review

Amazfit GTR Smartwatch Review: Mi Band 4 Disguised in the Body of a Watch

One of the several IoT and ecosystem brands Xiaomi has invested in, Huami, entered the Indian market last year to sell their ‘affordable’ smartwatches under their Amazfit brand, something that didn’t exist in abundance in the country. Since then, they have added several watches to their portfolio across various price ranges. But one thing which has been common so far is that their products are priced considerably higher than China and other global markets.

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While the Apple Watch is limited to the Apple ecosystem and WearOS has its own set of never-ending problems, watches from Huami Amazfit offer a unique style quotient along with a feature set that appeals to the masses. The Amazfit GTR has the look of a conventional watch with a large OLED display and provides some good fitness features. And the one gripe that every smartwatch has – battery life, it’s amazing too. Let’s talk about all aspects in detail and see if you should get the Amazfit GTR if you are on the lookout for a smartwatch.

Looks just like a regular watch!

One of the areas in which the Amazfit GTR nails is aesthetics. While it doesn’t go overboard with fancy elements, it looks classy and more importantly, looks just like any other watch albeit slightly larger. We received the 47mm variant for review and the dial is quite large, so unless you have extra big wrists, you will be better off getting the 42mm variant. The casing is metallic and has a black border along the perimeter of the display. After a month’s usage, we have started seeing small scratches on the casing which is quite normal and not that noticeable unless you look at it up close. But yeah, you better be safer than sorry while using daily.

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The variant we received comes with a leather strap with silicone on the rear. The straps are comfortable even when worn throughout the day. The straps are, of course, interchangeable. The watch is thick but the fact that it houses a large battery totally makes up for the extra thickness. Plus, it’s not that evident. There are two buttons on the right side of the casing. The top button is essentially a back and power on/off button. The button on the lower side is to start or end an activity like running, cycling, etc. On the underside, there’s a plastic covering with the heart rate monitor. Overall, the watch is built well and looks minimal, just make sure you get the right size for your wrist and the right style of strap.

Good ole OLED

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The display on the Amazfit GTR is pleasant to look at, thanks to its completely round design. Rather than going over resolution numbers, we’ll emphasize on how good/bad the display is to look at in various scenarios. The colors look good, being an AMOLED panel of course, which also makes the black levels deep. The text as well is surprisingly crisp. Speaking of brightness levels, the display is legible indoors but does get slightly dim when viewed under direct sunlight. If the majority of your work is outdoors, you might have a hard time using the watch, so keep this in mind. The display is also resilient to scratches.

One gripe in this department is that the Amazfit GTR does not have an always-on display. Being an AMOLED panel, Amazfit could have provided the option of an always-on display which would have further increased the utilitarian aspect of the watch. Yes, you can flick your wrist to turn the display on, but the ability to constantly see the time on the screen would closely resemble a conventional watch in a better way.

Functionality

The Amazfit GTR in terms of functionality is a glorified fitness tracker. If you are a fitness enthusiast, you are going to appreciate the features. But, if you are going in with expectations of what you would get from more premium watches from Tier-1 brands, you will be disappointed. What we mean by this, is that there is no support for third-party apps or watch faces. Notifications are displayed, but you can’t reply to them. Basic utility apps like calculator, calendar, etc. are not available. These are some of the features we find in WearOS or even Samsung’s smartwatches powered by Tizen. Of course, they are much more expensive, but if you are calling it a smartwatch, it ought to include these basic functions is what we feel.

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Nevertheless, speaking about the health aspect, the watch tracks your steps, distance walked, and calories burnt. It can record your heart rate, and there are several activity modes you can choose from including running, treadmill, skiing, lifting, swimming, etc. Most physical activities are covered. The data recorded is very accurate and the presence of GPS onboard ensures that your runs are mapped and calculated precisely. The Amazfit GTR gets this core aspect perfectly right.

Additional features include the ability to check the weather forecast, control music playback, display notifications from your phone, set alarms and event reminders, timer, stopwatch, find phone, compass, barometer and altimeter. All the features work as advertised, but if you look closely, the majority of them are available in Xiaomi’s own Mi Smart Band 4 which retails for 1/5th the price. The Amazfit GTR is water-resistant up to 50m which means you can have it on while swimming without any issues.

UI and App Integration

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The UI on the watch is pretty basic. Swiping through different menus is easy and swiping down from the watch face will bring up quick toggles like the DND mode, brightness, screen-lock, etc. The interface was, however, slightly sluggish as the watch required a few milliseconds to register and perform the intended touch operation. Not a deal-breaker and not really noticeable unless you have used other premium smartwatches. There are lots of options for watch faces available on the app, but it would be nice if they were customizable.

Speaking about the app, the Amazfit GTR works with either the Amazfit app or Xiaomi’s Mi Fit app on both Android and iOS. We found that the watch worked better on Android compared to iOS in terms of delivery of notifications specifically. If you have used a Mi Band before, the app and data are going to look very familiar. You can check the battery level of the watch from here and change basically every setting. You even get incoming call alerts, and the firmware for the watch can also be updated from here.

Battery and Charging

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Battery life is one area where Amazfit has performed some extreme sorcery. The Amazfit GTR just goes on and on and on and refuses to die no matter what. In our usage, the watch got up to 20 days of usage on a single charge with notifications on. For a wearable, let alone a smartwatch with a big display, that’s nothing short of incredible! In fact, the Amazfit GTR even lasted longer than the Mi Smart Band 4 on a single charge, which speaks volumes about how well Amazfit has done with regards to battery life on the GTR. The charging time is about two hours and it uses the proprietary cradle that ships within the box.

Should you buy it over a smart band or fitness tracker?

Just for comparison, let’s take into account the Mi Smart Band 4 since it’s technically manufactured by Huami, the brains behind Amazfit as well. For five times the price, all you’re getting additionally is a bigger display, a more watch-like design, and GPS. The Mi Smart Band 4 can do everything else that the Amazfit GTR can. Is that extra premium worth it?

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Well, if you can’t bear the design and small display on the Mi Smart Band 4 and want something that looks like a conventional watch, the Amazfit GTR is a good option, to begin with. The GPS, of course, does make tracking workouts more accurate, not by a whole lot though. If there was support for third-party apps or even the ability to reply to messages an notifications, the conclusion could have been drastically different, but for now, it’s just very hard to deny that the Mi Smart Band 4 is just a much better value offering. Even if you want something in the form factor of a watch, there are several options like the PlayFit smartwatch we recently reviewed. That too has very similar features and costs a fraction of the price of the GTR. Make sure you get your priorities straight with respect to the form factor, and how badly you need a watch-like look, and let your decision be based on that. You can pick up the Amazfit GTR from Flipkart for a starting price of Rs. 9,999.