Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Zepp Z

 2-minute review

The Zepp Z smartwatch from Amazfit launched in India back in July on the third anniversary of Amazfit’s presence in the country. It is priced at Rs 25,999 and comes with a round dial with leather bands with two buttons along with a crown.

The Amazfit Zepp Z has a TC4 titanium alloy body with a 1.39-inch HD large AMOLED display which is definitely one of the bigger positives of the smart wearable. It has a massive 340mAh battery which lasts for a rather long time despite the feature-rich nature of the watch. 

The Zepp Z can measure blood-oxygen saturation (SpO2) level which is also recorded via the Zepp App. It's BioTrackerTM 2.0 PPG optical sensor monitors heart rate and also gives abnormally elevated heart rate alerts. 

The PAI Health Assessment System on the Zepp Z converts health data into an intuitive single value after processing heart rate, activity and other health metrics. The Zepp Z monitors sleep status through the deep, light and REM sleep periods along with stress levels. It can survive underwater for up to 50 meters and survive 5 ATM of water pressure.

It has 12 built-in sport modes that cover popular activities and a total of 90 modes. The smartwatch uses both GPS and GLONASS positioning systems to deliver precise location information. It also supports the find my phone feature.

The Amazfit smartwatch comes with a built-in Alexa which enables the user to have a voice interaction, play music, set alarm, provide weather forecast, traffic updates, sports updates, and other real-time information.

 Design and display

Amazfit Zepp Z

(Image credit: Future)

The Zepp Z is an elegant-looking smartwatch, and there are no two ways about this. It comes with a round highly luminous display with the hours and minutes marked on the ring which is a throwback to the classic analog watches. 

The watch is carved from a single piece of polished titanium alloy with a gradient finish. It is sleek and not bulky so as to stick out a lot when worn. The watch we received had a pair of leather bands strapped on it which enhances the look and feel of the design. 

Amazfit Zepp Z

(Image credit: Future)

The Zepp Z features a rotatable crown on the right-hand side of the watch which is has a shiny top and has a ridged design for ease of rotation. The crown can be used to light up the watch face and the app list.

Besides the crown, the watch comes with two buttons as well. The bottom one is a customizable button that gives quick access to activities like running, cycling, swimming, climbing. While the top one does not have any function and is only for the visual effect, which seems unusual and could have just been made into another customizable button.

The display of the Zepp Z was extremely bright and actually bothered my wife when I tried wearing it while sleeping as it lit up the whole room when it was triggered accidentally during sleep. The display is even perfectly visible even in the sun. The colours of the display are crisp and could rival those of the best smartwatches around.

 Performance and fitness tracking

Amazfit Zepp Z

(Image credit: Future)

While the smartwatch has some of the best hardware that the company provides, Huami does not divulge which chipset is used for the Zepp Z. But the device does work admirably well even if it does have a few hits and misses when it comes to the fitness tracking bit. 

One of the biggest features of the Zepp Z is the addition of the built-in GPS support which includes GLONASS. This is a boon for those that want to go for runs and not carry their heavy smartphones in their jogger pockets. Voice commands with the Zepp Z also works perfectly well but you need the smartphone to execute these. This will enable you to set alarms, launch apps, change settings, and do other things hands-free. 

Although at launch the Zepp Z does not feature Alexa for voice commands the company has promised that it will do so in the future which is a silver lining for those planning to get the watch. 

Besides these, there are other features that include notifications for apps, calls, texts. There's also the find my phone feature, music controls, dozens of free watch faces, weather, etc. One sore spot that I felt was that the Zepp Z does not include support for third-party apps and lacks any kind of internal storage hence you can't get your music on the run without your smartphone. 

The Zepp Z also does not have any kind of options to reply back to texts as it is missing any kind of keyboard or dictation support despite having a microphone. Notifications on the watch seem to be independent of the smartphone and remain on the phone after being dismissed on the watch. 

Fitness tracking on the Zepp Z also seems spotty and I will start with an example of one of the most basic one which is tracking steps. I wore the Zepp Z to my weekly football game and even after an hour-long game the watch showed that I had traversed only 982 steps in that hour, which seems rather improbable.

Sleep tracking on the watch seemed almost as spotty as it showed that I had hardly reached REM sleep while I know for a fact that I did during the eight hours that I slept. While some of the measurements and fitness tacking seem to be off point the Zepp Z does come with a plethora of them. But it seems Amazfit does need to improve on the accuracy of these. 

 Software and companion app

(Image credit: Future)

The software on the Zepp Z needs a little getting used to and has some tricks to navigating which essentially means that it is not the most user friendly. While looking for apps and fitness modes is not that difficult, the rest of it really is. Things like the settings sections are rather difficult to find on the watch and could even be frustrating. 

As for the companion app for the Zepp Z this helped setup the smartphone rather smoothly. It does provide a lot of data from the smartwatch itself which is synced rather easily. But it seems pretty evident that the app was created in Chinese and then translated into English from the ambiguous terms around. This again is an area that needs some improvement. 

 Battery life and charging

Amazfit Zepp Z

(Image credit: Future)

The Zepp Z like we mentioned before features a 340mAh battery which easily makes the battery life its most standout feature. The watch takes about an hour and 15 minutes to fully charge using the magnetic charging pad with a USB-A connector in the box. This also charges using other wireless charging pads for smartphones and even works with reverse wireless charging on certain smartphones.

The device lasted for almost a whole week for me with all the features turned on including GPS and sleep tracking. But I have to mention that I only wore it to bed for two nights during this period. But I have to mention that this is rather impressive and that too with steps, stress, sleep, heart rate tracking and other features turned on.

Amazfit Zepp Z

(Image credit: Future)

 Should I buy the Zepp Z?

 Buy it if…

You want a smartwatch with a great battery life

There is no denying that the battery life is the biggest selling point for the Zepp Z, it will easily last most users for a whole week which means they only need to charge it on Sundays. 

You want a dapper-looking smartwatch

You have to admit that analog watches are one-up on most smartwatches when it comes to looks, but the Zepp Z is a step in the right direction to level the playing field. 

You don't want the hassle of carrying you smartphone on runs

The in-built GPS on the Zepp Z takes care of all the fitness tracking needs during outdoor exercise sessions which means no need for cumbersome mobile devices.

Don’t buy it if…

You are looking for a budget smartwatch

The Zepp Z is a pricey device, and more than the sum of all the features and values included which means it only makes sense for brand loyalists. 

You want your music on your runs

The Zepp Z does not have internal storage which means it won't be able to store your favourite tracks for your runs. 

You want accurate fitness tracking and a smooth companion app experience

The Zepp Z lags behind in both being accurate in terms of fitness tracking and providing a user-friendly experience.

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