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HomeTechA $349 fitness tracker disguised as a smartwatch – Phandroid

A $349 fitness tracker disguised as a smartwatch – Phandroid


While the Android world continues to await the arrival of Google’s mythical Pixel Watch running Wear OS, other company’s continue to try and release options that will make you forget about it. Huami-owned Zepp is one of the latest companies to do so with the Zepp Z smartwatch. This is one of the most premium smartwatches available on the market, priced at $349. But does the Zepp Z do enough to make the purchase justified? Let’s find out.

Zepp Z Specs

Zepp Z
Price $349
Screen size 1.39-inches
Resolution 454 x 454
Density 326 ppi
RAM 16 MB
Storage 256 MB
Battery 340 mAh
Front camera 16MP, Fixed focus, f/2.4, 1.0 μm
Bluetooth v5.0 BLE
Dimensions 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.75mm
Band Size 22mm
Wireless Charging Yes
Sensors BioTracker 2 PPG Optical Sensor, Geomagnetic, Gyroscope, Capacitive, Air Pressure, Accelerometer, Ambient Light, GPS + GLONASS

Zepp Z Design

Take one look at the Zepp Z and you’ll instantly see that this is a premium smartwatch. The watch itself is made from a single piece of titanium alloy, providing that classic look and feel that you would expect from a traditional timepiece. Additionally, Zepp includes a genuine leather band that was a bit too small for me but is likely large enough for the majority of Zepp Z owners.

On the right side of the frame, you’ll find three buttons with the middle acting s your rotating crown. The bottom button can be customized to act as a shortcut to various pre-installed apps while clicking the crown will simply take you to the Home Screen. The top “button”, actually isn’t a button but can be used to measure various health metrics like your heart rate or blood oxygen levels.

We mentioned that the Zepp Z includes a leather band in the box, but the casing is large enough to use a 22mm band. And instead of offering some proprietary method for connecting other bands, you don’t have to worry about that. Zepp makes use of quick-release bands, so you can use pretty much any other watch band that you may find. I mean, if you’re going to be tracking workouts, what’s the fun in using a leather band?

Things we like about the Zepp Z

There’s a lot to like about the Zepp Z, provided that you go into the situation understand that this is not like other smartwatches. Amazfit and the Zepp Z use a different type of operating system, one that doesn’t allow for additional apps to be installed. So what you see is pretty much what you get, save for the ability to download and install a few different watch faces. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what we like about the Zepp Z.

Battery life

As someone who primarily switches between the Apple Watch Series 6 and TicWatch Pro, I was simply blown away by the battery life of the Zepp Z. I kept looking through the settings to see if there was something not turned on correctly, as I just couldn’t believe how good the battery life is. In my time using the Zepp Z (about three weeks), I only had to charge it twice; once when I took it out of the box and one other time. Battery life is simply incredible.

Zepp App

I didn’t know what to expect from a third-party app, as these tend to be a mixed bag when it comes to fitness trackers and/or smartwatches. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how robust the accompanying Zepp app really is. From the app, you can do all of the customizing for things like the shortcut button or changing the watch face. But you are also presented with the fitness tracking and health data in a simple and easy-to-understand interface.

Things we don’t like

While the Zepp Z is simply elegant in design and is just pretty to look at in general, not everything is perfect. Some of the issues could be solved with software updates, but we aren’t really sure what the company is going to do moving forward in terms of adding new features or fixing issues.

Lacking features

If you’re looking at this to be a fully-featured smartwatch, you might want to temper your expectations. Yes, it will do a great job at serving your notifications on your wrist, and letting you know when a phone call is coming through. But that’s about it. The fitness tracking seems to be pretty solid overall, as we found a few discrepancies between the Zepp Z and the Apple Watch, but nothing major.

The biggest hiccup that we came across in our time with the Zepp Z has to do with notifications. There’s nothing in the setup process or included documentation that references notifications. So we assumed that it would work just like other smartwatches and deliver notifications out of the box. However, that wasn’t the case, as you need to dive into the app and manually select which apps you want to receive notifications for.

Price

Perhaps the biggest barrier of entry is the price of $349. This a steep price to pay for a software experience that isn’t as fully-featured as what’s offered by Google’s Wear OS, or even Fitbit. With the TicWatch Pro 3, you’ll get Google’s Wear OS, the latest Snapdragon Wear processor, and even that nifty secondary display. All of that can be had for around $300, and the Pro 3 has been on sale quite a bit as of late.

Should you buy the Zepp Z?

If you’re stuck between something like the Fitbit Sense or Versa 3 and the Zepp Z, then we would recommend just going with Fitbit. Over time, you’re likely going to see more integration with Google Fit and Google in general now that it’s the new parent company of Fitbit. If you want a Wear OS smartwatch or something like more of a traditional smartwatch, then we would recommend going with the TicWatch Pro 3.

However, if you want one of the classiest smartwatches on the market, then the Zepp Z is the way to go. We simply can’t get over how sleek and elegant this smartwatch looks, giving us vibes of the original Huawei Watch when that was released back in 2015, just minus the Wear OS benefits.

The Zepp Z offers a great package for those looking for a fitness tracker with a few added “smarts” and the ability to easily view your notifications as they arrive.

Zepp Z Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_75star_empty (3.75 / 5)

The Good

  • Stunningly-gorgeous design
  • Leather band included
  • Incredible battery life
  • Able to download and use different watch faces

The Bad

  • Unable to download and use third-party apps
  • Fitness tracking isn’t the most accurate
  • Expensive

The Bottom Line

The Zepp Z is a beautiful smartwatch, but it’s really a $350 fitness tracker disguised as a smartwatch. If you want the best-looking smartwatch to pair with your Android phone, this is the way to go, but you’ll be accepting a few limitations.

 





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