We know more about Xiaomi because of its mobiles, but it has been a long time since the company diversified its efforts and has attacked other segments of the consumer electronics market. Among them is that of smart watches, which now reinforce their catalog with the new Amazfit Stratos +.
This smartwatch retains much of the benefits of its predecessor, but adds improvements especially in design with a curved screen 2.5D “sapphire” and a leather strap. In the rest the Stratos + maintains its bet as smart watch very oriented to athletes who like to vary of discipline.
Amazfit Stratos +: Technical specifications
The specifications of this device match those of its first version, so that we have the same 1.34-inch screen that this time has a protective glass “sapphire” according to the manufacturer that improves the resistance of the tempered glass version previous.
|AMAZFIT STRATOS +||FEATURES|
|SCREEN||Capacitive 1.34 inch touchscreen LCD (320 x 300 dots)|
|MICROPROCESSOR||Ingenic M200S dual-core 1.2 GHz|
|PRINCIPAL MEMORY||512 MB|
|STORAGE||4 GB (approximately 2 GB of user space)|
|WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY||Bluetooth 4.0 BLE, WiFi 802.11n|
|OS||Owner based on Android|
|BOX||Made of metal, plastic and ceramic|
|BELT||22 mm interchangeable (includes one in leather and one in silicone)|
|GEOPOSITIONING||Yes, using GPS and GLONASS|
|SENSORS||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, optical sensor for heart rate measurement (PPG) and VO2Max, ambient light measurement and barometer|
|BUTTONS||Three buttons with short and long keystrokes|
|WATERPROOF||Up to 5 ATM, up to 50 m depth|
|REQUIREMENTS||Smartphones with Android 4.4 or higher, or iOS 9.0 or higher|
|LOADING TIME||<= 2 hours|
|LOADING PORT||Load base|
|DIMENSIONS||nd (22 mm straps)|
|SOUND||No (vibration notifications)|
|WEIGHT||60 g (without the strap)|
In this specification sheet we are again with the dual-core processor Ingenic M200S that allows to govern all the functions of the clock. The processor’s product report ( PDF ) does not indicate a key data, its manufacturing technology, but external sources indicate that it is a MIPS-based design and manufactured in 40 nm technology.
This latest data is surprising now that we move with much more advanced manufacturing nodes (the Snapdragon Wear 2100 is manufactured in 28 nm), but this CPU still shows no problems to achieve surprising efficiency, and in fact its battery, as we will see later, it is one of the clear strengths of this model.
The design is reinforced
Although not clearly stated in the product, it is actually Xiaomi the company behind this development. Its Huami division, already known for other personal quantifiers and smart watches, is directly responsible for the Amazfit Stratos +.
The new model is a slightly improved version of its predecessor, and in fact the differences are essentially external: we have a protective glass in which in addition to the curvature 2.5D we have the use of sapphire – we do not know the proportion – in that layer Exterior. The diagonal measures 46 mm, which makes it clear that it is a “big” (and thick) watch that weighs 60 grams with the leather strap.
The other differential element is the leather strap included in this watch . The Stratos Amazfit only had a silicone strap, but this model comes by default with this leather strap but also includes the silicone strap if we prefer to use it for example for sports sessions. The included straps make use of a simple anchoring and unhooking system, and are 22 mm wide.
Otherwise the design is identical to the Stratos: the box mimics the texture of carbon fiber, but is made of ceramic with some element in metal. For example, the three buttons, made with stainless steel.
The circular design of the watch has a 1.34-inch screen and resolution of 320×300 pixels that is “cropped” at the bottom . That cut reminds us of the “old” Moto 360, and makes the interface can not effectively take advantage of the bottom of the circle. It is not something that is especially noticeable, and in our case we quickly get used to not having a completely circular screen.
In the posterior part we find the optical sensor that allows to obtain the cardiac rhythm by means of the technique of photoplethysmography (PPG) common between the quantifying devices of this type. We also have the four charging pins of the watch, which makes use of an external charging cradle that connects to a traditional USB port for that process.
The connection to that cradle of cargo is curious because it is not enough to “pose” the clock over it: the contact is not complete until we fit the watch to the cradle completely, something that makes there a small “clack” that effectively it confirms that the watch is properly connected to the cradle. This cradle not only serves to load the clock, but to connect it to the PC and to be able, for example, to transfer music to the internal memory.
A screen without brightness, a clock with a lot of autonomy
In other watches the AMOLED screens have been shown to show their efficiency and good performance when it comes to offering a fantastic display of all the options of the watch, but the screen of the Amazfit Stratos + has been somewhat short in a fundamental section: the brightness.
The capacitive technology of this LCD screen makes the brightness even reduced by setting it to the maximum level (5 pre-set levels), although the effect is especially noticeable indoors.
Outdoor visibility improves something, but in all cases we have found a “gray” screen in its visual representation by that “off” way of showing everything.
It is probably one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to taking a quick look at the data offered by the watch: in sports sessions with which I have tried it, I have found that screen somewhat dark, with automatic brightness detection that does not I was convinced. I always ended up setting the maximum level of brightness, but even then I was not satisfied with the result.
Probably that lack of brightness is one of the key elements of the efficiency of this watch, which has a very discreet battery (290 mAh when some competitors approach 500 mAh) but still manages to extend its life surprisingly.
Huami officials say it is able to endure 5 days without problems, and we have found that although the figure is somewhat optimistic, it is in that line: even performing sports sessions more or less “intensive” a couple of hours each day, the clock reached four days without too many problems.
Here, in fact, what we mentioned in the specifications is surprising: the Ingenic M200S is a processor that does not seem particularly advanced in terms of energy efficiency, but the reality is that its behavior in this aspect has been exceptional. It is not the fastest processor in this segment and in fact the interface is not as smooth as we would like , but at least the benefits in terms of autonomy are evident.
Limited software in general usability
One of the differentiating sections of Amazfit watches is the presence of an own operating system derived from Android (not from Wear OS, but from the mobile operating system) that Huami has adapted to be able to govern all the functions of the watch.
The result is functionally correct, although the clock is more a quantifier than anything else. Contrary to what other platforms in which the watch has access to external applications, in Amazfit that support is very limited.
The desktop allows access to some mini-applications by dragging the screen to the left (stopwatch, alarms, weather information, music player), but the customization in this section is very limited, as are the options.
That experience is different even in the control of the interface, which can be done both through the touch screen and through the three buttons on the side.
These buttons give access to different options depending on what part of the interface we are, and the short or long press of any of them will allow for example to unlock the screen, start a physical activity (or pause it, or stop it) or go from a “desktop” to another to navigate through the mini-applications or the different screens that are presenting data.
We can of course change the spheres (watch faces) with which we personalize the appearance of the main clock that shows us the time, but here the wealth of options is much lower than the one proposed by Wear OS, where the catalog of available spheres is huge. Fortunately, yes, it is possible to take advantage of the WFZ format for these designs that we can find in catalogs of spheres on the internet.
Touch navigation leaves something to be desired in terms of response times and sensitivity of the screen, and here the interface (which is in Spanish) is not as fast or smooth as one might expect : the processor probably has to see, and although the Experience is not bad, it is significantly worse than other devices in this segment that we have been able to analyze.
There are also limitations regarding the part of notifications management. There is no speaker or possibility of voice control, and those notifications appear with a warning on the screen and a vibration of the clock. The problem is not really that, but the fact that notifications can be seen individually only when we have one or two: from there the system groups them, and to see them the clock redirects us to the phone.
Nor can we answer those notifications directly from the clock natively. There are ways to add that option, but they make it necessary to connect the Stratos + to the PC and install the AmazMod APK package via ADB (although there are automated installers in Windows) to have access to this and other advanced options. Although it is interesting to have that possibility, accessing it is not at all trivial and limits the options of this platform.
As for the available mini-applications, their operation is correct although once again somewhat limited. Ocure for example with the music player: we can transfer songs through the loading cradle, but from that moment we can only activate sequential or random playback, not being able to establish playlists.
There is no native support for applications such as Spotify or podcast applications, which can be a handicap for users accustomed to these types of options. Fortunately, there is a solution for this absence of native support, since it is possible to control that reproduction with external applications by activating that option from the configuration of the Amazfit App on the mobile.
This Stratos + is for athletes
The screen and the interface may be discreet, but if there is a section in which this sports watch meets, it is precisely when we use it to play sports: its versatility and options are in this remarkable section.
For starters, we have support for 16 types of sports activities directly available in the watch selection: running, walking, cycling, swimming in the pool, swimming in open water, static tape, spinning, elliptical, mountaineering, hiking, triathlon, skiing, tennis, soccer, multisports (for example to configure the tracking of a duathlon), and jump rope.
Each of them allows you to track aspects such as distance traveled, average and maximum speeds , calories burned and even one of the most interesting factors for “serious” athletes: VO2max or maximum oxygen consumption.
As it happens with the cardiac rhythm, this value is measured with the optical sensor and allows to measure our effort and adjust the training attending to this value. To calculate it, an analytical engine licensed by Firstbeat is used , and the data can be viewed from that moment on the clock (or mobile) screen in order to adjust that training intensity (in aerobic workouts, of course). every moment
The amount of data provided by the watch is remarkable, we would almost say exaggerated. The monitoring done not only allows us to review past trainings, but also generates a series of weekly summaries that can be very useful to start each week with that information in order to face the training of the next days.
In those trainings – in which we will be able to establish objectives and alerts – we will be offered all those data grouped in a visually clear way and that of course makes clear that in this section the Amazfit proposal is very relevant.
Apart from the specific activities the clock has a “Training Center” from which we can configure training plans to face races of 5 km, 10 km, half marathon and marathon. In those specialized training in the field of the race there is another interesting function, and that is the “hare”, which we can activate to know if during any training we are going below or above our previous pace.
We are not triathletes and we have not been able to prove how the clock works in this type of activity – the buttons on the watch indicate the change of discipline, for example – but it seems clear that the support of those activities and water resistance (up to 5 atmospheres of pressure or up to 50 m deep) make it suitable for this popular sport, although it is not specifically intended for him.
In my tests I did a not particularly demanding sporting activity over the course of a week: I played a couple of paddle matches, went for a walk and made a light race and also took a short bike ride. In all these activities I alternated between each training mode, and in each of them the data was adjusted to that activity.
In pedal, I measured it as tennis in reality, the right and backhand strokes were counted, and here we have the peculiarity that we must place the watch in the hand with which we hold the shovel. The information is interesting at an informative level, but the most relevant is still the data on calorie consumption or heart rate monitoring for example.
With the rest of the activities there are more direct factors such as average times per kilometer and rhythms when walking, running or cycling, and at all times the GPS tracking allows us to not only analyze those routes but even export them to other platforms such as Strava o Endomondo for example: it works with GPX route files that have long been one of the de facto standards in the market.
The support of water sports is also remarkable although we could not prove it. Here what the manufacturer indicates is that by using the watch to track our swimming sessions the tactile interface is deactivated, and we will have to operate the clock with the physical buttons.
In addition to this monitoring of sports activities, Stratos + can monitor sleep , as did its predecessor. The generated report allows us to know for example how many hours we have been in deep sleep and how many in light sleep, as well as the hours in which it detected that we fell asleep and woke up.
The information shown on the watch is interesting, but here we have as fundamental support the application of the mobile, Amazfit App, which allows us to consult all these data even more conveniently. The tool clearly segments that data from the configuration section in which we can adjust with comfort (more than in the mobile itself) several of the configuration parameters.
Xiaomi Amazfit Stratos +: Final opinion
The evolution of the smart watch market itself has shown that its functions as sports watches are increasingly relevant for its users. The Apple Watch has confirmed in its latest editions, and Google has done the same with the Wear OS platform.
With the Amazfit Stratos + the bet is also evident: this is an eminently sporty watch that puts all the focus on various types of activities and training and that is certainly a great option when collecting data on those sessions and then analyze our progress.
It is a pity that the screen does not offer more brightness and contrast to visualize all that information more clearly, but the truth is that when recording those sessions the Stratos + behaves in a remarkable way, especially for its versatility at the time to register all this activity, encourage us with tools that reinforce training and also offers interesting metrics such as heart rate or VO2Max.
It is also important to highlight your battery, which even when used in various training sessions can endure more than four days without problems.
That, together with the improvements in the design with the leather strap and that good construction make up a device that may not be the best for professional athletes, but it can be a perfect alternative for those who practice several sports more or less frequently and they want to have a very correct companion in the follow-up of these activities and the collection of data that allows them to better plan those training sessions and get the most out of them.
7.75 / 10
- Improved design with optional leather or leather strap
- Support of a wide variety of sports activities
- The autonomy of the battery is really remarkable
- A lot of information and auxiliary tools to reinforce our training
- Software is limited except for its sporting functions
- The screen is very inconspicuous
- The interface is not especially smooth