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If the £399 price tag on a brand new Apple Watch Series 5 is a bit too rich for your blood, you might want to turn your attention to the Amazfit Verge Lite. Here is a smartwatch with an AMOLED screen, built-in GPS and heart-rate tracking plus an astounding 20 days battery life for just £75. Yes, you could buy five of them for the price of one Apple Watch (though you’d look a bit silly).
So what, exactly, is the catch? I’ve been using the Amazfit Verge Lite for a few weeks now, and although there certainly are drawbacks, there’s very little that compares in the price bracket.
Amazfit Verge Lite review: What does it do well?
First up, battery life. You may have scoffed when you saw 20 days cited above, and I would have done too if I hadn’t used Amazfit’s Bip smartwatch, which boasts 45 days of stamina. On the Verge Lite, if anything, the 20-day estimate is low, and while you will probably want to reduce this by changing settings (by default it only checks heart rate sporadically, for example) it’s still got stamina in spades. After a 25-minute run with juice-sapping GPS sensor enabled, the Verge Lite lost just 2% of its battery.
And on the subject of running, that GPS has done a pretty good job so far. I wore it on one wrist with my own usually accurate Garmin Forerunner 245 on the other as a control. The Garmin said I had run 4.08km, while the Amazfit Verge Lite reckoned 3.98km. That’s close enough for most people, I reckon – although it’s worth noting that the GPS took about a minute longer to get a lock, which isn’t a great deal of fun in winter months.
Sleep tracking is also excellent – not just in the data the watch catches, but in the way it displays it in the accompanying Mi Fit app. It provides insights not just on deep sleep, light sleep and time awake, but how this compares to your history, as well as others using the app.
Amazfit Verge Lite review: What are the drawbacks?
The look of the watch is, to put it charitably, an acquired taste. The thick plastic casing has a certain Playmobil quality to it, and it’s chunky too, protruding a good 9mm from the wrist. The straps aren’t the most comfortable either, though these pop loose via pins so can be replaced with something better if you like.
Notifications are also something of a mixed bag. Although they come through perfectly readable on the sharp AMOLED screen with a gratifying little buzz of the wrist, they have a tendency to bunch up. That is to say that if you don’t actually dismiss a WhatsApp message, the next time you get one the first one will be shown again until you do. Which is quite annoying if you’re in a position where you want your watch to sub in for your phone.
Finally there’s a slight sluggishness. I don’t want to overstate this – I only noticed because I was reviewing Amazfit’s regular Verge at the same time, which is noticeably faster (though probably not worth the extra £50 involved). Nonetheless, at this price it’s important to remember that cuts have to be made somewhere and it’s clear that the Verge Lite doesn’t have cutting-edge internals.
Amazfit Verge Lite review: Should I buy one?
None of these are deal-breakers though, and the Amazfit Verge Lite is a very compelling smartwatch. It feels a lot like a natural successor to the gone-but-not-forgotten Pebble watch, and I mean that in a good way.
At £75, you’re unlikely to do much better, though if you’re happy with a GPS packing fitness band then the Huawei Band 3 Pro is worth a look for roughly the same money. If you can stretch a bit further, then I’d personally opt for the Garmin Vivoactive 3, which can now be had for around £150.
Amazfit Verge Lite
- Stunning battery life
- Packed with features
- Just look at that price
- Not exactly beautiful
- GPS takes some time to lock on
- Clunky in places