Amazfit Stratos+ full review
Four grams, a leather strap, a Sapphire glass screen, a fancy box and 20 quid is all that separates the Stratos and this Stratos+ from Amazfit. Should your budget allow for it, the extra durability afforded by the tougher display and the convenience and aesthetic appeal of the additional leather strap make this an easy choice over its cheaper sibling.
Both are among the smartwatches Amazfit is now listing for sale in the UK, though its entire range (which includes some more recent models such as the GTR, GTS and even a newer version of Stratos) are not yet available here. If you want to import from China you can get hold of them, but purchasing the Stratos+ is a much simpler affair with next-day delivery for Amazon Prime members.
To buy the Amazfit Stratos+ you'll pay £159.99, while the Stratos costs £139. Both are great options in the budget smartwatch space, hybrid designs that offer all the benefits of a fitness tracker with some of the bells and whistles of a full smartwatch - being able to tell you the time is the very least of their talents.
Smartwatch technology doesn't advance at the same rate as other consumer tech, and these slightly older models still make excellent buys even when faced with the longer battery life, fancier displays and slimmer designs of more recent models. For sports enthusiasts they are even more interesting, with built-in GPS and waterproofing, heart-rate monitoring, multiple activity tracking tools and training modes.
Amazfit Stratos+: What it is, what it does
Think of the Stratos+ as a fitness tracker with a clock and (silent, vibration-only) alarm function, that can serve up notifications from any app on your phone, tell you the weather forecast and allow you to stream music to a pair of wireless earbuds from its 4GB of internal storage.
Don't think of it as a rival to Apple Watch or WearOS watch, which have additional functionality with full support for apps thanks to their iOS- and Android-based operating systems, as well as calling and messaging features, and typically come at much higher prices.
Not everyone needs a full-blown smartwatch, of course. The Stratos+ covers all the basics, and covers them well.
Notifications can be managed so that you control which apps are allowed to deliver them to the watch and when, and with Wi-Fi connectivity you don't have to be in range to receive emails and other app-based alerts. Bluetooth is also supported, which means you can leave the phone at home and stream audio direct to your earbuds when you're out on a run.
The unique selling point of the Stratos line is its sport- and activity tracking features, with both watches offering 16 modes - more than you'll find in other Amazfit watches. Notable options include two swimming modes (open-water and pool), which is possible with the device's 5ATM (up to 50m) waterproofing. You can also cycle through Running, Trail run, Triathlon, Walking, Outdoor cycling, Indoor cycling, Elliptical, Treadmill, Climbing, Skiing, Tennis, Soccer, Multisport and Jump rope options in the main menu.
VO2max scores - a measurement of the maximum volume of oxygen the body can consume in a minute - are calculated using your heart rate and speed and comparing them to a reference group, offering an actionable measurement of cardiorespiratory fitness. You'll then be advised on the aerobic effect of your training and optimum downtime, and can track all activity and its impact over the past week.
For runners there is guided training, suitable for everyone from those who have been thinking about going for a jog since last Christmas to those getting ready for a marathon. And when you do venture outside there's GPS, GLONASS and a Compass, so you can track your journeys.
The heart-rate scanner is a cool feature that is now commonly found in smartwatches and fitness trackers, used to help measure your performance during activity and also the quality of your sleep. You can measure on-demand, too.
Amazfit Stratos+: Design and Build
Almost identical in design to the Stratos, the Stratos+ has a premium leather strap and a Sapphire Glass display that is even tougher than the Gorilla Glass used on its brother.
If you are going to be wearing the watch during physical activity, protecting it from knocks and scrapes is something you should seriously consider, and the £20 price difference means it shouldn't be too difficult a decision to make. Sapphire Glass will not scratch as easily as Gorilla Glass, though it is no less likely to shatter.
We found the display on the Stratos and Stratos+ a little dull in some cases, especially with auto-brightness switched on, but unless you're in direct sunlight it shouldn't be an issue. We preferred the harder and more reflective Sapphire Glass display, despite it being a little darker, though we doubt anyone would notice a difference without the two side by side.
If you happen to prefer the sporty look of the silicone band then note that you do get this included in the box. It's a 22mm width band, and can easily be swapped out for an original Amazfit band or one from a third-party supplier. It can be adjusted to any length, but the 47mm watch face itself might be a little large for smaller wrists.
The Stratos+ is a great-looking sports watch. It has a carbon-fibre effect body and a shiny ceramic bezel with minute marker detailing, plus three stainless steel buttons on the right edge. You can opt for one of many digital watch faces, with analogue and digital versions in the store. You can use your photos as wallpaper, too. Switching between them takes seconds, and is possible on the watch itself.
This is a mostly sharp 1.34in (320x300) colour LCD with an always-on display, do you needn't keep waking the watch to check the time or for notifications. This should help to extend battery life, although it's not possible to turn off the display to test this.
For what it's worth Amazfit claims up to five days battery life, though the sheer number of notifications we receive means we couldn't get past two (you can control which notifications are allowed to disturb you). A proprietary charger is included in the box, with the Stratos+ clicking firmly into it so it won't accidentally lose contact and fail to charge.
The only real thing spoiling the premium design of this smartwatch is the dated 'flat tyre' effect, a black bar cutting off the bottom of the display, which is necessary because this is where the sensor for the auto-brightness is found.
It doesn't detract from the overall design but we'd also find it more comfortable to wear if it wasn't such a chunk at 13.7mm: tight-fitting clothing can often get caught on the watch.
Amazfit Stratos+: Software
The Stratos+ pairs with your phone through the Amazfit app, which is a free download for iOS and Android. Setup is simple: you sign into the app, click the + icon and choose Watch, then select the Stratos+ and scan the QR code that will appear on the watch face once you have turned it on and selected the language.
The app can store all the data or your sleep history, heart-rate measurements, weight (manually inputted) and any activity you have completed, but in terms of device-specific controls it's pretty light. Tap the Profile icon and choose Amazit Stratos+ under My devices to access options to change the watch face, select which apps can give notifications via the watch, re-order the Stratos+' main menu and remove any items you're not using (since it is a little long-winded), and update the firmware. Everything else is achieved on the watch itself.
At first navigating the Stratos+ can feel rather complicated, but you quickly get used to it. Pulling down from the top of the screen lets you access the settings menu, adjust the brightness or switch on airplane mode or do not disturb. Swiping in from the left side of the screen brings up access to the 16 activity modes and a status screen that shows some basic stats such as how long you slept last night or how many steps you have walked.
Swiping in from the other side of the screen allows you to scroll through the main menu, from Activities to Weather, Heart rate to Music, Alarm to Compass, Stopwatch to Sleep,Training Modes to Timer and finally Location. We'd really advise disabling those you don't use in the app.
The three physical buttons can also be used to move up and down menus and to select options, but whether you use these or the onscreen gestures is really down to your personal tastes. We found we used a combination of the two.
Amazfit Stratos+: Conclusion
An easy choice over the Stratos unless your budget is especially tight, the £159 Stratos+ has an additional leather strap and a premium Sapphire Glass display that is more resistant to scratching.
It's a large watch, potentially too big for some users, but the Stratos+ has a premium design. Moreover, this budget smartwatch is a very capable waterproof sports- and activity tracker. It can additionally monitor your sleep and heart-rate, and serve up notifications much like a standard smartwatch.
We have some issues with the display brightness, and we'd prefer to see longer battery life, but you won't be disappointed with the value delivered by the Stratos+.
Amazfit Stratos+: Specs
- 1.34in (320x300) always-on transflective colour LCD touchscreen, Sapphire Glass
- ceramic bezel, stainless steel buttons, glass fiber reinforced polycarbonate casing
- 22mm width leather strap + extra silicone strap
- 5ATM water resistance (50m)
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB storage (2GB free)
- GPS, GLONASS
- 2.4GHz 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- optical heart-rate sensor
- tri-axis accelerometer
- geomagnetic sensor
- air pressure sensor
- ambient light sensor
- 290mAh lithium-polymer battery
- USB charging dock
- up to 5 days battery life (35 hours with continuous GPS and heart-rate monitoring)
- compatible with Android 4.4 or iOS 9 or later
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