zepp

Review: Zepp E – a stylish multi-feature fitness watch

When it comes to smartwatches, we are currently spoilt. With the many options available on Watch OS, as well as the Apple Watch getting cheaper and cheaper, it is a tough market to stand out in. Amazfit, though, have always been a respectable name among enthusiasts, and now they are back under a new brand, Zepp. Their first major entry into the smartwatch market is the Zepp E, available in both square and round designs. With a beautiful screen, a long battery life, and features such as heart rate monitor and GPS, this has a bit of everything.

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A personal review

Before I indulge into my review, it must be noted that this is a very personal review. A watch is a very personal item, and this watch was tested in a way that suited my lifestyle. As such, what may have bothered me or impressed me might not be the same for you.

It must also be mentioned that the watch I normally wear is a Garmin Forerunner 45. It is also a watch that offers a long battery life, a focus on fitness, constant heart rate monitoring, built-in GPS, and basic notifications. So in a way, it is a decent functional comparison the Zepp E.

This is beautiful!

Everything about this watch shouts beautiful. From the basic looks themselves, all the way to the screen. The screen shows off beautiful and vibrant colours, and is not at all shy about it. The curved screen itself gives the impression of an edge-less display. What’s even better is that it is also visible in sunlight, something a lot of screens and watches fail at.

For me, this is easily the most beautiful screen I have ever seen on a smartwatch.

Always On Display

And with that, comes the ability to offer an always-on display on a long battery life. Magic? Not so much. The Always-On display will come at the cost of battery life, and suddenly you go from about 7 days to around 3-5. However, we are still in long battery life territory, so not really a problem.

Battery Life

Speaking of battery life, with my current lifestyle, it lasted just shy of 3 days for me. The operative mode was as follows:

  • Always on display set on a timed mode, on between 7am to 8pm.
  • 2 x 40 minute bike rides, over two days so 4 in total). This used both GPS and constant HRM.

If you do less exercise, or do not have it always-on, this will easily give you more than 5 days, which is pretty impressive for a screen line this.

Monitoring sports/fitness activities

This is one which was actually a bit disappointing about this watch. On the face of it, you get a lot. You can even take this swimming, which not many watches offer.

What’s more, you can even link all your data with Strava, meaning that my data was going in the same place it normally does with my current watch.

However, there were a few niggles for me:

  • Auto-pause doesn’t work very well. It would auto-pause it, but not play it again. I often had to press play to get it to record again. Which is weirder as it does show you distance/time, etc on the watch face, but the syncing doesn’t work very well.
  • The Heart-rate monitor needs the watch to be on quite tightly for it to work consistently. As such, sometimes it goes for long periods without monitoring the data.
  • GPS is a bit inconsistent too. However, the app itself uses your phone’s location data to fill in the gaps. This was quite obvious as my phone reported that the watch had been checking the location of the phone during my exercise, all along the path.

This means that if you are trying to use this watch for fitness reasons, it might not work as well as you’d hope.

I also found that the activity rings were a bit off. Sometimes the watch itself showed different data on different screens. Once I had to restart the watch as it just stopped measuring steps.

SpO2

I couldn’t get the Sp02 feature to work at all on my watch. On the website, it talks about it being available via an OTA, but since the feature is shown on the watch, I thought it would be working. Maybe it still needs the update.

Notifications

This is a funny one. They worked most of the time for me, but not all the time. Let me elaborate. They worked all the time, but were often not as up to date as my phone. It did make me wonder if this feature would work better on an Android instead of my iPhone, and it could be some kind of permission thing. As a comparison, the Garmin’s do pop in as soon as they appear on the phone.

Also, due to some weird reason, emails don’t show up.

However, it does give you more control over your notifications. You have a list of popular apps such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Skype, etc, and you can individually turn their notifications on or off.

Sleep monitoring

The website is very proud of the fact that this watch measures naps, but I wasn’t able to get that to work. However, it did work reasonably well in terms of night times. It is not as detailed and accurate as some of the competitors, but it measures well.

Interestingly, I noticed that the heart rate monitoring while I slept was very consistent. It made me wonder if movement can get in the way of measurement for this watch.

Watch Faces

A whole load of watch faces are available for this watch. They all look awesome, and are pretty much designed to highlight how good the screen is. You can also use your own photos, but that is the limit of what is available. Since they come through the app, there is some potential for expansion there.

No other apps are available, so no games, etc.

Widgets

Also included are things called widgets, which offer everything from your stop watch and timer to things like compass.

Competition

This is where it gets a bit tricky for this. Costing just above £200 at launch, there is quite a lot of watches that can be bought for that amount of money. Some offer more features, other offer more accuracy, and the Watch OS range obviously offers more apps and the ability to store music. With Apple Watch 3 dropping to £300 as well as Apple Watch SE being announced recently, the cost is one aspect where this watch could disappoint pretty much everyone.

Impressive

Having said all that, I come back again to the display. That alone is enough to keep this device something you’d like to wear. My wife is currently trying it out, and is absolutely loving it. I remember the days where smartwatches were so big and chunky that they almost were designed purely for big wrists, and even felt sexist. Not this, no. It is beautiful and an absolute style icon.

More information

More information on the Zepp E watch, as well as the ability to buy it, is available from their website. It is also available from the likes of Amazon.

At the time of writing, the watch retails for about £209, and comes in square and circular formats.

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