I had been looking for a smart watch for a long time, and was not satisfied with many brands, including a well-known one starting with F- and ending with -t. They kept breaking down, even dimming to impossible visibility just after a year of use, the horrendous customer service, and the connectivity with the app was often atrocious such that days of data got lost. Then I came across the crowdfunding campaign by Huami for the Amazfit X. From the look of it, Amazfit X seemed to fit the bill. I was looking for: great design and form factor, long battery life between charges, seamless and reliable connectivity with the app, responsive customer care, in-built GPS. I soon got my device towards at the end of November 2020 and have been using it for about two months. So below is my honest review about the Amazfit X smart watch.
Here are the technical specifications of the Amazfit X smart watch, available on their website:
|Dimensions||Width: 22.6 mm, length: 55.4 mm (the exposed part of the main body)|
|Weight||About 47g (including the extended strap)|
|Waterproofing||5 ATM, suitable for swimming|
|Screen||2.07-inch flexible AMOLED, 206 x 640 resolution, 326 PPI|
|Touch screen||Curved 3rd-generation tempered Corning Gorilla glass, multi-point touchscreen.|
|Strap type||Replaceable fluororubber wristband; Supports quick-release long and short wristbands|
|Sensor||3-axis acceleration sensor, 3-axis gyroscope, BioTrackerTM2 PPG biological tracking optical sensor, Digital silicon microphone, Ambient light sensor|
|Positioning||GPS + GLONASS|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0 BLE|
|Battery||Curved lithium-ion polymer battery with 205 mAh capacity|
|Charging method||Magnetic 2-pin Pogo Pin charging|
|Estimated charging time||Less than 2 hours|
|Battery life||Daily use mode: 7 days|
|Vibration motor||Linear motor|
|Body material||TC4 titanium alloy and polymer materials|
|Supported devices||Android 5.0/iOS 10 and above|
|Accessories||A dedicated magnetic charging cable, and a short wristband|
The parcel was shipped from Huami’s factory in China, and I received it in Belgium after about three weeks of shipping via registered post.
I must say that the unboxing was a great experience! The Amazfit X smart watch, the manual, the charging cable, the straps are presented in this circular box that looks like something out of Star Trek with an X-Men theme. Some of us might think the box is just a gimmick. That’s true only to a certain extent: the care put into the packaging tells us a lot about the care put into the product development itself. Apple is a pioneer in breathtaking unboxing experiences, and I was happy that Huami put enough effort into the Amazfit X’s unboxing that it is a product they are proud of.
It is this pride that cultivates the client’s initial sense of confidence in the product and the brand.
The Amazfit X smart watch is groundbreaking in its design, to say the least.
3D screen glass: The screen of the watch is curved, so that it conforms to the shape of your wrist instead of being a big flat chunk of device slabbed across it.
The screen glass was shaped by a high-temperature 3D bending technology and subjected to 700°C heat throughout six high-temperature bending processes, so that it has a curve of 92° to fit the shape of the adult human’s wrist.
My first experience with it was: this feels bizarre, because there is so much screen to such a sleek form. And I am paranoid about it being scratched. Happily, this has not happened so far. I wonder if the glass would be scratched if I were to take part in some extreme sports. This remains to be seen.
One-piece Titanium Alloy Watch Body: The watch body was not cobbled together by separate parts (apart from the screen of course), as it was made out of one piece of metal body made of Titanium alloy. The result is a light-weight, extremely hard watch body. Both the watch body and 3D screen are good reasons for the high price range of the Amazfit X.
No physical buttons: One of the main causes of failure in smart watches is the expiration of the physical button. Physical buttons need very small springs to work, the contact may become scratched, it may crack and water may leak into the device, which is why if you are looking for a smart watch, always look for one without a physical button. In the Amazfit X, this is replaced by a small 3-pin sensor. It is quite responsive so far, and reacts to my touch with a haptic response.
Customisable watch faces: What I love about smart watches is that you can change the watch face whenever you like, according to your look of the day, the weather, the season or the occasion! Smart watches like the Amazfit X look great on casual occasions or when you are doing sports, but on formal occasions, you need classy-looking watch faces to complement the sleek modern appearance of the device. Once you are connected to the app, you can use the app to choose the watch face you like and synchronise it to the Amazfit X. The synchronisation takes less than a minute and it works very well so far.
However, the designs that I can see so far are really too gaudy! They are either not user-friendly or look like distasteful.
It was hard for me to like beyond 3 of them. While I understand people have different tastes, I sincerely believe this could be much improved. Can Huawei hold a design contest for users? I’ll be most happy to take part!
Exercise and Activity tracking
The Amazfit X smart watch has automatic sports and activity detection, so you do not have to always scroll through the list on your watch interface and can immediately start exercising.
It has 9 in-built sports modes in 4 exercise types: walking, running, cycling and swimming.
So far, when I run, or cycle, the Amazfit X has been rather accurate in detecting which exercise it was. But this is not always true when I was walking. There are times when I was walking and the watch would vibrate and start my indoor(!) cycling exercise. Perhaps I was walking so fast that I appeared to be cycling, but indoors? Fortunately, this does not always happen and I could easily change the exercise mode.
You could of course switch off the exercise detection but why should we cater to the device’s weakness when it is the device that should cater to our habits?
The Amazfit X smart watch has five screens:
- The main watch face.
- Swipe left to get the main menu to functionalities like sports modes, heart rate etc.
- Swipe right for the widgets, where you see your pinned sports modes, the weather forecasts etc.
- Swipe down to access the icon menu like the flash light.
- Swipe up for the new notifications.
Thanks to the curved design, the real estate of the screen is surprisingly sizeable, compared to many other smart watches. Many other watches try to emulate traditional watches, which are essentially mini clocks. Others try to turn it into a mini smart phone, which also does not make sense. I am glad that the Amazfit X has gone beyond these mental restrictions when it comes to design, and really looked at our usage and habits when designing the UX and watch interface.
Large icons are necessary as it is still a long form. Scrolling allows you to access long list of choices along the vertical screen. Swiping allows the choices to be organised in hierarchy and users are not limited in their choice through the deeper levels of information.
But it is not perfectly executed. There are icons in the widget sections that are too small. Some of the watch face designs also do not take into account the form factor of the screen. A case in point is the battery life indication. There are very few watch faces that have that information conspicuously displayed, or you have to swipe down to get to the icon menu. It is there in the bottom right corner inside a microscopic icon!
The Amazfit X is connected to your phone via the ZEPP app. In general, the connectivity has not once failed me, unlike my previous smart watches (like the one starting with F- ending with -t). For this, I am very grateful.
The information on the ZEPP is likewise quite thorough. Apart from the general information about heart rate, stress level, sleep quality and patterns, PAI levels (see below), the app allows you to further customise your Amazfit X’s functionalities. These include the exercise targets, the incoming call and SMS vibration on the phone, app notifications etc.
What I find really important in an app that is linked to my smart watch, is the great graphical representation of the data collected. In this respect, the ZEPP app still has some work to do.
For example, the sleep graph looks terrible. They are in chunky blocks across a blue background that represents light sleep. But for me as a user, I prefer a graph that show me the quality of sleep. Deep sleep being the best, followed by light sleep, then REM, and then being awake. I cannot visually capture my sleep quality by looking at these chunky blocks, because it does not denote progression nor quality. On sleep tracking, I will elaborate more below.
Last but not least, I have seen Chinese words in the app. I am fluent in Chinese so this doesn’t bother me. And some translations look bad. It does look like the app is very much still in beta.
Because of COVID-19 (well, actually before), I started running. It is something which I enjoy doing to start my day, especially when in warmer seasons I like to wake up to beautiful sunshine. My previous smart watches (such as the one starting with F- ending with -t) were CRAP. They did not have in-built GPS and relied on the phone’s GPS – and if connectivity to the app is not good, the whole thing is rubbish.
Fortunately, the Amazfit X has GREAT in-built GPS, that is nicely plotted out in the exercise records in the ZEPP app on a map. This is an important feature for me, because I take different routes for my run and want to track which routes are the best for me. Also, to be able to see visually where I have run, is an extra motivation!
Splash- and Water-proof
The Amazfit X is both splash- and waterproof. This means that you do not have to worry when you are running in the rain, or even swimming, up to 50m. The smart watch actually includes both indoor and outdoor swimming as exercises.
I have yet to test the Amazfit X for waterproofing in the pool. Will edit this section after I have done so.
One of the reasons why I wanted to buy a smart watch in the beginning was for sleep tracking. I have very bad sleep quality, often woken up by the need to use the bathroom. So sleep tracking can help me track how bad my sleep quality is and gives me the information to work with medical professionals to see what can be done.
Like most other devices, the Amazfit X senses your sleep and tracks the three stages of sleep: light, deep, and REM (dreaming) sleep stages. It can also monitor shorter sleep cycles such as naps that are over 20 minutes, from 11am to 6pm.
So is the Amazfit X good at sleep tracking? After using it for around two months, the answer is no. While I hated my previous smart watches as they were crap, they actually did a better job at sleep tracking than the Amazfit X.
First of all, I am sitting in the sofa watching TV, the sleep tracker starts. I may be lethargic and lazy but I was WIDE AWAKE. As a result, the sleep tracker thought I started my sleep at 9pm already. And amazingly, it did not even sense me going to bed afterwards, so my supposed sleep from 9pm lasted continuously until the next morning, ignoring me getting up and walking to my bed. To me, that was shockingly inaccurate.
Secondly, I have a bad bladder. Ever since a serious illness when I was young, I had to wake up to pee around 3 to 8 times every night. That is really excessive. But with medication, I was able to reduce that to 1-3 times. My previous smart watches were able to accurately state at which time, down to the seconds, I woke up to pee and at which time, that I laid down to sleep again. The Amazfit X? Nope. I did not wake up AT ALL. That again is shockingly inaccurate.
Thirdly, whenever I fight with my husband, I won’t sleep a wink at night. I would lay there and wait until the morning, hoping that I would somehow drift into sleep. Shockingly, the Amazfit X tracks me as being in DEEP SLEEP. I was awake, thinking, being angry, and Amazfit X actually thought I was snoring away peacefully.
Apart from all the inaccuracies, the data visualisation of sleep in ZEPP is crap. I have no sense of how my sleep quality developed throughout the night, and how it got interrupted.
One positive thing about the sleep tracking data in ZEPP is the overlay with the heart tracker. This is really vital. Users need to detect heart anomalies during sleep, as soon as possible so that they can report any heart conditions at an early stage. Hoping that this information in ZEPP and Amazfit X is accurate, this function is fortunately available to users, unlike other smart watches.
Heart Rate, Stress Level, Blood Oxygen Level, PAI Health Assessment
Apart from sleep tracking, the Amazfit X also tracks your heart rate, your stress level and your blood oxygen level. For heart rate, the tracker shows both BPM and your resting heart rate. Both data are important as they tell you when you are stressing out your heart too much. The stress checker looks at your heart rate variability – and it divides your day into relaxed, mild, moderate and high. This helps you to identify the triggers and hopefully helps you manage the stress factors in your life. Note that since this is based on your heart rate, an exercise can be measured as a stress factor. You should thus look into this data, and do the interpretation yourself. Strangely, the blood oxygen level is a feature on the watch but no data visualisation is seen in the ZEPP app. It could be that this is an ad hoc measurement you conduct on your own, and is not done continuously like your heart rate or sleep. Again, not sure how accurate this data is.
PAI stands for “Personal Activity Intelligence“. It is a Huami-trademarked measurement system that creates a single-value health score unique to each user. It measures the impact of physical activity on your heart by processing data about heart rate, exercise time, and other health information with an algorithm for you to more easily understand your physical status. It is a nice idea, because any measurement that helps the user to understand what is working well and what is not working well is crucial. What I really like about this PAI is that it tells me my current fitness age, which of course is another motivation for me to continue to exercise and keep fit.
The official publicised battery life between charges is 7 days. This means under normal use, the Amazfit X lasts seven days after one full charge before you need to charge it again. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for me. After using it for two full days, it went down to 18% and I really had to charge it so it can track my sleep cycle. If not, I am sure it won’t last through the night, which has already happened once. I don’t think I am using the Amazfit X in an extraordinary way that exhausts its battery so much. But bear in mind, constant bluetooth connectivity to the phone and regular GPS usage tire the battery out significantly.
I’m ok with charging the battery often, but I do not agree that it lasts 7 days as it never does in my case.
There are many other functionalities that I will not elaborate in details here in my review. But I do want to mention the few that I use often:
It is so useful to have the music control on my Amazfit X, so I can forward, go back, or stop music when I am exercising. Because my phone is somewhere in my pocket or in a pouch, I can control my music on my wrist. Really useful!
Another is the app notifications. This drains the battery a bit, depending on the number of notifications you receive and which apps you link your Amazfit X to. For me, it is the incoming calls and Whatsapp messages. Somehow, I tend not to hear my phone ring when I am concentrating, so when it does, my Amazfit X buzzes at the same time. Because of this, I have not missed any calls since. I also turn off the Whatsapp notifications on my phone but switch them on on my watch. I don’t like to be interrupted when I am on Instagram or watching Youtube, so to shift annoying notifications to my watch allow me to filter them out. I will only reply when these are important messages, so I find being able to better manage Whatsapp’s invasion with my Amazfit X.
Another great feature that I use very often is the you’re sitting for too long notification. Being bound to my desk in the day, my Amazfit X has been wonderful in making me stop, stand up and take a short walk. It really really takes a bit of stress out of my daily life, just with this small but important feature.
What I like about Amazfit X
- Very advanced and elegant form factor with the 3D screen and one-piece Titanium Alloy body.
- Splash- and waterproof
- Relatively well-thought-out watch interface
- Reliable connectivity with the phone app
- Accurate GPS data
- Great functionalities that conform to user behaviour and lifestyle
What I do not like about Amazfit X
- The watch face designs look horrendous and do not do the watch itself enough justice. And when a watch face looks good, it lacks the necessary information you think is vital on your watch.
- Please improve the way you see the remaining battery life.
- ZEPP app seriously needs to improve its data visualisation.
- Activity detection is not accurate.
- Sleep tracker is very inaccurate.
- Battery does not last 7 days like advertised.
Hope you like my review of the Amazfit X. Also, if Huami Amazfit sees my review, I wish they will be able to fix some of the hiccups I have mentioned above. Are you planning to buy the Amazfit X or are you currently looking at smart watches? Feel free to ask me any questions about my experience with Amazfit X.
Note: This is an unpaid review. Therefore there is no direct link to any sales point for this device.