Amazfit Balance’s on point health tracking contrasts a need for software finesse - Hindustan Times
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Amazfit Balance’s on point health tracking contrasts a need for software finesse

Jun 06, 2024 10:26 AM IST

The basics of a smartwatch experience are mostly in place, as is the level of accuracy. There’s also a layer of AI at work on your wrist

A smartwatch in this era simply cannot do without at least an assortment of fitness and health tracking features. That’s irrespective of whether it is a smartwatch that isn’t exactly weighing on the pocket, or one you’d pay premium money for. Amazfit’s attempts to find a balance, with the Balance smartwatch, seems to be ticking off quite a few things you’re likely to be on your smartwatch checklist before splurging the cash, including some infusion of artificial intelligence (AI) as well. With the market price hovering around 21,999 for now, this is competing against some well-established smartwatch options. The going wouldn’t be easy.

The Amazfit Balance smartwatch. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)
The Amazfit Balance smartwatch. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo)

The Amazfit Balance has been crafted rather well, and I often ended up reaching for this smartwatch over most other options, in the duration the Balance stayed for the review. It’s a large enough, rounded dial with a 1.5-inch display. Quite slim too and doesn’t really have the sort of vertical height that’d classify it as uncomfortably bulky. Even for slim wrists, this sits rather comfortably. Then is the 35-gram weight that means it sits light too, and the metallic frame has a sophisticated look. Amazfit is pairing different band styles and colours depending on base colour. By keeping the weight and thickness in check, as well as no rough edges with the ergonomics, makes the Amazfit Balance a very likeable smartwatch.

At the core of the experience is Zepp OS, now in version 3.5, a collective of extensive fitness tracking, health monitoring as well as an AI assistant. It’ll need your data such as weight, height and other metrics to begin with, and then calculates using the activity as well as sleep cycle data (it’ll be incomplete if any of it is missing) alongside blood oxygen, to generate something called the Readiness score. The specifics include sleep resting heart rate, sleep heart rate variability, breathing quality, and temperature. The thing with this sort of data is that it’s good to have this number to quench the curiosity, but you’d simply know how tired or fresh you are as you’d start the day.

There’s the personalised guidance depending on the activity metrics and more than 150 pre-configured activities to get started with quickly. In my experience, the Balance rarely auto detected the walking, indoor running or outdoor running activities. That said, the accompanying data such as heart rate and accuracy of distance covered, floors climbed etc., is in the same range as the latest generation Apple Watch. That points to a level of accuracy that is often difficult for smartwatches that aren’t the Apple Watch to achieve, but the Amazfit Balance does.

That said, Zepp OS still needs work with refinement, as does the Zepp companion app you’ll pair with, on your phone. Mind you, the latter is better than before, but it is still trying to do too much. On the watch, the voice assistant can be useful at times, but you’ll often encounter far too many layers of steps to get to the destination option – such as tracking how many steps I climbed a while ago. Basically, if you were to try this as an experiment, navigating this software on the Balance and finding a level of comfort with it, will pose a significant learning curve for your parents (and others too). There are bunch of downloadable apps as well, but the quality of those apps mostly needs to improve before you’d be convinced about downloading or regularly using them. It needs to be more than just ticking a checklist.

There is a lot that Amazfit has gotten right with the Balance, and the basics of a smartwatch experience are mostly in place. Most important is the level of accuracy. However, beyond the really colourful display, nice aesthetics and ergonomics as well as all the AI inputs, there is still work to be done to make the watch interface less layered and the companion app less of a clutter. The progress that has been made to get to this point, is enough proof the next set of updates will continue to move in the right direction.

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