Although I am passionate about all things tech, that is why I write about it, I do not love tech for tech’s sake. A product needs to speak to me in a multiple of languages; style, design and seamless technology. Fluency in these areas is key when it comes to creating a smart watch that would attract me to invest my time, energy and hard earned money.
That all being said, smart watches have been catching my eye for some time now, I just haven’t been tempted enough to decorate my wrist with one. Why? Well, the Apple Watch I find to be too common (everyone has one), the Kate Spade smart watch looks like it was designed for the younger generation, and the Michael Kors smart watch, although eye catching, is simply too blingy for my taste. I had moments when I felt like I was forever destined to adorn the old school watch, until I was introduced to the Amazfit Pace smart watch by FashNerd co-founder Mano. At first I wasn’t impressed with the photos he showed me. It seemed a little bit too sporty for my taste. That all changed when it arrived. Nicely packaged, the Pace was better looking in real life than it had been in the photos I had seen.
“(Although) smart watches have been catching my eye for some time, I just haven’t been tempted enough to decorate my wrist with one.”
Smart and orange, the Amazfit Pace is made by Huami, a company that is backed by Xiaomi, the second largest global wearable company and manufacturer. Known for their Mi Band, the inexpensive alternative to the Fitbit, Xiaomi has successfully honed in on the affordable wearables side of the consumer market.
The Pace, which has an always-on transflective color LCD touch screen, is currently sold in online stores like Amazon. With so much to offer the consumer looking to spend much less than the asking price of some of the smart watches currently available, the Pace brags features like;
- Run Tracking: Track your runs and capture distance, time, pace, heart rate, calories, speed, cadence, maximum/average moving pace, max/Avg moving speed, max/Avg cadence, altitude, elevation gain, elevation loss and min/max altitude.
- Phone-Free Music: Connect wirelessly to Bluetooth earbuds, load up your music to the internal 4GB storage, and run phone-free.
- GPS: Track your route and distance with built-in GPS.
- Notifications: Receive notifications for incoming calls, messages, emails, and other apps.
- Heart Rate: Optimize workouts with automatic heart rate monitoring and continuous heart rate tracking.
When it comes to battery power, the Pace has 5 days regular use / 11 days basic use between recharges. It weighs 1.9 oz / 54.5 g, has a display size of 1.34” / 320×300 px, a processor of 1.2 GHz Core and a RAM of 512 MB
The Pace Got Me At…
I am definitely old school when it comes to how my watch looks that is why I prefer the makers to put the convenience in a watch that looks like my everyday wrist candy. Luckily the Pace looks like a ‘normal’ watch, with its polished ceramic framed face, attached to a soft and comfortable strap made of silicone rubber. The metal, which is supposed to be resistant to scratching, is so far proving to be capable of keeping its new gleam. I love the fact that the Pace uses its own proprietary OS. Also, I love how the touchscreen responds easily to taps and swipes.
Besides the standard tracking of distance, steps taken, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking, my most favourite thing is the Pace’s ability to locate my phone. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am forever misplacing my mobile phone, and that is why I find this perk quite useful. There have been times when my phone is ringing deep inside my oversized bag and the Pace I am wearing conveniently tells me who is ringing. It is a must have tech characteristic that gives me the freedom to decide whether I should start digging through my bag to find my phone or simply just ignore the call. I also find it very convenient that my emails and Whatsapp messages appear on my watch screen. This allows me to filter all the noise and give the messages that need my immediate attention priority.
Room for improvement?
There is always room for improvement. Yes the Pace, described as being quite basic by a few online tech rags, is definitely the epitome of a smart watch that doesn’t have too many bells and whistles. In my opinion, the Pace is perfect for those seeking to introduce a bit of order to their life. Ultimately, it all comes down to what do you want from your smart watch? How can it make your life easier? Although, I felt that the Pace met my daily needs, there were certain areas that I noticed that would definitely make the Pace a less desirable watch for those seeking more from their smart watch. These were:
- The watch does not have the ability to install new apps like an Android Wear device.
- The heart rate monitor sometimes doesn’t seem to work well.
- You can’t view any of the data collected on the Pace on the app which means that the watch only keeps a record for the week and anything else past that is gone.
- The Pace really has no means of syncing data.
Having worn the Pace for around 6 weeks, I have found that the battery life only lasted a maximum of 3 days, not the 4-5 days stated in the Amazfit specs. The good news is that the battery doesn’t take too long to charge. A few hours at the most. My one pet peeve was that when it came to attaching the watch to the charger, it wasn’t so easy. There were many moments when I had to fiddle around with it in order to get it started. If I didn’t double check that it was actually charging, I would find myself with a dead smart watch the next morning.
What’s New For Pace
As of 29th March 2017, there has been an OTA update for the Pace watch has been released. You can now:
- Update your GPS firmware to v2.85
- Add Training Plan feature for beginners, 5k, 10k and marathon runners
- Add Sports Mode for Elliptical workouts
- Add option to switch between 12 hour and 24 hour clocks
- Consolidate new dashboard for all System Settings
- Send weekly activity summary every Monday as a pop up notification
Other bug fixes, include issues from daylight savings time change. Remember, if you are not prompted by your Pace, you can manually update your watch by first connecting to Wi-Fi and then going through their step by step instructions.
Making Pace In My Life
Overall, I am happy with my Pace, even though I am aware that it has a rather weak app companion that does not really let you sync any data or integrate with many popular 3rd party apps like Google Fit, MyFitness apps and UA Record. Fortunately, that does not bother me too much because I am not much of a fitness buff. For the moment, I am quite satisfied with a watch that tells me the correct time, allows me to change its face to suit my outfit, has a band that can be swapped for another should I wish and knows how to find my phone when I have misplaced it. Who knew I would be the kind of woman who is easily pleased.