The smartwatch and wearables industry is growing at a fast pace and there was bound to be an affordable smartwatch that can do everything that an Apple Watch can do. However, not all smartwatches are as fluid as the Apple Watch or deliver an experience that keeps users loyal. However, if you are looking for an affordable smartwatch, the Amazfit Verge is the closest bet that offers GPS navigation, fitness tracking and notification management for Rs 12,000.
The smartwatch category is flooded with numerous options, but does the Amazfit Verge perform better than the rest of them? Let's find out.Design
Being a budget smartwatch, the Verge does not offer the same build quality as a premium smartwatch. It's got an all plastic body with one plastic button on the upper right corner. It's light and does not offer that feel good factor you would want from a watch. The red button is used for navigating apps and selecting options. However, the button is not accurate as we would have to often click the button multiple times to get the OS to respond.
© MensXP/Akshay Bhalla
The smartwatch comes with a proprietary charger which we feel was not the best design option to go with. When done charging, sometimes we would have to yank out the smartwatch hard, fearing we may just break the strap or the charger. We would also have to place the smartwatch in the current orientation as it does not have charging pins on both sides of the charger.
The circular dial on the Amazfit Verge houses an AMOLED display which is bright enough to be clear and visible in bright sunlight. The display is good enough to read notifications and text which is a plus to have on a smartwatch. There are 10 watch faces you can choose from which can be changed from the watch itself or from the app. Having said that, the watch-faces are quite rudimentary and does not offer many customisations.Features
The one thing I love about the Apple Watch is the ability to view notifications and take appropriate action. For example, I can reply to WhatsApp messages, text messages and send voice notes without ever opening my smartphone. On the Amazfit Verge, you do get notifications, but you cannot reply to text messages or even read emails. There's no support for third-party apps which makes it quite disappointing, The only apps you can use are the ones that come pre-installed i.e. heart rate reader, timer, stopwatch and that's about it.
© MensXP/Akshay Bhalla
The Amazfit Verge has an integrated mic and speaker. This can be used for making and receiving calls straight on the smartwatch. In order for this feature to work, you need to have your smartphone near you. You can even use the stereo speaker to listen to music as it has 4GB of onboard memory (2GB more storing music). In our experience, the feature worked well especially when making calls. Callers did notice that I sounded like I was using an earpiece. However, we would have loved to see the Amazfit Verge would ring at the same time as the smartphone. Call notifications were sometimes delayed and in that time we could just pick up the call on the smartphone. It kind of defeats the purpose of having a call feature on the smartphone if we don't get notified on time.Performance
Being a smartwatch, it is able to track your activity and exercises just like any other smartwatch however not all is rosy in this category either. We found the footstep tracking to be inaccurate when calculating steps taken manually and comparing it with the readings. In fact, we tried to test the accuracy by wearing the smartwatch for the first time on our drive to work. The Amazfit Verge tracked 200 steps while we were driving indicating that it isn't as reliable as budget fitness bands.
© MensXP/Akshay Bhalla
When it comes to GPS tracking, the smartwatch was accurate at most occasions; however, we found it to be off by 200 meters sometimes in select areas and sometimes off by a kilometre. This may not bother a casual runner. However, it can be quite disadvantageous for hikers and outdoor runners. The other problem with the GPS feature is its inability to start up quickly. We were ready to go for a walk and had to wait for the GPS to start working. The Amazfit Verge takes particularly long to catch the GPS signal which can be frustrating if you want to just get going with your workout. The heart rate monitor is accurate on the Amzfit Verge as the results were almost identical with the Apple Watch Series 4 and Omron Pulse Oximeter.
The Amazfit Verge has the ability to track different types of workouts and can automatically detect your activity. This is a nifty feature that works on the Amazfit Verge as advertised. However, you cannot track multiple workouts at the same time as you will need to end each activity tracking mode before starting another. This basically does not allow a user to track different activities in a single workout which can be a bit frustrating when exercising. You don't want to keep looking at your smartwatch before you start a new exercise as we're already in the flow and don't want to stop.The Final Say
The Amazfit Verge offers every feature you want to see on a specs sheet. However, it simply doesn't cut it. Just because it has all the features doesn't mean it's a great smartwatch. It needs to be executed properly for cohesive user experience. From delayed notifications to a less than an appealing design choice, the Amazit Verge is not something we expected. The operating system needs to be more refined and needs to be able to handle more than one app at a time. Activity tracking also needs improvement which is one of the salient features of a smartwatch. Priced at Rs 12,000, it's suitable for people who are looking for a smartwatch packed with features and can sacrifice the overall user experience.