Amazfit GTS review: Look but don't touch
- Nice aesthetics and build quality
- Super long battery life
- Limited apps
- Inconsistent touch screen
If you yearn for the aesthetics of the Apple Watch and can get down with the notion of only having to charge your smartwatch every two weeks, the Amazfit GTS is easy to recommend.
Should I buy the Amazfit GTS?
If you want an Apple Watch clone that’s more focused on functionality than flair, the Amazfit GTS make a strong case for itself. Paired up with long-lasting battery life and a cheap price-tag, Haumi’s latest delivers the goods minus the grace.
Price when reviewed
In Australia, you can find the Amazfit GTS for around AU$230.
Amazfit GTS full review
In Australia, you can find the Amazfit GTS for around AU$230. You can buy it on Amazon here.
Design & Display
The inspiration is obvious here. The Amazfit GTS tries its best to evoke the look and feel of Apple’s iconic smartwatch. To that end, the wearable boasts a 1.65-inch squared display with 341 ppi. Even at its brightest though, it still comes off as a little dim.
Still, in any light, the form-factor of the GTS is a dead ringer for the Apple Watch. As someone who has always been thrilled by the idea of owning an Apple Watch but dismayed by the ecosystem lock-in it asks in return, this is a big plus.
Even as Android-friendly smartwatches have gotten better and better, most have steered towards circular displays. The square-display here sets the GTS apart and forces the Fitbit Versa into the spotlight as a natural rival.
The only real physical feature here of note is the dial-like button perched on the right-hand side of the screen. Despite appearances, this isn't a brazen attempt to mimicking Apple’s digital crown. It’s just a button that you can use to toggle the wearable in and out of sleep mode or hold down to summon an app-like function screen of your choice.
Like most wearables, the Amazfit GTS charges using a proprietary cradle accessory. This is, for the usual reasons, annoying to use. However, thankfully it doesn’t take too long to charge the GTS up to 100% and it takes a ton of time to run it down. Three days into wearing the device, I still had 67% battery remaining.
Manufacturer Haumi claims you’ll be able to get around 14 days of usage out of a single charge and up to 50 days if you stick the watch in basic mode. In practice, I found it got a little closer to 11 or so days of regular usage.
Features & Performance
As far as functionality goes, the Amazfit GTS ticks pretty much every box when it comes to the basics. Under the hood, the fitness smartwatch features a built-in heart rate sensor and dual-GPS tracking system.
The Amazfit GTS doesn’t feature as comprehensive a library of activity tracking options as something like an Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch would but, if you’re after the usual suspects, they’re not hard to find. You’ve got twelve dedicated exercise modes to choose from. Stuff like running, walking, cycling, climbing, skiing are all easily covered. Since the Amazfit GTS is water resistant up to 50-meters, you can even swim with it.
By default, all the data the wearable generates while worn during workouts being collated by the Amazfit App. This app is OK. It’s easy to set up and use but not striking enough that I wanted to stick with it. Thankfully, Amazfit have made it pretty easy to feed the fitness data here directly into other apps like Apple Health.
In terms of customisation and personalisation, there’s a veritable gulf between what the $230 Amazfit GTS offers and what you’ll get out of an Apple Watch or even the Fitbit Versa 2. Changing the watch face isn’t a particularly elegant process, but it can be done. Most of the options here felt generic and I struggled to find much in a way of a community for third-party watch faces.
Another drawback here is the omission of support for contactless payments. The Amazift GTS lacks any form of NFC connectivity, so there’s no way to use it with Google Pay or anything like that. Still, the Amazift GTS does support answering phone calls, controlling music playback on a connected device and Android notifications.
Unfortunately, there are no third-party apps here. You’re limited to what Amazfit gives you, and they don’t give you a whole lot to work with. The GTS handles the basics well enough, it didn’t long for my appetite for more advanced possibilities to emerge.
What’s more, for all the functionalities it matches, the Amazfit GTS really does fall short when it comes to the overall experience. I’d often take a few seconds of swiping at the screen before the wearable responded to my inputs. I’m not sure if that’s a software or hardware problem, but it’s definitely a problem. With time, interacting with the GTS became laborious enough that I tried to minimize it where possible.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to set-and-forget their tech, those drawbacks aren’t overly egregious but if you’re looking for something that’s as snappy to use as it is to gaze upon, this ain’t it.
The Amazfit GTS can nail the look of an Apple Watch but it can’t match the crisp feel of the moment-to-moment software experience offered by WatchOS.
The Bottom Line
As far as Apple Watch imitators go, the Amazfit GTS is a clear-cut winner. It’s the best I’ve ever seen. It evokes the overall functionality and design without cutting too many corners or feeling cheap to hold and handle. While it does overlook a few key things like NFC connectivity, it manages to include most of the essentials at a reasonable price.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that while the Amazfit GTS nails the form factor of the Apple Watch, it’s got a long way to go when it comes to everything else.
Still, if you yearn for the aesthetics of the Apple Watch and can get down with the notion of only having to charge your smartwatch every two weeks, the Amazfit GTS is easy to recommend. Just don’t expect it to do all that much apart from look the part.
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