Amazfit GTR 2 Smartwatch Review: The Irresistible Package
Amazfit is a fairly popular wearables brand backed by Huami, a company that manufactures the uber-popular Mi Band fitness trackers and is partially owned by Xiaomi and its co-founder Lei Jun. Despite this association with a major brand such as Xiaomi, Huami and the Amazfit brand have operated autonomously since forever and has launched some of the finest value-for-money fitness products. This year, Huami announced the Amazfit GTR 2 and the GTS 2 globally back in October. These premium looking smartwatches are a notch above the Amazfit GTR and the Amazfit GTS in terms of design and address major pain points on the last years’ generations. The successors also come with Alexa integration, onboard storage, SpO2 monitoring, and so much more.
The Amazfit GTR 2 and the GTS 2 were launched in India earlier this month, and the company sent us the Amazfit GTR 2 for review. This review talks about the improvements to the existing features carried over from the first generation and the new features that make Amazfit GTR 2 a smarter watch. These conclusions are made after almost two weeks of usage.
Amazfit GTR 2 Specifications
Amazfit GTR 2 Specifications: Tap/click to expand
|Specs||Amazfit GTR 2|
|Size and weight|
|Materials||Sports Edition: Aluminum alloy case, polycarbonate back|
Classic Edition: Steel case, polycarbonate back
|Wrist band||Sports Edition: Silicone straps|
Classic Edition: Silicone-reinforced leather
|Network||2.4GHz WLAN for file transfer|
|Display||1.39-inch AMOLED (454 x 454 px)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth v5 BLE|
|GPS||GPS + GLONASS|
|IP rating||No official IP rating; water resistance up to 50m in freshwater|
The Amazfit GTR 2 carries a lot of genetic traits from the first-gen GTR. The circular design, which in many ways was iconic to the Amazfit GTR, is retained on the GTR 2. The two crown buttons — one of which has a red accent — are placed on the right side of the dial, exactly like the previous generation model. However, the button’s functionality on the top has been changed, and instead of acting like a Home button, it now opens the menu; we will discuss it in detail in the later parts of the review dedicated to user experience.
Unlike the first-gen Amazfit GTR, which used ceramic, the bezel on the GTR 2 is made of glass and blends with the display’s cover glass. Instead of a sharp design, the bezels are curved at the periphery. Even though the display size is the same as the last time, the bezel integrated within the display makes the dial look much bigger, especially when using a watch face with a dominantly dark background. The curved glass design is strikingly similar to another smartwatch from Huami’s camp — the Zepp E Circle — also launched recently. The design also appears similar to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Active 2 but lacks support for touch gestures on the bezels. A thin strip where the display meets the aluminum body is transparent and gives an illusion that the glass is floating.
The body of this watch’s variant is made of an aluminum alloy with a brushed metal finish. There is another variant that comes with stainless steel but costs ₹1,000 extra in India. The bottom panel on both of the variants is made of polycarbonate. Amazfit helps buyers distinguish between the model more easily by calling the aluminum alloy one, “Sports Edition,” and the stainless steel variant, “Classic Edition.” As these names imply, the former is more suited for sports because the Sports Edition weighs only ~31 grams (without strap). The Classic Edition isn’t significantly heavier either and weighs only 8g more. Other than its weight advantage, the aluminum alloy variant isn’t likely to hide scratches better than the shinier stainless steel model.
In the longer run, I prefer using fitness bands over smartwatches because they are unintrusive and do not weigh my wrist down, and that is especially convenient while working out and sleeping. Thanks to its lightweight, the same also applies to the Amazfit GTR 2, which is gentle and low-key and does not make you want to take it off as soon as you wish to retire for the day.
The Amazfit GTR 2 does not come with an IP rating, but you do get water resistance till up to 5ATM or 50 meters (~164 feet) in freshwater. This means you can go swimming in a freshwater pool or keep wearing the watch in a shower without worrying about sabotaging it. However, it is not recommended to wear the watch while swimming in the sea or any other saltwater body.
The Sports Edition comes with a silicone strap, while the Classic Edition features a silicone-reinforced leather strap just like the last year’s model — although in black color instead of tan. The buckles on the straps are also made of the same metal as the dials on both variants. While this move may not be as acceptable to all the users, Amazfit GTR 2 uses standard 22mm straps, and you can use an aftermarket strap of your choice. Notably, fibers from your clothes or sweat marks can get deposited on the silicone strap much more easily than the leather.
One more thing to note is that unlike the first-gen Amazfit GTR, which was available in 42mm and 47mm models, the Amazfit GTR 2 is only available in a single size — 46mm.
On the bottom, the Amazfit GTR 2 features a speaker and microphone at the bottom. These are new additions to the Amazfit lineup and allow users to take calls from the watch when paired with smartphones. The speaker can also be used to listen to music stored on the smartwatch while the microphone can be used for voice commands that are apparently powered by Alexa.
Overall, the Amazfit GTR 2 feels very congenial, considering its simple yet elegant design. The usability is further enhanced because of its lightweight build.
The usable part of the Amazfit GTR 2’s dial comprises a 1.39-inch AMOLED display, just like the previous generation. Not only does the display measure the same, but it also has the same resolution of 454 x 454 pixels, leading to a pixel density of 326ppi. This is one of the most pixel-dense displays on a smartwatch, and that is both — impressive and surprising — considering the Amazfit GTR 2’s price. The display is considerably bright and appears equally good indoors and outdoors, thanks to the inbuilt ambient light sensor that controls automatic brightness. Being an AMOLED display, the deep blacks allow the black bezels to blend into the display easily.
The display comes with a fingerprint-resistant coating on top of the glass. Instead of opting for a relatively popular resistance feature such as Gorilla Glass, the top glass on the Amazfit GTR 2 is protected under an oDLC (optical Diamond-Like Carbon) coating. As the name suggests, this technique employs a diamond-like carbon film deposited on the glass with intricate techniques like Magnetron sputtering and it improves the glass’s hardness and resistance to scratches.
The display has punchy and saturated colors, including deep blacks thanks to the AMOLED panel. The Amazfit GTR 2’s display is easily readable outdoor as well as under strong light. Additionally, the smartwatch comes with an ambient light sensor that allows the display brightness to be adjusted according to the external light. Like many other popular smartwatches, the display can be locked by covering it with your palm. The display can also be turned on by flicking the wrist, tapping on it, or pressing the Menu button with a red accent.
The AMOLED display also supports AOD (Always-On Display) if you want the watch to display fundamental information such as the time, steps, date & time, etc., throughout the day. For this, you can either choose between preset digital or analog AOD designs, which have been available since the Amazfit GTR from last year, or custom AOD screens that are set based on the watch face.
The AMOLED display on the Amazfit GTR 2 is as appetizing as it can get in quality and usability. The anti-fingerprint coating feels more than just a marketing gimmick, and you will not feel the need to wipe the display very frequently. Meanwhile, the touch response of the display feels great and better than the first-gen Amazfit GTR. Lastly, the curved bezels allow more room for the finger to move around while interacting with the display even though its size hasn’t changed from the previous generation.
Huami does not declare any details about the internal hardware of the Amazfit GTR 2, including its CPU or RAM. It does, however, reveal that the smartwatch comes with 3GB of internal storage, exclusively for storing onboard music. This means the actual total storage is larger than 3GB, but Amazfit does not mention that. The Amazfit GTR 2 supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi for transferring music files from your phone to the smartwatch, while Bluetooth is used for smaller file transfers, such as in the case of system updates and watchfaces. Unlike the Amazfit Stratos and the Verge, the GTR 2 does not connect to a PC as USB mass storage.
For fitness tracking, the Amazfit GTR 2 comes with a second-generation of Huami’s self-developed “BioTracker 2” PPG (photoplethysmography) sensor. This sensor is used to measure the heart rate and the oxygen saturation level in the blood (commonly known as SpO2). In addition to the PPG sensor and the above-mentioned ambient sensor, the watch also comes with an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a 3-axis geomagnetic sensor, and a barometric sensor. The watch also comes with inbuilt GPS and GLONASS support so that you can track your fitness trails without having to carry a smartphone with you all the time.
The Amazfit GTR 2 user interface gets a range of cosmetic upgrades over the first-gen GTR and the GTS. Firstly, the new smartwatch gets a range of new, sharper, and vibrant icons.
Apart from the icons, the Amazfit GTR 2 gets new tiles similar to Android’s Wear OS and allows users to quickly access vital information from different menu items by swiping left or right on the home screen. These tiles include PAI, activity goal status, heart rate details, weather, onboard music controls. You can also add up to five widgets called “Shortcut cards” for quick actions such as alarm, heart rate, weather, SpO2, PAI, and activity goal monitoring on one of the tiles. You can access the menu by pressing the top crown button, whereas the button on the bottom is preassigned to launch the Activities index, wherein you can choose which activities you want to track. The Menu button also acts as a Home button where you are on any other screen.
You can scroll up to open notifications from the home screen and select the apps that can send you notifications from the Amazfit (now called Zepp) companion app. Each of these notifications appears as cards themselves, and you can expand each of them from the list by tapping on them. You cannot clear notifications on the watch, and they will remain in the Notifications pane until you clear them from the smartphone. Further, you cannot reply to the notifications directly from the smartwatch.
Additionally, you can scroll down on display to launch the home screen to launch the quick action toggles for:
- Display brightness,
- Do Not Disturb options,
- Flashlight mode, in which the screen lights up at full brightness with a white background to emulate a flashlight
- Screen lock,
- Volume controls,
- Battery saver mode,
- Find phone,
- Awake mode — which keeps the display on for 20 minutes after being activated, and
- Theatre mode — which keeps the display brightness at the minimum and silences notifications
Other than the new and improved user interface, the Amazfit GTR 2 also receives a few features that weren’t available in the previous model. These include the new Stress management feature that detects any unusual cardiac activity without any movement.
Your stress levels are indicated by numeric values between 0 and 100 with values 0-39 for relaxed, 40-59 for normal, 60-79 for medium, and 80-100 for high stress. The feature description on the app also notes that some amount of stress or nervousness is actually healthy for your performance and mental stimulation, and thus, they have used the word “normal” here. Medium stress might be a reason to worry, and high stress can indicate a risk of high blood pressure or any cardiac diseases. However, unlike the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, the stress feature is not followed by a guided breathing exercise feature on the Amazfit GTR 2.
Onboard music, as I mentioned above, is another vital feature that the Amazfit GTR 2 supports. The smartwatch comes with 3GB storage dedicatedly for music. With the music you store on the watch, you can add tracks to your favorites or create playlists. The music can be played via inbuilt speakers or any other audio device connected to the watch directly using Bluetooth. For this, you don’t even need to rely on your smartphone and can conveniently leave it behind when you hit the road to fitness. Although Huami does not specify the Bluetooth audio codecs supported by the Amazfit GTR 2, the audio quality suggests that it only supports SBC connections and not AAC, which might be disappointing for audiophiles. So, if users prefer to carry their smartphones for music — or any other reason, they can also use the smartwatch to control music playback on the connected smartphone.
The speakers on the Amazfit GTR can also be used for receiving calls. You can enable the Zepp app option and then connect the smartwatch as a Bluetooth audio accessory. The feature does allow you to pick up calls directly from the smartwatch without reaching out for the phone, but you must ensure that the phone is not too far. In my usage, I received calls when the distance between the phone and the smartwatch was less than 2m (~6.5ft), and in case the distance increased, there was a great chance of dropping the call. Keep in mind that you cannot dial numbers or call contacts from the smartwatch itself.
Lastly, in addition to listening to music and calling, the Amazfit GTR 2 also supports voice commands. Huami says Alexa powers these voice commands, but instead of saying “Alexa” to initiate voice commands, you can twist your wrist once and then say commands like “Open Weather,” “What is my heart rate?” or “start tracking my workout,” etc. While the feature sounds really cool and useful in theory, it may not perform exactly how it is marketed. During my usage, voice commands are only understood by the watch when you are in a quiet environment, and this means that it will rarely work when you are outside or inside a noisy gym. Furthermore, while the feature is designed to facilitate commands starting with “Open…,” you will need to close the app manually and return to the home screen using the Menu/Home button for the watch to acknowledge your next command.
There is one notable issue that I have faced with the smartwatch, and that is its inability to automatically synchronize weather with an accurate location even though it tracks my outdoor activity without any issues. So, I have to enter my location manually in the Zep app, and it has a fairly short brief of cities. I am not sure if this is a general issue with the Amazfit GTR 2 or specific to my unit, but it is worth pointing out.
Even with its vices admitted, the user experience of the Amzafit GTR 2 is very convenient and better than the older GTR and most other devices in this price segment. Apart from the improved user experience and the new features, the Amazfit GTR 2 also gets better fitness tracking features discussed in the following section.
Zepp (formerly Amazfit) Companion app
The Amazfit app, just like the user interface on the Amazfit GTR 2, has also been overhauled and is now called Zepp. This likely appears to make the brand easy to pronounce and remember in the Western world. Huami also launched the Zepp E Circle smartwatch for the US earlier this year. The changes in the app are primarily new colors and icons, but the information presented is present pretty much the same as earlier. On the Homepage, the Zepp app offers you an overview of your fitness-related data such as daily step count, sleep, calories burnt, heart rate, PAI, and details about physical activity. If you have another smart tool from Huami or Xiaomi — like the Xiaomi digital weighing scale, the overview page will also show you your weight, body composition, BMI, etc. You can view comprehensive details related to physical activities or sleep by tapping on the relevant item from the Homescreen.
Next, you can head over to the Enjoy page, where you will find options such as Alarm Clock, Reminders, voice command tutorial, watchfaces, target setting, call settings, etc.
Then, on the Profile page, you find your active devices, and you can enter into the settings menu for a particular device. On this page, you see various options to change the watchfaces, the order of apps or Shortcut cards, etc. You can also search for system updates, select settings for notifications by choosing which apps show notifications on the smartwatch and when alongside other alerts.
Overall, the Zepp app looks improved over the Amazfit app, and the visual facelift is among the primary reasons. There are a few redundant options, but I actually appreciate that Huami provides multiple options for the same setting so that users can easily spot different options from a set of features.
The Amazfit GTR 2 supports comprehensive activity tracking for 12 categories: running and trail running, treadmill, walking, pool and open water swimming, trekking, elliptical trainer, indoor or outdoor cycling, and free training or skiing. However, it is not limited to those activities and can also be used to track a wide variety of other activities. A few of the most exciting (and/or intriguing) ones, in my opinion, include race-walking, BMX cycling, fishing, parkour, calisthenics, pilates, yoga, a wide range of dance forms, Tai Chi, Taekwondo, hula-hooping, sledding, etc. There are a whole lot of other activities tucked away in the “Others” category. It is reasonable to believe that the Amazfit GTR 2 only measures the primary metrics (such as heart rate and foot movement) for these activities and may not be as accurate as a more premium smartwatch, which also uses data from other sensors.
The smartwatch is capable of measuring continuous heart rate. While the Zepp app only allows you to set the minimum interval to 1 minute, the watch takes much less time to measure the heart rate and detect heart rate changes almost every 15-20 seconds. This data can be read and presented by any third-party companion app like Notify & Fitness for Amazfit.
The Amazfit GTR 2, just like other Amazfit devices, also supports Personal Activity Intelligence or PAI — a trademarked health metric that combines data from all the different sensors and gives you a score based on your daily activity. The score is calculated for each individual differently based on their age, resting heart rate, gender, etc., and is therefore personalized for each user.
PAI is represented by a numeric value calculated based on all your physical activities in the last seven days. As you push each day, you gain some points and add to this value. Huami recommends that a user must maintain a PAI value of 100 or above for a healthy lifestyle. Since PAI is based on the activity in the last seven days, the number may also decrease if you withdraw from physical activities (as it did with me over the course of holidays).
While PAI is a useful measure of growth and is calculated uniquely for each user, Huami’s Zepp app also suggests ways users can improve this value.
Besides detailed fitness tracking, the Amazfit GTR 2 can track sleep fairly well. As an advantage over the older models, the Amazfit GTR 2 also tracks REM sleep alongside the portions of light and deep sleep at night. Other than monitoring your sleep quality, the smartwatch can measure your heart rate throughout the night. If you prefer taking day naps, the Amazfit GTR 2 can track naps taken between 11 AM and 6 PM during the day. During this period, however, it only records light and deep sleep and not REM sleep. The Zepp app gives you suggestions to improve your sleep quality by comparing your sleeping and waking times and your light, deep, or REM sleep values with ideal values and gives you a score up to 100, with 100 representing the ideal sleep.
In addition to tracking the periods of different sleep patterns, the Zepp app takes note of the number of times you wake up or turn over to the other side while sleeping. Another feature uses the blood oxygen concentration, aka SpO2 value, to monitor the quality of breathing at night. This feature is currently in beta but may give you suggestions on how to sleep more comfortably at night.
The Amazfit GTR 2 comes with a dedicated sensor to measure the concentration of oxygen in hemoglobin — a value that is commonly denoted as SpO2 and is measured in percentage. An SpO2 value between 95% and 100% is considered ideal for anyone with healthy lungs, and anything below 95% can be concerning. Patients suffering from chronic pulmonary diseases such as COPD have a much lower blood oxygen concentration value. The SpO2 value also decreases with an increase in altitude because the air gets thinner as we move away from the sea level. In the current times, a lower than usual SpO2 value can also be an early symptom of COVID-19. Of course, every person infected with COVID-19 may not have difficulty breathing or any symptom at all; therefore, just SpO2 cannot be used as a definitive diagnosis for the deadly virus.
When it comes to SpO2 measurement on the Amazfit GTR 2, it falls short of expectations. The measurement takes about a minute, and for that duration, you must keep the smartwatch tightly tied to your wrist. The measurement also requires you to stay stationary and keep the forearm straight on a flat surface like a table. Despite these efforts, the smartwatch can only measure the SpO2 values only one out of three times on average.
The Amazfit GTR 2’s inability to record SpO2 values efficiently also makes me skeptical about its ability to measure the breathing statistics at night.
The Amazfit GTR is equipped with a 471mAh battery, which is about 15% bigger than the first-gen GTR. With bare minimum functionality, the smartwatch is claimed to last up to 38 days. I, on the other hand, turned every possible feature to determine the minimum battery backup. Over the last two weeks of usage, the features I have turned on include:
- Always On Display,
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring,
- Sleep tracking,
- Sleep breathing analysis (i.e., continuous SpO2 measurement at night),
- All-day stress monitoring,
- Activity detection, which implied shorter intervals of heart rate detection during physical activities, and
- GPS for outdoor positioning for at least an hour every day.
With all these features turned on, I could get 4 days of usage per full charge. Having recently shifted from the OPPO Watch, which needs charging every day, this is surely delightful. Furthermore, the battery saver feature can extend the battery life by only measuring steps and sleep data. While using the battery saver, I could get nearly 10 hours of battery backup with 7% of battery left, and within this duration, the watch was also able to track five hours of sleep. Unfortunately, there is no way to turn off sleep tracking in the mode; otherwise, the backup could have been much longer.
The Amazfit GTR 2 with a charging cradle in the box draws power from USB and supplies power to the smartwatch through pogo pin connectors that align with the electrodes on the back of the watch. Using the in-box charger, the Amazfit GTR 2 takes about 2 hours to charge fully, and that matches up to the official claims for 2.5 hours of charging time.
In my Amazfit GTR review last year, I stressed how the smartwatch was among the most visually appealing smartwatches — primarily for its bright display and the leather strap. This year, the Amazfit GTR 2 builds upon its strong point while also fixing most issues with the previous generation. The slight improvement in design is pivotal, but the most impact is that the user interface is now much more fluid and that the smartwatch now supports onboard storage. In addition to these features, the new SpO2 sensor might appease a few stat nerds that have the patience to deal with it.
Even despite so many improvements and new features, the Amazfit GTR 2 may not be the perfect smartwatch. Some users might even argue about calling it a smartwatch because it lacks support for third-party apps. But all of those expectations are neutralized when we look at the price of the smartwatch. The Amazfit GTR is priced at $179 in the US, £159 in the UK, and ₹12,999 (~$177) in India, making it an excellent value for money.
It lacks a few software features, especially guided breathing and tracking for menstrual cycles — both of which are available on the much cheaper Mi Band 5 — but these features can be added with software updates over time. In terms of hardware, the Amazfit GTR 2 is a solid contender in the budget smartwatch market and could be a great choice for anyone looking for slightly more storage and better community support against the likes of the Honor Magic Watch 2. If you want a square dial, you can check out the Amazfit GTS 2, which was also launched alongside the Amazfit GTR 2 globally and in India.