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This $150 GPS sports watch is almost too easy to recommend, even if it's not for me

The Amazfit Active is perfect for those looking for an affordable smartwatch with a battery life that lasts up to two weeks.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Amazfit Active 4
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Amazfit Active is available now in three colors for $149.
  • It's a GPS sports watch that's small and lightweight, has a lovely AMOLED display, and a useful companion app.
  • The Zepp smartphone application can be overwhelming, and the GPS won't be as accurate as watches that are double the price.

Amazfit is best known for making quality smartwatches at a relatively affordable price. Case in point, its new Amazfit Active has a lovely AMOLED display, a two-week battery life, and plenty of health and wellness features to satisfy most people.

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This is one of the smallest watches I've tested recently, too, with a weight of just 24 grams minus the strap. It has a 1.75-inch AMOLED display with a high 390 x 450-pixel resolution, and the watch looks fantastic. So, what more (and what less) are you getting with the company's latest $149 smartwatch? Here's the breakdown.

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For users of traditional sports watch form factors, the Amazfit Active can be almost too small for some. It's similar in size to the Google Pixel Watch 2, which I also wish was bigger. Still, the watch was designed for the elements, with a 5 ATM water-resistant rating and continuous GPS tracking for up to 16 hours with support for five satellite systems.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Bluetooth is available so that you can connect to your smartphone or Bluetooth headset. With this connection, you can answer calls on the watch, use Alexa as your voice assistant, and play locally stored music. It's the standard suite of smartwatch features.

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Health and wellness are a key part of the Amazfit Active with support for measuring your heart rate, blood oxygen level, stress, sleep, menstrual cycle, and fitness recovery. The watch will automatically track seven sports, including running and biking, while support for other activities must be input manually. As far as insights go, Amazfit now offers a Zepp Fitness/Aura membership service for $69.99 per year, both of which are designed to provide deeper insights into your training and sleep.

One fitness feature that stands out to me is Track Run mode, which uses an AI algorithm to correct your GPS route to match a standard track and the lane you are running in. That way, your watches' measurements are much more accurate. You can also sync your run data to various services, including Strava, Relive, Google Fit, and Apple Health.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

You can select four to six metrics to appear on various data screens as you run or perform other workouts. Each data category has various metrics within each category. These categories include duration, distance, pace, steps, speed, altitude, heart rate, and more. It's an experience similar to what is found on Garmin, Coros, and Polar watches.

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My testing showed the GPS to be fairly accurate, but not as correct as the Garmin, Coros, and Polar watches I used for comparison. These other watches are also hundreds of dollars more, so casual athletes may be able to shoulder off the slight miscalculations. The heart rate accuracy has been decent for me too and resulted in an average of just two to four beats lower than much more expensive watches.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Lastly, the smartphone app can be a bit overwhelming, with its exhaustive amount of options and settings, so I'd recommend sticking with the default settings and slowly modifying things along the way.

ZDNET's buying advice

The Amazfit Active is easy to use and offers a solid GPS sports watch experience for $150. It is perfect for those who seek the functionality of a GPS sports watch but don't want a wearable that looks distinctively rugged. It's also one of the smallest and lightest watches I have tested in years, so while it is not the ideal fit for me, it is a solid option for casual athletes and those looking for a lovely, affordable smartwatch. 

Remember, GPS sports watches can be expensive and not everyone is training for serious competitions or trying to advance their performance. Amazfit continues to improve its full-featured smartphone application while releasing a range of watches that are much more accessible than your Garmin or Coros wearable.

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