Looking for a budget fitness band to slap on your wrist? The Amazfit Band 5 deserves careful consideration, and not just because it's only $50. It's because today only, and while supplies last, the. That's the lowest price I've seen.
If this looks a bit familiar, perhaps you're thinking of the. You're not wrong: The two are virtually identical. (Fun fact: Amazfit is owned by Huami, which is a manufacturing partner of Xiaomi.) I'd go so far as to say they're indistinguishable, though there are a couple of key internal differences:
The Amazfit Band 5 -- ticks an impressive number of fitness boxes. It measures heart rate, blood oxygen level, steps, sleep and more. It can also monitor your stress levels and run guided breathing exercises.
On the watch's front, you get a choice of over 45 colorful faces, plus the typical stuff like notifications, call alerts and meeting reminders. You can't reply to a text message, but you can decline a phone call. You can also control music playback and your phone's camera shutter. Good stuff.
Amazfit promises up to 15 days of operation on a charge with typical usage, or 25 days of power-saving usage. (That means no HR monitoring or the like.) I wasn't able to put the battery to the test, but even if those estimates are high, the Band 5 will outlast many other fitness bands.
Another notable feature: built-in Alexa. This was very much in beta during my tests, and it showed: A while after authorizing the Band 5's app to work with my Alexa account, that authorization was lost and I had to set it up again. After that, I'd get "Server is busy" or "Could you repeat that" messages when trying to issue certain commands. It just didn't work reliably.
Meanwhile, it's not a hands-free implementation -- to use it, you swipe right from the clock screen -- and because the Band 5 has no speaker, you won't hear audible responses. Of course, your phone needs to be in proximity as well, with the Zepp app running.
Yep: Zepp. That's the name of Amazfit's app, just to keep things good and confusing. I don't love it, but it's fine for use with a $26 fitness band. It's wrong to expect the sun, moon and stars at this price.
CNET hasn't done a full-on review of the Band 5, and I've seen pretty mixed reviews around the interwebs. But if you just want a watch that offers basic fitness features and phone alerts and solid battery life, this is worth a look.
Originally published last year. Updated to reflect new sale price. Removed expired bonus deal.
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