- Affordable price
- Great battery life
- Heart rate tracking
- Bad fit on the wrist
- No exercise modes
- Inconsistent sleep tracking
Xiaomi sub-brand Huami saw some success with the Amazfit Bip, an extremely affordable smartwatch with 45 days of battery life. Now it's looking to break into the world of fitness trackers with the Amazfit Cor.
The Cor is a budget fitness tracker that comes in at $79.99, just $20 under its smarter cousin, the Bip. The Cor actually debuted back in January in China, and now it's getting a global release as Huami looks to bolster Xiaomi's dominance in the affordable fitness tracker market.
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And on paper, it makes a good case. This thing is packed to the gills with features, but do all those features and its nondescript looks add up to something worth its affordable price? Or are you better off turning to either the similarly priced Bip or a much more expensive Fitbit? Read on to find out.
Amazfit Cor: Design
The Cor looks familiar, doesn't it? I thought so too, so I racked my brain trying to figure out what it looks like. The Charge 2? Or maybe the Vivofit? Or maybe the Gear Fit2 Pro or Huawei Band 2 Pro? Nah, it's none of them.
It's just exceptionally generic; a bit of all of the above. It looks both familiar and forgettable at the exact same time. There's little that's visually interesting here, except for possibly the marine-grade stainless steel, which gives it a tiny touch of elegance.
The Cor's materials make it feel better than its price suggests when you're handling it, which is impressive. Unfortunately, it's a different story when you actually put it on, as the quality of the materials doesn't carry over to how bulky the Cor feels on the wrist. It's a nuisance under sleeves and in bed. Despite being 4 grams lighter than the 36-gram Fitbit Charge 2, the Cor feels bulkier.
That's down to a couple of things. First, the clasp on the band is a real pain in the ass. The band relies on a simple loop and clasp mechanism: loop the bottom band through the top band and then clasp.
Sounds simple enough, but what ends up happening is you tend to find out that you didn't get it as tight on your wrist as you thought you had. So then you have to keep adjusting and pulling until you get it as tight as you need it. If you don't do that, it'll rattle around on your wrist like an oversized watch.
The second reason is because the 1.23 inch IPS LCD display is too tall. On a fitness tracker, you have the central unit that's solid and hard, usually made out of some sort of metal, then you have the bands, which start out hard and then taper into the soft, flappable band you're used to. That hard section of the fitness tracker is about as tall as my wrist, which is already fairly big. This makes it harder to get a good fit, because there's more room for the strap to not conform to your wrist.
The display is mostly fine. It does a decent job out in sunlight, but it's nothing when put next to better displays like that of the Apple Watch. It performs far better indoors, naturally. It would have been nice if the display was easier to look at though, because turning it on can be a chore. You're supposed to tap the little home area below the display, but actually hitting it in the right way is hard, which can be extremely annoying while you're on a run. The swipe interface works mostly well, though there are some small niggles that'll take you by surprise - like the exercise app automatically launching into a workout when you click it.
Elsewhere, you've got a comfortable heart rate sensor on the underside, 5 ATM water proofing so that you can take it swimming, an accelerometer and removable straps, should you want to change up the design.
The Cor might look fine, with a tiny sprinkle of elegance thanks to that stainless steel, it also can be extremely frustrating to actually use. It's not that comfortable to wear, with a button that's frustrating to use.
Amazfit Cor: Fitness and activity
As seems to be the theme with this tracker, the fitness part is a mixture of impressive and disappointing. It all starts with that exercise app, which is actually pretty simple to use. All you have to do is open the exercise app and... well, that's it.
There are no modes to choose from. There are no exercises to choose. It simply tracks whatever exercise you're doing. On the companion app, these workouts - no matter what they are - are simply listed as "exercise." So while it is waterproof and it can come with you wherever you exercise, it'll mostly just track your calories and heart rate.
If you're looking for more advanced metrics or anything like that, your best bet is to turn elsewhere. The Amazfit Cor wants to keep things as simple as possible. While it lacks in categorizing workouts, it actually performs admirably when it is tracking.
When tracking heart rate, it did a good job when put up against the Wahoo Tickr X, just like the Amazfit Bip did. My max heart rate was the same on both devices, but my average heart rate on the Cor was lower by about 10 BPM. While running, the Cor does struggle a bit to keep pace with the accuracy of a chest strap, but it was in the range of the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor. If you're not on the lookout for anything
Then there's sleep tracking, which mostly did a good job of keeping up with the Fitbit Charge 2. It was about in line with my bed time, and gave me a little more deep sleep time than the Fitbit, but a couple of times it went completely off the rails and got my wake-up time way wrong.
The Charge 2 accurately knew when I woke up every day without fail, but the Cor would seemingly take turns. One day it would know when I was getting up, then the next day it could only sense that I woke up hours after I actually did. It's likely the Cor struggled my groggy movements as I got up out of bed.
The Cor isn't for you if you want detailed exercise metrics. In fact, it's probably going to disappoint you. However, if you're looking for a simple fitness tracker that can do a fairly solid job of tracking your heart rate, the Cor at least ticks those boxes.
Amazfit Cor: Smart features
The Cor certainly doesn't want to skimp on smart features. If you swipe down from the main face, you'll get a menu of different options. These include an overview of your day with your current heart rate, step count, distance traveled, the calories you've burned and how sedentary you've been.
You can also get a running list of your notifications. It's always handy to have a place where you can look back at all your alerts, but it's also hidden away in a menu. It would have been far more convenient if it was one of the main swipe gestures from the main face (there are only two - up for Do Not Disturb and battery life and down for the menu).
The notifications on the Cor simply mirror those popping up on your phone. App support is pretty good though, so you'll likely see everything going on, from your phone calls and text messages to your Facebook notifications, WhatsApp messages and more. These can be filtered though, so as to stop your wrist vibrating every few seconds.
Which is just as well, because the haptic feedback is especially hard. It's loud and, if you're not expecting it, can scare the crap out of you. I was going to sleep and forgot to turn on Do Not Disturb. My hand with the Cor was under the pillow and I got a notification. What a surprise that was. I really wish it was gentler.
On top of that, you've got Huami's standard set of features. Weather will tell you the weather (obviously), and you can set that up in the companion app. There's also a timer and alarm, should you want to get your clock on. In the settings app, you'll get a couple of choices for alternate watch faces, which are different enough from the default to be interesting but not intriguing enough to actually switch to.
You'll also get a couple of more advanced watch faces you can switch, but you'll have to download them and Huami warns that they'll impact your battery life. Overall, the Cor has a solid set of features for a fitness tracker.
Amazfit Cor: Battery life
Huami promises about 12 days of battery life from the Cor. I've had the device for about 10 days now, going on five runs and getting plenty of notifications (I've enabled them all and I'm drowning).
After all of this, I'm down to 37%. It's safe to say the 12 day promise from Huami is likely an underpromise-overdeliver sort of situation, and I've seen nothing to make me think otherwise. It was a little weird that a GPS-less fitness tracker would have about one-third the battery life of the Bip, a smartwatch with GPS, but here we are.
If you're looking for a fitness tracker with good battery life, the Cor is certainly going to fit the bill. It's about double the battery life of the Charge 2, though it doesn't measure up to the 21 days offered by the Band 2 Pro.
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