The most common question I get while walking around the CES show floor each year is: What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen here?
Every…single…person asks me that. Every hour, every day, every year.
And generally speaking this year it was a wishy-washy answer. There just wasn’t anything super cool, sports tech space or otherwise. Maybe I’m getting old, or jaded, or what-not. But, it was all mostly shrug.
Until I randomly stumbled on the Amazfit booth while doing some final errands in the last hour of my time at the show. As I first approached, they had suckered a pile of people into doing a push-up contest of sorts. As I rounded the booth I could see the newly announced earbuds, and some of their watches. I poked at them for a few minutes.
And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw their super lightweight looking treadmill on the far side of the booth. Well, that’s unexpected. I tried asking some basic questions, but it wasn’t the right person apparently. Not unusual for CES actually.
(I’d later find out the Amazfit Air unit tops out at 9MPH and has just shy of the space length/width specs of the higher end unit. Also, it folds down onto itself in under 5 seconds apparently.)
I was then directed over the wall to another woman, who to my surprise, was on a totally different treadmill, with a gigantic cell-phone looking contraption in front of her. It looked like something from the future. Finally, not just another 8K TV at CES.
Turns out she was incredibly knowledgeable, likely because it’d also turn out that aside from being an online instructor for the platform I’ll explain shortly, she’s also the Chief Content Officer for the company.
So, let’s get to it. This whole setup is called the Amazfit Home Studio. It includes the treadmill, the gigantic wall display you see, as well as some weights and such used within workouts. Like Peloton, it requires a subscription, which slightly undercuts Peloton’s costs – coming in at a monthly fee of $35. As for the price of everything – well, Amazfit isn’t saying yet, but they are committing it’ll be “under the Peloton Tread” price, which is $4,500. That’s notable, considering the Peloton Tread includes effectively a miniature display that pales in comparison to this setup.
First up is the treadmill, with its 55 individual rubber-coated aluminum slats. I gave it a short run, bringing it up to 10MPH (in running shoes and jeans).
It felt just good. My feet were tired, as I had already walked 30,000 steps at this point in the day. But it felt good for my super short bout on it (I reserve the right to change my mind later when running on it for realz). The belt is 53” long (135cm) and 20” wide (51cm).
The two bars on the treadmill have both incline and speed dials, not terribly unlike that of the Peloton Tread. It’s very clearly *not* a rip-off. Sure, Amazfit can and does ‘borrow inspiration’ within their products here and there, but this largely isn’t one of those times. Next to the right dial is a nifty phone stand. This is how you control the main display via an app on your phone. It’s honestly a brilliant place to put it. When I think about running on a treadmill, the forward reach into a center display console to grab/interact with a phone is always kinda awkward as you try not to go too far forward and have your feet clip the front plate. This solves that (minus the fact there is no front plate).
The treadmill can reach speeds of 20KPH (12.4MPH) and an incline of 7° (in 10 different steps). The side bars also support 200 pounds (it says 100kg too in the literature, but those don’t match up, as it’d be 220lbs for 100kg). The idea there being to do bilateral type exercises. Also, it supports reading your HR from Amazfit wearables (and presumably HR straps too).
Of course, the real looker in this equation is the display. It tilts against the wall like a fancy mirror, and embedded inside it you’ll find a 43” display and two JBL speakers. There’s also a third JBL speaker in the treadmill itself. Apparently Amazfit believes there’s a market for replicating indoor concerts mid-run.
But at the very top is that slightly ominous looking camera. That’s actually a 3D Time of Flight (ToF) camera system, which can do motion recognition of your body during exercises, offering ways to do those specific movements correctly (theoretically reducing injury chances). Also, at some point down the road the company says it’ll do gesture recognition – presumably to recognize the ‘flailing arms’ gesture as you fly off the back of the treadmill.
Now, like Peloton the whole point of this thing is to get you paying their $35/month subscription fee (Peloton’s is $40/month). That gets you access to the Amazfit Studio, which isn’t actually a new app or platform. Nope, Amazfit is leaning on a company called ‘Studio’, which has been around for a couple of years already and has “Tens of thousands” of paying users already according to the company. And true enough you can download them up on the App Store and use their app today for $14/month or $99/year – no treadmill required.
The workouts range from running/walking centered to ones that are more sculpt focused, as well as involving both weighted and unweighted workouts (since it comes with the weights). All of this is at a high level fairly similar to Peloton, both in pricing as well as features.
Which, makes this entire setup super appealing for folks that were in that market already. With the Peloton Tread being $4,500 and this being cheaper but also including the huge display/speakers, it’ll definitely give folks pause. Of course, Peloton has incredible market recognition already.
Now here’s the thing: Amazfit actually has a reputation for doing uniquely sport-focused stuff in their products that other newcomers might dismiss. For example, they’ve got piles of FirstBeat metrics in their watches, as well as ANT+ support too. I’d love to see Amazfit stick ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart broadcasting of the treadmill pace/speed into it so one could connect it to Zwift or other apps. Heck, if they want to get super crazy, they could simply put in ANT+ FE-C, and allow Zwift to control the incline too. Now that’d be AmazBalls. Even more AmazBalls if I could actually run Zwift on the screen.
Anyway, I’ll leave that for those two companies to sort out. As I’ve said, Amazfit’s shown some history in thinking outside the box product-wise, so it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility.
As for the shipping of the entire kit, the company is saying to expect it by summer, which seems reasonable. It’s also notable that Bloomberg recently reported Peloton is looking to launch a lower-cost treadmill this year, but it would seem the Amazfit Air would be the answer to that (no pricing their either unfortunately).
In any case – looking forward to seeing how this space heats up. With that – thanks for reading!
[P.S. – In case you haven’t been following my epic story on Instagram Stories this week, I bought a Peloton bike via Craigslist in Vegas while there for CES and have been been working to dismantle it and take it back home on the airplane. I’ve documented the highs and lows of this entirely horrible idea in hilariously detailed step by step photos. And if you tap my profile you’ll see the ‘Flying Peloton’ archive of all 70 parts thus far. Enjoy!]
Thanks for this, Ray. Sounds awesome. Any thoughts on Amazfits other releases this week like their new T-Rex watch?
Yeah, I looked at them a bit, and will probably circle back to them soon.
It essentially in person felt similiar to Garmin’s ‘borrowing inspiration from Casio’ look for Instinct. Obviously, that makes sense, Instinct has been crazy popular.
Note: you have a spelling error, “As I’ve said, Amazefit’s shown some history” on their name.
More importantly, what I would really love to see is a that treadmill, without the display and with Zwift integration. A performance treadmill with just the basics and not all of the extra stuff built in. Then again, I’m sure I’m an exception to where the money market is.
Yeah, I agree. I think the Technogym Run treadmill was sorta that goal, but pricing was just unreal for what it was. I feel like if the Air treadmill had better internal specs (9MPH isn’t fast enough for many hardcore runners for intervals), it might have hit that market.
The greater challenge with treadmills (including this), is simply logistics to the size and installation/delivery expectations. It’s really really really hard.
I have the MYRUN from Technogym (I think that is what you mean) and it suits my needs as a fairly serious runner who also does a lot on Zwift Run. The treadmill has been around for a while though (2015 I think) and it is was only a firmware update that allowed the speed and cadence to be broadcast over BLE like a virtual foot pod to Zwift so the speed in both matches exactly. At a bit over £3000 agree not cheap but then again I would probably would be paying that over 2 years to attend a gym to use their treadmills that are what typically £10K if you wanted one and don’t connect to Zwift! Since the MYRUN started doing this there is now an increasing number of “smart” treadmills that can also connect to Zwift – the list is here link to support.zwift.com and you can now also add fairly affordable models from Sole like the F80. I believe some of the Kettler ones are around the 1000 USD/GBP/EUR price point and then that starts to be no different to a decent bike trainer and you don’t also need a bike, just you and some trainers.
Yeah, the MYRUN, that’s what I meant.
I didn’t realize the Kettler ones are that low.
On the MYRUN though, I feel like if it it was sub-$2K it’d do incredibly well. It just looks amazing (like, design-wise).I’d happily get that. But many, the pricing is tough otherwise.
I’ll have to poke at some of the lower priced Kettler ones. Though honestly, I don’t really need another treadmill. I barely use the one I already have. But always good to know.
I do think there’s an opportunity for someone to come into the market and say ‘You know what, we ‘trust’ Zwift, with respect to controlling both speed and incline’ – and have a truly integrated treadmill experience.
Ya, the MYRUN looks similar to what I’d envision, but way too expensive. Really what I want is the treadmill to be “dumber” and just let the external connections (i.e. Zwift) handle that part. I don’t want a giant console in front of me, or to pay for all of the programs or a big screen, etc.
For example, I currently have a Nordictrack Commercial 1750, and the hardware itself is fine. But it has iFit support, which sucks, and a fancy screen, etc, all of which are pretty much useless to me. I’d rather just pay less and not have iFit support, the screen, and not have the console in front of me.
You can use a raspberry pi hack on the ifit to push data to zwift et al, think there is also 2 way provision.
Where do you find information on this hack?
I can still see the appeal of an inexpensive folding treadmill that would let me bang out some mileage when it’s 35 degrees and pouring or when I want to watch a soccer game, even if it’s not fast enough for workouts. I moved from a house to a smaller condo and had to give up my big commercial treadmill, but this looks like it would fit under a bed. And 9mph is actually really good for a treadmill with that form factor (most of those little ones max out around 7.5mph). If it’s actually sturdy enough to handle regular use at 9mph and not just rattle apart, then it’s a super impressive product.
According the Amazfit’s website, the AirRun has a 1.25HP motor, which is absolutely tiny. Most underbed-sized folding treadmills on Amazon have 2.25HP motors, and they only cost about $300-$400.
Very interesting – why link to en.amazfit.com even suggests you can connect an external HR. Ah – well as long as it is provided by Amazﬁt. So maybe little chance of Zwift connectivity anytime soon then. Therein lies my issue (and indeed puzzlement) with this and Peloton’s offering. Both seem to need very heavy upfront and ongoing expenditure but then you can only really do that company’s classes but otherwise maybe your big iPhone turns into a “useful” mirror or the Peleton one a handy place for your towel? Wasn’t this closed approach of bike trainers say 5 and more years ago that Zwift split apart and largely was curtains for anybody that did not adopt more open standards. Treadmills seem to be going down the road the bike industry rejected. Are these a thing? Not seen the Peloton Tread available outside US yet and maybe I move in the wrong circles but don’t know anybody with a Peloton bike in the UK despite the oh so cringey adverts.
Yeah, I think/suspect the wording on the external HR is probably just a translation issue. There’s a few other quirks here and there in the brochure. My guess is easily BLE HR straps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if ANT+ ones are there too. I’ll hit up their press e-mail address and find out.
I agree with you on the running bit – and I suspect that’s actually the driver for Peloton planning to come out with a lower priced offering. The people that want to spend $4,500 on a treadmill tend to be more serious runners, and that price point might not overlap as well with the bulk of them.
It’s sorta like the whole running efficiency product problem. Many (but not all) of these companies are targetting less advanced runners with their products, but then charge $200-300 for them. A price that non-serious runners balk at.
As for Peloton bike in UK, yeah, they only started a year or so ago I think, and Germany sometime last year. One of the challenges I already knew going into it though is that Peloton’s live classes simply suck timing-wise for European’s (and honestly, even US West Coast folks). It’s mind-boggling to me, because they’ve got like 20 instructors, and a studio in the UK too. With that many instructors they should just about be able to pull off near hourly classes if they wanted too. Nobody is asking for that. But I think it’s fair to ask to cover the major morning/evening sweeps for Europe/US.
After all – if you go to a local gym, the instructor is there for numerous sessions per day. I don’t get it.
Ah I see Peloton do indeed have a London studio link to studio.onepeloton.com but, as you say, somewhat lacking in classes and the ones they do have are at very odd times! If and when they do running might be tempted to go along for the “experience”.
When you stake out the inter-web territory you have have you absolutely shouldn’t be surprised that the most common question you get while walking around the CES show floor each year is: What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen here – Every…single…person (like me) who can’t be there wants to know and you are a definitive source.
It’s a compliment!
Your lack of posts this year seems to say it all – the silence has been deafening!
Keep up the good work.
As for content, yeah, I expect more over the next day or so once I land back in Europe. I’ve come to learn that aside from major breaking releases (like the Suunto 7 this year), I’d rather do all the ‘gathering’ while at CES, and then come back and write it all up. Otherwise it’s just too exhausting for a one-man band.
Hey Ray, the amazfit gps watches have massive market share (mainly in China). Any chance of doing a review on a few? They are really quite modestly priced compared to garmin and seem to do a good job.
Yeah, I picked up one a year or so ago, but never ended up doing anything with it.
But I think there will be a lull for at least a few months on my wrists, so I might indeed get one. It does sound like in the US markets it’s starting to gain some real (non-influencer driven) traction.
Considering that you’ve mentioned these watches having FirstBeat metrics it would be really curious to read your review and see how they compare against Apple Watch or lifestyle Garmin watches (e.g. Vivoactive)
P.S. Ray, is there a chance to see small improvements to the commenting system, specifically in the sense of subscribing not to all comments but only to comments of the tread that you’re commenting on?
did you notice if there is a way to move the cell phone holder to the left bar for us lefties?
Thinks there’s a reverse button, just turn around 🙂
+1 for putting Zwift on that screen.
Would also like to see a review of an Amazfit product on DCR. Perhaps the Bip S.
Also did you come across the Hisense phone with a color e-ink display? If the display half works on an Android phone, it could be the solution for WearOS battery problems.
They state its max incline in degrees instead in the usual percent? What is 7 degrees in percent?
I believe if done properly it’s tan(degrees) x 100 = percent, so:
tan(7) x 100 = 12.3%
But some people just seem to work on the fact that if 45 degrees = 100%, 22.5 degrees is 50% and so on, which equates 7 degrees to 15.6%
If anyone from Amazfit is out there listening, let me +1 Ray’s final paragraph. I really, really, really don’t care about your crop top and abs-led studio classes. And your monthly subscription to watch them lead the class is also a non-starter. But a TOF camera that can make coherent form adjustment recommendations to avoid injury is really exciting. Give me ANT+FEC and let me load this up on Zwift. I will throw money at a treadmill that does what my ANT+FEC smart trainer does for cycling.
Lol, all I could think of when reading your Zwift comment is that they should come out with the Amazfit AmazBalls. I don’t even care what it is or what it does, but that definitely needs to exist!
It’s almost as if MIRROR ($1500 + $40/mo) married a treadmill.
What I don’t understand is why manufacturers who make treadmills with Bluetooth don’t allow them to broadcast the speed info to third party apps like Zwift. I mean, the cost is NEGLIGIBLE. And make the dam things so you can mount a tablet (which some do). I totally agree that the way forward is for the manufacturers to offload the smarts to third parties (aside from the “i’ve Fallen off” emergency cord) – nobody wants the consoles they sell with all of their “amazing” features and the CPU motherboard fan. The Technogym MyRun is exactly in that space but it is stupidly expensive. And Technogym’s mega expensive SkillRun won’t connect to anything. I mean it has a NY Marathon simulation on board but it is USELESS. 1980s graphics and buggy.
For those of us that do run on treadmills we want a more engaging experience to distract from the tedium!
since we’re talking about amazfit here – is there any chance that some day you could review Amazfit Stratos 3 multisport watch?
link to en.amazfit.com
I have been following the brand for some time and the watches seemed so-so based on few reviews (more like unboxings by “influencers” that review stuff from beard trimmers to washing machines) and the uptil-now flat-tyre screen also made me reluctant.
This time the watch looks better. Amazfit claims good battery figures. We know it is easy to “claim” but since you were fond of what Coros did with their battery maybe the real life tests may get close to those claims.
The watch supports triathlon mode, it has NFC with works in China only probably, but the watch’s OS is heavily skinned android so maybe someone will find a way to sideload some google services to enable the NFC for Google Pay…
The watch supports music too (not my interest though)…
The watch is easily found for purchase at $185 up to E199 (at supposedly official amazfit store for EU link to amazfit.shop [(for some reason when browsed on mobile it shows specs for the previous model]) so if it works close to what people at Amazfit claim it would be a bargain (unlike Coros wich went absurd with their prices).
One other thing to note is that I found that you could sync Amazfit app and your activities with not only Strava but also with one of (still to me) niche platforms like Rouvy or RGT Cycling (don’t remeber which one – but one of them if I remember right) which proves that Amazfit is working on better integration with 3rd party platforms that some other around $200 watches.
Yeah, I’d like to put it on my radar now that CES is out and hopefully nothing new coming near term (so I don’t end up writing about something that gets replaced two days later). Plus, it’s probably going to be quiet for a while.
That’s super. Thanks.
Many thanks in advance from still another user who’s interested in your view of the Stratos 3. The BIP doesn’t cut it (no navigantion) and the old Pace is down to 48 hours of battery instead of 7 days of usage.
I admit i have trouble understanding why this product is so great. I see a “walled garden” (closed environment) and an expensive, mandatory subscription. could somebody please explain why this is super cool? I admit i am not an expert for treadmills.
All treadmills are walled gardens for the most part. This garden just has a prettier screen.
I think the point here is that this setup is equal or less than Peloton’s Tread (which yes, is also expensive), but, has way more tech to it that could be leveraged.
I think the more interesting secondary piece though is that Amazfit has shown some interest in adopting open standards moreso than other companies. I actually think they could be talked into making this a more interesting treadmill beyond just the monthly subscription they want to push. Which in turn could make it more interesting for other athletes.
I realize it’s premium priced, but I’d love to see the Tacx Magnum come to the USA now that Garmin owns it.
okay, understood. So i assume you could be the one who talk them into opening up? 😉
It seems the treadmill industry is really lagging behind while indoor trainers are nowadays pretty much “open”.
One thing which sort of bugs me about this treadmill design is that there is no bar at front. Not handy/secure in my opinion. I guess one of the reasons to remove it was that it will obscure that big monitor.
I think the side bars are actually more important from a safety perspective. While running, you are far enough behind the front bar that it’s hard to grab for stability, plus it’s an awkward angle.
That’s super. Thanks.
The pounds to kilograms issue is related to how they use “pounds” in China. In China a pound is 0.5kg. Most people are utterly confused when I mention that it’s slightly incorrect.