LOOK AND FEEL
The Verge smart watch is spartan in appearance with possibilities creatively expressed through the 1.3 inch full circular AMOLED display; it is gorgeous and brings about vivid levels of clarity and sharpness.
The display is visible in all conditions, struggling only under bright sunlight.
The back of the watch houses optical HR sensors which appears physically larger than that of the Stratos.
I found it disappointing that the Verge smart watch doesn’t have an “instant-on” display. What actually happens is a prompt fading in; a subtle delay which is conspicuously noticeable. I would very much have preferred an instant on similar to that on most other smart watches.
Save for the inscribed marks at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, the plain looking watch case reveals little about the immense capability within, where you’ll find sensors such as:
- Optical HR sensors
- Geomagnetic sensor
- GPS/ Glonass
- On board storage for music
- On board speakers
- Bluetooth and Wifi
- Vibration motor
The smart watch is lightweight and wears comfortably throughout the day and especially during exercise. There are 3 versions of this watch and the one in this article is the “moonlight white.”
A single physical button along with a responsive touch display controls the workings of the watch.
The user interface is intuitive, snappy, and involves swipes left, right, up and down. The scroll speed is nearly without lag. That shouldn’t be surprising given the watch doesn’t allow the user to install additional apps or bloatware.
There are a limited number of watch faces to choose from including 3 from the Territory Studio, the company that created select special effects for the movie Pacific Rim.
Most of the watch faces are nice to look at but with little practical usage as the fonts displaying key stats are just too small for comfortable viewing.
The customisable vibration is punchy, just like a good cup of morning coffee that jolts you wake.
Battery life is listed at up to 5 days in smartwatch mode. I managed more than 4 days with close to 2 hours of activity recording thrown in while connected to iOS platform. Your mileage may vary.
The charging dock also functions as the data transfer means for music and GPX files.
The watch also has quick-changeable hypoallergic straps. I’d think finding alternatives is going to be challenging given the straps are unique in design.
A close friend of mine who’s into lifestyle and fashion styling commented that the watch is good looking. A rare compliment given this same person also said all my previous wearables are similar in look – sporty.
The most prominent drawback is the lack of adequate water resistance; the Verge is merely IP68 certified.
The Amazfit Verge has features which other wearable companies should pay attention to.
Right from the Sports panel, you’ll be able to see the percentage of battery left and how long the watch can last when used in GPS mode. The other watch I’ve seen with this feature is the premium Suunto 9.
The pre-installed sports profiles include:
- Run Indoor
- Indoor Cycling
- Elliptical Trainer
- Trail Run
- Rope Skipping
I think you’d agree with me that the list contains the staples for working and should be comprehensive for basic users. At the same time, I can’t help but be amused with the mixing of rope skipping and skiing along with tennis.
I personally thought a simple “Cardio” or “Strength training” mode would adequately represent most other workouts which are not listed.
Also, upon completion of treadmill workouts, an option to calibrate the distance will appear.
During GPS enabled recording modes, the Amazfit Verge has a plethora of display stats that puts it on par with the competition.
Users can also customise the display stats of the watch from the Amazfit Watch mobile app to either restrict or maximise what’s to be flashed during workouts.
The reduction in the number of stats to be displayed doesn’t result in bigger font sizes; a single stat would fill up 1/4 of the watch face instead of the entire watch face. Such a pity. Luckily, the contrast of the display is fantastic and that made viewing comfortable.
Having used both the Stratos and the Verge, I dare say that they Verge’s display under all conditions, save for bright daylight, beat the Stratos hands down.
In tennis and rope skipping mode, the number of tennis strokes and the frequency of rope skipping is actually tracked by the Verge smartwatch.
The most impressive feature for workout is the presentation of stats post recording. I first had a taste of this with the Amazfit Stratos and I’m glad to see best practices being repeated.
You can further access altitude, gradient pie chart, and the tracked route when GPS is enabled. The gradient change pie chart is something that I’ve yet to see in other wearable companies.
I can also easily export tracked routes as GPX files or import GPS files to create courses to work out to. Based on the exported GPX files, this smart watch records in smart mode, or once every few seconds.
With watches from Garmin, Suunto or Polar, I’d usually get a quick summary on device before getting the full suite of tracked stats on the respective mobile app platforms.
With the Amazfit Verge, I get everything I’d usually get from a mobile app platform right from the watch! It’s extensive and remarkable.
The recorded workouts can also be viewed on the Amazfit Watch app after syncing.
As of publication, the app offers compatibility with Strava but not Apple Health app. But that has since changed with a firmware update in April 2019 when the watch now offers Apple Health compatibility for sleep, heart rate, and steps.
The Verge smart watch allows connectivity with compatible Bluetooth earphones or speakers easily.
As for training devices, I tried multiple times but couldn’t get the watch to connect to a HR monitor. I highly suspect the BLE connectivity is reserved for audio devices only though this wasn’t confirmed by Amazfit representative.
Also, the heart rate monitoring performance is interesting. Plotted HR graph based on exported GPX file from the Verge smart watch shows periods of dropped readings. However, the Amazfit Watch app shows a smoothing of the HR graph. The recorded HR data on the Verge smart watch looks different from both the exported GPX file data and that on the Amazfit Watch app.
ALL DAY STATS
Besides sports mode recording, the Amazfit Verge does a thorough job tracking the user’s all day activities such as steps taken, calories burned, duration and quality of sleep and so on.
You wouldn’t be short changed if you opt for the Verge Smartwatch over the competition.
In particular, I love the stats review right on the watch. The pictures simply doesn’t do justice to the vibrancy of the OLED display.
I must have mentioned his numerous times, it is indeed refreshing seeing what Amazfit has done in the area of stats presentation in comparison to the competition.
As for sleep tracking, I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful yet informative presentation of sleep stats on watch.
As I went about my day, the Verge smart watch will notify me if it noticed that I’ve been active for more than 5 minutes.
It will then record the activity which can be viewed on watch later. And if there’s GPS lock, the watch will proceed to record the route as well.
The all day tracked stats can of course be accessed via the Amazfit Watch app.
There’s more than 2GB on board storage, after factoring in OS usage, for music playback. This can be effected via connected Bluetooth audio devices or natively via the on board speaker which is loud!
Transfer of music can only be done by placing the Verge in its charging cradle and then drag-and-dropping compatible music files directly unto the Verge’s “Music” folder.
With Apple and Garmin moving towards curated playlists from streaming services such as Spotify, I’m skeptical if Amazfit’s method of music storage and playback still appeals to prospective consumers.
You’ll also find a timer, stopwatch, plus an alarm with a punchy vibration. Plus a novel compass on the smart watch if you ever need to get your bearings.
A firmware update in April 2019 will bring about Amazon Alexa capabilities to the Verge smartwatch. Users may now activate Alexa for:
- Flash Briefing – Set up and add favorite topics to personalize your daily news and content “Flash Briefing”
- Sports Update – Set up favorite sports leagues (NBA/NFL) and ask the watch for the latest scores
- Calendar – Link with Google, Microsoft, Apple, Exchange calendars. Users can ask Alexa on their Verge smartwatch what’s on their calendar for the day
- Alarm – Set a reminder or wake-up alarm
- To-do list – Manage your schedule and to-do list
- Q&A – With Alexa built-in get answers to common questions throughout the day
- Translation – Get translation help in more than 50 languages, including Chinese, English, Spanish, Japanese and more.
Also, iOS users can now use the call function on the Amazfit Verge smart watch; a feature available to Android users only previously.
AMAZFIT VERGE IN A NUTSHELL
There are numerous smart watches on the market and consumers are frankly spoilt for choice. Without a doubt, Apple Watch is the front runner for iOS users with its strong ecosystem of hardware and services.
But, Amazfit has made a compelling offering that caters to both iOS and Android users without running Android Wear, and at a competitive price point. However it also means the lack of access to Android Wear apps.
Firmware updates in April 2019 has brought about Amazon Alex compatibility so that’s a pretty big boost in the smart watch prowess department.
Serious users will likely steer clear of this watch since there isn’t a lap button nor connectivity to 3rd party training accessories. Plus the exercise recording will not do in smart recording mode only. There isn’t strength training, nor is there a simple cardio workout function, and definitely no multi sport mode. The music playback feature without compatibility with streaming services is another big question.
I like to think of the Amazfit Verge as a more-than-adequate consideration for those looking to start with smart watches over full fitness sports watches. You get excellent post workout stats access on watch, beautiful display, snappy UI, numerous on board sensors and global navigation satellite systems. And this smartwatch has gotten better with subsequent firmware updates.
Again, thanks for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed the review. If you’re interested in the watch, you can purchase the Amazfit Verge smart watch from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside.
In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Take care and train hard!