The Amazfit Active isn’t a dedicated running watch but it does have a fitness focus and its low price makes it extremely competitive.

The Amazfit Active is a cut-price smartwatch with a heavy tilt towards sports, fitness and health. The clue’s right there in the name. It’s no rival for pricier – and more capable – smartwatches like your Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch. But if you’re after some smartwatch skills and a wide range of workout tracking and wellness tools on a budget, or one of the best running watches, this is one to consider. 

Men’s Fitness verdict

If you’d prefer a budget smartwatch with plenty of tracking tools to a dedicated running watch, the Amazfit Active might just be for you. The paywalls don’t make it quite such a bargain though.
  • Bright screen
  • Simple design
  • Extensive fitness features
  • Too many paywall features
  • Lacks HR and GPS accuracy

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Amazfit Active design

The Amazfit Active is pretty standard smartwatch fare with a familiar square, 1.75-inch HD AMOLED touchscreen, a tempered glass rounded-edge display, aluminium frame, single side button and a 20mm quick release silicone strap. 

It comes in three colours: lavender purple, petal pink and black. I tested the latter and looks-wise I was quietly impressed. I expected it to feel more budget and while you can’t expect premium smartwatch materials at this price, it avoids looking and feeling too cheap and plastic.  

The 42mm Active weighs in at just 24g so it’s light, compact and easy to wear 24-7 – essential if you’re looking to unlock the full health-tracking potential. Though I’m not a fan of the tuck-under strap fastening that’s fiddly to get a good fit, pinches your skin and can pull the hairs out of your wrist when you put it on.  

The AMOLED screen is good for the price. Perhaps not the brightest and certainly not Apple-Watch sharp but it’s easy to read in all conditions and much punchier than a lot of pricier non-AMOLED sports watches. I also found the touchscreen nicely responsive and moving between screens was snappy. 

Your vital metrics are tracked by a built-in optical heart rate and an SPO2 sensor for monitoring blood oxygen levels. 

Smartwatch features include music storage but there’s only 250MB, along with music controls for linked smartphones. You can also make calls via Bluetooth and get all your app notifications. Plus, if you’re an iPhone user, you can control your camera from the Active. Handy for snaring those gym technique videos. But there’s no contactless payments.  

When it comes to durability, the Amazfit Active is 5ATM rated so waterproof up to 50 metres. That means rain, showering and swimming are all fine. 

The Amazfit Active has a nice, bright AMOLED screen

Amazfit Active tracking 

For health and fitness, the Amazfit Active offers a comprehensive suite of tracking and insights for an affordable watch. That includes 127 sport modes. Textbook stuff you’ll find on most fitness watches, such as running, yoga and swimming. There’s also auto-workout detection for seven sports including outdoor running, treadmill running, cycling and elliptical rowing.  

For your outdoor sports there’s all-systems GPS and the usual heart rate tracking. Post workout you get readings on training effect, training load, VO2 Max estimates and recovery time recommendations.

Beyond workouts, it’ll also track general activity and steps, serving up a Personalised Activity Score – a kind of Apple Watch exercise rings alternative – that encourages you to hit a daily active target. It’s useful but nowhere near as visual or addictive as the Apple Rings. 

Amazfit Active add-ons

The warnings for abnormally high and low heart rate, low blood-oxygen and high stress levels are much more beneficial. There’s also daily stress and sleep tracking with Garmin-esque morning reports. You can also pay for a Zepp Aura sleep assistant that serves up sleep advice for £27.99 per year. Think ChatGPT for slumber. Go to bed at the same time every night, get out of bed at the same time each morning, don’t look at your phone close to bedtime, don’t drink caffeine too late in the day, avoid alcohol. There, we just saved you almost £30. 

There’s an interesting AI-powered tool, Zepp Fitness (another £29.99 per year) that offers up training and nutrition advice on request. But again, I didn’t find this too useful. Meanwhile the Zepp Coach serves up personalised workout plans for improving cardio fitness or enhancing running performance. These factor in your schedule and goals. 

Now if you put aside the fact that Readiness scores aren’t very reliable (tip: you should just monitor your Heart Rate Variability), the Amazfit Active offers up a well-presented and easy to follow Readiness readout. It’s based on sleep resting heart rate, sleep heart rate variability, breathing quality and body temperature. There are more Readiness Insights available via subscription to Zepp Aura. 

There are some navigation smarts too. You can import routes via your smartphone and follow breadcrumb navigation on the watch. 

Amazfit Active performance and accuracy

When it comes to battery life, the Amazfit Active on paper has 14 days typical use, dropping to 10 days heavy use with up to 16 hours continuous GPS tracking. 

In reality the Active’s staying power depends greatly on how you use it. You can eke out more juice if you switch from the always-on screen to use the responsive raise to wake and drop the screen brightness. In my tests I easily got around 11 days usage with 7.5 hours GPS training time thrown in. While the average one-hour run with GPS tracking burned less than 8-10%. 

The GPS accuracy wasn’t great. It consistently undertracked overall distances by more than a passable margin for error and when I dug into the GPS tracks I often found it had me running on rivers or through buildings. 

The heart rate tracking was also hit and miss. Resting heart rate tracking was reliable and steady cardio efforts tended to come up quite close to a chest strap. But the moment you start shifting gears during higher intensity interval workouts, there are lots of rogue max HR spikes. That unfortunately skews many of the training insights that rely on accurate heart rate data.  

Should you buy the Amazfit Active?

When you consider what you’re paying, this is a pretty competent fitness tracking smartwatch that crams features into a decent frame. It’s not perfect, particularly the GPS and heart rate accuracy, but I enjoyed using it and there’s plenty of value here. 

You’ll make sacrifices for those cash savings though. Its smartwatch smarts are no rival for Apple, Google or Samsung’s alternatives and it’s no match for Garmin, Polar or COROS when it comes to out-and-out sports and performance tracking. 

But when you consider this alongside the likes of the Fitbit Versa 4 or the Garmin Venu SQ2, it fares pretty well, even if the app and software lack some finesse.

It’s also a shame some of the AI tools are tucked away behind a paywall as they’d offer something different. They’re interesting but weren’t competent or insightful enough to make me want to pay the fee.

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