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Wearable Tech

Amazfit Verge comes to the US on Dec. 18 for $160

The no-nonsense smartwatch has Android phone support, fitness tracking and GPS for a low price.

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Huami

If you're looking for a full-featured smartwatch without the pomposity -- or priciness -- of the Apple Watch, Amazfit's new wearable may be worth a look.

The $160 Amazfit Verge offers many of the features and specs you'll find in smartwatches and fitness trackers that cost hundreds more. Though it doesn't have built-in LTE like the higher-end version of the Apple Watch, you can use the Verge to make and receive phone calls (via Bluetooth with a compatible Android phone). It's GPS-enabled, can track steps, calories and sleep, and it has 11 sport modes to measure your efforts when running, cycling and skiing. 

In many ways, the Verge looks like a higher-end version of the Amazfit Bip smartwatch, which CNET reviewed this summer. We found the Bip to be a pretty impressive device -- especially given the price ($80, £70 or AU$99). But like the Bip, the Verge has some limitations. It runs the manufacturer Huami's own software, not Google's Wear OS, and you can't add apps to it. (Huami says that the Amazfit Verge smartwatch app, which ostensibly controls some watch features, will be available on both iOS and Android.)

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Huami

The company says the Verge offers 5 days of battery life -- more than twice what you can expect from the Apple Watch on a charge. Here's a partial list of some other noteworthy specs:

  • 1.3-inch AMOLED display
  • GPS, accelerometer, geomagnetic sensor and gyroscope
  • Support for NFC payment
  • Optical heart-rate sensor
  • Voice-assisted support for smart home integrations
  • Onboard music support

Huami, the No. 2 wearables provider in the world, also makes Xiaomi's wearable devices. It first released the Amazfit Verge in China in September. 

In the US, the Verge costs $160 and comes in Shadow Gray, Twilight Blue and Moonlight White. It's scheduled to ship on Dec. 18 and you can preorder it now. (UK and Australian prices are yet to be announced, but $160 converts to about £125 or AU$220.)