Amazfit Falcon review: A very good $499 multifunctional smartwatch

When it comes to multisport GPS watches, you probably know the main players. Garmin, COROS, Suunto, Polar, and now even Apple offer high-end wearables that you can take with you whether you’re running, cycling, windsurfing, kayaking, skiing, and more.

Amazfit, a wearable brand known for its number of budget-friendly fitness trackers, is now looking to join these household names in consideration by launching the premium Amazfit Falcon. The new $499 smartwatch tracks 150 indoor and outdoor exercises (and automatically records 8 of them, plus it recognizes dozens of strength-training moves to track reps and sets).

Running on Amazfit’s Zepp OS, the Falcon comes with Zepp Coach — a training algorithm that personalizes the watch’s recommendations based on your fitness level — and has health features like heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen readings, and sleep tracking. Plus, it includes stress measurements and pairs with major third-party apps like Apple Health, Strava, and Google Fit for overall fitness insights.

But is it worth the $499 price tag? Here’s what you need to know after two weeks of testing.

Affordable multisport watch

The Amazfit Falcon is a great, more affordable alternative to Garmin’s popular high-end multisport watch, offering great battery life and GPS functionality at a low price.

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Ashley Mateo/CNN

Out of the box, the Falcon looks very similar to several of my outdoor watches. The frame is made of titanium and has a sapphire crystal glass screen (which also has an anti-fingerprint coating). I didn’t bring the battering ram to the device — the company claims it’s strong enough to pass 15 military-grade tests — but after multiple outdoor workouts, two kettlebell strength sessions, and several drops from wrist height Tried, I didn’t find any scratches or nicks on the screen or frame. It’s also water resistant up to 200 meters, though the most I’ve dipped in water was in the shower.

I fully charged the Falcon before setting it up and I haven’t charged it after two weeks of wearing it. According to the company, that’s standard for the device; under typical usage, a single charge should last for 14 days, which can be shortened to 7 days with heavy use. There are several GPS settings that give you 21 to 50 hours on a single charge, or the Falcon can last up to 30 days in power saving mode. When your battery is low, it only takes two hours to fully juice.

Easy setup, simple app and intuitive use

It took me less than five minutes to set up the Falcon. It pairs with Huami’s Zepp app, and it’ll look familiar to anyone who’s used Fitbit or other fitness tracking apps; you’ll find all the main metrics (like sleep and steps) and recent activity on the home screen, Clicking on any metric will provide deeper insights than your own data.

The Falcon has a 1.28-inch always-on AMOLED screen that lights up with a flick of your wrist, and you can navigate using four buttons, two on each side. I found it easier to use the touchscreen function to swipe up and down and left and right once I tap into the menus (like workout options, using the buttons in the top right).

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Ashley Mateo/CNN

Accurate GPS is one of the most important features in a multisport watch, I found the GPS in the Falcon to be nearly as accurate as the Apple Watch Ultra’s GPS during outdoor runs and hiking workouts (the Apple Watch recorded 6.01 miles in one run , while the Falcon logged 5.93 miles; during the hike, the Apple Watch tracked 2.84 miles and the Falcon tracked 2.8 miles).

Both devices use dual-frequency GPS (L1 and L5) for better accuracy in areas with tall trees or tall buildings; however, this may not be as accurate as the multi-band tracking used by companies like Garmin. One thing I don’t like is the 10 second wait time for GPS. Obviously, not for long, but other watches I’ve used worked almost immediately.

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Ashley Mateo/CNN

At 64 grams, the Falcon is skewed towards the heavier end of the wearable range – which is to be expected for a more rugged watch. It’s not as heavy as the COROS Vertix 2 at 89 grams or the Garmin Epix at 76 grams, and is actually on par with the Apple Watch Ultra at 61 grams, but it’s heavier than my standard running watch, the COROS Pace 2 (29 grams) and when worn 24/7 Get used to it, especially when trying to sleep.

One of my biggest pain points when using the Falcon is the screen lock feature during workouts. When I want to swipe on different screens to see different metrics, I keep getting the “screen lock” message saying I “press the button” to unlock. It’s the left-hand up or down button, but it’s not clear during the workout, and since my instinct is to use the right-hand button, it results in multiple inadvertent repetitions of the workout. (This might be a customizable feature, but I haven’t figured out a way to remove it.)

The Amazfit Falcon is similar to multisport watches from Garmin, COROS, and Suunto in terms of tracking metrics and activities, and it even shares some similarities with the new Apple Watch Ultra. While it uses dual-frequency GPS like the Ultra, you’re unlikely to get as accurate GPS readings as the Garmin device; the company is known for its mapping and navigation features, and would recommend it to more serious outdoor adventurers.

However, at up to 30 days, its battery life, even with its best features, is impressive. It’s just a little less than what you’d get in a similarly priced COROS Vertix 2 or a slightly more expensive Garmin Fenix ​​7. I found the interface to be a little less user-friendly than the competition, but I’ve also never used a Zepp-based wearable before, and the learning curve is to be expected.

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Ashley Mateo/CNN

The Amazfit Falcon is a serious contender for the top multi-function watches from Garmin, COROS, and more on the market right now—especially at $499, which is a few hundred dollars less than Garmin’s popular Fenix ​​line.

I’m not thrilled with the constant screen lock. Also, GPS and navigation 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 track, that shouldn’t be a big deal. For anyone looking to enter the world of multi-sport GPS watches at a more affordable price, the Falcon does the job well.

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