Today’s Big Deals
This Chinese New Year, Ximple wished for something that would help us with our CNY gains. Because we were good, we received the largest red packet (brown actually) that we have ever seen!
All jokes aside, the AmazFit AirRun used in this review was a loan set provided by the folks at Weareready.sg. Full disclosure: Ximple receives no compensation for this review. Ximple tries our utmost to remain fair and unbiased (as you will see, we do highlight both pros and cons), because we believe in empowering end users.
With that out of the way, check out our video to see us unboxing, setting-up and using the AmazFit AirRun. Having also used the treadmill for 2 weeks, we have also detailed a run-down of the product features and an overview of how it felt to use the treadmill.
To sum it up in one word- futuristic. The way a product looks might seem trivial, but it plays a huge role in how the product makes us feel. For something that is designed to be used in homes, the AirRun is sleek, minimalistic and looks to be straight out of a science fiction movie. As such, it would look good in homes with a modern, contemporary, zen or minimalistic decor. The AirRun’s silver grey and matt black are also easy colours to match. However, if the design does not match the aesthetics of your room, the AirRun stores easily and can be kept out of sight when not in use.
Speaking of storage, the AirRun has been advertised to be foldable in 5 seconds (we tested it, and this is true once we got used to it). With silicone rollers at the front built just above ground-level, the treadmill easily becomes portable with some tilting. This does require a little strength, but once you have engaged the rollers, the weight is well supported and feels light. You may then choose to stand the treadmill against the wall or slide it under a bed or sofa. However, with a folded height of 245 mm, you will need at least 25 cm of clearance under your furniture for the latter.
The rollers and moving parts of the treadmill came smooth and stayed so throughout the whole 2-week test period. However, when the AirRun has reached its maintenance mileage, prompts will appear on both display and through the paired app (Zepp), This clearly states the required form of maintenance. Tools can be found on the treadmill itself, tucked away at the two back corners of the treadmill (see picture).
With an extra wide running belt (500mm), the AirRun provides more running space than many other home options. This is supplemented by a sunken motor and a belt length of 1300mm. The belt is also anti-slip with a wear-resistant diamond-pattern that increases the safety of the runner.
In case you are worried about harsh footfalls that may disturb neighbours and hurt your knees, the AirRun also comes equipped with a wave rubber column of 8 shock absorbers.
Indeed, no treadmill is complete without its safety features. Unless the emergency cord is pulled (in which case, stoppage is immediate) the treadmill is designed to start and stop gradually, easing you in and out of a workout to minimise the risk of pulling a muscle.
We don’t know how many words music can speak, but the JBL built-in Bluetooth speakers certainly caught our attention. It features fast transient responses and ultra-low distortion for superior quality in music that helps energise your workout. These work even without Zepp, but using the app allows you to change the equaliser settings to suit your genre of music. The app comes with 10 preset settings but can be customised to suit your preferences.
There is also an attachable phone mount with an anti-slip pad for you to rest your phone on. This makes it easy to run while using Zepp to control your treadmill and music, watch videos, or engage in some virtual reality (VR). In case your phone battery takes a dive, you can even plug in your phone to the treadmill for charging while you run.
While the AirRun functions adequately as a treadmill on its own, when paired with Zepp, AmazFit’s fitness tracking app, the machine’s full potential as a smart device becomes unlocked. Able to pair with an entire ecosystem of smart wearable devices, Zepp can be used to track fitness, sleep and dietary statistics to help you plan your fitness journey according to your goals. Currently the list of devices that can be paired include the Amazfit PowerBuds, fitness bands and smartwatches (GTS, GTR, T-Rex, Verge Lite, Bip, etc.), the Mi Watch and Mi Band series, and others that are constantly being added.
Zepp contains training courses to guide runners of different levels in finding a suitable training program. There is a large variety of running trajectories that you can run on. You can even get maps of the corresponding real outdoor route track and share them on your socials.
If VR is your thing, the Zwift app can also pair with your AirRun to turn training into a fun game. For the uninitiated, Zwift is a massively multiplayer online cycling and running physical training program. It contains a multitude of programmes for casual workouts, weight loss training and training for professional athletes. Click here for instructions on how to setup Zwift.
All these sound fantastic on paper, but how does the AirRun actually feel to run on? Quite good, actually. Sure, virtual running might sound silly at first, but while the graphics look like something that came out of an old-school, race car game, the experience of running amongst actual people from all over the world was a lot more engaging than one might imagine. In this new normal where we might shudder at the thought of running in crowded spaces (at least until we get vaccinated), VR running provides a sense of community and sensory engagement that made us forget that we were running on a treadmill in our dreary office. Seeing an old man run past, gave me much needed motivation to take this workout seriously. Plus, it felt like there was an actual destination to run towards!
Of course, with a few kinks ironed out, this treadmill could be made even better. Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed from the video that the display panel gets shaky when running at higher speeds. Our guess is that the display is just too light. If you care about numbers, a lack of in-built heart rate monitors also means you have to have a fitness tracker or smart watch from within the Amazfit/ Xiaomi ecosystem.
That said, having discussed these issues with the folks at Leader Radio, it seems trade offs were made to enable easier folding and storage, while bringing down the cost for end users.
The manufacturers are also aware of the shaky display and may fix it in future iterations. In the meantime, we have found that shaking is reduced when running closer to the front. The stick pad for your phone also provides sufficient traction to prevent accidental falls. Trust me, we tried physically shaking the display harder than it normally would- my phone barely moved an inch.
Another minor gripe would be the responsiveness of the speed control buttons. We found that multi-presses tended not to register, which makes speed adjustments a little finicky (you could use the long press, but due to the lag time, it is difficult to accurately land on an exact speed). Having said that, many treadmills do share this issue. The AirRun does compensate for this by allowing speed controls through Zepp, with presets for more convenience.
In addition, the JBL speakers were a pleasure to listen to. Notably, even while running close to full speed, the speakers were loud and clear, delivering music well above the hum of the AirRun at full speed.
Speaking of machine noise, Ximple’s office has a wood laminate flooring, and we were initially concerned about disturbing the whole office. Surprisingly, the treadmill was fairly quiet to use, with all the impact heavily cushioned by the 8 shock absorbers. That made running really comfortable and easy on the joints. This was so even for the unfit, tech nerds amongst us.
Despite its minor flaws, the affordable price tag of the AmazFit AirRun has certainly made running at home easier and more fun. If you are an avid runner, or someone looking to keep fit from the safety and convenience of your home, this is certainly an easy recommendation.
If treadmills aren't your thing (why are you still here, but also thanks for reading this far, I guess), Weareready.sg also carries a range of other smart, sporting gadgets and equipment from various brands.
Full disclosure: the above is just for your information. Ximple does not endorse any products that we have yet to review.