Huami Amazfit Stratos: A Return turned Upgrade, and First Looks

About a month after having used their Amazfit Bip, I was having constant issues with notifications not displaying on the watch. I plugged it in to charge one day, had a flash of light go across the display, some message pop up in (what I’m assuming was) Chinese, and it rebooted. After that happened, no more notifications on the watch. I tried a couple of factory reboots, but nothing worked. Sure, most of the other features still worked fine, but that’s about the only feature with an iOS device that carries over for native use. I contacted the company immediately, and they gave me instructions to factory reset this, I had tried it already, but gave it another shot. Nothing. I attempted to contact their support line again, and no response. I email a couple more times, and nothing. While this wasn’t a huge deal, having the notifications pop up on my wrist really helps to alleviate time spent on the phone, as 90% of notifications I receive can be ignored until a later point in time.

Fast forward a month. They contact me stating that they’re closing the ticket and my issue has been resolved, I reply stating that no it most certainly hasn’t! They reopen it, tell me to factory reset the device again. To humor them, I do, email saying that it doesn’t work, and again, complete radio silence. Fast forward two more months, they contact me, two weeks ago actually, asking if my issues have been resolved. This time I was… well a little less than nice with my reply… it’s unfortunate that this is what it takes to get results sometimes, but the next few exchanges regarding the device were prompt, comprehensible (unlike a couple of the previous), and they were able to diagnose the issue. It needed returning they determined, so in exchange for this, and as an apology for the time it took to get it resolved they actually sent me an upgrade, their Stratos model.

This was the last thing I was expecting from a company that was struggling to merely respond to a simple question, or call and offer a simple walk through, but it was much appreciated. The Stratos is their premium device, offering a lot more features that the other variations do not, with the only exception being the Verge, which offers Alexa as an onboard assistant. The major difference in all of these devices is the build – the Stratos offers a ceramic and glass build, adding to the weight, but a very nice design.

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I haven’t had this for long, however I will summarize my experience with it so far in one word… Impressive. The listed price point on this device is $220, and I can say at the moment, I believe that this device is worth it’s price tag. It runs a full shell of Android at its core, which if you really wanted to program for the platform lends nicely. You’re able to put the watch on the USB Dock, and plug it into your computer and immediately access the file structure. You have about 2 GB of open storage when you plug it in, with designated folders for music and such, so you can play your tunes right off of the device. I synced a handful of songs to it, dragging and dropping directly out of iTunes as the file format is compatible. While it does appear to list a full Android file structure that offers folders for Pictures, Movies, Apps, and such, I doubt very much that you could use this device for little more than transporting the files between computers for playback, which is a neat feature if you need storage in a pinch.

The device allows for location tagging utilizing internal storage, and it’s built in GPS, so if you were struggling with service you could roughly navigate still – this would lend well to trail hiking, or more off the grid runs, which is a neat feature that more devices seem to be incorporating.

Overall I would say that this device is probably one of the best watches that I have used to date, very feature packed with a tidy UI, and fairly efficient battery given an internal GPS unit that runs frequently, activity monitoring, and I’ve been running the continuous heart rate monitoring as well. While I believe that it’s worth the price, I would be a little wary of the price tag that it fetches on their site if you’re an iOS user. I think it is the look and feel for a non-name brand that would give it that definite perceived value, and if you’re an Android user the functionality is likely much greater than I will get while utilizing an iOS device (as I have another post coming out about this week). All in all, I’d recommend this line to anyone who is looking for an alternative to some of the name brands, the Bip won’t break the bank and bears a striking resemblance to the Apple Watch, but if you’re an iOS user, and you’re shelling out the money, if you don’t mind the interface and want all of the functionality, just get the Apple Watch.

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