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Amazfit Active Smartwatch in review - Well-made, surprisingly affordable

Top shape. Quality smartwatches don't always come with a hefty price tag, as demonstrated by Amazfit with the Active watch. Nevertheless, the smartwatch scored highly on our test. It offers extensive measurements and even includes AI features. The Amazfit Active also features a voice assistant, satellite connection for training navigation, and the ability to make calls.

Amazfit offers a variety of smartwatches. The latest model in the "Lifestyle & Business" category is the Amazfit Active. Its suggested retail price of US$149,99 places it in the same price range as the GTS 4 and GTS 4 Mini. Amazfit offers the Active in three color variants.

The casing is embellished with a golden metal ring in Lavender Purple and Petal Pink, and the bands are pink or rose-colored. The Lavender version, which costs an extra US$10, has a stainless steel frame and a vegan leather band. The Active in Midnight Black has a black case and a gray metal frame with an anthracite band. The Amazfit Active is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Amazfit Active
Processor
unknown
Display
1.75 inch 13:15, 390 x 450 pixel 341 PPI, capacitive, OLED, glossy: yes
Connections
Brightness Sensor, Sensors: PPG biometric sensor, acceleration, geomagnetic, temperature
Networking
Bluetooth 5.2 LE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 11 x 36 x 42 ( = 0.43 x 1.42 x 1.65 in)
Battery
300 mAh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 336 h
Charging
fast charging / Quickcharge
Additional features
Speakers: Mono, Keyboard: onscreen, Keyboard Light: yes, charging cradle, Zepp OS 2.1; version 3.11.2.1, 24 Months Warranty, GPS, Glonass, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS; 5 ATM, fanless, waterproof
Weight
36 g ( = 1.27 oz / 0.08 pounds), Power Supply: 12 g ( = 0.42 oz / 0.03 pounds)
Price
130 Euro

 

Case and Connectivity – The Amazfit Active is lightweight

The Amazfit Active's casing is made of plastic. The maker has also included an aluminum frame around the display. Tempered glass protects the 1.75-inch rectangular display.  

A button and a microphone are located on the right side, beneath the metal frame. The button offers a strong tactile reaction as well as some movement. A speaker is situated on the left side. The band is 0.78 inches wide and features a standard connection. Using levers on the spring bars, the original band may be replaced without the use of tools.

The watch weighs 1.26 oz with the strap and 0.88 oz without it, making the smartwatch exceptionally light. The button on the right-hand side barely protrudes from the casing, and we encountered no issues with incorrect entries during the test.

Setup and operation - The Zepp app with extensive features

The setup process for the smartwatch requires the installation of the Zepp app. By scanning a QR code displayed on the smartwatch with the smartphone, the devices quickly connect. Users need to grant some authorizations, such as for phone calls and app notifications.

After setup, the Amazfit Active provides a tutorial covering all areas and gestures on the watch. While this offers a good overview, the movements are only demonstrated and not replicated by the user. To navigate through the tutorial, users need to scroll through individual pages with the same movement.

The Zepp app is organized into four sections. The 'Start' section offers a tile overview for readiness, steps, sleep, Zepp Aura, heart rate, PAI, and training history. Clicking on a field leads to the respective submenu. Two additional sections are dedicated to sleep and training.

Under 'Profile,' users can not only modify data and goals stored with Zepp but also access Amazfit Active settings by clicking on the device, leading to the submenu.

The app allows users to control the frequency of the smartwatch measuring various body parameters. Many measurements are initially deactivated, such as stress and SpO2 measurements. Activating additional measurements prompts a pop-up warning about potential battery consumption.

In this section, users can also access the app and the watch face store. The app store provides software for training, meditation, navigation, and games, although no well-known apps are available. The watch face selection is extensive, offering both free and paid options.

Users can store music from their smartphones on the watch, and Amazon Alexa can be set up. Watch settings, such as display brightness or the arrangement of widgets, can be adjusted both through the Zepp app and directly on the smartwatch itself.

The Amazfit Active is navigated using the 1.75-inch touchscreen and a physical button. Pressing the button opens the app overview, displayed as a list. When in menus or apps, pressing the button always returns to the watch face. A long press on the button can open any app, with the voice assistant being started by default.

Swiping from top to bottom reveals the short menu, providing access to theater or bedtime mode, screen brightness adjustment, and the flashlight function. Swiping from bottom to top opens the notification menu. Horizontal swiping takes you through the tiles, with default options including Standby, Activity, Heart Rate, Weather, Training, and the Daily Overview. Clicking on the tiles opens the respective menu. The order and content of the tiles can be customized in the app.

Telephony and notifications - Clear communication with Active

The Amazfit Active is equipped with both a microphone and a speaker, allowing for phone calls directly from the smartwatch. The sound quality is satisfactory, with no background noise, and the wearer's voice is conveyed clearly. Nevertheless, the transmission volume is relatively low for both parties. As the smartwatch doesn't have its own SIM card, phone calls are only possible when a paired smartphone is within Bluetooth range.

The smartwatch features its own phone app where users can view call lists and frequently used contacts. Adding favorite contacts, up to 50, must be done manually in the app. The smartwatch also includes a number field for manual number entry. The smartphone app provides the option to only notify the watch of incoming calls or to handle the calls directly with the watch. If a contact is not saved in the Zepp app, only the number is displayed on the smartwatch for incoming calls, and not the name, even if the contact is saved in the phone app on the smartphone.

The Amazfit Active consistently shows notifications, allowing full email reading. Users can customize which apps are permitted to send notifications to the smartwatch individually on the smartphone. While the Amazfit Active can display many emojis, it doesn't support image display. Responding to messages is possible, but limited to pre-formulated short replies and emojis. The order and content of these short replies can be personalized in the Zepp app.

Voice assistant - Amazon Alexa out of the box

Amazfit uses Amazon's Alexa as its voice assistant. This function is accessible only when the smartwatch is paired with a smartphone. Alexa can be activated by pressing and holding the button, through the day menu, or from the app overview. It's not possible to input commands by voice.

The assistant's responses are displayed on the screen and conveyed through the speaker. While inputs are reliably recognized, it's noted that the speaker could be louder. To enable Alexa on the Active, users need to register an Amazon account in the Zepp app. It's worth mentioning that during testing, Alexa occasionally switched from the German language version to English, and there were instances of slurred pronunciation in the voice output.

Health and fitness - Amazfit Active indicates readiness

The smartwatch offers an extensive array of health functions, with the new addition of the readiness function. This feature evaluates six different aspects of the body: physical recovery, mental recovery, heart rate during sleep, heart rate variability during sleep, breathing quality, and temperature.

Physical recovery is determined based on activity level, heart rate, and training level, while mental recovery relies on factors such as sleep and stress level. The software combines these elements to generate a score ranging from 0 to 100, indicating the performance level throughout the day.

The smartwatch data can be seamlessly linked to third-party accounts, including Google Fit, Strava, Relive, adidas Running, and Komoot.

Activity Objectives - Zepp with comprehensive PAI tracking

Zepp utilizes a central metric known as PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) to evaluate activity. This value, determined by factors such as age, gender, resting pulse rate, and exercise pulse rate, assesses the intensity and duration of movement, assigning points accordingly.

The PAI value represents personal activity over the past seven days, aiming to consistently stay above 100, offering a comprehensive perspective on physical activity beyond mere step counts and recorded training sessions. This value is exclusive to the Zepp ecosystem, encompassing smartwatches from Huami and Xiaomi. The watch also prompts regular exercise reminders if prolonged inactivity is detected, such as when sitting at a desk.

In addition, the Amazfit Active independently calculates metrics like daily step count, distance covered in kilometers, time spent in motion, and calories burned. The software presents detailed data for weeks and months, allowing users to compare current data with that of previous periods.

Moreover, the smartwatch gauges stress levels by analyzing heart rate variability. Stress levels, ranging from 0 to 100 and visually represented by different colors, are displayed throughout the day on a numerical bar and presented in a pie chart to depict stress phases. The app calculates the maximum stress level and the average value.

Heart rate, heart rhythm and blood oxygen saturation

The Amazfit Active is capable of measuring heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. To provide context to the measured values, we conducted a comparison with reference devices. For heart rate measurement, we used a Polar H10 chest strap as the reference device during a bike ride. The resting heart rate values from both devices differed by just one beat per minute, or 1.52 percent.

Three measurements were taken for power pulse, and here, the average difference was slightly higher at 4.77 percent, with the Amazfit Active consistently displaying lower values than the chest strap.

For blood oxygen saturation measurement, a Braun Pulse Oximeter 1 served as the reference device. The average deviation from three measurements was just 1.36 percent. Similar to heart rate, the measured values from the smartwatch were consistently lower than those of the reference device. Overall, the Amazfit Active's measurements are reliable, although it's worth noting that other devices, such as the significantly more expensive Huawei Watch 4 Pro, offer even more accuracy. However, the Active outperforms the GTR 4 and GTS 4 in our tests, particularly in heart rate measurement.

Heart rate monitoring with the Amazfit Active
Heart rate monitoring with the Amazfit Active
Heart rate monitoring with the Polar H10 chest strap
Heart rate monitoring with the Polar H10 chest strap

Sleep tracking - Amazfit aims to enhance sleep through AI

Amazfit places significant emphasis on sleep analysis, evident in a dedicated tab within the app. The app provides an overall sleep score, visualized as a point value and represented by a pie chart and color. The score is further categorized, such as being labeled as "good."

The software details total sleep time and presents a diagram depicting REM, light, and deep sleep phases. Waking times are reliably identified in the test, and the app indicates times for individual phases along with the proportion of total sleep each phase contributes. Users can monitor these values over weeks and compare them with other users.

The app also assesses the regularity of sleep based on falling asleep and waking times over the past seven days. Sleep behavior is examined and evaluated, and users can create a sleep schedule within the app. However, it's worth noting that the Amazfit Active does not include a smart alarm clock that considers sleep phases.

During sleep, the smartwatch measures and categorizes heart rate, along with assessing breathing quality to potentially detect conditions like hypopnea. All these functions are part of the Zepp app and are free of charge. The manufacturer also offers an additional subscription for further analyses, known as Aura.

Aura is an AI-supported assistant primarily focused on sleep-related functions. Beyond providing analyses of weekly statistics or deep sleep phases, Aura operates as a chatbot. While the written responses are available in German, the language version is currently limited to English. Aura recommends music for relaxation and designs a personalized sleep plan. This service is priced at ~US$10 per month or ~US$75 per year, with a seven-day free trial period offered. It's worth noting that the Aura virtual assistant is stored in the cloud, allowing for data analysis beyond the smartphone.

Training recording - Bei Zepp Fitness mit dem Coach im Chat

The watch boasts extensive training options, capable of tracking over 120 different types of sports, ranging from jogging and cycling to e-sports and board games. The app allows users to create templates with intervals for repetitive training sessions.

The Zepp app presents all completed workouts in chronological order and generates a weekly overview. For more in-depth analysis and progress tracking, a subscription called "Zepp Fitness". This subscription also includes communication with the Zepp trainer, who can provide suggestions for improving training via chat.

Creating an individual training plan in the app is free, with progress displayed in the software. The smartwatch can remind users of upcoming training sessions and offer assistance during workouts, setting goals such as distance, time, or training effect. During activities like jogging, the Active can sound an alarm when leaving certain heart rate zones and provide updates on fitness data after specific sections, such as every kilometer, albeit only in English. The watch can also automatically count laps, display a virtual pacer, or help maintain a specific cadence, with options varying based on the sport.

The Amazfit Active collects comprehensive data during training, including recording routes during outdoor activities, which can be exported as GPX files. Additionally, users can load routes onto the watch as GPX, TCX, or KML files via the Zepp app and complete these routes during training sessions.

The smartwatch also features automatic workout-tracking, and the app allows users to limit automatic tracking to specific sports. Indoor exercises on the treadmill, rowing machine, or cross trainer can also be recorded automatically. During testing, the software reliably recognized workouts, with the exception of a car journey in the city center, which was mistakenly classified as a bike workout.

 

GPS and navigation - Active with all common systems

During a bike ride alongside a Garmin Venu 2 as a reference device, the Amazfit Active showcased impressive recordings. However, it was noted that the Garmin watch displayed the route even more accurately, particularly during bends.

The Amazfit Active supports all common satellite systems, establishing a quick and stable connection in the test without interruptions. While there are navigation apps available in the Zepp app store, the smartwatch can also display notifications from Google Maps if desired. It alerts users to upcoming course changes through vibrations.

GNSS, around the lake
GNSS, around the lake
GNSS, turning point
GNSS, turning point
GNSS, summary
GNSS, summary

Display - Large OLED should be even brighter

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

Amazfit equips the Active with a 1.75-inch AMOLED display, achieving a sharp resolution of 341 PPI. Tests reveal screen flickering at a relatively low frequency of 120 Hz.

The measured maximum panel brightness is 546 cd/m², surpassing its siblings, the GTS 4 and GTR 4, but falling short compared to the Samsung Galaxy Watch6, which achieves around 1897 nits. While the Active's brightness is generally sufficient for everyday use, it may pose readability challenges in direct sunlight.

The inclusion of an Always on Display is appreciated, offering various usage options. Users can choose to keep it permanently activated or deactivated, control it automatically, or set it according to a schedule. Additionally, the AoD can mirror the selected watch face's style or be customized independently.

Amazfit ActiveAmazfit GTS 4Amazfit GTR 4Xiaomi Smart Band 7 ProXiaomi Watch S1
Response Times
PWM Frequency
120
120
0%
119.4
0%
118.9
-1%
Screen
-14%
-23%
-5%
-19%
Brightness middle
546
471
-14%
423
-23%
516
-5%
444
-19%
Black Level *
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-7% / -7%
-12% / -12%
-3% / -3%
-19% / -19%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 120 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 120 Hz (worst case, e.g., utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 120 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17900 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

The Amazfit Active's display is difficult to read in direct sunlight.
The Amazfit Active's display is difficult to read in direct sunlight.

Performance and runtime - Amazfit is not forthcoming with information

Unfortunately, Amazfit does not disclose information about the System in Package (SiP) installed in the Active. The presence of a browser on the smartwatch prevents benchmark measurements. Memory details are also limited, with 250 MB of free memory available for additional apps, routes, and music.

In everyday use, the Active demonstrates pleasing performance. Scrolling through the app overview, changing maps, and opening apps can be done without noticeable delays. Deliberately challenging the watch, such as rapidly switching between maps, may introduce a slight delay in implementing inputs, but the system remains stable without crashing.

Battery life - Amazfit Active lasts a long time

Ignoring battery warnings from the Zepp app and keeping all measurements permanently active, along with automatic training detection in the test, the Amazfit Active achieves a minimum battery life of 4.5 days with smaller workouts automatically recorded. The Always on Display was deactivated at night.

With the AoD permanently deactivated under the same settings, the battery life extends to around nine days. The Amazfit Active comfortably lasts a week when worn continuously, which is a commendable performance. Charging is done using a proprietary charging pad that magnetically attaches to the underside. Unfortunately, the Active does not support wireless charging via the Qi standard.

In terms of charging times, the smartwatch goes from 0 to 32 percent in 15 minutes, reaching a charge level of 50 percent after 30 minutes. A full charge takes approximately 90 minutes.

Pros

+ extensive training functions
+ satellite connection with map import and export
+ calling options
+ extensive sleep tracking

Cons

- should become even brighter in the sun
- limited range of apps
- all sleep and training functions only available as a subscription
- Aura and Zepp Fitness only via cloud

Verdict - Compelling overall package at an affordable price

Amazfit Active in review. Test device provided by Amazfit Germany.
Amazfit Active in review. Test device provided by Amazfit Germany.

Even though Amazfit has positioned the Active as an affordable smartwatch, it impresses with a comprehensive feature set. The casing is appealing with its low weight and good workmanship. Additionally, the software functions of the Zepp app are impressive. Even if a subscription fee is charged for the AI-supported sleep and training support, the free version offers a wide range of data and setting options. 

The smartwatch is also impressive when it comes to navigation and measuring body parameters. Although there are more precise devices on the market, they often come with a much higher price tag. The Amazfit Active proves to be a highly useful smartwatch for sports use, offering features such as training plans and the ability to follow routes stored in the device.

We also appreciate the display with its good resolution and pleasant size. However, it's worth noting that there are smartwatches on the market that offer much higher brightness levels. The relatively low maximum brightness is our primary criticism of the Active. Nevertheless, it still outperforms its more expensive counterparts, the GTS 4 and GTR 4, from the same manufacturer in terms of brightness.

The Amazfit Active's price-performance ratio is impressive, offering numerous functions and accurate measurements at an affordable price.

The smartwatch's battery life is noteworthy, lasting at least 4.5 days in the test with all functions in use, and up to 9 days without the Always on Display. Some features are missing at this price point, such as NFC and an eSIM. The app store for Amazfit smartwatches is limited, lacking a music streaming provider.

In summary, the Amazfit Active is a highly recommended smartwatch, providing excellent value for money. For those preferring larger watches, the Amazfit T-Rex 2 offers a similar range of functions, while the Xiaomi Watch S1 in the same price segment leans towards a more stylish design. 

Price and availability

The Amazfit Active is available from various retailers, including Amazon. Amazfit also sells the smartwatch in its own online store. The black version is priced at US$149,99, while the lavender version has an RRP of US$159,99.

Transparency

The present review sample was given to the author by the manufacturer free of charge for the purposes of review. There was no third-party influence on this review, nor did the manufacturer receive a copy of this review before publication. There was no obligation to publish this review.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Amazfit Active Smartwatch in review - Well-made, surprisingly affordable
Benedikt Winkel, 2023-11-30 (Update: 2023-11-30)