At the start of this year, Huami was known in India mainly as the OEM for Xiaomi's fitness bands. This year the company has been steadily launching its own series of smartwatches under the Amazfit brand name. I can recollect the Pace, Bip, Verge Lite to name a few of their recent offerings, and now, we have the Amazfit GTR " its current flagship product.
It promises ample substance coupled with style along with an insane battery backup figure. Time to take it for a run.
The watch is extremely comfortable to wear for long hours and the strap material doesn't cause sweating or skin irritation.Image: Tech2
Stylish design, stainless steel body and a round dial
A lot of people like to wear a more formal looking watch to their workplace and a fitness tracker to the gym. The Amazfit GTR looks to marry the two with a great degree of success. This watch has a round dial with a stainless steel body measuring 47.2 mm in diameter. Despite the steel construction, the company has managed to keep its weight under 50 grams. A fitness product keeping its weight in check is a good start. The watch is extremely comfortable to wear for long hours and the strap material doesn't cause sweating or skin irritation.
Despite the steel construction, the company has managed to keep its weight under 50 grams. Image:Tech2
The straps have a brown leather-like look on the outside to add to the formal look of the watch, and you get a rubberised finish on the inside to stay in touch with its sporty roots. Even the stock watch-face is analogue to complete the look. A couple of physical buttons allow you to power this device and its screen on and off and help you browse through the menus in conjunction with the touchscreen. A combination of the metal frame, dark grey borders and brown straps makes the Amazfit GTR look quite elegant.
The Amazfit GTR has a sharp, 1.39-inch AMOLED display that boasts of 326-ppi pixel density. To give you an idea, that's the same pixel density as an Apple iPhone 11 screen. The touchscreen is protected against scratches by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and has an anti-fingerprint coating that works really well. The screen has auto as well as manual brightness controls and the screen is perfectly legible outdoors even under bright sunlight.
The screen has auto as well as manual brightness controls and the screen is perfectly legible outdoors even under bright sunlight. Image: Tech2
You just need to flick your wrist to turn the screen on. If that doesn't work, you can always press the button. There are two sensitivity settings for that " Normal and Sensitive. I would suggest you stick to Normal setting even if the screen doesn't come on occasionally after one flick. The Sensitive setting is overly sensitive and keeps turning the screen on with the slightest of wrist movements, especially unintentional ones. The bright screen can be quite an irritation if you wear the watch when sleeping or if you are in a theatre. It also drains the battery faster. You can also schedule to turn off the 'lift wrist to view info' setting altogether from the app during your sleep hours.
Simple user interface and a neat bunch of features
Speaking of apps, you need to download the Amazfit app, which looks pretty much like the Mi Fit app, add your device in there and sync it over Bluetooth. It may take a bit of time initially, but once it is set up, things are smooth. You can control certain aspects of the watch like screen brightness and activity selection from its screen itself, but the bulk of the settings need to be accessed from the Amazfit app. While that's not a deal-breaker, I wish the manufacturer had provided a few more settings in the watch itself without forcing us to go through the app to make changes.
You have quite a few watches faces for this smartwatch, and some of them are quite cool too.
The app lets you change the watch face, set fitness goals, track progress, manage alerts and notifications, and a lot more. The watch UI is very simple. All you need to do is swipe down on the screen for settings and swipe up to access and cycle through activities and other options. The Amazfit GTR has built-in GPS for better tracking of your jogs and swims.
Performance is generally good
I will split the performance broadly into two parts " smartwatch and fitness tracker. As a smartwatch, the options are limited. You can answer or reject calls from the watch screen and can also read your messages. However, you cannot reply back from the watch. You can opt to receive notifications from other apps too along with event reminders and weather updates. The GTR lets you control your music playback too, though there is no onboard storage for music.
The watch supports continuous heart-rate monitoring, and you can choose the frequency of monitoring to conserve battery life. Image: Tech2
As a fitness tracker, there are plenty of options. The Amazfit GTR can track 12 different kinds of exercises indoors and outdoors, including walking, running, cycling, swimming and more. While it tracks your outdoor activities perfectly, courtesy of the GPS module, the indoor tracking seemed a little dodgy where it couldn't get a GPS lock. If anything, the step counter is conservative and reports fewer steps as opposed to a lot of fitness trackers that report false steps. The Amazfit GTR is 50 metres water-resistant, so you can take it into a swimming pool without a worry. Though I couldn't go for a swim during the course of my testing, the watch has options to keep tabs on your underwater exploits.
The watch supports continuous heart-rate monitoring, and you can choose the frequency of monitoring to conserve battery life. However, keep the Activity Detection setting switched on. When the watch detects some significant physical activity, it automatically increases the monitoring frequency for more accurate readings and analysis. After you are done with the workout, the frequency drops again to save battery. All the fitness data is available in the app and it presents you with a daily, weekly and monthly breakdown of the various fitness activities you indulged in during that period.
There's also the sleep tracking feature that shows you how well you sleep. I personally do not like wearing a watch to bed but I did it for a few nights in the spirit of testing. However, the data is limited to just light sleep and deep sleep. There is no REM sleep information that you generally get in several other fitness trackers. The company needs to step up a bit on this front.
Great battery life
Huami claims a battery life of 24 days on a single charge under typical usage scenarios that the company defines as 'Heart rate always-on, sleep monitoring, 150 pushed notifications with screen light-up, lift the wrist to see the screen 30 times, run or exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes with GPS on, and 5 minutes for other operations'. If you switch off Bluetooth, continuous heart rate monitoring and a few other features, it can even last you for up to 74 days, but that defeats the purpose of having a smart fitness device.
In real-world testing with test conditions somewhat similar to the typical usage scenario but with sleep monitoring turned on only for a week, the battery lasted almost a full month on a single charge. That is an amazing number and something that I have never come across in a smartwatch or fitness tracker before.
The built-in 410 mAh battery takes under 2 hours to charge fully with the bundled custom charger. It's a simple 2-pin charging plate with a magnetic base that sticks to the back of the watch. The other end has a USB port that plugs into any standard USB charger.
What's the Amazfit GTR lacking?
The one major thing lacking here is an app ecosystem. Since the Amazfit GTR is not based on popular platforms like WearOS or Tizen, you hardly have any additional apps that you can install on this device yet. You have to make do with what's built into the watch for now. Yes, you have quite a few watch faces for this smartwatch, and some of them are quite cool too, but that's about it for now. But if all you need are app notifications and activity tracking with built-in GPS and a good quality heart rate monitor, you are pretty much covered already.
Verdict and Price in India
The Huami Amazfit GTR (47 mm) sells for Rs 10,999 in India with a one year warranty. For that price, among other things, you get a stylish, rugged watch with an excellent AMOLED display, built-in GPS, 50-metre water resistance and a crazy long battery life. Some of these features are unheard of on smartwatches in this budget range. In short, you easily get your money's worth and you don't have to bother with two different watches for work and play if you opt for the Amazfit GTR.