Amazfit Verge review: $160 gets you GPS, music, call support, and five-day battery life

Huami released a couple Amazfit products in 2018 with this third one launching at a price between the other two. It has many of the same features as the Bip in a larger form factor, but isn't as elegant as the Stratos.

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While there are a lot of wearable options for tracking your activity, one usually has to pay $250 to $400 for one with GPS and offline music support. Huami's Amazfit Verge provides both of these functions for $159.99 in a package a bit less premium than the Stratos while bringing a mic and speaker for calls from your wrist.

I've spent the past couple of weeks running, sleeping, and walking with it and it is a good product for those looking for GPS, offline music, five-day battery life, 24/7 activity tracking, and calls from your wrist. It is not a high-end product that rivals the much more expensive Apple Watch, but it offers quite a bit and is a solid option for those looking for these functions in an affordable package.

Also: Amazfit Stratos review: GPS sports watch rivals the majors for only $200

Specifications

  • Display: 1.3 inch 360 x 360 pixels resolution color AMOLED touch screen made with Gorilla Glass 3
  • Water resistance: IP68
  • Storage: 4GB (1.9GB user accessible for data and music storage)
  • Connectivity and sensors: Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, optical HR, barometer, compass, accelerometer
  • Battery: 390 mAh. Rated for 20 hours in GPS training mode, five days in regular smartwatch use, and 11 days with limited notifications and basic use
  • Dimensions: 43 mm diameter x 12.6 mm and 46 grams

How does the Verge stack up to the Bip and Stratos?

The Amazfit Bip and Verge launched earlier this year so now is a good time to see how the latest Amazfit Verge stacks up to these other two wearables from Huami.


Amazfit Bip Amazfit Verge Amazfit Stratos
Price $79.99 $159.99 $199.99
Display size 1.28 inch 1.3 inch AMOLED 1.34 inch LCD
GPS/GLONASS Yes Yes Yes
Offline music No Yes Yes
WiFi No Yes Yes
Dust/water resistance IP68 IP68 5 ATM
Battery Life (GPS/smartwatch) 20 hours/30+ days 20 hours/5 days 20 hours/5 days
Weight 31 grams 46 grams 70 grams
Phone calls No With Android phone No

Hardware

When I first heard about the Amazfit Verge priced at $159.99, I questioned why a person wouldn't spend the extra $40 to buy the Amazfit Stratos. While both offer GPS, activity tracking, sleep tracking, and offline music, there are a couple of key differences that would sway a person to one or the other.

The Amazfit Verge is much lighter, 24 grams, that the Stratos while also having a bit less diameter so to go with the Stratos you have to be comfortable wearing a very large watch on your wrist. The Verge also offers the ability to carry on phone calls via your wrist when paired to an Android smartphone.

Also: Phones and more: The best of everything mobile in 2018

The material used on the Verge is soft touch and feels comfortable on your skin. The AMOLED high resolution display is colorful and clear. There is a single button on the upper right side of the watch. This button is used to enable the touchscreen for usage and jump back to the watch face when you are interacting with other apps and widgets. All interaction with the watch is carried out through the touch screen.

The Bip and Stratos have standard 20mm and 22mm bands so you can easily replace them with inexpensive options available on Amazon. The bands on the Verge are removable, but due to the fit of the bezel the bands are custom designed for the watch. They are soft, flexible silicone and feel great on the wrist.

I tested out a Shadow Grey model, but you can also choose to purchase the Verge in Twilight Blue and Moonlight White.

Watch software

The watch is powered by a custom software package that has a watch face with widgets and apps that you scroll through and setup in the smartphone app. There are 10 watch faces to choose from and you can change this from the watch itself or through the Amazfit watch app.

There are 12 widgets and apps to choose from, including weather, health, activities, phone, heart rate, music, alarm, compass, stopwatch, sleep, training, and timer. By default, these are installed on the watch out of the box and accessed by swiping right or left through the available widgets. You can customize the order of these widgets/apps within the smartphone application.

Press the hardware button to enable the watch. You can swipe up to reveal notifications and left to right to clear a notification. Swipe down from the watch face to view connectivity, battery status, date, time, weather, silent toggle, airplane mode toggle, brightness toggle, and settings menu.

Notifications work well for basic information and is most useful with an Android smartphone. You can enter the settings and choose exactly which apps can send notifications to the Verge.

Settings on the watch include connection, time format, units, activate on raise, auto upload, and a ton more. You can control and setup just about everything on the watch itself, but you do need a smartphone connection and the app to make the watch fully functional and capable for use.

Similar to my Samsung Galaxy Watch, the Amazfit Verge has an integrated mic and speaker. This allows you to make and receive calls, while also supporting playing music through the speaker on the watch. It isn't a loud stereo speaker setup like a smartphone, but does great when your headphones die or you just want to run with some background music.

Also: Amazfit Bip review: $100 smartwatch with integrated GPS and 45-day battery life

Smartphone software

The Amazfit Watch app is available on iOS and Android. Over the past two weeks I have used it with the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, iPhone XS, and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

After setting up the connection and your watch, the first display you see when you launch the smartphone app is a dashboard showing the status page. This page shows your steps, sync status, heart rate, and sleep status.

Tapping on any of these areas will take you to that specific data set and provide much more data with access to day, week, and month history. For example, steps shows you the steps over the day, distance, calories burned, and then below that are activities such as light activity, fast walking, slow walking, running, etc.

The sleep module shows deep and light sleep, along with wake time. It also shows you when you fell asleep and what time you woke up. My testing reveals it is fairly accurate, but clearly not as advanced as what we now see with the new Fitbit, Garmin, and Samsung devices.

Adjacent to the status tab is the Sports tab that shows you the data that was recorded during your workouts. Tapping on a workout takes you into all the details of the data that was captured and it is very impressive. You will see a map of your route with time, average pace, mileage, and calories burned. The Details page includes heart rate zone graphics, cadence and stride data, altitude measurements, and more. Segments shows you one mile and five mile splits and the change from each. The graph page shows pace, speed, heart rate, altitude, cadence, stride, and body state in graphical format. You can share your data via Twitter, Facebook, and more or download it for later viewing in other apps.

There is also an option to sync to Strava unlike the issues I had in the past with the Stratos, every one of my runs synced over to Strava once I returned from my run and connected the smartphone app to the watch.

The final tab to the right is the profile tab. Here is where you can see your VO2max and training load results, provided through a partnership with Firstbeat. I was very surprised to see this data provided on a value watch like this as the only other watch I have seen it on is the latest Garmin Forerunner devices.

The My Watch section lets you enter specific settings for the sports you want to appear on the watch, the location for weather, and manage files in order to sync music or GPX files to your watch. A WiFi Direct connection is setup on the watch so that music transfer is fast. There are no music services supported on the Amazfit Verge so you will need to own the music you want to listen to.

You also manage the apps and widgets loaded on the watch through the profile tab in the smartphone app. Updates are also managed here.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

Owned by Huami, and the exclusive provider of wearable technology for Xiaomi, Amazfit is one of the largest wearable device companies globally. The Stratos is a full featured GPS sports watch so I was interested in seeing what a slightly less expensive model could bring to the table.

One of the distinguishing features of the Amazfit Verge is the support for phone calls and while it sounded great on my end, callers did state I sounded like I was on a headset or in a tunnel. Thus, it is fine for convenience, but you probably don't want to be making business calls to and from your watch.

Amazfit advertises five days of standard usage and I was easily able to achieve that with daily activity tracking and sleep tracking. I measured about the same battery life consumption while running with GPS and music playback as I saw on the Stratos, so about six to seven hours of life with these two features activated.

GPS accuracy was not as good as my Garmin Fenix 5 Plus or Apple Watch and I could see the details of where the track diverged from the road. A couple times the distance was off just about 0.1 miles (500 feet), but then a couple other times it was off about half a mile as the initial GPS fix was wacky. For the casual runner, it will probably be fine, but it wasn't stable and reliable enough for me to count on for all of my training runs.

The Verge is much lighter than the Stratos, but I am very comfortable with large watches so my personal preference is the Amazfit Stratos. For others looking for a very affordable GPS sports watch at almost half of the weight of the Stratos, the Amazfit Verge is a nice option.

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