- Attractive design
- Dual-band GPS performance
- Battery can last over a week
- Optical heart rate accuracy
- Odd software bugs
- Too many features?
The Amazfit Cheetah Pro sees the popular budget smartwatch brand aim to replicate its success for runners.
The Cheetah Pro is a multisports watch at heart, and will also track swims and indoor workouts.
Amazfit’s run tracking skills have impressed over a few of its smartwatches, namely its cheaper Amazfit Bip series and more recently on the T-Rex 2.
The Cheetah Pro, alongside the Cheetah Round and Cheetah Square, wants to prove that the best running watch doesn’t just lie with Garmin, Polar, Coros, and the likes of Apple.
Does it pass the run-tracking test though? Here’s our verdict after a few weeks of testing.
Price and competition
Amazfit has grown a reputation for making affordable, feature-packed smartwatches and the Cheetah Pro is no different.
It sits at $300/£299.99, which definitely puts it at the pricier end of the Amazfit collection and also puts it firmly in that midrange sports watch category. That means it’s sitting up against watches like the Garmin Forerunner 255 as opposed to the pricier (and newer) Forerunner 265, the Polar Pacer Pro, and also comes in cheaper than the Coros Apex 2.
Compare that to Amazfit’s Cheetah Round and Square ($229/£229) and the Pro sees a step up in price, chiefly because of some differences on the design front.
Design and display
The Cheetah Pro is a sleek watch that doesn’t feel like a clear clone of other sports watches.
It’s got a good-sized screen, a comfortable (and removable) nylon strap, and physical buttons, and it’s waterproof up to 50 meters, so you can take it for a swim and jump in the shower with it.
Unlike the Cheetah, the Cheetah Pro only comes in a round-case option. That’s a 47mm-sized case, so you can expect something similar in stature to a watch like the Garmin Forerunner 965. It’s a polymer case with a titanium alloy bezel surrounding a 1.45-inch, 480x480 resolution AMOLED and that is a screen you can keep on 24/7.
Swiping and tapping on that screen isn’t always a super slick experience, but it also hasn’t severely hampered our day-to-day use of it either. It’s nice and bright, and has generally been fine to view in bright light, but could benefit from being a touch brighter.
Unlike the Cheetah, the Pro includes two buttons as opposed to three. The twisting crown one gets you into the main menu screen, lets you scroll through widgets, and can be held down to access Amazon Alexa.
The flatter button is your back button and can also quickly push you into the workout tracking screen to save you from scrolling through the main menu screen. The way these buttons are assigned to the watch software works fine but there are some odd moments where a button press will take you to a place you didn’t intend to go as well.
Ultimately, there’s something very likable about the Cheetah Pro. It’s good to see Amazfit hasn’t entirely tried to copy what the competition is doing and the result is a watch that looks good, feels comfortable to wear for long periods and doesn’t feel like you’re getting short-changed overall in the design department.
The Cheetah Pro packs a 440mAh capacity battery that’s powered up by a type of proprietary charging cable that is at least consistent with the cables Amazfit uses on most of its watches. It's not a favorite, but it does stay put.
Amazfit says you can get up to 14 days in what it deems a 'typical usage' scenario. That drops to 7 days with heavy usage.
We’d say that with regular use of features like GPS and all of the advanced health monitoring features on offer, the Pro is good for a week with the capacity to go longer. It’s reminiscent of the level of battery performance you get from something like the Huawei Watch GT Runner.
There are some additional battery-saver modes to boost things from anywhere to 24-45 days, but that does mean living a more primitive smartwatch life.
In terms of running, a 30-minute run using the top accuracy GPS mode saw battery drop by 5% and by 10% for an hour. That would suggest a significantly lower top-accuracy GPS battery life than the 26 hours promised. Two additional GPS tracking modes sacrifice accuracy to get you up to 54 hours of tracking time.
In terms of training features, you can create workouts that can be synced to the watch and then there are more advanced features like Zepp Coach and the AI-powered Zepp Coach Chat.
The Zepp Coach is a lot like we’ve seen from Garmin and Huawei where you can build a plan for a particular distance or race you want to train for and after a few questions to shape that training will build you a plan you can sync and follow on the watch.
So we decided to build a plan for a half marathon race and the first issue was that the app didn’t believe the time from when we wanted to start and finish training wasn’t enough time. Typically, most half-marathon training plans suggest around 8 weeks of training and we had over two months to train.
The plans are at least well designed and the sessions weren’t out of the ordinary of other plans we’ve followed in the past and are well built for those new to running or training for their first race.
The Zepp Coach Chat however definitely needs some work. It’s a feature very much built in the mold of ChatGPT, where you can ask questions about your fitness and there are some prompts included to get a sense of what it can help with.
As we mentioned in our Cheetah Square review, there’s a disconnect between Coach Chat and Zepp Coach. So it doesn’t look at your current training plan to offer some contextual advice. We asked it what gym workouts to do and it offered pretty generic advice. On occasions, the chat delivered responses in different languages. This is a feature that costs $3.99 or $29.99 a month to access and right now, doesn’t feel worth the money.
Outside of those coaching features, there are some additional training metrics on offer. So you can see your VO2 Max estimates, get a sense of your training load, and will also use your workout history to recommend recovery time.
There’s also a run prediction feature and these features collectively felt more useful. Predictions felt nicely in line with other predictions on a Garmin watch that has a much longer history of data to fuel those predictions.
VO2 Max on the Cheetah Pro was 53 compared to 56 on our Garmin watch, so there are some good training insights available here.
Heart rate accuracy
We tested the Cheetah Pro against a Garmin HRM Pro Plus heart rate monitor chest strap, for everything from easy to steady-paced runs, and track sessions and also raced with it as well.
The heart rate data overall wasn’t fantastic. In a track session to test the optical HR sensor at high intensity, average and maximum heart rate readings were often 20 bpm off from a chest strap. The graphs posted in the Zepp app didn’t tell an accurate story of the session.
It was a similar story during a 5K race where average and maximum heart rate readings were well off the readings of a chest strap. Things did get better for steady-paced runs, so you can get some good data here and there.
The good news is that there is a solution to improve that accuracy thanks to the support to pair external heart rate monitors.
If you care about continuously monitoring heart rate for more general well-being insights, the Cheetah Pro is much better equipped to do that. We wore it alongside a Garmin watch, which delivers very reliable continuous heart rate readings, and even during sleep, the data felt a lot more reliable in comparison.
Like the Cheetah, the Cheetah Pro includes Amazfit’s MaxTrack GPS technology, which is essentially its version of the dual-band GPS antenna setups that have started to appear in watches from Garmin, Polar, Apple, and Huawei among others.
This means it can communicate with L1 and L5 satellite bands, which aims to improve tracking performance when tracking near tall buildings or in tall wooded areas.
We used it alongside the impressive multi-band mode on Garmin’s latest Forerunner watches and found the GPS performed well, but wasn't immaculate. There's significant wandering in the example above, but the distance came out correct in the end – so it's workable for those less fussy about their data.
For a track workout, it was 50 meters short of the Garmin, clocked us running at a much quicker average pace, and the mapped data wasn't perfect.
In a 5K race, it slightly underreported the distance covered, but mapped routes and average pacing were much closer. However, the Cheetah Pro suggested we’d paused our watch for over a minute.
In general, though, the GPS performance was solid and wasn’t ever wildly off on any runs.
Something we did experience with the Cheetah Pro echoes our experiences with the Cheetah Square where it would regularly display on the watch that the A-GPS file was out of date.
This happened even after having recently synced the watch with the Zepp phone app. There are a few quirks to the tracking experience and they can add up collectively to make using the watch a slightly irritating experience at times.
Mapping and navigation
It’s not unusual to find a sports watch at this price that can offer breadcrumb-style navigation or the ability to upload routes like you can on the Cheetah Pro. It is rare to also find the ability to sync and follow offline maps.
To store maps on the watch you need to download them from the Zepp app first, where you can select a section of a map and then sync it over to the watch, which thankfully is a pretty painless thing to do.
When those maps are on, they’re certainly not the richly detailed maps you’ll find on watches like the Garmin Epix or even third-party Apple Watch apps, but it does offer you a little more detail to survey surroundings and get a better sensor of what’s around you.
The navigation features you have at your disposal here aren’t groundbreaking either and lack turn-by-turn navigation, but they do work well enough to be useful when you're exploring new environments.
When you want to upload routes, you can do it from previous outdoor workouts or sync them over from apps like Strava and Komoot. It’s easy to do and if you like the idea of having this kind of support on a sports watch, the Cheetah Pro executes these features pretty well.
Sleep and fitness tracking
If you want to do things like count your steps, track stress, and blood oxygen levels, and build up your PAI scores, these are all things the Amazfit Cheetah Pro is equipped to do.
There’s a big push on sleep tracking, with a dedicated sleep tab in the Zepp companion app and a Zepp Aura feature, which is another paid-for feature that delivers meditations, sleep summaries, and insights if you want to delve deeper into your sleep time. This also builds in another Chat GPT-style mode to handle your sleep queries.
In terms of core sleep tracking, the Cheetah Pro performs pretty well. We wore it alongside the Oura Ring Gen 3, a smart ring that serves up great sleep tracking, and elements like registering the time we’d fallen asleep and sleep scores were similar on most nights.
Along with those core sleep metrics, it’ll break down sleep stages, detect naps, measure breathing quality, and respiratory rate, and monitor heart rate, so you’re getting a good fill of stats here. Heart rate accuracy felt reliable too, which isn’t always the case for a lot of sports watches that track heart rate during the night.
The Cheetah Pro can perform as a smartwatch and has the kind of things you’d expect to find on a smartwatch.
It works with both Android and iOS and runs on Zepp OS 2.0, so you’re getting the latest version of the proprietary smartwatch operating system.
You can view notifications from native and third-party apps with little issue. There are two smart assistants on board here with an offline one that gives you hands-free control of key watch settings.
On top of that, there’s also Amazon Alexa, to handle the same sort of queries you’d expect to fire out other Alexa devices. The responsiveness of the microphone can be hit and miss while the accompanying speaker does at least mean you can hear responses out loud as opposed to having them read out.
There’s a music player included too, though unlike music player-packing Garmin watches and Apple Watches, doesn’t work with music streaming services. You need to sync music stored on your phone from the Zepp app to the watch. Then you can play audio out loud or pair up Bluetooth headphones to keep listening sessions more private.
If you care about contactless payments, that support isn’t here, though you do have the ability to add membership cards. There is an app store, but it’s nowhere like what you have access to with an Apple Watch or a Wear OS watch. There are some third-party apps, but not many and they’re not high-profile apps either.
Amazfit doesn’t entirely get away without grabbing a feature from a rival with its morning report, a clear rip-off of Garmin’s Morning Report feature.
Yes, the Cheetah Pro can function like a smartwatch. Is it a better smartwatch than similarly priced sports watches? We’re not convinced.
How we test