Amazfit GTR 2e review: lightweight watch with heavyweight features

Value-focused model comes out swinging against the wearable big hitters.

Amazfit GTR 2e on reviewer's wrist

by Adam Binnie |

Promising a sleek and stylish design with plenty of functions you’d expect from a more expensive smartwatch, the Amazfit GTR 2e promises all of the good stuff you need and none of the filler you don’t, for a price that will attract wearable tech newbies. So where’s the catch? What’s The Best’s Adam Binnie spends some time testing this great value newcomer.

Specifications
Screen 1.39-inches, Amoled
Resolution 454x454, 326 PPI
Battery 471mAh
Supported devices Android 5.0 or iOS 10.0
Pros Cons
• Function packed • No fitness app connectivity
• Sleek and stylish • Strap feels a bit cheap
• Lengthy battery life • No speaker

Verdict: A feature-packed, value-for-money showcase that will appeal to those looking for their first smartwatch, as well as health fanatics after a lightweight gadget for fitness tracking. Doesn't integrate quite as seamlessly with your phone as those from Apple and Samsung, but offers enough functions to make up for it.

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Build

The many faces of the Amazfit GTR 2e
©Photo: What's The Best

• Screen is a great size

• Sharp, colourful graphics

• Case is slim and lightweight

The Amazfit GTR 2e makes a great first impression – the box feels very premium, with eye-catching holographic text and a really precise fit to the lid and internal sections. I didn’t know I could get so excited about packaging, but here we are.

This carries over onto the watch itself, which has a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen displaying with a pixel density of 326ppi. The result is a really crisp look to the graphics, and if you pick one of the analogue watch faces, a realistic-looking tick to the second hand.

The scratch-resistant screen curves smoothly into the matte aluminium alloy body - Amazfit describes this as seamless, but there is a small (if barely perceptible) line between the two. Mine’s Obsidian Black, but you can brighten things up a little with the Macha Green and Slate Grey models. There's also a squarer version called Amazfit GTS 2e, which offers a slightly different style.

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Helping the watch blend into whatever you’re wearing is the fact it’s pretty much the same size as a comparable analogue watch, so it doesn’t immediately stand out as anything more complicated. Nice if you prefer a more subtle look to your wearable tech. Plus the screen is reversible so you can wear it on either wrist and have the buttons point at your hand or elbow.

You can also pick from more than 50 different faces, some with customisable widgets. If you’re going somewhere smart, there are plenty of minimalist analogue designs, plus those with more of a dashboard layout when you want to know how many steps you’ve done and how much battery remains.

In terms of fitting into your life, Amazfit promises 50 metres of water resistance and a 471mAh battery that can last up to 24 days and charges in under three hours, which it does so using a proprietary charging cable that attaches to the back of the watch magnetically.

Usability

Amazfit GTR 2e on charge
©Photo: What's The Best

• Very comfortable to wear

• Responsive touchscreen

• Haptic feedback and bright display

On startup, the watch displays a QR code – scan this with your camera and you can download the 100Mb Zepp app, where you have to create an account or log in. Here you can enter health details like your height and weight. Then there’s another QR code to pair it with your phone, and finally a system update. Then, it’s good to go.

When putting the watch on for the first time, I noticed the strap hinges squeaked a bit, and the buttons also had a bit of a plasticky click to them, but both of these things eventually wore off.

The overriding first impression was how comfortably the GTR 2e sat on my wrist from the get-go. The soft rubber of the strap helps here even though it looks a little cheap, but it really moulds itself to your arm and there are lots of slots for the fastening located quite close together, so it’s easy to get a good fit. The end does keep coming out of the loops though, which is annoying.

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Scrolling through the various screens reveals a good level of touch response, and the haptic feedback helps make navigating the menus and selecting functions feel really intuitive. That same vibration gets ramped up whenever you get a notification or call, but there’s no speaker on the GTR 2e, so you still have to take the latter on your phone.

The screen is also super easy to read in any light – the screen brightness is measured at 450 nits and doesn’t struggle remotely in bright daylight. In fact, at night time it can be a bit too bright, including the time I accidentally knocked one of the buttons while rearranging my pillows and felt like someone was shining a torch in my face.

It does actually have a torch function, accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen to open the quick function menu. This is very useful.

Performance

Amazfit GTR 2e always-on screen
©Photo: What's The Best

• Battery lasts between a week and a month

• Heart-rate, blood saturation, stress monitor

• Support for 90 different types of sport

But how does all of this actually translate into daily use? Well, on top of telling you the time, you can also get the GTR 2e to notify you of calls and messages, keep an eye on the weather, track your daily step count and even monitor stress levels.

Of course the more things you enable on it the shorter the battery life, and the watch will remind you of this every time you ask it to perform a new task, like increasing the time the screen is active and setting the always-on display, which I activated immediately.

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That’s because while the GTR 2e’s screen responds to a flick of your wrist, I found it a bit hit and miss. That said, I rarely wanted more than just the time anyway, which is catered for by the always-on screen. It also follows the theme of the face you’ve picked, which is a nice touch, so mine looks like a retro digital display until lit up.

As far as health tracking goes there is a 24-hour heart rate monitor, blood saturation measurement the aforementioned stress tracker and a sleep programme. The latter revealed what I’ve probably always known – I don’t sleep long or deep enough.

All of this data is displayed in handy graphs on the Zepp app and really it’s up to you which is the most useful. I’ve certainly found the sleep function very useful in looking for patterns of good/poor sleep in response to doing more exercise or staying up late, for example.

The Amazfit GTR 2e app is called Zepp
©What's the best

This data in addition to any exercise you track goes on to inform your PAI score – a kind of all-encompassing algorithm that lets you know how healthy your day has been, with scores over 100 proven to be beneficial to your cardiovascular health.

Talking of which, the GTR 2e can track 90 different types of sport (who knew so many existed?) by pressing the lower button and selecting one. If you are going for a run outdoors or on a treadmill, a walk, outdoor cycle, swim or even training on an elliptical, the watch will automatically detect this without the need to scroll through all the activities.

I took the Amazfit out on my mountain bike for a strenuous day at a bike park and really valued the fact I could see how far I’d been and how long without having to look at my phone. At the end of the day, my total distance was also within a tenth of a mile of what Strava claimed I had done, so the GPS seems accurate enough.

That does highlight a slight negative – you can’t connect this watch to any third-party activity apps. If you don’t use them, that’s not a problem, but it’s a bit annoying having another pool of tracking data alongside an existing one.

Finally, after a couple of weeks of use, I reckon I get just over a week from the battery – less than Amazfit claims but still pretty good. It also charges fast enough for me to leave the cable plugged into my laptop and just top it up every now and again, so it’s not really intrusive at all.

Price

One of the Amazfit GTR 2e's more traditional screens
©What's the best

The Amazfit GTR 2e launched at £119, which is very good value considering what you’d pay for an Apple or Samsung equivalent (roughly double). What’s more impressive is Amazfit manages this without scrimping on functions, although it’s fair to say it doesn’t completely integrate itself to your phone in quite the same way either of those would do. You’ll need to duplicate any alarms you’ve got on your phone on to the watch, for example.

Verdict

With loads of high-end functions and a premium look and feel, the Amazfit GTR 2e seems like great value as a first smartwatch or for someone not looking for total integration with their phone or fitness apps. If you’re already committed to something like Strava then the separate silo of exercise data the Amazfit creates will likely frustrate you.

As a stylish watch with plenty of extra functions though, it’s a really convincing option at this price. It looks great on your wrist and has lots and lots of choice when it comes to faces, so you’ll always be able to find one that fits your outfit and mood.

Score: 4/5

Adam Binnie is the Commercial Content Editor and reviewer for WhatsTheBest, specialising in bikes, fitness, cars, parenting and cooking.

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