I’ve been looking to get a smartwatch for a while now and my eyes have been set out for something cheap, capable, and of course, fashionable. No surprise then when I somehow landed on the Amazfit GTR 2e. Produced by the once small but now very dominant smartwatch brand Amazfit, the GTR 2e is a compact and stylish smartwatch built for the everyday tech consumer.
I’ve got it on my wrist for the last two weeks. If you were like me – looking for a trendy but still functional smartwatch to go with your evening wear – then this review of the GTR 2e should help you decide if It’s worth the $130 Amazfit is charging. Don’t want to waste your time; let’s get right into it.
What’s in the box
The GTR 2E comes with a manual, a portable USB strip charger, the watch itself, and some documentation. Like the watch, the packaging is very stylish. Given that I’ve had to deal with tech packaging from brands like Umidigi this was refreshing.
Design and aesthetics are certainly strong points for the GTR 2e. You can see that Amazfit went all-in with making the watch look, and not just look, but also feel very grand. It’s light as a feather, very portable on the arm, and with all shades of premium written over it despite its less than premium $130 price tag.
Amazfit says the body is made out of an aluminum alloy coated with DLC – diamond-like carbon coating. Up top, the watch is crowned by 2.5D curved glass (which lends to its exquisite and premium look). The GTR 2e comes with a silicone band, and on this particular watch, I’ve got it styled grey, but you could get it all black. Bands are replaceable and come with an easy-to-use latch to that effect.
Underneath that 2.5D glass is a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen. Note that this screen doesn’t completely cover up the watch’s face. So there’s something of a Rim that’s marked by some stylishly executed dashes.
The right side of the GTR 2e houses two smartwatch buttons. The main control button is up top. Just below it is the other button that serves as a quick toggle for the activities menu. The dual button setup looks fantastic on the GTR 2e, and it works to give the watch face a sophisticated look of symmetry. I’ll certainly have this over a single dial.
At the bottom of the GTR 2e, you will find a sensor assembly flanked by the metal charging contact points. The GTR 2e is slightly tapered from down up, making the smartwatch look thinner than it really is. It’s a nice touch, and I especially like how it sinks into my wrist perfectly.
It not all praises, though. In trying to keep the whole design and build on the GTR 2e as trendy as can be, Amazfit has sacrificed some of the protection and durable form factor you’d typically find in budget smartwatches. The 2.5D curved glass looks like it’s just a few bumps away from picking up a scratch or, worst, still cracking up. The aluminum chassis is also bulged out, so it’s also in line for picking up scratches. It’s certainly not a smartwatch built for the rugged outdoors.
Now for some technical bits. Don’t worry; I’ll try to put them in as simple and understandable terms as is possible.
The screen on the GTR 2e is a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen with a 454 x 454 resolution and a pixel density of 326 PPI. Perfectly awesome numbers for the price, and I have no complaints. It’s punchy, it’s vibrant, blacks are black enough, and even under intense sunlight, you can still see the watch face clearly.
The Amazfit GTR 2e is water-resistant under no more than 5 ATM of water pressure. Usually, this is the water pressure at a depth of 5 meters. This means the watch is suited to withstand water splashes, a dip in the pool, and pretty much all the water contact situations you’d encounter on a normal basis – walking in the rain, that kind of stuff. What it is not suited for, however, is diving. If you’re diving, you’re going to get above 5ATM of pressure, fast.
Sensor roll call
At the heart of the GTR 2e sensing mechanism is Huami’s (Amazfit’s parent company) in-house BioTracker 2 PPG Biological data sensor. This sensor unit is able to independently measure your heart rate, oxygen saturation (SPO2) levels, body temperature, and stress levels.
The GTR 2e also comes with auxiliary sensors, including:
- An accelerometer
- A gyroscope
- A 3-axis geomagnetic sensor
- An air pressure sensor
- An ambient light sensor
This sensor setup makes the GTR 2e a good fit for a hiking buddy. It’s a shame the design doesn’t have any of the rugged bits that’d made this perfect for the outdoors. But I guess you can’t eat your cake and have it – I certainly choose stylishness over toughness.
Connection to your mobile device is achieved via Bluetooth 5.0. Because the watch runs on Amazfit’s native OS, the link is via the Zepp App rather than directly to your phone’s operating system. The GTR 2e supports phones running Android 5.0 and upwards and those on iOS 10.0 and better.
Battery capacity and performance
The Amazfit GTR 2e ships with a beefy 471 mAh battery. In my experience, a full charge, which takes 2 hours on average, is enough to power this phone for up to 2 weeks if you keep everything simple – no workouts, sensor settings set to low-frequency sampling, and display on time set to under 5 secs. Workouts and everything else that consumes extra power shortens battery life. However, no matter how hard you crank it up, this watch will still go three extending to four days without needing a charge.
Charging is via a USB-linked magnetic contact charger. The GTR 2e itself has magnetic contacts on its base that latches onto the charger. It’s a pretty neat and simple mechanism, and I’ve not had any issues whatsoever using it.
Like I noted earlier, the view on the Amazfit GTR 2e is projected via a 454 x 454 AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 326 PPI. It’s pretty sharp, and images look vibrant and well saturated.
The colors pop. I can’t count how many times I’ve gotten compliments on the gorgeous look of my watch face from passersby and friends alike. It’s also a responsive screen, so scrolling around the watch menu feels sharp and intuitive.
The only teeny weeny issue I have with the GTR 2e’s screen is the brightness in daylight. So, it’s not all that bright, and I’ve found myself squinting to get a good look at my watch face when I’m under intense sunlight. Again, not a major issue; you can still get a very good look on a typical hot summer afternoon, just that the sun in Nigeria gets a bit dazzling sometimes. And before I forget, this is an AMOLED screen, so you get always-on display functionality that can be turned on from the watch face settings menu. Yeah, this drops battery life a bit, but it’s a feature I’ve found myself turning on every once in a while because the GTR 2e’s screen is that good to look at.
Watch performance and features
Click on the main navigation button on the GTR 2e, and you’ll be ushered into a menu with fourteen menu items: the activities tab, the PAI tab, the heartrate sub-menu, the workout submenu, the activities tab, the stress tab, the SpO2 tab, the weather tab, the music submenu, the alarm submenu, the Events tab, the widgets submenu, the temperature tab and of course the settings sub-menu.
That’s the through and through of it, but here I’ll be focusing on the main noteworthy smartwatch features hosted in these menu items, starting with:
The voice command feature
Amazfit has bundled a voice command feature into the GTR 2e, but don’t get too excited; it’s an offline voice command module with very limited functionality. It’ll do the basic stuff like open the default apps that come with the GTR 2e and attempt to do the more complicated bits like control the music player, but that’s just about it. No voice dialing, voice searching, or any of the stuff you’d find on more premium smartwatches with full-fledged voice assistants.
Yep, just call rejection. On the GTR 2e, there’s no option to answer a call from the watch face, and that’s presumably because the watch doesn’t come with a speakerphone. When a call comes in, the watch vibrates, and you can either reject the call or mute the notification.
The barometric altimeter
Amazfit bundles an altimeter and a barometer into the GTR 2e’s sensor system, and that allows you to take precise pressure and altitude readings at any point. The readings have been fairly accurate in my experience as I compared them to registered altitude and pressure readings for my location.
Fitness and health
Fitness and health functionality is one area where the GTR 2e really shines through. The watch is loaded with all the sensors you’d need to track virtually every fitness and exercise activity, and it’s also backed by a very robust fitness orientated app. Here’s what you can do with the GTR 2e as far as it concerns fitness and health
Track your heart rate
The GTR 2e comes with a heart rate sensor located underneath the smartwatch on its base plate. Once the watch is on your wrist, it automatically takes heart rate readings throughout the day at regular intervals. Alternatively, you could take your heart rate reading by accessing the heart rate app in the app menu.
Track your oxygen saturation levels
There’s an SP02 sensor on the base plate of the GTR 2e. It allows you to measure the oxygen saturation of your blood manually. In case this is your first time hearing about spo2, it’s simply a measure of how much oxygen is bound to your blood cells – the normal range is 95 -100%. Like the heart rate sensor, the sp02 sensor on the GTR 2e is accurate (I benchmarked the readings against those from a clinical-grade pulse oximeter). However, it takes much longer to measure, and it requires you to stay completely still while the measurement is ongoing.
Track your sleep
With its bevy of position and motion sensors, the GTR 2e can precisely track when you go to bed and when you wake up. For all the time I slept with the watch on my wrist, it was on the spot in determining my exact sleep duration. As you sleep, the GTR 2e will also track several health data to develop a rounded sleep score measured over 100. That sleep score will be a measure of how much sleep was deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, or awake time plus your heart rate and breathing pattern through these different sleep periods. There’s a dedicated sleep breathing difficulty metric even. It’s still a beta feature, but it’ll periodically check the quality of your breathing as you sleep.
Measure your stress levels
The GTR 2e combines heart rate data as is maximum heart rate, minimum heart rate, oxygen saturation, and other activity-based metrics over a given period to derive an estimation of how stressed you are.
All-round activity-based tracking
On the GTR 2e, you can track well over 90 different activities and exercises. I’m talking tracking for ballet dancing, fishing, and the likes – think of any activity, and there’s probably a mode for it on the GTR 2e. Even better, the watch can automatically detect some of these activities once you start them, no need to programmatically input it every time you start. Nice.
You also get a step counter and a GPS module for tracking location data as you perform any of these activities. Overall, all data collected by the activity tracker and health sensors are pooled together and used to calculate your Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI). It’s scored over 100, and the idea is that instead of parsing over the fragmented and often granular data provided by each of the GTR 2e’s health and fitness trackers, you can just assess your overall fitness with the PAI score and work with the insights it generates to improve your fitness and health.
The UI on the GTR 2e is simple, practical, and intuitive. Over 10, I’ll score it a strong 8. Control is via two right side-mounted physical buttons and, of course, the touch screen interface. The upper right button is the main control, and clicking it at any point will either pop up the main smartwatch menu or return the GTR 2e’s watch face. Speaking of watch faces, there’s a watch face catalog available in-app to choose from based on your preference. It’s not that extensive, but I’m sure you’ll find more than two or three that are fitting to your taste.
The second button is a shortcut key that can be mapped to a slew of smartwatch functions. There’s a drag from the top menu as well, and when you drag from the bottom, you pop up the notifications panel.
The Zepp app
I noted earlier that the GTR 2e connects via to your mobile device via the Zepp app and not to the phone’s OS itself. The Zepp app is Amazfit’s parent company Huani’s all-round smartwatch, fitness, and health monitoring app. It connects to a whole bunch of other smart devices, and auxiliary apps like Google fit and WeChat to provide a comprehensive overview.
Zepp is in perpetual sync with the GTR 2e. Pretty much every data collected by the watch is transmitted to the app. On the app, this data is used to calculate things like your PAI score and evaluate fine-grain metrics like your breathing cycle. Data stored on the app is historical, so you can track health and fitness points for durations as long as a year compared to the watch tracking system, which refreshes in about a day.
Using the app, however, takes some learning. There’s a complicated bunch of menus and submenus, and it literally took me two days to figure out how to set up the watch to automatically listen for calls and other notifications. Once you’ve figured your way around it, however, you’ll appreciate it for the holistic information it provides.
What’s not to like
For the price, there’s little to hate on the GTR 2e. That said, however, two things that are hard to ignore are:
The screen on delay
Through the time I’ve used the GTR 2e, I’ve noticed a mildly infuriating delay with the screen coming up when I tilt the watch face into view. The delay is such that I have to wait two seconds or three before the watch face lights up. It’s worse – taking longer – when I tilt the face-up after extended periods of activity.
The limited voice control and the lack of speaker
A lot more can be done with voice control, and the GTR 2e’s offline voice control is both limited and if I’m honest, not that accurate. The lack of an external speakerphone means you can’t take calls with this smartwatch, nor can you hear it ring out. One time I spent 30 minutes searching for the watch using its vibration-only device detection function, and it was stressful.
Should you buy the Amazfit GTR 2e
If you’ve read up to this point, I think you should, and here’s why; it’s a delightfully crafted smartwatch with a comprehensive fitness and health tracking module and all that’s priced at a reasonable $130. Sure it’s not ruggedly built, and it lacks some smartwatch features, but all of that is forgivable because it’s still a perfect allrounder – for the price. Again, the design and build quality are outstanding, and the overall value for money spent is superb. I’ve been using this for more than two weeks now. I think I’ll be keeping it as my daily driver, maybe until I review another smartwatch that manages to capture my fancy as much as the GTR 2e did.