Zepp is a new smartwatch brand from Chinese company Huami. This company also makes watches under the Amazfit brand and through partner Xiaomi sells the popular Mi band. The Zepp brand is created to push into the mid to high-end smartwatches, with the Zepp E priced at £209 ( €249,00).
The packaging looks great and the Zepp E watch comes in a black thick box that has a premium feel to it. The box houses the watch, a tiny instruction booklet on how to get the watch connected, and a USB charger cable that magnetically clips to the Zepp E.
The Zepp E comes in two shapes, one with a rectangular screen and one with a circular screen. This review is for the Zepp E square, which looks stunning with a 3D curved bezel-less design. My example had a two-tone design with the black screen and the metal body. It is a bit let down by the leather strap which feels a bit flimsy and not what you expect from a watch at this price range.
Connecting to App
I must say that connecting the watch to the Zepp app took longer then I thought, but that was partly due to me not reading the manual. First of all the app wants you to register and when I tried to register it already told me that an account that existed for my email. Strange as I never owned a Zepp E or an Amazfit watch. So with the forgot password option I got the account going and the first thing the app wanted to do is sync with the Xiaomi Mi Smart Band 4, my previous fitness tracker. Here I realised the connection of all watches to Huami.
I had to delete the Xiaomi Mi app as well as delete the Smart Band 4 profile out of the Zepp app. Then it would still not connect to the Zepp E watch as I already made it pair via my phones Bluetooth settings, something the manual warned me not to do. Once I deleted the Bluetooth pairing it easily found the Zepp E in the app. So it looks like the user accounts of Zepp and Mi app are shared between both apps.
After the successful connection, it straight away updated the Zepp E watch with the latest software, which was easily done.
The Zepp E square smartwatch has a 1.65 inch 348 x 442 AMOLED screen, which looks very bright and has punchy colours. As earlier said, the black leather watch strap feels a bit cheap but is comfortable and easy to put on your wrist. The Zepp E feels light and you hardly feel you are wearing it, it only weighs 36 grams without the strap.
The stainless steel body looks solid and minimalistic, there is no bezel and the screen beautifully curves at the edges. The overall thickness is only 9 mm. There is one physical button on the outside that does not protrude much. The back of the case has the heart rate monitor and the charging connection.
Software and Features
The Zepp E software has a small range of lifestyle features, it does not support any third-party apps though.
There is a notification panel so you can see which ones you have missed on your phone, however, you can not respond to them. There are music controls that allow you to skip tracks, and there is a useful weather app. There is also a compass, alarms, a timer and a few more other handy tools.
When it comes to health and fitness, this is an important part of the watch. First, when you swipe left or right you can see the daily activity goal screen which displays three circles, steps taken, calories burned and activity intensity (on a scale of 1 to 12). Another swipe gives you a dedicated screen for heart rate measuring and you can measure this non-stop if you want to, and display this on a 24-hour graph. There is another screen showing you your PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence), this a single metric based upon your daily activities and your heart rate. The idea is to help you understand the status of your physical condition, with your goal to hit 100 PAI each day.
A short press on the side button gives you a menu with the following options:
- Stress – this function measures your stress levels throughout the day and the month and also has 4 areas measuring the percentage of time spent, relaxed, normal, medium or high stress.
- PAI – this is the same PAI screen you can access by swiping left or right.
- Heart Rate – This is also the same heart rate screen.
- SpO2 – This is the oxygen saturation of how much oxygen your blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. This takes a while to measure as you need to put your arm horizontal on the table and the watch face needs to be up.
- Workout – here you can select between the following workouts, which I find a bit limited.
- Outdoor running – The Zepp does not have a built-in GPS system but you can use the GPS on your phone to track your running.
- Walking – same here with the GPS of your phone.
- Outdoor cycling
- Indoor cycling
- Pool swimming
- Trial running
- Free training
- Activities – this shows you past workouts you have done
- Activity goal – the three circled screen showing your daily activity goal
- Weather – weeks weather forecast
- Music – skip tracks and pause them on your phone
- Widgets – compass, timer, count down, find mobile
- Settings – you can set things here things like how long you want the display to be illuminated or even chose to have an always-on display showing you the time only.
A longer push on the side button brings you straight to the workout menu. Handy as this is a menu you will be using a lot.
The phone app
The Zepp app shows you the daily activities and your goals. What can be shown on the app is how you are doing on a monthly basis. With your user profile, you keep all the data and you can even track it against other users of the Zepp app. You can add accounts of Google fit, Strava and Relive, and sync the data.
The Zepp app also has the sleep score, which is a function that can not be accessed on the Zepp E. This function breaks down your sleep between deep, light and REM sleep and how many times you have been awake. It gives you a score of between 0 to 100. It also gives you some useful tips on how to achieve a better sleep score.
The phone app allows you to set up the notification settings with your phone and how the phone and Zepp E can better work together.
You can change the watch face. The Zepp app has a marketplace for watch faces and there are some really cool ones, my only gripe is that all of them have 5 stars in the reviews, which looks to me like the review system is rigged, and to me adds zero value to the experience.
In real life
With the gyms closed, I can not track all the workout modes, however, I did venture in the ice-cold outdoor pool here in Tuscany Italy to use the swim tracker, it is just working perfectly. I also did some running and did the same circuit twice, once without GPS tracking and once with the GPS tracking from my phone. The one without was 2.65km and the one with GPS was 2.55km, which in my opinion does make it pretty accurate without.
I like how the watch is reminding me throughout the day what I have achieved or to gently remind me to do more. Both the watch and the app make me want to work out more, it makes me realise how lazy I can be sometimes. I blame the lockdown.
Sleeping with the watch can be a little bit annoying as every time I move, the watch lights up. But besides that, you barely notice you have it on.
The biggest plus of the Zepp E is the battery life of between 5 to 7 days. I have the heart rate monitor on all the time and still can easily achieve 5 days of battery life. I charge the watch whilst working behind my laptop and from zero to full takes only 40 minutes.
The Zepp E Square has stunning looks but could do with a better strap. It has an easy to navigate menu system that is not complicated at all. The screen is colourful and bright and easy to see in bright daylight. The syncing with the mobile app is straight forward and the mobile app is great to give you monthly overviews of your activities. Some reviews on the Internet do say that for this money it should have a GPS built-in, however, a lack of it gives the Zepp E great battery life. Another minor point is the lack of 3rd party software and the lack of NFC for mobile payments. Overall a good first effort for this brand and I look forward to seeing how it evolves.