Huami is one of the fastest growing wearable brands in the world. It has built its reputation by offering connected wearables that last for several days on a single charge. Most of its initial models, like the Verge, Stratos, Bip, show the company’s ability to build an affordable activity tracker. But the new GTR takes a different approach. The Amazfit GTR is the first wearable from the company that does not send the message of being cheap right away.
Last month, I reviewed the Amazfit Verge Lite and called it a cheap smartwatch that offers great battery life. Now, with Amazfit GTR, the company is trying to offer similar battery life but in a package that looks and feels premium. As we have seen, it is not easy to sell smartwatch and only Apple has managed reasonable success. Huami, on the other hand, believes it can transform itself from a budget smartwatch maker into a premium affordable smartwatch maker. So, has the company done enough justice to make that leap? Let’s find out in this review of Amazfit GTR.
Amazfit GTR design and display
If there is one reason and the only reason to consider the Amazfit GTR over other Amazfit models then it has to be its design. The company is getting rid of plastic and polycarbonate in favor of metal casing. It features a huge 47.2mm watch case and the circular face makes it look smaller than the actual dimensions. I found it perfectly decent in my average sized wrist but on my friends’ tiny wrist, it looked huge. So, I would advise checking dimensions before you order this smartwatch. With Verge Lite, Amazfit was selling a really basic design that was not inspiring. The GTR, on the other hand, seems inspired directly from the world of horology.
There is a subtle hint of design cues borrowed from the likes of Seiko and Fossil. The case is round, but also curved at the edges for a more perfect fit. When you wear the watch and buckle up the leather band, the feeling is as satisfying as wearing a Seiko Presage or Tissot T-Classic. These are elements that matter the most when designing a wrist watch, and Amazfit has done a really good job. Since it has a metal case, I thought it would be heavier than other wearables. However, the Amazfit GTR is comfortably light, and can be easily worn for several hours without any issue.
It seems to have achieved this lightweight industrial design by managing weight distribution. The circular case feels the same on all of its sides and does not hint at being heavy on one side or the other. Since the heart-rate sensor is enclosed in a plastic shell, it helps keep the weight under 50 grams without the strap. At the front, there is a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454×454 pixels, and pixel density of 326ppi. The display is extremely bright and auto-brightness is reliable. There was never an instance when I had to manually change the brightness. The numerals indicating time, weather or step count were easy to view, and the color reproduction is excellent.
It also includes an always-on display option, which Apple has added only this year with Apple Watch Series 5. On the right side of the display, there are two pushers similar to ones seen on mechanical watches. However, their functionality is somewhat limited. The top pusher, indicated with a red inner color, is used to close the screen or return to the dial or shut down the watch. The second pusher is used to enable quick access functions like starting workout. I had some issues getting this to work at first but it got resolved with a firmware update. The watch is 5 ATM water and dust resistant, and uses a 22mm strap. In a nutshell, this is the best designed smartwatch yet from Amazfit.
Is Amazfit GTR really smart?
The Amazfit GTR is aimed to take on analog watches from brands like Casio, Fossil, Armani Exchange, and others. However, it is unique by offering digital functions like fitness tracking, and the ability to beam your smartphone notifications. It does not run a full-fledged wearable OS like Wear OS or Tizen but the barebones interface does the job. For instance, it can show notifications for apps on your smartphone. While you cannot reply to these notifications, you can glance at them and decide whether to respond or hold for sometime. In many instances, I have looked at notifications on my wrist and haven’t bothered to take my phone out to respond. This adds some peace in my life.
When compared to Verge Lite, it also comes loaded with a number of watchfaces. You can easily set a new watch face everyday and not worry about repeating the same thing for a month. Since it has extra memory, it is able to store more watch faces and firmware updates tend to add new ones to the mix. Only downside being that you cannot add new custom watch faces without deleting one that comes preloaded on the device. Other smart functions include ability to change music playing on your smartphone and check weather updates. I will say that Amazfit GTR is not smart like Apple Watch, but instead is pseudo smart.
Fitness and Sleep tracking
One of the advantages of getting the Amazfit GTR is the ability to track your fitness activities. It lets you track workouts like outdoor running, walking, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, treadmill, open water swimming, pool swimming, elliptical trainer, climbing, trail running, skiing and other exercises. I was not able to test all of these workouts, but it did stand out when I went for a run or did outdoor cycling. The watch is able to tell your average pace, distance covered, heart rate during the run and stride length. If you are a professional then this information can be vital to your training.
For all the activities, it also calculates calories burned and classifies heart-rate into different zones. There are also charts depicting heart-rate during the activity and pace diagram when you go for a run. An option to send this data directly from the smartwatch to someone would have been useful, but it is missing at this moment. There is also a GPS that plots the map of your run for reference. For casual users, it is capable of recording your steps, calories burned and heart rate at predefined intervals of time.
Like the Verge Lite, it also tracks your sleep if you go to bed wearing the smartwatch. It does track your sleep using the onboard sensors and your movement. The app breaks down this sleep data into light sleep and deep sleep. It does not offer REM sleep, which researchers believe is hard to track with current sensors. There is an associated sleep score and offers sleep analysis as well.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Amazfit GTR is compatible with iPhone running iOS 10 or higher and Android 5.0 or higher and connects using Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy. You will need to download Amazfit app to change the watch face or check additional data like your sleep or workout. I have been using Amazfit GTR for the last 15 days, and I still have 64 percent battery left. I must say this battery life is without having always-on display enabled and setting automatic heart measurement to once every thirty minutes.
Even if you enable always-on display and measure heart rate more frequently and use additional workout tracking, it should last for at least 24 days. The 47.2mm model comes packed with a large 410mAh battery and the lightweight operating system ensures longer battery life. The smartwatch charges via magnetic charging base and uses two pogo pins.
Verdict: Should you buy the Amazfit GTR Lite?
Before buying a smartwatch, the first question you need to ask yourselves is what you are going to do with it. If your primary use will be to see time and track steps then you need to look not much further than affordable fitness trackers like Mi Band or Honor Band. However, if you want that design of a real watch with circular dial then you should start looking at Amazfit’s offerings. If you want an entry-level offering then Verge Lite would be a great option.
But if you want a premium looking watch that does not compromise on features like always-on display then Amazfit GTR is a great option. At Rs 10,999, it is definitely not expensive. It not only does great job at displaying time, but also tracks most fitness activities without breaking a sweat. Its battery life remains unmatched in the industry and if you can live with the option of only able to view notifications and not interact then this should be your next smartwatch.