While Fitbit is the king of fitness tracking (and a big smartwatch player), Amazfit is the new kid on the block when it comes to fitness tracking tech.
Amazfit is owned by Huami, which makes Xiaomi’s devices – including the eponymous Mi Band 4. But lesser known brand Amazfit is becoming the Chinese powerhouse’s fitness forward brand. It’s already going head-to-head with the Garmin Fenix with it’s cheap Amazfit T-Rex, and the Amazfit GTS and GTR also come at alluring prices.
But this is no knock-off technology. Amazfit devices pack a lot of the same features as a Fitbit in the realms of health, sleep and fitness monitoring.
Essential reading: Best Fitbit devices 2020
Over the last few years, Amazfit has emerged as a genuine alternative to Fitbit’s devices, offering feature-rich, innovative options that can often cost less than a Fitbit.
But how do the two platforms compare and is one comfortably better than the other? We’ve spent a fair amount of time with devices made by both, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses.
We break down how Fitbit and Amazfit compare as ecosystems to help you decide which is the best fit for you.
Amazfit or Fitbit: The hardware
As mentioned above, Fitbit makes fitness trackers and smartwatches at different price points and with different feature sets.
If you’re looking for cheaper alternatives, you will need to look at the Xiaomi Mi Band 4, which only really compares truly with the Inspire HR.
While Fitbit has a quite streamlined collection of wearables, Amazfit takes the opposite approach. You can find around 15 smartwatches in its collection. It also makes headphones and other connected fitness tech like smart treadmills. So, there’s no shortage of options here.
Fitbit Versa 2 v Amazfit GTS
£179.99 vs £109.99
This is a really tough call between two excellent smartwatches – both of which got four-star reviews in Wareable reviews.
The Versa 2 is Fitbit’s most recently launched smartwatch building on the first Versa with an improved AMOLED screen and Amazon Alexa integration. That means you can now use voice to ask the smart assistant questions. There’s no speaker on board to hear those responses though.
It adopts the same slim, square-like design that carries a waterproof rating up to 50 metres offering swim tracking in the pool only. It’s got the best that Fitbit has to offer in terms of fitness tracking including advanced sleep tracking and women’s health monitoring. You can also track 15+ exercise modes and piggyback off your phone’s GPS to track outdoor activities.
Smartwatch features include notifications, built-in music player, Fitbit Pay for payments and support for downloading apps and watch faces.
The Amazfit GTS closely models its look on the Apple Watch with a slim, rectangular metal frame and a high quality 1.65-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. It matches the waterproof rating on the Versa 2 and also tracks your swimming action in the pool.
In terms of fitness features, there’s 12 exercise modes in total with GPS and an optical heart rate sensor on board. Smartwatch features include notification support, modular watch faces, music playback controls and event reminders.
The GTS promises up to 14 days battery life, which is significantly more than the 4-6 days you can expect from the Versa 2.
Winner: Dead heat
Fitbit Ionic v Amazfit T-Rex
£249.99 vs £140
The Fitbit Ionic was the company’s first smartwatch and remains the only option that offers built-in GPS to track outdoor activities like running and cycling without piggybacking off your phone’s GPS.
Unlike Fitbit’s Versa smartwatch, it has a blockier, more angular look that won’t necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea looks-wise. It does make enough room to fit in a heart rate monitor, a music player and NFC for payment support.
It runs on Fitbit’s own operating system. which also brings you features like notifications and the ability to download apps and watch faces. You also get the best of Fitbit’s fitness tracking including using the onboard SpO2 sensor to track blood oxygen and offer richer health insights.
The T-Rex is one of many sporty options in the Amazfit family, offering plenty of features in a round watch design. It features a bright AMOLED touchscreen display, has built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor with 14 sports modes supported. Like the Ionic, it’s waterproof up to 50 metres and does offer swim tracking. Unlike Fitbit’s watch though, it does track swimming in open water.
Smartwatch features include viewing phone notifications, weather alerts and event reminders. It does lack payment support however.
The T-Rex promises up to 20 days battery life, which is significantly more than the 4-6 days promised by the Ionic.
Winner: T-Rex wins on specs and it performs well – but it’s a chunky beast compared to the Ionic.
Amazfit or Fitbit: The apps
It’s fair to say that on the hardware front, both Amazfit and Fitbit do great jobs in terms of offering well-built, feature-rich devices that actually look like wearables you’d want to wear.
Looking good and being suitable for the gym is just one piece of the puzzle though. The software that puts that hardware to good use is equally as important and may ultimately sway your decision choosing between the two platforms.
Fitbit’s companion app is available for smartphones and as a web app. Though it’s likely your interactions will be mainly done on the phone app.
Fitbit prides itself on designing an app that’s easy to use and that’s exactly what you get.
See a snapshot of your day’s fitness tracking, check in on friends and groups in the Community section and discover new programs and challenges to add to your routine. It’s a clutter-free app making it easy to find the data you care about most.
Fitbit sleep tracking
Fitbit offers its own Premium subscription service giving you additional features like wellness reports, audio and video workouts and richer sleep insights to help you on the journey to better bed time. You will have to pay for the pleasure of getting access to those features.
The Fitbit app also works with a range of third party apps including Strava and MyFitnessPal to offer alternative ways to track fitness and diet outside of Fitbit’s own built-in features.
The Amazfit app also acts as a place to keep a close eye on your health and fitness data. It’s also a place to manually track activities like walking, running and cycling.
You can’t download apps and watch face support varies by device. You can see daily heart rate trends, a breakdown of sleep and fitness trends like VO2 Max and Training Load insights if you care about recovering from workouts and optimising fitness levels.
Some Amazfit devices also use the PAI score, which was developed by wearable tech company Mio. It’s a single health score derived from
Amazfit fitness and sleep tracking
In terms of support for third party apps, it’s not quite as expansive as it is on Fitbit’s app. You can connect Chinese messaging service WeChat, though a more useful integration is support for Strava.
As a companion app it’s one that manages to feel sparse and busy at the same time. It’s clearly not as slick as Fitbit’s app, but it should have everything you need as far as tinkering with settings and reviewing your vital health and fitness data.
Fitbit v Amazfit: Fitness tracking
All of Fitbit’s and Amazfit’s wearables offer basic tracking, which include monitoring daily step counts and sleep tracking. Depending on your device, you may find additional features like tracking elevation to offer richer insights.
At their core, both platforms offer the ability to view steps, distance covered and periods of inactivity. These are based on similar motion sensor setups and unique software algorithms to convert wrist movement to motion data. No two devices ever deliver identical data, but the devices we’ve tested across both platforms didn’t throw out wildly inaccurate data.
Both platforms offer heart rate-based health insights based on optical, light based sensors as opposed to the medical grade-style ECG sensor found in the newest Apple Watch.
Both claim their respective heart rate sensor technologies can help detect signs associated with heart disorders like atrial fibrillation. Fitbit also offers richer sleep insights using that heart rate data and presents much of that data in a much nicer, more digestible way.
While Fitbit does offer heart rate based exercise tracking, Amazfit does push more into the sporting realms with its Training Load, VO2 Max and PAI Health scores.
Winner: Draw (go Fitbit for lifestyle, Amazfit for sport)
From a presentation side of things, Fitbit definitely has the edge here. It neatly and simply presents the components of your sleep in a way that most should be able to understand it. Whether that’s sleep stages or additional sleep scores available via Fitbit Premium. What’s more it offers more insights than Amazfit on the tracked data.
Amazfit certainly doesn’t shirk its responsibilities as far as offering sleep breakdowns and sleep quality analysis – and you still get that single number sleep score. We were also impressed by the accuracy, but Fitbit is years ahead in the data and algorithms – and that does shine through.
Stress and recovery
If you care about mindfulness and tracking your mental state, there’s only one winner here and that’s Fitbit. It offers guided breathing on many of its devices making use of the onboard heart rate monitor to create personalised breathing options.
Those kinds of features are simply not replicated on Amazfit’s devices as yet. If you’re looking for a wearable with features to take care of your mental as well as your physical being, Fitbit’s your one.
Women’s health tracking
It’s another win for Fitbit in terms of offering features specifically built around women’s health. Fitbit offers the ability to show menstrual and fertility cycles via the Fitbit mobile app. It also makes some of that data viewable on its smartwatches.
As of yet, Amazfit doesn’t offer anything in the way of women’s health tracking features. If you want these features, there’s only one option.
Fitbit v Amazfit: Sports tracking
Both of these platforms are built with fitness and sports tracking at their core. If you want to take things beyond step tracking, these devices across the board are well equipped to do that.
There are certainly ones that perform better for more advanced sports tracking if that’s something you’re after.
GPS tracked workouts
Fitbit’s smartwatches and fitness trackers offer dedicated modes for the likes of running and cycling and more basic workout modes. Those devices that are fit for the water, only track activity in the pool. Where GPS isn’t available, it’ll use motion sensors to track metrics like distance, which is never going to be as reliable as GPS.
Outside of the Fitbit Ionic, that GPS tracking is also done via your phone, which does mean you’ll need to be out with your handset to get that data hit.
Amazfit offers built-in GPS on pretty much all of its wearables. Whether you go for something like the GTS or the more rugged T-Rex. There’s a wealth of sports modes on most of its watches including outdoor activities like hiking and you can get open water swimming tracking where available. The data is reliable and you do have support for Strava if you want to review data in a more familiar place.
More Fitbit devices than ever are waterproof and designed to track swimming. As we’ve already mentioned, that’s pool swimming only. Fitbit’s smartwatches offer the nicest screens to review data in real-time and accuracy on the whole is solid.
Many of Amazfit’s devices offer both pool and open water swimming giving you similarly rich swim metrics including SWOLF, pace and stroke analysis. You’ve got nice, bright screens to review your swim data and the accuracy is there too.
Winner: Amazfit (If you want open water swim tracking too)
Heart rate in workouts
This is an interesting one. Of the Fitbit wearables that include a heart rate monitor you can work to heart rate zones and view resting heart rate data to get a better gauge of your fitness level. You’ll also get something called a Cardio Fitness Score, which is related to VO2 Max as another source of insight into your fitness levels.
Amazfit also offers similar functionality during workouts and additional insights like VO2 Max inside of its companion smartphone app. You will also get a rich level of detail as far as your HR data and how it’s presented in the Amazfit app. There’s no support for external heart rate monitor chest straps on most Amazfit devices, though you can generally broadcast HR data to compatible devices and apps to open up the possibilities of what you can do.
Fitbit v Amazfit: Verdict
Why choose Fitbit?
You choose Fitbit over Amazfit for the simple fact that it currently offers more as an ecosystem. It does the fitness tracking well and compared to Amazfit, does a better job on the smartwatch front too. It’s got apps, payments, watch faces and improving music features too.
Its devices are really easy to use as well. It generally just works and it’s most user-friendly for a wider range of ages. There’s trackers for kids as well as people who want something a bit more capable in the smartwatch and fitness tracking department. It offers good sports tracking, though there’s clearly room for improvement.
It excels as a platform in covering the bases. It’s not perfect, but what you get as a package is generally very reliable. Fitbit’s wearables look better than they ever have and that makes them easier to recommend too. The Versa and the Charge are standout devices and crucially, are available at a good price too.
Why choose Amazfit?
Don’t be put off by the fact that Amazfit has been on the scene for less time than Fitbit. It has already shown it can make really attractive, well-built wearables that offer big features for not a lot of money.
Our issue has always been around the software foundations that allow that hardware to shine, and while it’s still a little clunky and buggy in places, things on that front have improved massively. You’re getting well presented health and fitness data along with useful insights into that data.
Where Amazfit really delivers, perhaps more so than Fitbit is on sports tracking and pushing the boundaries of battery life. You’re getting richer support for features beyond basic tracking. There are more outdoor activity modes that offer useful metrics beyond the basics you get on Fitbit. It delves a little more in the realms of optimising training and recovery too.
If these are the kind of features you value, more so than making payments from your wearable, you’ll be better served here.