When it comes to multisport GPS watches, you probably know the major players. Garmin, COROS, Suunto, Polar and now even Apple offer premium wearables that can go the distance with you, whether you’re running, biking, windsurfing, kayaking, skiing , etc.
Amazfit, a wearable brand known for its number of budget fitness trackers, is currently hoping to be seen alongside those household names with the introduction of the premium Amazfit Falcon. The new smartwatch costs $499 and tracks 150 indoor and outdoor sports (and automatically records eight of them, plus recognizes dozens of strength-training moves to track reps and sets).
The Falcon, which runs on Amazfit’s Zepp operating system, comes with Zepp Coach – a workout algorithm that personalizes the watch’s recommendations based on your fitness level – and is packed with health features like as heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen readings and sleep tracking. Additionally, it includes stress metrics and partners with leading third-party apps like Apple Health, Strava, and Google Fit for holistic fitness insights.
But is it worth the $499 price tag? After two weeks of testing, here’s what you need to know.
An affordable multisport watch
The Amazfit Falcon is a good, more affordable alternative to Garmin’s popular high-end multisport watches, offering great battery life and GPS functionality for the price.
Out of the box, the Falcon looks a lot like many of my favorite outdoor watches. The frame is made of titanium and it has a sapphire crystal screen (it also has an anti-fingerprint coating). I didn’t bring a ram to the device – the company claims it’s tough enough to pass 15 military-grade tests – but after several outdoor workouts, two weight training sessions with kettlebells, and a few attempts to drop it from wrist height, I found no scratches or nicks on the screen or frame. It’s also water resistant to 200 meters, although I’ve submerged it the most in the shower.
I fully charged the Falcon before setting it up, and after two weeks of use, I have yet to charge. This is standard for the device, according to the company; with typical use, you should get 14 days on a single charge, which drops to seven days with heavy use. There are several GPS settings that allow you to get 21 to 50 hours on a single charge, or, in battery saver mode, the Falcon can last up to 30 days. When you run out of power, it only takes two hours to fully recharge.
Easy setup, simple app and intuitive use
It took me less than five minutes to install the Falcon. It pairs with Huami’s Zepp app, which will look familiar to anyone who’s ever used a Fitbit or other fitness tracking app; you can find all your main metrics – like sleep and steps – as well as recent activity on the home screen, and clicking any one will give you a deeper look into your own data.
The Falcon has an always-on 1.28-inch AMOLED display that lights up with a flick of the wrist, and you can navigate using four buttons, two on each side. I found that once I clicked on a menu (like workout options, using the top right button) it was easier to swipe up and down and side to side. the other using touchscreen capabilities.
Accurate GPS is one of the most important features of a multisport watch, and I found the Falcon’s GPS to be nearly as accurate as the Apple Watch Ultra’s during outdoor running and hiking workouts. air (during a run, the Apple Watch logged 6.01 miles, while the Falcon logged 5.93 miles; while hiking, the Apple Watch logged 2.84 miles, and the Falcon logged 2. 8).
Both devices use dual-band GPS (L1 and L5) for better accuracy in areas with tall trees or tall buildings; however, this likely won’t be as accurate as the multi-band tracking used by a company like Garmin. One thing I didn’t like was the 10-second waiting period for the GPS to engage; it’s not long, obviously, but the other watches I use snap in almost instantly.
At 64 grams, the Falcon leans towards the heavier end of the wearable spectrum – which is to be expected for a more robust watch. It’s not as heavy as the 89 gram COROS Vertix 2 or the 76 gram Garmin Epix and it’s actually quite comparable to the 61 gram Apple Watch Ultra, but it was noticeably heavier than my running watch standard, the COROS Pace 2 (29 grams) and it took some getting used to wearing it 24/7, especially while trying to sleep.
One of my biggest issues while using the Falcon was the screen lock feature during workouts. When I wanted to cycle through the different screens to view different metrics, I kept getting a “screen locked” message prompting me to “press the button” to unlock. It’s the left buttons up or down, but it wasn’t clear in the middle of the workout and resulted in unintended overlapping of the workout several times since my instinct was to use the buttons on the right. (This may be a customizable feature, but I haven’t found a way to remove it yet.)
The Amazfit Falcon is similar to multisport watches from Garmin, COROS, and Suunto in terms of the metrics and activities it tracks, and even shares some similarities with the new Apple Watch Ultra. Although it uses dual-band GPS like the Ultra, you’re unlikely to get GPS readings as accurate as a Garmin device; this company is known for its mapping and navigation features, and would be recommended for more serious outdoor adventurers.
However, up to 30 days, its battery life, even with the best features enabled, is quite impressive; it’s just a bit less than what you’d get in the comparably priced COROS Vertix 2 or the slightly more expensive Garmin Fenix 7. I found the interface a little less user-friendly than competitors, but I’ve also never used a Zepp-based laptop before and a learning curve is to be expected.
The Amazfit Falcon is a worthy competitor to high-end multisport watches currently on the market from Garmin, COROS, and more, especially since it rings in at $499, several hundred dollars less than the popular Fenix line. from Garmin.
I wasn’t thrilled with the constant screen lock. Also, the GPS and navigation features aren’t quite up to the high standards set by Garmin, but if you’re not a professional athlete or someone who ventures too far off the beaten path, it shouldn’t matter too much. For anyone who wants a more affordable entry point into the world of multisport GPS watches, the Falcon will do the job well.
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