One of the most anticipated wearables in 2020 has us hyped up with promises for significant upgrades for a reasonable price.
Back in October, Huami announced the Amazfit GTR 2 and the GTS 2 to be the new highlights among their quality value-for-money fitness products.
These are supposed to be addressing major drawbacks from last year’s generations—like the famous GPS accuracy problems, which we’ve never experienced ourselves, but seem to have affected a lot of people.
If you’re on the lookout for a stylish feature-watch, the Amazfit GTR 2 is a good match for multitasking people, albeit a bit on the pricy end.
- Attractive design.
- Considerably improved UI.
- Rich collection of customizable watchfaces.
- Surprisingly good multitasking quality.
- Satisfying barometer and altimeter.
- Great volume of workouts.
- Frustrating Bluetooth connectivity and speed.
- No wireless charging.
- No Alexa smart assistant support.
- Unreliable smart unlock feature.
- No NFC.
- No third-party apps support.
Although the Amazfit GTR 2 is released and marketed as a smartwatch, it fits the feature-watch category better. Think of it as a Mi Band on steroids: including GPS, SPO2 sensor, microphone, and speaker, and a little more on the side.
However, the Amazfit GTR 2 remains primarily a fitness tracking device without being truly smart as other wearables running wear OS or Tizen OS are. For comparison purposes, we would put the GTR 2 next to smartwatches like Huawei Watch GT2, the Magicwatch 2, and the Ticwatch GTX.
Set at around $169, the Amazfit GTR 2 is pricier than the Honor Magic Watch 2 but noticeably cheaper than the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro.
While it does sound reasonable at first, you should consider the fact that for an extra $100 you’ll be buying a true wearOS device.
And being $50 more expensive than its predecessor, the Amazfit GTR 2 will have to live up to even higher expectations to become successful.
Out of the two available design options, we’ll be testing the aluminum-coated Sports edition Amazfit GTR 2. The stainless steel Classic edition arrives with a different band is supposed to have a more premium feel to it.
The Amazfit package welcomes us with a smooth unboxing experience, and inside we find 3 items: the smartwatch, some instructions, and the magnetic charging cable. Sadly, that’s a “no” on the wireless charging.
Let’s start off by saying the Amazfit GTR 2 inherits a lot of traits from the first GTR generation. The circular design is retained, the high-contrast Huami AMOLED screen is present, along with a light-weight construction made of an aluminum alloy with a brushed metal finish.
There are two crown buttons on the right side of the dial and sensors for measuring HR and blood saturation on the back. Additionally, there are two small noticeable circles on the top and bottom which are the charging pins.
The creators themselves call the Amazfit GTR 2 a “classic essential”.
While the chipset’s exact model and specs remain unknown, the same one is used with the GTS2. It’s likely based on ARM technology, similar to what we find with the Huawei Watch GT series.
You will, however, notice better interface responsiveness and much smoother-running animations. Even though there’s no LTE edition, you’re hooked up with usable storage for music to listen to while offline and doing sports.
- 1.39inch AMOLED display.
- 471mAh battery.
- Bluetooth v5 BLE.
- Built-in microphone & speaker.
- Compatibility with 22mm bands; Android, iPhone.
- 2 mechanical buttons.
- 5ATM water resistance.
Based on the specs sheet, the Amazfit GTR 2 looks promising. In addition, there’s been talk about the remarkable battery life—somewhere between 14 and 28 days!
The awkward location of the speaker turns it into a muffle machine when making certain movements. The controls are easily accessible and connecting the Amazfit GTR 2 to a headset was effortless.
We mentioned earlier this feature-watch has a great multitasking quality. Connecting to Bluetooth earbuds, play music, and start an exercise activity simultaneously? The GTR 2 passed the challenge with flying colors!
Multitasking comes at a cost of a much faster battery discharge, especially if there’s GPS activity involved. For a device with such basic OS, it is satisfying to be able to exit a workout screen without terminating the session, go to the app menu, check the weather settings, and get back to your training.
Our test showed rather inconclusive results, as the Amazfit GTR 2 offers no integrated recorder. During phone calls, people were able to hear us just fine.
What stands out as a big disadvantage is the tricky Bluetooth connectivity. It’s close to impossible to connect to the phone if location services are not ON.
There are a lot of changes in the software layer compared to the first-gen. The Amazfit GTR 2 features a rich collection of customizable watchfaces, similar navigation but a different app drawer. The higher quality of the animations stands out immediately. It seems to be tidy and has wider customization options.
Most of the time you will find yourself navigating through the touch screen. Swipe down for quick settings, swipe up for notifications. Swipe left to access the main cards, and swipe right for this great multitasker.
The buttons on the side are helpful—the one on top is home and app drawer button, the bottom one is configurable, the default action set to open the workouts. The entire app screen is customizable and all entries are rearrangeable.
There are not a lot of apps to choose from though. Alarm, events, stress measuring, and the widgets area where you will find the lovely barometer and altimeter which combined with GPS will give you accurate data of your location including height and atmospheric pressure.
There’s a noticeable improvement on the front compared to the GTR 1. Initially, the Amazfit GTR 2 was launched with 12 workouts only, but after the last firmware update, the number has jumped to the jaw-dropping 90!
The GTR 2 is capable of automatic sports detection, just like its much more expensive siblings Ticwatch, Samsung, and Garmin wearables. In terms of accuracy, the Amazfit GTR 2 undercounts the steps by 10%, which seems to be corrected with the new firmware.
GPS locks quickly and seems to be accurate. We still haven’t experienced any of the issues people had with the original GTR, so at this stage, we consider the GPS performance reliable. The GPS can only be activated if there’s a launched outdoor workout and, as mentioned, there is quite a number to choose from.
Smartphone Companion App Results
What was formerly called the Amazfit app, is now ZEPP. It’s user-friendly, though not impressive design-wise. If continuous HR measuring and sleep tracking are enabled, detailed statistics are to be found in the app.
Sleep data collection is detailed and packs recommendations about how to improve your sleep. HR tracking is precise. Unfortunately, Amazfit hasn’t included continuous SpO2 tracking. You can still measure it manually though. Compared to the 24/7 SpO2 tracking of the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro, we consider this a bit of a setback.
The Amazfit GTR 2 can be linked to both Google Fit and Strava. Potentially, in the near future, certain regions will have Alexa Smart Assistant enabled. Although all early reviews promised NFC support, it seems to be missing from the international unit we run our tests on.
A peculiar part of both the software and mobile app is the way phone calls are handled. If you’re not operating with a Mi phone (we’re currently testing the Amazfit GTR 2 on OnePlus), you’ll get 2 frustrating options: either not get any call notifications at all, or to transfer all the calls to the watch by switching the feature from the smartphone app.
Generally, the Bluetooth implementation can be categorized as unreliable, as we missed about 2/3 of all notifications received during testing. The smart unlock feature worked occasionally.
With continuous HR tracking, occasional sports activity, and Always On Display for an entire week, the battery life is hands down, delightful. Considering the relatively high price at the moment though, the Amazfit GTR 2 might have to justify this aspect better.
If the price isn’t a priority of yours, the Amazfit GTR 2 is a good choice. With the current upgrades and fixed issues, this feature-watch build upon its strong point. The user interface improvements are satisfying, although missing a lot of features you can find in cheaper smartwatches. All and all, there’s more to be desired at the current price point, but can make a satisfying addition to your gadget collection.
Amazfit GTR 2: https://geni.us/AmazfitGTR2
Huawei Watch GT2 Pro: https://geni.us/GT2pro
Amazfit Stratos 3: https://geni.us/stratos3
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