Amazfit GTS 3 Review: Fitness-focused and fashion-forward
More often than not, flagship smartwatches from brands like Samsung and Fossil steal the spotlight when it comes to wearables. But the fact of the matter is, not everyone is looking to splurge upwards of $200 on a companion device. For budget shoppers, there is plenty of fish in the sea and that’s where Amazfit comes in.
You’ll find a healthy number of options, most of them bearing accessible price tags, under the Amazfit banner. Yes, you’re forgoing Wear OS here, but the features offered against the amount you’re paying strike just the right balance. With Amazfit smartwatches, the basics are all there.
Amazfit launched the latest iterations of its GTR and GTS series in October 2021. This is when the square-shaped Amazfit GTS 3 smartwatch made its debut next to the more premium Amazfit GTR 3 and GTR 3 Pro models. The Amazfit GTS 3 is geared towards an audience with slender wrists. It essentially serves as a “lite” version of the upper-tier GTR 3 series.
Amazfit GTS 3: Specifications
|Specification||Amazfit GTS 3|
|Water resistance||5 ATM|
|Dimensions||42.4mm x 36mm x 8.8mm|
|Connectivity & Location||
About this review: We received the Amazfit GTS 3 from Amazfit for review on January 27th, 2022. Amazfit had no input in the contents of this review.
Amazfit GTS 3: Display and Design
Just like the last-gen Amazfit GTS 2, the GTS 3 sports a square-shaped display. The beautiful 1.75-inch AMOLED panel gets impressively bright even in broad daylight and the color payoff is brilliant. There’s an Always On Display feature that allows you to keep the screen on at all times so it always shows the time and a few other indicators. With the right watch face (there are hundreds to choose from), it replicates the look and feel of a regular wristwatch.
The smartwatch hasn’t changed much over its predecessor in terms of design and I love that because it doesn’t need a radical redesign. It is already very stylish and I received many compliments while I was testing it. Many commenters assumed it was an Apple Watch at first glance, so if you want an Android-friendly lookalike, then the GTS 3 is a great pick. The 5 ATM water resistance gives confidence in its dainty and sleek nature.
You get matching silicone straps with each color option. The straps measure 20mm wide and you can swap them out very easily. A small problem that I encountered with the watch straps was the fact that I could only set them to be too tight or too loose. The pinholes for the clip were not placed at ideal spots for my small wrists. This is ironic, considering that is the demographic that the GTS 3 caters to. In the end, I ended up changing to a third-party metal strap for comfort a few days into my testing. I do have really tiny wrists though, so I am not sure that the majority of people will face a similar issue.
Amazfit GTS 3: Battery and Charging
Keeping the Amazfit GTS 3 up and running is an underwhelming 250mAh battery. While this is rated for up to 12 days of use, the actual uptime is quite a different story. The GTS 3 lasts about four to five days on average, with all of its features in full use including AOD. With the brightness level turned down, this can easily extend to a week. Seeing as this smartwatch has an AMOLED display, you still get satisfactory color reproduction at lower brightness levels. However, under the bright sunlight, you may be forced to go above 50%, automatically forcing its battery to drain more.
There’s no wireless charging here, so the only charging option is through the proprietary magnetic charger that you get in the box. The top-up process takes about two hours usually. Clearly, nothing in the battery life department strives to impress. It just gets you by. How I wish Amazfit had gone the extra mile and included at least 10W wireless charging support. That would have been a huge plus point in the Amazfit GTS 3’s favor.
Amazfit GTS 3 Review: Zepp OS
One of the biggest caveats of most Chinese smartwatches is the lack of Wear OS. Amazfit’s GTS 3 can be filed away under the same category. It runs the company’s own software called Zepp OS and the companion mobile app bears the same name. Let’s consider how Zepp plays out in Amazfit’s favor.
The number of health and fitness features baked into the affordable Amazfit GTS 3 is impressive. To top it all off, the smartwatch comes with Alexa built-in and also supports select offline voice commands. Again, you can set this up from your smartphone. All the data recorded from the 150+ sports modes and the various health trackers syncs automatically with your phone. It is then saved to the cloud, so it retains data whenever you log into the Zepp app from another device.
For the most part, the ECG and SpO2 sensors do their job well. I used a medical-grade pulse oximeter to compare the readings in real-time. While the numbers did differ ever so slightly, there weren’t any major differences, assuring me of its safety. Of course, the Amazfit GTS 3 isn’t meant to replace your medical equipment, but it helps fitness-focused folks get some insight.
Health and fitness features on the Amazfit GTS 3 are sure to please individuals leading an active lifestyle. Movement tracking is accurate and you can install supplementary fitness apps such as Google Fit, Strava, and Relive. The GTS 3 doesn’t look as large and boisterous as full-blown sports watches or fitness bands, increasing the smartwatch’s appeal. However, I do wish that I could reply to messages within the watch. You can’t answer or reject calls either, which is rather ridiculous.
Personally, I am not a very active individual but I do enjoy taking regular walks. I took the Amazfit GTS 3 along with me on a light walk and it jotted down every single detail of my stroll. You’ll have to have mobile internet on your phone when you go out for runs or any outdoor exercises, and the Bluetooth and GPS need to be kept on. The smartwatch records your heart rate, speed, average speed, location, calories burnt, and so much more per exercise. This in-depth level of analysis is extremely helpful to those who follow strict regimens and fitness plans. I can see how useful the breakdown would be when it comes to more demanding workouts.
Being out and about on my walk, some of the features that I sorely missed were the lack of LTE on the Amazfit GTS 3 smartwatch. My phone’s battery was already running low, and I was very worried that it would run out soon. With a fitness-tracking smartwatch, it’s pretty important to have features that streamline your workout process. Can you imagine going for a run with the GTS 3 and getting a call? You’d have to pause, whip out your phone, and then answer or reject it before continuing on.
Zepp OS offers a few additional apps, but the available apps are very limited in number. Sure, you can control Spotify with the GTS 3, but only when your watch is connected to your phone. Since you can’t access the local storage, there’s no offline way to store music in your watch either. Other key specs like NFC are missing too, so you cannot make contactless payments or leave your home without your phone in tow.
Amazfit GTS 3 Review: Conclusion
The Amazfit GTS 3 blurs the line between fitness bands and conventional smartwatches. In my opinion, you get a fair bit of goodness from both sides of the coin. You aren’t getting a full-fledged LTE smartwatch here, but that’s okay. The $160 price tag allows some room for error. Constricting your budget definitely comes with compromises, this is a universal truth.
Looking at the competition, if you want access to Wear OS, the ability to store files locally on your watch, LTE, and everything in between, your obvious choice would be the top-of-the-line players such as the Galaxy Watch 4, TicWatch Pro 3, or Fossil Gen 5. Shooting for the stars will cost you, and in this case, we’re talking about a price bump of over $100 over the Amazfit GTS 3. Set your sights lower and you’ll have to settle for older models like the Fitbit Versa 2 and Garmin Vivoactive 3. While the cheaper alternatives give you contactless payment and much longer uptimes, you won’t find Wear OS or bright displays. In this sub $160 price range, there’s nothing on par with the GTS 3 at the moment.
Amazfit can’t offer you flagship features like Google Pay and a huge selection of apps. However, the GTS 3 comes chock-full of fitness tracking features, sporting modes, health monitors, modern sensors, and so much more. The smartwatch touts a beautiful design and looks classy on small wrists — a major problem with almost all of the best smartwatches out there. That bright and colorful display is delicious eye-candy, tying it all together for this wearable.