Android phone owners don't have an option to use an Apple Watch, but Huami's latest smartwatch is a good option if you want an affordable smartwatch that is built to last.
We've seen watches from Huami before and they have always had high-quality design and materials. The Zepp E Square, also available in a Circle form factor, is the first Zepp-branded offering from Huami and it provides a compelling activity and health tracking wearable that is now available for $249.99 on Amazon.
The Zepp E Square design is reminiscent of an Apple Watch, but after opening up the retail package it clearly has a higher quality feel to it. It is made of stainless steel with a gorgeous AMOLED display. It doesn't hold a candle to Apple's ecosystem or third-party apps, but let's take a closer look at what it does offer.
Display: 1.65 inch 348x442 pixels resolution AMOLED
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100
Water resistance: 5 ATM
Connectivity and sensors: Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, optical HR, acceleration sensor, geomagnetic sensor, ambient light sensor
Battery: Up to seven days in typical tracking usage and 15 days in basic watch mode
Dimensions: 43.3 x 35.7 x 9mm and 36 grams
The Zepp E is available in an assortment of colors with fluoreolastomer, leather, and metal band options. I tested the basic Onyx Black watch with black fluoroelastomer band.
The one key specification missing for me to use this as my daily watch was an integrated GPS receiver to track outdoor activities without a connected smartphone.
The Zepp E Square is honestly one of the best wearables I have ever held and worn The stainless steel material feels solid with high density in such a small form factor. The 3D curved glass transitions right into the edges, the heart rate monitor transitions well into the back, and the AMOLED display looks fantastic. It is priced at $250, but feels like a smartwatch that would cost you more than $400.
The watch is one of the smaller wearables I have tested over the past couple of years, fairly similar in size to the recent Garmin Venu Sq that I tested. It was extremely comfortable to wear 24/7 and has a battery life that gets you through most of a week between charges.
There is a single button on the right side with no microphone or speaker openings anywhere on the watch. The heart rate sensor takes up most of the back. Lugs are present for standard 20mm quick release bands. It's great to see a standard band size as that provides you with the opportunity to switch easily with inexpensive bands from various online retailers.
The included fluoroelastomer band reminds me of the Apple Watch sport bands with high-quality material that is very soft to the touch and malleable for a great fit around your wrist. The clasp is a standard buckle mechanism with two sliding loops to secure the bitter end of the band.
A magnetic bar with two gold pins aligns onto the back of the watch to charge it up via USB. It takes about an hour and a half to charge up the battery from an empty state.
The watch is very easy to use. Swipe down from the top to quickly view the date, day of the week, weather, and eight quick control buttons. These buttons include battery saver, flashlight, do not disturb, theater mode, and more.
Swipe up from the bottom to view your notifications. Press and hold on the watch face to customize or change your watch face. Swipes to the left and right take you through the various screens. These screens, quick access apps, include activity goals, heart rate, music, weather, and PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence). You can go into the settings to select other apps with a limit of up to five of these quick access apps active at one time.
Zepp E Square smartwatch hands-on: in pictures
Press the side button to view the included apps. Apps are available for stress, PAI, heart rate, SpO2, workout, activities, activity goal, weather, music, alarm, events, widgets, and settings.
Selecting any of these provides more detail on that topic. There is no offline music supports so this music app is just a controller for music playing on your phone. If you select widgets, then compass, timer, countdown, and find mobile are available options.
A simple, always-on watch face also appears when the display times out. You have control over this in the basic settings area. Settings include watch face settings, auto screen off, always-on mode, long press the side button, and quick access app.
By default, long pressing the side button launches the workouts app. You can also change this action to activity goal, heart rate, weather, music, notifications, alarm, events, compass, timer, countdown, find mobile, or disable. This is a great way to quickly jump to your favorite or most used app on the watch.
In order to connect your phone and experience everything there is to offer with the Zepp E Square, download and install the Zepp app to your phone. The Zepp app is a very comprehensive application that supports connecting and managing all of your Huami products. It is used for the various earbuds, like the PowerBuds I recently reviewed and a host of other products.
The application launches with a summary page that shows your daily steps status, calories burned, sleep, sleep score, heart rate history, PAI, goal tracker, and more. The other two main screens are labeled Enjoy and Profile.
The Enjoy tab/display shows options for the alarm clock, schedule, find a device, watch face, notification manager, and more. It is updated to reflect the functions of the currently connected device and is very comprehensive.
The Profile screen is where you see the status of your devices and can also control and completely manage the specific devices. Your goals, records, friends, third party connected accounts (We Chat, Google Fit, Strava, and Relive), and other settings are present here.
There is a watch face store with a large number of available faces for you to download and use on the Zepp E Square so you won't be lacking for watch face options.
Back on the main smartphone display, tap the four leaf icon in the upper right corner to view All Data. Here you can see categories for exercise data, status data, health sign, body measurements, and body composition. Much of this data is entered manually as the wearables don't track all of this and I personally don't feel comfortable entering all of these personal details here.
There are some health tips and summary reports, including charts, for the exercise and health data that are interesting and helpful to understand your health and wellness. You can use some of the tips for motivation to improve your health and it is a comprehensive application.
Daily usage experiences and conclusion
The touch response on the Zepp E Square is one of the most fluid experiences I have ever seen on a smartwatch and increased my level of frustration with Fitbit and Garmin touchscreen devices. I never had to concentrate on where to target my tap or swipe and the flow on the watch was like liquid. Seemless usability is important on a watch and Huami got it right here on the Zepp E Square.
The display looks awesome with vibrant colors and dark blacks. The fonts are crisp and I was able to read everything on the display while working out.
The health-tracking features are solid and I like the PAI metric for activity tracking. It has a blood oxygen sensor that is now the talk of the town thanks to Apple finally incorporating it. In addition, stress, heart rate, and detailed sleep tracking is provided. Your steps, standing each hour, and more are also tracked.
The watch does not have a GPS receiver so you need it connected to your phone to track the details of outside activities. I went on a few runs with the watch, but the data didn't sync over and the plot on the watch showed a simple straight line despite the actual route being vastly different.
There is no way to carry out phone calls, reply to text messages, or use a voice assistant with the Zepp E Square so it primarily serves as an activity tracker for health data. In this capacity, it does very well, especially with the comprehensive smartphone application.
The Zepp E Square hardware is fantastic and if you don't care about GPS for outside activity tracking then it is clearly a compelling wearable to consider. I look forward to seeing further development from Huami since it has proven it can make good products.