The Amazfit Band 5 is a budget fitness tracker that promises to punch above its weight with a rich array of features.
The two trackers share a strong resemblance not just in looks but also in terms of what they're capable of. The Band 5 has all the same core fitness tracking and smartwatch features, but also comes with a few extras. Most notably, Amazon Alexa and the ability to measure blood oxygen levels.
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At $49.99, it's a little pricier than the Mi Band 5 ($39.99) and a lot closer in price to the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 ($59.99) and the Huawei Band 4 Pro ($57.99).
So it's cheap, it promises to do a lot, but does it deliver?
We've been living with the Amazfit Band 5, tracking steps, sleep, running, swimming and chatting to Alexa to find out. Here's our comprehensive verdict.
Amazfit Band 5: Design and screen
We've alluded to it above, but the Amazfit Band 5 is basically the same device as the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. There's the main polycarbonate tracker packing the same-sized 1.1-inch, 126 x 294, AMOLED display as the Mi Band, and a TPU strap that lets you pop out that tracker part.
The dimensions measure in at 47.2 x 18.5 x 12.4mm. The Mi Band 5 in comparison offers dimensions of 46.95 x 18.15 x 12.45mm. So what you're essentially getting is a tracker that's a little smaller, though it's not really something you're going to notice.
We don't think it's necessarily the most stylish budget band, but it's clearly made well and definitely doesn't feel cheap or tacky. We'd argue the Fitbit Inspire 2 is a nicer looking, though that does cost closer to the $100 mark.
Spot the difference: Amazfit Band 5 (left) and Xiaomi Mi Band 5 (right)
The star here is the screen. It's a high quality AMOLED screen that's colorful, bright, vibrant and is superior to screens that cost more (we're looking at you Fitbit).
It's not an always-on screen, though the raise to wake gesture was pretty reliable for us. Visibility is good on the whole, but you'll need to crank it up to the maximum brightness setting in brighter outdoor daylight based on our experience.
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There are three band colors to choose from. We had the black and there's also orange and a green option too. There isn't a big collection of official bands to choose from, so you're pretty much stuck with what you've got.
It's got a 5ATM waterproof rating, which means it's safe for showering and a swim up to 50 meters' depth.
During testing it has been comfortable to wear in the day, during exercise and at night. It's never fallen off and the band hasn't cause any skin irritations or issues.
It could've done with a few more holes in the band to fasten it. The lack of these may have contributed to some issues we'll get into later.
While I'd have preferred to see something a little more original looking, it does the job and is a tracker we were happy to wear.
Amazfit Band 5: Fitness and health tracking
So what can the Amazfit Band 5 do to help you stay fit and healthy? Let's start with those core fitness tracking features.
You're getting a 3-axis acceleration and gyroscope motion sensors to track indoor and outdoor activities. There's also a BioTracker 2 optical sensor that can track heart rate during exercise, let you take on the spot readings and also powers the blood oxygen measurements. It's also unlocking stress tracking and PAI health scores.
Last up, you've got guided breathing exercises. Basically, you're getting a lot here.
From the band, you'll need to head to the Status screen to see step counts, distance covered, calorie burn and how many idle alerts you've raised during the day. Most watch faces will serve up daily stats as well.
In terms of accuracy, we wore it alongside a Garmin fitness tracker and found step counts in general were in the same ballpark.
You get a nice breakdown in the apps including the total time those steps were generated from. You can also see weekly and monthly trends if you want to see if you're stepping more or less over time.
Step tracking compared: Amazfit Band 5 (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
For sleep, you're getting some pretty comprehensive data and insights. You can't view sleep data on the Band, so it's over to the app to see how well or badly you've slept.
What you'll find when you get in there is a breakdown of sleep including REM sleep. That's the kind of sleep that relates to memory and learning. You're also getting a sleep score and a sleep breathing quality data, which is a feature currently still in beta.
Sleep tracking compared: Amazfit Band 5 (left and centre) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
From an accuracy point of view, we felt it fared better in terms of recognising sleep duration in comparison to the Garmin fitness tracker we took to bed as well.
Though we did often see zero minutes recorded for deep sleep, REM and Awake time on some night as well. So its sleep tracking skills are clearly not perfect.
Another feature to highlight here is the PAI health scores. PAI are scores based on hitting a certain amount of minutes where you get your heart pumping. It's nice to see an alternative to focusing on step counts, though we feel more could be done to make it feel more involved in the fitness tracking process.
Stress tracking involves taking on the spot measurements or using all-day monitoring to spot trends in your data. Those on the spot measurements require laying your wrist on a flat surface and generally seemed to be in line with how we were feeling.
You're also getting those SpO2 readings carried out by the same sensor that delivers the heart rate data. We tested it against a dedicated pulse oximeter and found that readings were identical.
There's women's health tracking available too letting you track menstrual cycles and ovulation periods, with some of the experience present on the tracker itself. This obviously wasn't something we tested in our time with it.
So while there are certainly some aspects that aren't perfect, the fitness tracking features on the whole do the job. The experience on the Band is good and there's good level of additional details and insights in the app too.
Amazfit Band 5: Sports tracking
The Amazfit Band 5 does make room for some sports tracking features and there's a fair amount to play with here.
You're getting 11 sports modes in total, which includes running, pool swimming and indoor activities like jump rope and indoor rowing. There's no GPS, but you do get connected GPS to lean on your phone's GPS to track outdoor activities.
What we found with the Band 5 is that it's a bit of a mixed bag in terms of what you can expect. When we took it running outside, you need to launch the app on your phone first before it can establish a GPS connection.
Despite doing that on several occasions, we ended up with data like that below, where it failed to track the entire run. We kept the phone in a running belt as we're not huge fans of wearing an armband and it just didn't dish out reliable distance data.
Connected GPS vs GPS: Amazfit Band 5 (left) and Garmin Forerunner 945 (right)
For treadmill running, it's a similar story on the accuracy front, though you can calibrate to ensure you get more reliable data next time you jump on.
You can also connect it to Strava and Relive to soak up the Kudos and create videos of your outdoor adventures.
Things did improve when we took it to the pool. The small screen makes it a challenge to soak up the data in the water.
Crucially though, when we looked down at it, the core swim data was in line with the Forerunner 945 and Form Swim Goggles we tested it against. Dig a little deeper though and some data like average pace appeared to not be recorded at all.
Swim tracking compared: Amazfit Band 5 (left and centre) and Garmin Forerunner 945 (right)
Like the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, it's quite refreshing to see modes like indoor rowing and the jump rope mode with the offer of activity specific metrics.
They might not be as rich as some of the other sports modes, but it's nice to see that indoor activities can be better tracked.
Amazfit Band 5: Heart rate tracking
One of the reasons you might go for the Amazfit Band 5 over the Mi Band 5 is the fact it packs a newer BioTracker optical sensor setup. Especially as it powers a range of health and fitness features.
One of the metrics it can generate is resting heart rate, which can offer an insight into your current state of fitness.
Below is a sample of resting heart rate, which we found generally came out higher than the Garmin fitness tracker and chest strap monitor we compared it to.
When it was time to exercise, we experienced some quite sizeable issues. For a lot of our logged workouts, the tracker failed to capture any heart rate data.
Now, we think this might be a combination of things. It may be that the Band didn't sit tight enough, despite using it on the tightest fit option available. There must be some software issues here too.
Heart rate tracking compared: Amazfit Band 5 (left) and Garmin HRM Pro chest strap (right)
When we did manage to get some data, it was kind of what expected. Average heart rate data and maximum heart rate data was largely off in comparison to a chest strap monitor.
Bottom line, if you're buying this fitness tracker hoping for accurate heart rate monitoring during exercise, it's probably going to let you down. Especially if that fit isn't right.
Amazfit Band 5: Smartwatch features
There's a decent array of smartwatch features on board the Band 5. For starters, it's compatible with Android phones and iPhones. We had it paired with an Android phone and didn't experience any issues with pairing or syncing.
What you're getting is notifications, music controls, weather forecasts and the ability to set reminders for events. Hidden within the band's settings is the ability turn it into a shutter remote for your phone's camera, plus there's a world clock mode and a find my device feature.
With that lovely display, looking at the weather updates or skipping a track on the Spotify playlist playing on your phone is nice to do. Notifications unsurprisingly display text from messages quite small. If you receive notifications from the same source in quick succession, you can't rifle through them.
The big headline feature here though is Amazon Alexa. The Band 5 to our knowledge is the cheapest wearable that will give you access to Amazon's smart assistant from the wrist. Similar support was introduced on the Fitbit Versa 2 and now appears on its Versa 3 and Sense watches.
On the Amazfit Band 5, you can link your Amazon account through the Zepp companion app. Once that simple process is completed, you can swipe right to reveal the Alexa screen. There's a microphone on board, but no speaker. That means you'll just get responses displayed.
On the whole, it worked well. It was able to able to recognize queries correctly on the first attempt. It handled queries about the weather, upcoming sports fixtures and recipes, where it will prompt you as to whether you want to follow the recipe on the band. It's perhaps not the biggest screen to read a recipe on, but it works.
We were met with a 'server is busy' messages on a few occasions, but if you like the idea of Alexa on a fitness tracker, the Amazfit Band 5 makes it a reality for not a lot of money.
Amazfit Band 5: Battery life
In terms of battery life, the good news is that you're not going to charge the Amazfit Band 5 every few days. The claim is 15 days in typical usage, 25 days in power-saving mode and a big 90 days in standby mode.
Based on our experience, it's capable of spending that time away from the charger but that really is dependent on what features you have turned on and use regularly.
With notifications on, continuous monitoring, the sleep assistant, the screen set to mid-level brightness and some tracked running and swimming sessions, you could comfortably get a week with it. As soon as you turn the screen brightness up or turn on things like stress tracking, you can see that more noticeable battery drop-off.
To get closer to double digit days of battery life, you're going to need to disable things like the sleep assistant, 24/7 heart rate monitoring and not keep the screen at max brightness.
It's a fitness tracker that by and large promises solid battery life and can get you a couple of weeks when you sacrifice some features.
- High quality display
- Amazon Alexa works well
- Unoriginal design
- Handling multiple notifications
- Heart rate accuracy