness. This is on by de­fault and you can’t over­ride to se­lect a pre­ferred con­stant bright­ness level. There­fore in bright sun­light, the screen is very hard to read. The al­ways-on dis­play is also darker, so you may think at first, like we did, that there is a fault.

The 1.2GHz core pro­ces­sor and 512MB RAM keep things tick­ing over nicely, and there is rarely sig­nif­i­cant de­lay when brows­ing menus, se­lect­ing func­tions or us­ing GPS track­ing. The vi­bra­tion mo­tor is no­tice­able, but not the strong­est we’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced on a watch.

The Pace has Blue­tooth 4.0, es­sen­tial to con­nect to your iPhone run­ning iOS 9 and later or An­droid phone run­ning 4.4 and later. There’s also the op­tion to con­nect to a Wi-Fi net­work, which you can use to wan­der out of Blue­tooth range in your house or at work and still stay con­nected to your phone. You need Wi-Fi to up­date the soft­ware.

It is rated IP67, the same as gadgets such as the iPhone 7, which means its re­sis­tant to wa­ter and dust, just don’t take it swim­ming or in the shower for too long.

The on-board bat­tery is 280mAh and is pretty good at keep­ing the Pace pow­ered. No one uses a smart­watch with all the func­tions turned off, but we com­fort­ably got three days out of it, even with con­stant Blue­tooth on con­nected to an iPhone and in­ter­mit­tent GPS use to track runs.

Soft­ware

Mad­den­ingly, you can’t view GPS data any­where but on the watch face – you can’t even look at it in the iOS or An­droid Amaz­fit app that you sync the watch with. This means GPS records are only on the 4GB hard drive of the watch and meant that we never both­ered fid­dling about look­ing at them.

Other run­ning watch set-ups let you take a deeper look at stats on your work­outs, whether that’s on your phone or com­puter. Here, the cool lit­tle map of where you ran is just a squig­gle on a watch screen, with no map be­hind it. It’s frus­trat­ing and means you will never re­ally be able to see if you’ve im­proved by look­ing at the raw data.

This is a real shame be­cause the Pace ex­cels at GPS data col­lec­tion when out run­ning or on a work­out. You can record run, walk, in­door run, bike, in­door bike and trail run. It’s fairly easy to pause and record work­outs once you’ve got used to the touch only in­puts of the screen, wak­ing it first with the but­ton. Swipe right to go back on menus and you’re sorted.

Also in­cluded when swip­ing left on the home screen is ac­tiv­ity progress. Heart-rate graphs, weather, mu­sic, alarms, com­pass, stop­watch and sleep track­ing. This is a healthy num­ber of func­tions for, sorry to say it again, the price. There’s a lot here, but it doesn’t work on apps; you can’t close stuff to make it run faster. Ei­ther way, over­all, the in­ter­face is well de­signed but slow and has one too many bugs. A re­cent soft­ware up­date has im­proved things slightly, though.

Ver­dict

The Amaz­fit Pace is a solid en­try point for those cu­ri­ous enough to want to record their ex­er­cise with­out spend­ing a month’s rent to do so. Henry Bur­rell

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