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This sports watch has a ChatGPT-like running coach. Here's how it works

The Amazfit Cheetah smartwatch is built with runners in mind, so much so that it comes with its own AI training bot.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Person wearing the Amazfit Cheetah 8
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Amazfit continues to release new watches by the month, and it's becoming clearer that the company wants to compete with the best from Garmin, Coros, Polar, and Suunto. For a full month earlier this year, I ran, biked, slept, and exercised with the latest Amazfit Cheetah

To my surprise, its best feature may be the one you'd least expect.

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Let me start with the hardware. The watch is fairly lightweight at just 32 grams and has a lovely 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 454 x 454 pixels resolution. The top right button doubles as a rotating crown for scrolling through lists with a lower right button used for going back.

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The rest of the watch hardware is in line with what I've seen from other $200 sports watches. There's a 5 ATM rating for water resistance, and the battery capacity is a sizeable 440mAh. Amazfit advertises up to 14 days of battery life with typical usage. If you use specialized features like dual-band GNSS (most accurate mode), the battery life gets you closer to 26 hours.

While the Amazfit Cheetah has a sportier appearance than your traditional smartwatch, it offers much of the same experience as the GTR 4 I tested back in 2022. And like the GTR 4, the Amazfit Cheetah syncs to the Zepp smartphone app, which is where the real power of the experience lies. 

Amazfit Cheetah Watchband

The rubberized watchband is durable enough to withstand most environments.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Zepp app can be rather overwhelming with the vast number of screens, settings, and options that require you to spend hours exploring. But once you know where your go-to menus and settings are, it's one of the better companion apps out there.

A significant addition to the Cheetah's software is the AI Zepp Coach. Similar to ChatGPT, the Zepp software launches an interactive interface where you select your desired training plan in a chat. A training plan is then created and adapts itself as you complete your running activities. 

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I haven't completed my full training plan yet -- that could take weeks, if not longer -- but the use of AI here is a clever way to develop the best workout for your needs. I could see this being helpful for newer runners who need coaching and consistent feedback or have questions about best practices when it comes to different types of workouts and running in general. 

Amazfit Cheetah AI Zepp Coach

A look at the AI training bot, Zepp Coach.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

As I mentioned before, dual-band GNSS is supported on the Cheetah, along with six satellite systems. Amazfit calls its satellite technology MaxTrack, and while it performs fairly well, it's not as accurate as what I've tested from Garmin and Coros devices. The overall distances were still close, with most GPS tracking issues associated with corners in wooded areas. For most people, this is perfectly acceptable.

Amazfit also includes a Track Run mode so that an algorithm corrects your GPS route to match a standard track and the lane you are running in, should your connection prove unstable. You can also sync your run data to various services, including Strava, Relive, Google Fit, and Apple Health, which I'm a fan of.

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For a more robust running workout, you can select four to six metrics to appear on various data pages as you exercise. These categories include duration, distance, pace, steps, speed, altitude, heart rate, and more. I found the heart rate monitoring to closely match the results from Garmin and Coros, but if you want the most accurate readings, you can even connect the Amazfit Cheetah with an external chest strap. 

Offline maps, offline music (MP3 manually loaded), and Amazon Alexa via a connected smartphone are also supported. One of my favorite Garmin features is the Morning Report and Amazfit provides a similar experience on the watch face called Morning Updates. The data available in this Morning Update includes weather, battery status, sleep, PAI, and schedule.

ZDNET's buying advice

All in all, the Amazfit Cheetah reminds me of a mid-range smartphone, where as long as you are satisfied with how it comes out of the box, then you should be satisfied with the watch. There are things that pop up from time to time that annoy me, and the smartphone app needs some work to improve for typical users. But for the price, and the unique AI training coach feature, this may be the best starter watch for aspiring runners and athletes.

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