L'Amazfit Pace, version for sale on the American market ofHuami Watch, launched in China from the very prolific site of crowdfunding of Xiaomi, is produced by Huami / Amazfit, the company that took care of the production of the We Band of the Chinese colossus so loved also in Italy.
Exactly for this reason, the attention on this smartwatch was immediately very high and, from the moment it was made available on international stores at an affordable price (and officially on Amazon US) has promptly developed a 'fierce modder community and enthusiasts who are constantly working on implementations and improvements not thought by the company. All this, however, may have been put at serious risk from the new one Huami's policy that has blocked the bootloader in the latest firmware versions.
In all this, the questions are many: TheAmazfit Pace will be able to to compete with the "western" smartwatches, even without mounting Android Wear or will it be a simple, improved fit-band? Huami / Amazfit will represent one warranty or will you lose in the chaos of the many incomplete Chinese smartwatches? Let's find out together in our review.
Amazfit Pace: smartwatch, beautiful, promising but with an uncertain future REVIEW
Amazfit Pace - Sales Box
As already said, the version in our possession is that Blazer and, as might be expected, the sales box does not have any written in Chinese, clearly showing that it was designed for the English-speaking market.
From the packaging, then, we realize that we are faced with a product not made by (or for) Xiaomi, as rather than a box of white or rough cardboard, the smartwatch is placed in a more "stylish" black case with the transparent plastic front cover and the visible Amazfit Pace.
Internally we find:
- L'Amazfit Pace with its rubber strap;
- la charging base interlocking with 4 magnetic PIN;
- un USB-micro USB flat cable soft rubber pleasant to the touch;
- la English manuals.
Amazfit Pace - Design and materials
The Amazfit Pace real, taking up the company's smartband, presents one cash superiorly built in black ceramic, very elegant and scratch-resistant (slightly less shocked), with a diameter of 45 mm for a thickness of 12,7 mm and a weight of 54,5 grams. Inferiorly, however, the remaining part of the box is made of polycarbonate, except for the strap inserts el 'single physical button (apparently also in ceramic). The circular display is protected by a glass (not sapphire) and is interrupted in the lower part by a space in which it is housed brightness sensor. This configuration is embellished with one IP67 certification.
On the right side we find, at the top, the only physical button while on the left side there is a hole, which hides one microphone which, however, does not find (yet) any practical application, making us understand possible future implementations. Posteriormente, finally, in addition to PIN for charging, we find the sensor for reading the pulsed heartbeat.
Il strap from 22 mm (in our case in red color but can also be purchased in black), then, is made in soft rubber, a material really a lot pleasant to the touch and that, after a short time, will also forget to have this smartwatch on the wrist, even though it is not really small. Finally, the closing buckle presents the same finish of the ceramic part, despite being probably in metal. From the strap is manifested nature oriented to sport of the device.
I must admit that, seeing only the photographs, I would have expected something more "pacchiano" while, live, we realize theelegance inherent in the Amazfit Pace, which never clashes and, perhaps with a less conspicuous strap, can also be worn in elegant settings.
Amazfit Pace - Display
One of the most peculiar details of this smartwatch is right in its display, from 1,34 inches with resolution of 320 300 pixels x and from technology Always-on transflective LCD. This screen allows one great autonomy and a 'excellent visibility under direct sunlight.
Paradoxically, though, if al complete darkness it will be possible to activate the weak backlight to be able to enjoy aexcellent visibility, right in the intermediate light conditions la usability it will be a lot compromised.
Il touch screen è reactive, even if you do not always unlock easily with a double touch, which must always be decided, sometimes preferring the release by physical button.
Amazfit Pace - Hardware, Connectivity and Autonomy
To move this smartwatch is a dual core processor from 1.2 GHz, assisted by 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal memory, mainly useful for upload music e watchfaces but, for most people, also for the installation of alternative firmware and third-party apk.
Connectivity is guaranteed by Bluetooth 4.0, thanks to which it will be possible not only to connect with the smartphone but also combine headphones to be able to listen to music during sports activities, even without carrying the phone. Present also the Wi-Fi, GPS with altimeter functions, and the heartbeat reader. It should be noted that, in my case and after 3 weeks of use, I have not encountered any connectivity problems but many report problems with Bluetooth.
As we said, finally, there is also a microphone, currently unused and that gives hope for future implementations.
The battery from 280 mAh, in combination with the transflective screen technology, is able to guarantee amuch greater autonomy than other smartwatches, always considering the use that will be made of it. With a average usein fact, it will be possible to use it for about 3-4 days.
In case of activity particolarmente energivorous, with GPS active, continuous heart rate reading and many notifications (I tested it during a long trekking session), theautonomy is drastically reduced, even less than a day.
Amazfit Pace - Firmware
The only difference between the American version (in our possession) and the Chinese one, lies in the firmware of the device. The first difference that can be found is, of course, in the system language which in the American version is natively in English while, on the Chinese firmware, needs the use of some ADB commands to be selected. On the other hand, however, in pure Xiaomi tradition, the Eastern firmware is updates with weekly frequency (at least in the developer version), while that American è slower in receiving new versions with improvements and implementations.
Il Chinese firmware it also presents some items of the menu unusable on European soil, like Alipay, the Ximalaya FM radio and the possibility to select the Watercress FM radio from the Music application. At least in the first two cases, however, these menus can be deactivated dall 'Whatsapp companion to be installed on your phone.
Coming, however, to basic functions present, we find the possibility of slide through different menu acting with swipe side, up and down. The main pages you scroll to the right and to the left, like if we were on a regular Android phone (The firmware in fact, this is nothing else a strong personalization of Android itself). The home is represented by the Watchface, modifiable with a prolonged pressure by selecting the others available or by copying new ones in the internal memory of the Amazfit Pace.
From the Home, with a swipe to the right, you reach the page of the sports activities in which you can select the type of training to start, view past activities, select the general settings of the workouts and check the goals achieved.
Returning to the Home and swiping to the left we find, below, the step control center, the heartbeat, music player, alarm clocks, weekly weather forecast, the panel of the compass / GPS coordinates / altitude / barometer, stopwatch, sleep monitor, manager of training plans and, in the Chinese version, Alipay and Xiamalaya FM. There disposal of the menus it can be changed from the companion app. Each menu presents, then, some submenu and different possibilities for interaction.
Comparing it with an 2 Mi Band reading of the heartbeat she appeared on line with the results of the other device (we must always bear in mind that it is not a device for medical use), while for what concerns the pedometer, we see that the company is still working on their own calculation algorithm, because, over time and with different updates, I had discordant results. At first calculating a 10% of steps less than the Mi Band and, with the latest updates, realigning themselves to this but slightly upward. Annoying the steps they are not displayed in real time but with a refresh that appears almost random. In short, a point on which Amazfit will have to work. Similar speech with the GPS, active only during training sessions and when using the compass, rather than the understandable difficulty of working indoors, the company will have to work on precision.
Going back to the Home, with a swipe down, you will access the control panel, With toggle for the flight mode silent mode, lighting settings and the panel of the General Settings. Also, here, you can view the weather battery charge and collegamento with your smartphone.
Always from the Home, with a swipe up, you access the unread notifications. In this context, it should be noted that it is not possible in any way to reply to the notifications received and, if you receive more than one message from the same contact, only the number of messages received will be displayed, and you will not be able to view the content in any way.
Although apparently the methods of control may seem so many, with little practice everything will be quite intuitive.
Amazfit Pace - Firmware pt.2 - modding
At this point it is right to open a small one brackets on the modding. During the trial of the Amazfit Pace I got to try both i official firmware, freely installed with simple commands via ADB, At least up to the Chinese 1.2.13 and 1.3.2b American version, moment in which Amazfit / Huami decided to block the bootloader.
In the meantime, the community, both Italian company (thanks to the work of Nicola Sagliano) That international (on XDA with Neuer_User), he had started it translation development to be installed on official firmware or even Custom ROM. I tried, as long as it was possible, the pure translation by Nicola Sagliano, well executed and easy to install thanks to its guides.
Just because of the blocking the bootloader, however, now it is no longer possible to install it and the only solution, currently, to stay up-to-date without blocking it and with Italian translation, is install the PACEfied custom ROM, based on the Chinese firmware developer and which makes use, for the translation Italian, of the work of Nicola Sagliano himself, but that it is not complete at 100% (let's say to 95%) as opposed to the one to be installed directly on the original ROMs.
Currently, therefore, there is one great uncertainty on future of development third-party on this device, as it is not clear when and if anyone will succeed in unlock the bootloader and, according to the latest news, the PACEfied will continue to be released on a Chinese basis and Nicola Sagliano will try to make one custom ROM completely Italian.
Currently, units sold in international stores still have one previous firmware to that bloccato but it is probable that, as soon as the "older" stocks are exhausted, they will begin to be marketed already blocked and with theinability to install any custom ROM o switch from Chinese to American firmware.
Such a pity. It is therefore hoped that you will soon arrive at a turning point, also because they started to be released too third-party applications usable on the smartwatch.
Amazfit Pace - Companion App
Also in use with the companion app, the speech may be divided between the Chinese version e the American one, with the further complication brought about by the fact that it will be You can use both the versions of the app regardless of which firmware you mount on the Amazfit Pace.
La more natural solutionin my case, it is that of download directly from Play Store (there is also one version to iOS which, however, I could not test) the Amazfit Watch application, completely in English language, which allows the control of the main parameters, the management of notifications, the setting of units of measurement, the choice of watch faces and so on. There synchronization of activities, in the American version, is possible with the fitness application Strava.
Any activity, whether it is the monitoring of sleep or a run, it will not be viewable from the Amazfit Watch application, even if the thing it could change in the near future, even because in the Chinese application this it has been implemented in a very short time.
Coming instead, just to the Chinese version of the application (usable also in English), this allows the synchronize with the Xiaomi Mi Fit appVery more complete and intuitive, especially for users of the Xiaomi smartband. There is also the possibility of synchronize even with another application, Midong, clearly not suitable for the western market.
Also in this area we meet the modding, with the possibility of guaranteeing the sync with Strava and Mi Fit at the same time. It remains, therefore, to understand how the company will move in the next implementations and to record that, at the moment, this aspect also appears to be poco intuitive for non-lovers of "hacking".
Amazfit Pace - Conclusions and price
Difficult to recommend to all this smartwatch. On the one hand, for who chews English and you want to have a use "basic", Perhaps contenting himself with the data synchronization with Strava, It can be considered an excellent alternative at a good price and with a definitely unique and interesting design.
On the other hand, however, only those who are minimally practical to modding, who is willing to "to risk" in a moment of confusion generated by the bootloader block e who has no fear having to search the web for ways to solve some problems will be able to fully enjoy the (current) potentiality of the Amazfit Pace. In the hope, however, that there are also future implementations, which is not impossible given the hardware features, also not used (see for example the microphone).
Amazfit Pace is purchasable su GearBest in the English version a 109,44 € with the possibility of Priority Line shipping, fast and without customs, for more 2,73 euro.