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Looking for a budget fitness band to slap on your wrist? The new Amazfit Band 5 deserves careful consideration, and not just because it’s only $50. It’s because for a limited time, and while supplies last, the. That’s the best deal to date; just last week, it was $35. (If Amazon’s supply runs out, you can and with more color options.)
If this looks a bit familiar, perhaps you’re thinking of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. You’re not wrong: The two are virtually identical. (Fun fact: Amazfit is owned by Huami, which is a manufacturing partner of Xiaomi.) I’d go so far as to say they’re indistinguishable, though there are a couple key internal differences:
The Band 5 — the Amazfit Band 5 — ticks an impressive number of fitness boxes. It measures heart rate, blood oxygen level, steps, sleep, women’s health and more. It can also monitor your stress levels and run guided breathing exercises.
On the watch front, you get a choice of over 45 colorful faces, plus the typical stuff like notifications, call alerts, meeting reminders and so on. You can’t reply to a text message, but you can decline a phone call. You can also control music playback and your phone’s camera shutter. Good stuff.
Amazfit promises up to 15 days of operation on a charge with typical usage, or 25 days of power-saving usage. (That means no HR monitoring or the like.) I wasn’t able to put the battery to the test, but even if those estimates are high, the Band 5 will outlast many other fitness bands.
Another notable feature: built-in Alexa. This was very much in beta during my tests, and it showed: A while after authorizing the Band 5’s app to work with my Alexa account, that authorization was lost; I had to set it up again. After that, I’d get “server is busy” or “could you repeat that” messages when trying to issue certain commands. It just didn’t work reliably.
Meanwhile, it’s not a hands-free implementation — to use it, you swipe right from the clock screen — and because the Band 5 has no speaker, you won’t hear audible responses. Of course, your phone needs to be in proximity as well, with the Zepp app running.
Yep: Zepp. That’s the new name for Amazfit’s app, just to keep things good and confusing. I don’t love it, but it’s fine for use with a $50 fitness band. It’s wrong to expect the sun, moon and stars at this price.
CNET hasn’t done a full-on review of the Band 5, and there’s one important thing to note about the average user rating you’ll see on Amazon’s product page: It’s wildly inaccurate. That page encompasses half a dozen different Amazfit products, and so do the reviews. Actual Band 5 ratings probably comprise a tiny fraction of the 1,400 included there.
In the end, the Band 5 is a nice little fitness band that does a lot and lasts a long time between charges. It’s not perfect, but nothing at this price is going to be.
While you’re mulling them over, here’s our just-released Cheapskate Show podcast episode on inexpensive smartwatches and fitness bands:
Originally published last week. Updated to reflect new sale price. Removed expired bonus deal.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.