Sport Passion   -  advice and training tips

Amazfit Stratos review:
the premium GPS watch at a low price

par Philippe Baudoin © reproduction interdite (publié le 03/08/2018)
Amazfit Stratos GPS Watch review

In-depth review and advice. Should you really buy it?

The Huami Amazfit Stratos 2 is a multisport and triathlon GPS connected watch with great success today because of its unbeatable price. The Chinese watch competes with top-of-the-range watches offering similar functionalities such as the Forerunner 735 XT or the Forerunner 935, but at a much cheaper price. But should you buy it ? Is it really worth it ? Discover our detailed review and our opinion.

Buy Amazfit Stratos 2

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
180 €
Gearbest
152 €

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

A sports watch for whom and for what?

The Stratos is a relatively complete multisport watch, well supplied with sensors, offering many functions and at a price defying any competition for a watch of this type.

It is aimed at a public interested in a high-end watch but at a mini price.

It is aimed at athletes who run, hike, trail, swim and triathlon (recommended activities) but also other sports such as skiing, football, tennis and more. It is also aimed at non-athletes who want to do fitness and follow their daily activity (spending the day or sleep analysis for example).

Features of the Xiaomi Amazfit Stratos

Weight
60 g
Dimensions
48 x 48 x 15 mm
Screen
35 x 35 mm, transflective touchscreen 320 x 300 px
Battery life
5 j watch / 35 h in GPS mode 1s
GPS
GPS, GLONASS
Multisports
Yes (usable for triathlon)
Recommended activities
Running, trail, cycling, swimming (including sea), triathlon, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, cross-country skiing, tennis, football, treadmill, spinning bike, elliptical bike
Connectivity
iPhone iOS 8.0+, Android 4.3+, PC. Bluetooth Smart wireless data transfer, Wi-Fi
Cardio-frequency meter
Yes, optical
Topographic maps
No
Music player / bluetooth
Yes
Payment system
Yes (China only)
Telephony / 4G
No
Barometric altimeter
Yes
Barometer
Yes
Boussole
Yes
Thermometer
No
Meteo
With Smartphone
Waterproof
5 ATM
Other
Wristband connected, coulour touchscreen, 4GB RAM, Smartphone notifications, VO2max, Training Effect, interval training, interchangeable bracelet

Presentation of the Huami Amazfit Stratos

The Amazfit Stratos is a relatively complete connected, multi-sport watch (14 sports including triathlon) with optical cardio on the wrist, WiFi connectivity, embedded mp3 music player, activity tracker, advanced features for athlete tracking and training and more.

pretty Stratos coulour dial watch
The Amazfit Stratos is a multisports GPS watch adapted to the practice of triathlon

In terms of features (sensors, functions), it comes close to the Forerunner 735XT, a triathlon watch, or even a Forerunner 935 (running watch) but for 2 to 3 times cheaper ! For running or triathlon adepts, here is a watch worth taking a close look!

It is proposed by Huami (Huafeng's merger with Xiaomi and Xiaomi's subsidiary), which in 2014 launched the Mi Band, an activity tracker at a very competitive price (sold for $13 in China). Founded in 2010, Xiaomi is today China's largest seller of electronic items (connected bracelets, tablets, connected equipment, smartphones, batteries, etc.).

After the Amazfit Pace, a mini priced watch that had been a great success since its release in 2016, Huami released in 2018 a new, more complete watch, always at a low price, that competes seriously with major brands such as Garmin, Polar or Suunto: the Amazfit Stratos, a multi-sport connected GPS watch.

This watch was first introduced on the Chinese market (November 2017), then an "international" version was launched in the United States (February 2018), then in Europe (April 2018). The international version offers an English interface. Procedure exists to install another version (french, etc.) but they are not official and may void the warranty (this is to replace the watch software with another one !).

The Stratos is available in Stratos version (currently available in Europe) and Stratos+ (the same watch but with a leather strap, a replacement silicone strap and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass.

In-depth review of the Amazfit Stratos

This cheap Chinese sports watch offers many features worthy of the best Polar, Garmin or Suunto watches.

Design: a watch with an elegant look

The first good surprise with this watch is that it is very pretty with its braided fiberglass case, ceramic bezel, ultra-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass and stainless steel buttons. It is therefore doing very well for sport as well as for the city.

It has a comfortable 1.34" (35 mm) colour LCD touch screen and 320 x 300 px that is easy to read even in direct sunlight (transflective) but a little less if i is dark. However, a backlight allows it to be read perfectly in all circumstances.

Its 22 mm wide bracelet is interchangeable. Too bad there are no models other than silicone. Note that the Stratos+ (not yet available in Europe) comes with a leather strap.

In terms of size, the watch is relatively wide (48 mm, 1 mm larger than the Forerunner 935 and 3 mm larger than the Forerunner 735 XT) and rather thin (15 mm, almost as thin as the Forerunner 935). It weighs only 60 g (49 g for Forerunner 935 and 40 g for Forerunner 735 XT), which is reasonable.

Battery life : up to 5 days or 35 h in GPS mode

Huami has a 5-day autonomy in connected watch mode and 35 hours in GPS mode. It is thus possible, in theory, to make long outings (ultratrail, etc). In reality, experience shows that autonomy can be much lower, especially when Bluetooth is used (headset, cardio belt, etc.). We talk about it below (Read our opinion on the Huami Amazfit Stratos).

This watch can be recharged without being stopped, which a priori will interest hikers and fans of ultratrail or ultramarathon races. Unfortunately, the charging socket being located under the watch case, it is necessary to remove this one to be able to do it (impossible to run with a battery for example except if you keep everything in a pocket...).

Note that the Stratos recharges in 2 hours with a proprietary dock charger supplied with the watch.

A positive point is that the watch can estimate the time and distance that can be covered depending on the activity.

The display

The Amazfit interface allows you to choose your watchface from about twenty available. The choice is therefore rather limited. The watch can display 4 to 6 data per screen with limited configuration possibilities. Graphs can also be displayed for current measurements such as heart rate evolution, GPS plot, speed, etc.

Huami emphasizes that the display stays on all the time, allowing you to read the time at any time or access training or navigation data without having to press a button or the display to reactivate the display.

Touch navigation works well and the buttons can be used in addition (dual function).

Sensors: quite complete but accuracy is approximate

The Amazfit Stratos is well equipped in terms of sensors. It includes a GPS & GLONASS chip, an optical heart rate sensor on the wrist, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and ABC sensors (barometric altimeter, barometer and compass).

optical heart rate monitor
The Stratos has a wrist pulse scanner

The watch can also be connected to a Bluetooth cardio belt that we recommend for a more accurate pulse reading. The Stratos is very inaccurate at measuring wrist HR depending on the sport. We give more details further down.

Unfortunately, it is not compatible with standard sensors: cadence, speed/distance, power for example, which makes the measurements rather limited for cycling or for demanding riders looking for advanced measurements (vertical oscillation, cadence, etc.). A redhibitory criterion for demanding triathletes!

The GPS sensor works well even if it is a bit slow to synchronize to the satellite network (about twenty seconds where other GPS watches only require 10 in the same conditions)

More than 14 sports available including triathlon

The Stratos offers more than 14 sports: walking, running, tennis, football, skiing & cross-country skiing, triathlon, swimming pool and open water, mountaineering, cycling (indoor and outdoor), treadmills, hiking.

As for triathlon, the watch knows how to manage transitions and activities without having to stop it. However, it has some limitations that can be prohibitive for demanding athletes. In particular, it is not compatible with external sensors (except Bluetooth cardio belt), which makes training data very limited, especially for cycling. Distance and speed, measured from GPS, are inaccurate and therefore power and cadence data are not available. Moreover, if you practice the home-trainer or the spin bike, this data will not be available since GPS is not used!

For swimming, the Stratos can be used at sea (GPS is used for distance measurement) or in the pool (the pool size must be programmed: 25 or 50 m, 25 yards or 50 yards, or custom length from 10 to 200 m or 10 to 200 yards). Like most GPS watches, optical cardio does not work underwater. The watch measures the duration of the session, the distance covered, the swimming rate, the number of strokes per minute, the pace, the average pace, the calories burnt and some other indicators.

For hiking, the watch offers GPS navigation (route and guidance) with course recording, a compass, an altimeter with display of altitude and altitude difference. The watch has a barometer but does not offer thunderstorm alerts in the event of a sudden change in pressure. It allows access to local weather but requires a Smartphone that receives 3G/4G and a dedicated application.

There is no auto-pause function either, but you can pause the activity by placing the palm of your hand on the screen.

GPS navigation

The Stratos records the GPS track and allows navigation along a pre-recorded route. You can also program alerts in case of track exit (vibrator for example). It offers a zoom whose granularity is to be reviewed and especially a scrren which changes direction too abruptly with the course (course changes) : difficult to follow the instructions in these conditions !

Customized training programming

It is good to know that this function is only available for running! The Stratos offers training programs for beginners and advanced runners. One can program a training to run a 5 km, a 10 km, a half-marathon or a marathon. For example, the watch will offer an 8-week program including interval training, recovery sessions, etc. It can even offer sessions based on previous ones, for example propose a recovery session after 3 active sessions performed the previous days.

An audio coaching (usable with Bluetooth headsets) guides the sportsman in the race (pace to adopt to remain in the fixed objectives)

It is also possible to set objectives to reach (duration, distance to arrival, calories to burn, Training Effect for example) or even program alerts based on the pulse value, pace, etc.. For example, the watch vibrates when working outside the set objectives.

The watch allows you to schedule interval training sessions. This function is not very advanced. Impossible for example to program series of series (2 sessions of 5 x 1'/1' for example). In addition, the programmable time is in minutes, which makes it difficult to schedule short interval sessions!

A built-in mp3 music player and a storage space of 2 GB or about 250 songs

More and more manufacturers are finally integrating an mp3 player into their watches so they can listen to music without having to carry a smartphone. Tom Tom for example, with his Tom Tom Runner 2 Music and Tom Tom Runner 3 Music, Garmin with his Forerunner 645 Music, Vivoactive 3 Music or Fenix 5 Plus, Apple and his Apple Watch 3, etc. This is the case with the Amazfit Stratos, which has 4 GB of memory, including 2 dedicated to music. So you can take your favourite songs, about 250, and listen to them with Bluetooth wireless headphones.

Physiological measurements

watch displaying VO2max
The Amazfit can estimate VO2max and other physiological measurements useful for training athletes

The Stratos offers a set of physiological measurements calculated from the watch's sensors and estimated using algorithms provided by the Finnish company FirstBeat with which Huami has developed a partnership. This company works with the major manufacturers of GPS watches. We can therefore expect measures comparable to those proposed on known brands of sports watches. The only problem is that these measurements are based on the heart rate, which is measured by the optical frequency sensor, which is not very reliable. It is therefore better to use a chest belt if you want reliable data.

Among the main physiological measures estimated are:

  • The VO2max, a performance indicator. Attention, it is estimated only during a running exercise.
  • Training Effect (from 1 to 5). It gives an indication of the effect of a workout on physical fitness and therefore helps the athlete to know if his/her workout has been effective.
  • Recovery time required after a session
  • Estimated burnt calories
  • Training load: it measures the total volume of training performed over the last 7 days and indicates whether this load is optimal or not (neither too low nor too intense).
  • Performance conditions: they indicate in real time whether performance is good compared to past performance.

These measures are used among others to guide the athlete (vocal coaching) and to propose personalized training plans. They can be synchronized with Strava.

Alipay contactless payment: for China only

This function allows you to pay for purchases with your watch thanks to the Alipay system, unfortunately only available for the Chinese market to date. In other words, this system will be very difficult to break through in Europe if we refer to the experience of GarminPay and ApplePay.

Activity tracking
The activity tracker is useful to know the calories burnt during the day, the distance covered, the quality of sleep...

Activity monitoring

The Amazfit Stratos is also an activity tracker that counts the number of steps taken, calories burnt, number of floors climbed and analyzes sleep. It will therefore also appeal to non-athletes who seek to follow their activity and who need to be encouraged to move. The WHO recommends taking at least 10,000 steps a day to maintain your health.

Connected functions

The watch displays call, SMS and email notifications so you do not miss anything if the phone is in the pocket or in the room next.

The Amazfit Smartwatch application

The Amazfit Stratos works with the free Amazfit Smartwatch app 2.0, which handles data processing and allows you to program the watch. It offers a graphical interface using and displaying the recorded data (performance, course, training follow-up).

Attention, you must have a Smartphone under iOS 8.0+ or Android 4.3+ to be able to activate the watch and interface with it because Huami does not propose an application on PC or Mac !

Amazfit Stratos versus Forerunner 735XT versus Forerunner 935 comparison

The Forerunner 735XT is a triathlon watch. It can manage several activities as well as transitions between activities. The Forerunner 935 is more designed for running.

We compared the 3 models to highlight the main differences in terms of sensors and functions. If the price (much lower for the Stratos) is not a criterion of choice, it is clear that it is better to choose a model from a major brand that offers more reliability (firmware, heart sensor, physiological measurements) and more functions. The Stratos is quite complete but with many approximations and sometimes funny measures.

Functions935735 XTStratos
Dimensions47 mm44.5 mm48 mm
Thickness13.9 mm11.9 mm15 mm
Weight49 g40.2 g60 g
Screen size30,5 mm31.1 mm35 mm
Screen resolution240 x 240215 x x 180300 x 320
BezelReinforced polymer Ceramics
GlassGlassGlassCorning Gorilla Glass
Touchscreen  
Colour screen
Interchangeable bracelet
GPS
GLONASS
Wrist HR monitor
Barometric altimeter
 
Compas
Gyroscope
 
Accelerometer
Thermometer
  
Autonomy7 d / 12 h2 wks / 24 h5 d / 35 h
GPS speed and distance
Interval training
Training programs
Trainign status
 
Training effect
Audio instructions
Virtual Partner & Racer
 
Strava functions
LiveTrack
 
Transition between activities
Comparison Forerunner 935 vs Forerunner 735 XT vs Stratos

Amazfit Pace versus Amazfit Stratos comparison: which one to choose?

Should you buy the Amazfit Stratos if you already have an Amazfit Pace? Or should you buy the (cheaper) Amazit Pace rather than this new model? What new features justify the price difference? Here is a small comparison of the main differences to help you make your choice.

The Amazfit Stratos was designed, among others, for triathlon (it is waterproof to 50 meter while the Pace only supports splashes). It has some additional functions for outdoor and running (barometer, VO2max measurement for example). It also offers more sports profiles (14 against 8 for Pace)

The design of the 2 watches also differs. Pace is thinner and smaller in size. It is better suited for thin wrists. Its silicone strap is a little softer than the Stratos one and its different coulours (red or black versus black for the Stratos). But the Stratos+ (still available in Europe) offers a leather strap for a more chic look in town or at work.

Comparison : Amazfit Pace versus Amazfit Stratos
Amazfit Pace and Amazfit Stratos compared : the Pace is smaller and thinner. The Stratos offers some additional features

The Stratos is clearly larger and its 2mm buttons add to the sporty look more than city.

For the rest, the two watches have the same 300 x 320 px screen, the same connectivity, similar autonomy and identical functions. We find the mp3 player, the contactless payment function, the coloor touch screen (TFT LCD on the Pace, OLED on the Stratos), the optical cardio on the wrist).

If your budget is tight, the Amazfit Pace is still a good choice unless you swim or do triathlon.

FeaturesAmazfit PaceAmazfit Stratos
Case size46 x 46 x 12,7 mm48 x 48 x 15 mm
Display size35 x 35 mm35 x 35 mm
ScreenTFT LCDOLED
Thickness12 mm15 mm
Weight54 g60 g
Resolution screen300 x 320 px300 x 320 px
Bezel CeramicsCeramics
GlassCorning Gorilla GlassCorning Gorilla Glass
Autonomy5 d / 35 h5 d / 35 h
Load time3 h2 h
Sports814
WaterproofIP67 - splashes5ATM - 50 m
Barometer
 
Mp3 player
Payment Alipay
Comparatif Amazfit Pace vs Amazfit Stratos : the differences

Our opinion about the Amazfit Stratos: should you buy it?

The Amazfit Stratos is a relatively complete watch at a very competitive price. It competes seriously with high-end watches from well-known brands such as Garmin, Polar or Suunto. Now, do you really want to buy it? It all depends on your goal and what you're willing to concede by buying it!

A pretty and really cheap multisport watch for tight budgets

This watch, like the Amazfit Pace, is very pretty and can be worn both for sports and everyday use. On the other hand, it is a little big for thin wrists. This is a point to take into account for female wrists where Pace will be more appropriate.

For those looking for a complete multisport watch at a low price, it will be hard to find cheaper elsewhere. We have here a real multi-sport watch that can be used for 14 sports, including triathlon. The number of functions is more than satisfactory and will satisfy most athletes. However, you will have to deal with the disadvantages listed below, which can be prohibitive for athletes seeking complete and reliable data.

Avis et comparatif de montres cardio

Jolie montre cardio Une sélection de 25 montres sportives au meilleur prix

Le cardio-fréquencemètre est devenu un outil incontournable du sportif, que ce soit pour s'entraîner, perdre du poids ou simplement maintenir sa forme. Mais les montres actuelles offrent bien plus que le simple relevé du pouls. Selon le sport pratiqué, elles embarquent un nombre impressionnant de fonctions annexes permettant de tirer le meilleur parti de sa sortie. Comment s'y retrouver ?

Accuracy of measurements

The various tests carried out on the watch and the opinions of the Internet users who bought it converge to confirm that :

  • GPS and altimeter appear to be fairly reliable (plot and altitude accuracy). However, it is not possible to calibrate the altimeter manually, which is a pity.
  • The optical sensor on the wrist is much less reliable. The measurements are approximate, sometimes delayed in heart rate (10 to 20 beats less than reality) or even false (stalls). It seems that the Stratos tries to correct the errors (glitch) by smoothing the data but it does it a little too much. This can cause rapid heart rate decreases or increases to be missed.
  • Physiological measurements: what is annoying with imprecise heart rate readings is that physiological measurements (Firstbeat algorithms) are precisely based on heart rate and its variability. If this data is incorrect at the base, physiological measurements (VO2max, recovery time, Training Effect, etc) are also incorrect ! Personalized training and voice coaching, based on these values, can also be wrong! For reliable values, it is therefore strongly recommended to use a chest belt, which removes the advantage of the wrist optical HR monitor.
  • Sleep analysis seems unreliable.

Uncertain battery life

Humay announces an autonomy of 5 days for its watch and up to 35 h in GPS mode, which is pretty good! By testing the watch under normal conditions, these figures seem to be confirmed.

However, some users have noticed a much lower battery life. A problem which seems to be linked to the use of Bluetooth which would be very greedy in energy. So, if you listen to music or use a chest belt (which we recommend to ensure reliable measurements), the watch may only last a few hours at most! This is a very embarrassing point, especially for ultratrail!

No external sensors other than a cardio belt

The Stratos is not compatible with external sensors except with a Bluetooth cardio belt. For example, it is not possible to connect a cadence, power or even speed sensor to a bicycle, which is a big disadvantage for cyclists. Speed and distance measurements are made by GPS with necessarily lower accuracy and possible signal losses in the mountains! Not to mention home-trainer or spinning workouts that require a separate counter (no GPS!).

Triathletes looking for good assistance to monitor their progress or prepare for a competition may therefore be disappointed.

Firmware still young and interface in English or Chinese

The Stratos is currently only available in an international version in English or Chinese, which makes it inaccessible to people who do not understand these languages (display and voice coach!). Unless you are ready to replace the firmware with another version with the risks incurred (loss of warranty, bugs, etc...).

The watch shows weaknesses in the firmware. The English version displays some untranslated words from Chinese. Some bugs sometimes lead to unexpected behaviour, such as the unstable display of the navigation screen (sudden 90° or 180° oscillations of the display when changing course). All this should however be corrected in future versions of the software and therefore when updating the watch.

All in all, a good compromise between budget and reliability?

All in all, this connected sports watch is rather attractive for its pretty trendy look, its robustness (case, buttons, ultra-resistant glass), its large readable and precise coulour touch screen, the intuitive navigation, the possibility of displaying graphs for most of the recorded data.

We also appreciate its many functions, in any case sufficient for most athletes, such as functions for outdoor (altimetry, compass, access to the weather, track and GPS navigation), training functions, advice and monitoring the athlete. We appreciate the fact that it is multi-sports and adapted to the practice of triathlon (without being too demanding in terms of measurements, especially for cycling), activity monitoring, the mp3 player, the payment function (for the Chinese market!) and above all, its attractive price for the functions offered.

However, our opinion remains mixed due to the inaccuracies and variable reliability of the measurements, the difficulty to predict battery life and the various limitations observed (external sensors, limited display and personalization of the watch).

This watch does not compete with the current best watches for triathlon nor with those for running offering similar functions, like the Forerunner 935. If you are looking for accuracy and reliability, it is better to pay a high price or turn to a cheaper watch with more limited functions (see our GPS cardio watch comparison).

However, we must recognize that for the price paid, we have here a complete watch that will satisfy most athletes whose budget is limited. As long as you are not looking for high measurement reliability.

We liked
  • Minimum price for the offered capacities
  • Design and nice look
  • Comfortable colour touch screen
  • Integrated mp3 player
  • 14 sports
  • GPS quality and altimeter
We would have liked
  • Amazfit Interface and Application in English
  • An interface for PC or Mac! (requires a Smartphone)
  • Better compatibility with sensors (especially bikes)
  • More reliable autonomy
  • Better optical HR monitor accuracy
  • Connector for charging the watch without removing it from the wrist
  • Contactless payment that can be used in Europe

Price and availability

Xiaomi's Amazfit Stratos is available from 150 €. It can be found cheaper depending on current promotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or via the Chinese online store Gearbest which links you will find below.

Philippe Baudoin
Copyright © Sport Passion

Buy Amazfit Stratos 2

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
180 €
Gearbest
152 €

 

Buy Amazfit Pace

Merchant
Price (from)
 
Amazon
149 €
Gearbest
127 €

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

Soyez averti de nos dernières publications et tests !
Suivez-nous sur :  
Ou recevez la newsletter hebdomadaire gratuite :

These articles may also interest you

Suunto 9 review: huge battery life and accuracy even without GPS !

Suunto 9
Accuracy, reliability and high autonomy for this multisport outdoor watch

Read more

Best GPS watches 2019 for hiking

hiking GPS watch
Which GPS watch should I choose for Hiking? What are the best watches for triathletes today? Discover our selection and reviews.

Read more

Meilleures montres cardio GPS 2019 pour la course à pied

Femme courant avec une montre cardio GPS de running
Quelle montre GPS choisir pour courir ? Quelles sont les meilleures montres GPS actuelles pour la course à pied ? Suivez le guide et découvrez les produits sélectionnés par la rédaction.

Lire la suite

Avis sur la Fenix 5 Plus : la crème des montres GPS sportives

montre Garmin Fenix 5 Plus avec cartes
Cartographie, Pulse Ox, paiement sans contact, musique : tout y est !

Lire la suite

Meilleures montres GPS 2019 pour le triathlon

montre triathlète
Test, avis, conseils et sélection du top des montres triathlon

Lire la suite

Photos : huami.com