I have been very impressed with Amazfit smartwatches since I come across the GTR 3 Pro two years ago, it was an inexpensive yet premium fitness oriented smartwatch that offered excellent fitness excellent tracking features, not to mention its unbeatable battery life compared to many others.
This time, I had the opportunity to evaluate the Amazfit Balance, which is essentially the GTR 5 and I’m glad that Amazfit has decided to do away with the usual branding, because let’s face it, it is a company that sells consumer electronics and not sports cars.
The Amazfit Balance brings forward the premium design of its predecessor, featuring an exdcellent aluminum alloy build that has survived extremely well to bumps and drops, it has a larger 1.5-inch AMOLED display that pushes a 480×480 pixel resolution with 1500nits of peak brightness. Coupled with the high quality nylon strap and its slim chassis, the Amazfit Balance weighs merely 35g and is a very comfortable watch to wear all-day.
I’m not a fan of nylon strap on watches despite the comfort it offers as they can smell after a while, but that’s fortunately not the case on the Amazfit Balance’s nylon strap as it absorbs sweat and liquid very well, and trust me, I have been wearing it for a month and tried smelling it as I’m writing this review, but in case you still aren’t a fan of this strap, you can easily swap to any 22mm straps of your choice.
Under the Balance, you will find a new BioTracker 5.0 PPG sensor that offers better tracking accuracy, and comes with a new temperature and air pressure sensor, the charging connector is also different which you can no longer reuse older Amazfit cables, but it isn’t a bad thing as the new charging puck feels easier to attach than before, though I wished it is a USB-C connector instead of USB-A on the other end.
Powering the Amazfit Balance is the all-new Zepp 3.0 operating system, which comes with an overwhelming set of features and beautiful watch faces that I think anyone will find it fun to explore, and most importantly, the user experience is super intuitive with smooth transitions and animations, which is hard to come by on similar priced smartwatches.
Despite that, I dislike the watchOS inspired honeycomb style app screen and there’s just no way to switch to a list view, this doesn’t make sense as you will need to remember the app icon to get to apps and features, though you can thankfully manage the app list on the Zepp app on your phone, which can help simplify things a little but it is an unnecessary UI change.
Also, the Zepp app store still doesn’t categorize apps that work on iOS and Android phones, which for instance, the Remotify app that can be used to control Spotify playback only works on Android, but it still shows up on the iOS version of the Zepp app, although to be fair, the app developer has a disclaimer that the app will only work on Android devices.
Similar to other current Amazfit smartwatches, the Amazfit Balance is capable of tracking more than 100 workouts and automatic workout detection works pretty well, and all thanks to the new biometric sensor, it enables several new features that I really like.
First of all, I’m a big fan with the body composition measurement feature, which measures extremely fast in just 10 seconds and gives me insights on metrics such as body fat, skeletal muscle and bone mass, this is an important feature for those doing weight management and usually only found on more expensive smartwatches, though it isn’t as accurate as a body composition weighing scale that you use in a gym, it is at least a good reference if you need to track these metrics on the go.
Sleep tracking is one feature that I take seriously on smartwatches and the Amazfit Balance tracks that more accurately than before. I’m especially glad that it automatically enters a bedtime mode as soon as I fall asleep so that it doesn’t do weird stuff as I roll on my bed and mutes all incoming notifications from my phone. But most importantly, I love the Readiness score, which is a metric to determine if I feel energized for the day based on my sleep and activities the day before. Though it isn’t crucial to someone who’s serious about their fitness metrics, for the casual user, it is certainly a good motivation to keep you going to maintain that score.
Outdoor runners will be happy to know that the Amazfit Balance has better GPS tracking and supports route tracking all thanks to dual-band GPS with 6 satellite positioning. Though I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out in the wilderness, you can rest assured that even if you don’t have any internet connectivity of your phone, the Amazfit Balance will be able to navigate your way with its excellent GPS performance
The Amazfit Balance promises up to 14 days of regular use, 26 hours of continuous high-accuracy GPS usage, and 7 days of heavy usage. I managed to get up to 7 days of usage on a single charge in real-world situations. I’d hardly consider it to be any form of heavy usage as I merely use it to receive WhatsApp notifications and answer at most two phone calls in a single day, but this is still a very commendable battery life.
Overall, the Amazfit Balance is an excellent premium fitness-oriented smartwatch that will fit most casual and serious fitness users. It is reasonably priced at just RM1,099 in Malaysia, but despite that, the Amazfit Balance has strong rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch6, Apple Watch SE, and Xiaomi Watch 2 Pro, which are all great and premium smartwatches within the segment. But if all you care about is balanced fitness tracking features in a premium chassis, the Amazfit Balance might have been named correctly.