Amazfit Stratos Review
The Amazfit Stratos is an updated version of the company’s Amazfit Pace sport-swatch. Huami has now formally released the Stratos internationally in April 2018 and for the last month, I have been taking the fitness watch through its paces to compile this Amazfit Stratos review.
When the Stratos first arrived I was pretty impressed with the feature set especially the Firstbeat integration that is normally found on high-end Garmin devices, but I was equally sceptical given the price of a GPS fitness watch.
As already mentioned I have been putting the AmazFit Stratos through its paces over the last month to bring this review that will cover design, features, fitness tracking for running, cycling and gym work.
The Software used in the Amazfit Stratos review is running the latest English international version and during the review, the device has been updated several times.
Amazfit Stratos review
- Display size: 1.34” / 320×300 px
- Type: Always-on LCD touch screen
- scratch-resistant 2.5D Corning Gorilla
- 22mm silicon watch strap
- Weight: 2.5 oz / 70 g
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Core
- Storage: 4GB Total
- Connection: Bluetooth 4.0 / BLE + WiFi, but no ANT+
- Battery life: 5 days regular use / 11 days basic use
- Water resistance: 5 ATM certified, equivalent to about 80 PSI, 164 feet or 50 meters water depth.
- Optical Heart rate sensor
- GPS + GLONASS
- Automatically track your daily steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, heart rate and sleep quality plus optional movement reminders
- Smart Notifications
AmazFit Stratos Review in pictures
Amazfit Stratos deals
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Amazfit Stratos design & hardware
- 1.34 inch scratch-resistant 2.5D Gorilla Glass-covered
- 22mm quick-release bands
- Solid well built fitness watch
As I mentioned in the hands-on review of the Stratos, the Amazfit Stratos arrives in an Apple-style box containing that the device neatly packed inside along with a charging dock instruction booklet.
The watch comes in a round design with a carbon fibre case, featuring a polished ceramic bezel. The fitness watch is 46mm in diameter and the weight including the band is a surprisingly light 70 grams, this is the type of watch I found myself able to wear to most occasions.
The Stratos features 22mm quick release silicone bands that can be removed with ease. You can use any 22mm quick release band and you will find plenty of third-party marketplaces.
Turning to the Stratos screen, it features a 1.34-inch scratch-resistant 2.5D Gorilla Glass-covered transflective display with a resolution of 320 x 300 pixels. The display is surrounded by a Zirconia ceramic bezel. The Stratos also features a touchscreen, which given its price, works pretty well, however as always it did struggle with wet hands or in water. Overall I am pretty impressed with the screen, its bright, adapts to sunlight and easy to read both on the move and during an activity.
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The Amazfit Stratos has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of storage, although only 2gb us useable for things like Music storage. On the software front, it resembles Wear OS, however, the watch runs on its own proprietary software platform, which allows you to change watch faces and some of the settings, but its not as customisable as an Apple Watch. So if you are looking to alter the software settings of the appearance of the watch then this may not work for you.
Huami has included 3 buttons on the Amazfit Stratos and these are made of stainless steel and feel really good when you touch them. The button presses take you through the various screens and menus. When I first started using the Stratos the buttons did take some getting used to, however over time using them to interface with the watch, has become natural. When navigating the various menus I found using a combination of using the buttons and the touchscreen to navigate around the watch.
The Stratos is safe to take in the water with a waterproof rating down to a depth of 50 meters meaning you can go for a swim with the watch, but I would not recommend it for scuba diving
Amazfit Stratos Music Storage
- Store upto 2GB of music
- No streaming services supported
- Pair Bluetooth earphones to the Stratos
The Amazfit Stratos includes music storage to allow you to take a playlist on a run or other activity. To transfer and play music on your Amazfit Pace smartwatch, you will need to connect the watch to your computer via the provided USB cable and charging base and copy the music files into the watches’ media storage folder called “Music“. The supported music file formats are MP3 and M4A.
A couple of things I found when conducting this review, the first being the music needs to be DRM free (which is no surprise) so if you have music that is bought from iTunes or another service then you cant use it with the Stratos. The 2nd thing is that the Stratos does not support music streaming services like the likes of the Forerunner 645 music.
However, regardless of the lack of music streaming on the Amazfit Stratos, the music support is good on the watch and given the price, the Stratos offers a good cheaper alternative to other music capable fitness watches.
Amazfit Stratos sensors
- Pair Bluetooth HR sensors, but no support for other fitness sensors
- Optical HR tracking
- No ANT+ support
The Amazfit Stratos built-in sensors include;
- GPS + GLONASS
- Optical Heart rate sensor
- Acceleration sensor
- Geomagnetic sensor
- barometric pressure sensor
- Bluetooth 4.0
When it comes to Bluetooth you can pair headphones that have Bluetooth which works well with the Stratos Music support along with Bluetooth optical HR straps. The pairing process was not easy at first as you pair the headphones in the main connections settings and to pair a Bluetooth HR sensor you need to do this via a fitness profile, but once you have the HR sensor, its paired for all activities
Whilst the Stratos has a load of built-in sensors, it does not support footpods, power meters or anything really other than an HR strap. You don’t get ANT+ support either, but being honest given the price of this device I am not surprised.
Huami has included an Optical heart rate sensor on the back of the watch that tracks your heart rate throughout the day and during exercise. The sensor itself only protrudes from the back of the device and its comfortable.
Amazfit Stratos app and software
- Simple but useful app
- Ran into some issues with pairing during the review
- Setup is easy to complete
Stratos comes with its own iOS/Android app which you can download from the respective app stores. you also have the option to link Stratos up with your Strava account.
After the initial setup procedure which requires you to scan the QR code from the watch face, install the latest firmware update and register your basic details, you are good to go. I found the initial setup process pretty painless and very straightforward.
Stratos companion App
The app’s default screen is an overview of the day’s activity. Tapping on pretty much any metric will take you through to a more detailed overview. Along the bottom are tabs that allow you to cycle between activity stats, sports and profile. Depending on which of these you choose, you can view your daily summary.
You can also change the watch faces, reorder widgets on the watch and alter settings like KM to miles depending on your preferences. If you also want to connect to Strava, you can do so within the Stratos companion app.
When it comes to looking at the post-workout information, the companion is pretty detailed in terms of the data that is presented and gives you a summary with a route, then detailed information like calories, cadence, heart rate zones, pace and speed and other metrics depending on the workout you are completing.
The Amazfit Stratos also has Firstbeat built into the device software which gives you data like Vo2 max, although this is only for running and training state which tells what condition you are in based on recent workouts.
The biggest let down with the app is the random disconnection you get when it appears to unpair itself from the Stratos, so during the review, I found it disconnected over 8 times! that’s a lot. To pair the Stratos again I had to uninstall the companion app, reinstall, remove the Bluetooth connect and then pair again. Not a great experience and Huami need to sort this out ASAP or users will simply return it.
Overall I did like the app, however, in places, the app does not feel finished and it could certainly do with some attention to give it more polish and improve the features.
Amazfit Stratos international English software
The Software used in the Amazfit Stratos review is running the latest English international version and during the review, the device has been updated several times. Whilst you can get a Chinese version of the watch and flash it with an English ROM, I would not recommend it given that the international version is available.
Software running on the Stratos resembles Wear OS, however, the watch runs on its own proprietary software platform, which allows you to change watch faces and some of the settings, but it is not as customisable as an Apple Watch. So if you are looking to alter the software settings of the appearance of the watch then this may not work for you.
Using the software on the Stratos has been an ok experience, but it does have some rough edges. So for instance when I paired a Bluetooth chest strap it would give a warning the connection had failed when in fact it was paired and until the latest firmware upgrade the Stratos would sometimes not respond to certain swipes, now this may have been the touchscreen.
The Stratos supports smart notifications, but unlike the Apple Watch, you cannot reply to them. Personally, I don’t use smart notifications due to that fact on most watches you can repond to them and reponding to them is just hassle and you might aswell pull your smartphone out.
Overall Huami has done a good job with the software on the watch capturing lots of detail that are included with high-end fitness watches and putting them in a budget fitness tracker. In the short space of time I have been reviewing the watch, they have pushed out improvements and based on this the software should only get better.
Amazfit Stratos activity tracking
- Step tracking is a bit out
- A good set of features to track everyday activity
- Sleep tracking not accurate.
Whilst the Amazfit Stratos is aimed at the budget minded runner or someone that is into multiports, the watch also tracks the following daily activities
- Calories Burned
- Heart rate, resting, average, max
- Sleep tracking
When it comes to step tracking on the Stratos, it was often out comparing it to my daily watch the Fenix 5x and it was out by 1000 steps, which is a big gap. Whilst this could be down to a variety of things as I have found with Fitbits when cycling, the Stratos was out every day and this was days when I didn’t do any workouts.
Calories burned and the heart rate data was pretty much on point comparing it to the Fenix 5x with very little difference between them both.
Just like other fitness wearables, the Stratos gives you prompts if you have not moved in a certain period of time. Whilst I didnt pay much attention to the accuracy of this, it did seem to remind me at the same time as the Fenix 5x
Amazfit Stratos sleep tracking
Sleep tracking on the Stratos is another data point that is out. So for example on the 26th April the Stratos recorded I went to sleep at 09:38 when I know I went to sleep after 11 pm and then I woke up at 05:56, when in fact I was up after 8 am. This is just one example of the Stratos sleep tracking not being accurate and all the other days I did the test I found it to be out.
You can access the activity tracking data on the watch, which in my view is really well presented and easy to understand by getting an overview of your day or look back on previous days. You can also look at the data on the companion app.
Amazfit Stratos fitness tracking
- Plenty of fitness profiles
- Easy to read screens during exercise
- Lots of data is available to be view on the watch in addition to the app
When I was conducting the Amazfit Stratos review, I was surprised at the range of workout profiles the device does have. It has support for running, walking, cycling, swimming, triathlon, elliptical machine, mountaineering, trail running, triathlon, tennis, soccer and skiing.
Before I move onto the running, cycling and swimming tests I did during the Amazfit Stratos review, I want to talk about some of the training and Firstbeat features
Starting with Firstbeat, the collaboration brings a wealth of detailed performance metrics to the watch including maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), Recovery Time Advisor and Training Load. You’ll also get your Real-Time Performance Condition for running, a very useful metric
Huami has also included some Firstbeat features that you will not get on other fitness wearables that feature Firstbeat. The one that in particular I like is the Real-Time Coaching What you get is feedback in the form of prompts such as ‘speed up,’ ‘keep this pace,’ and slow down’ to ensure you reach your target effectively.
The final one is training Plans. This provides you with a personalised exercise prescription based on whether you are interested in doing, so, for example, a 5k run or a marathon it has it all. This is similar to Garmin training plans and it shows that Huami are really thinking about what the user wants and its a step in the right direction.
So moving onto the fitness tracking and as I said I used the device for running and cycling during the testing for the Amazfit Stratos review,
A couple of things to point out about the workout profiles
- The Stratos supports workout data fields, but these cannot be edited like you can on a Garmin or a Suunto
- Workouts like running or cycling do not have auto pause, so you have to remember to pause a workout
- You cannot view the stats on the device when you have paused a workout. So not useful when you are resting on a ride and want to view average speed ect.
- You can load routes into the Stratos via a computer, but it has no maps
- Surprisingly the Stratos does not feature a gym workout mode
- The Stratos supports triathlon mode with transitions.
Amazfit Stratos for running
Using the Amazfit Stratos for running all the matrics was pretty much bang on in terms of accuracy and you can see from the graphic below for average pace, speed, distance all tracking inline.
The Blue line is the Stratos and the purple line is the chest strap
You will also see that the optical heart rate data also performed pretty well when comparing it to an HR tri connected to a Fenix 5. It was the Fenix 5 that saw a drop out in readings during the 5k run.
Amazfit Stratos for cycling
When I tested the Amazfit Stratos during cycling activities again the distance, speed was pretty much in line with what I was getting on the Fenix 5. However, it does not record cadence or power due to it not being able to connect to those sensors.
The Purple line is the Stratos and the blue line is the chest strap
When we look at the HR data, this is when the Stratos is let down, but I do want to point out that I have not found a wearable that can give accurate HR readings when cycling using an optical HR sensor.
Amazfit Stratos for swimming
I only completed one swim with the Stratos, but that swim matched my Fenix 5 in terms of distance and time. It also gives you SWOLF and other swimming data that you might expect. It does not capture HR data, but you can pair a waterproof HR sensor though.
So overall I am very impressed with the accuracy of the Amazfit Stratos for fitness workouts and the accuracy of the sensors for this price point.
Amazfit Stratos battery life
- 5 day claimed battery life
- Simple charging dock
- Battery drains quickly when using GPS
Huami has put a 280 mAh Li-Po battery into the Amazfit Stratos which they claimed has enough power to keep going for 5 days on a single charge, and 35 hours with GPS switched on. When I was conducting the Amazfit Stratos review, the battery life didn’t live up to expectations and I found I was charging the battery every 2 days and this was only with moderate use. When I was using the device heavy it would be 1.5 days.
Charging the Stratos is done via a charging dock that is included and it simply plugs into a wall socket via USB or a computer. Charging time is around 1.5 hours and features a funky animation like a glass being filled up, which is cool.
Should I buy the Amazfit Stratos
The Amazfit Stratos is a great option for those on a budget looking for a multi-sport fitness watch that you can use for a variety of sports activities from running, swimming and even triathlon. Given its price, you are in the Fitbit Versa and charge 2 territories and I would certainly recommend it over one of those fitness watches mainly down to the features you get.
However, you do need to take note that the Stratos did have some flakey step tracking along with the sleep tracking that was totally out during this review. I was also not impressed with the battery performance against the advertised 5 days.
Amazfit Stratos improvements
The Amazfit Stratos feels still work in progress in some aspects, so during the Amazfit Review, these are the things that I believe need some focus by Huami.
- The Amazfit App could do with being a little bit more polished.
- The random disconnecting requiring a long process to get reconnected needs sorting out
- Support for more Bluetooth sensors is a must if they want to call this a true multisport watch that is going to be used by a wider user base
- Huami needs to sort out the battery issues on the Stratos, it seems to drain some days and others its fine.
- Gym workout and possibly a strength tracking feature would be great.
- Allow the Stratos user to look at the data when a workout is paused
- Speaking of pause, for GPS activities, I would like to see the Huami to enable auto pause on the Stratos.
That being said and given the price point for the Amazfit Stratos, the device is certainly a contender when it comes to choosing your next fitness watch.
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