Ameya DalviJul 23, 2021 14:25:58 IST
Amazfit has been steady in launching affordable fitness watches in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment, that are fairly reliable and feature-rich. It was quite natural for the company to release successors for their GTR and GTS models, namely the GTR 2 and GTS 2. But soon after their release, Amazfit launched two more models with the ‘2e’ suffix that look quite similar, have comparable features, but with better battery backup and are more affordable. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? We got the GTS 2e for review, and here’s what we think about it.
Elegant design and comfortable to wear
While the Amazfit GTS 2e still retains the rectangular shape of its predecessor, the design has more finesse. There is a fluidity in the design, and you will find absolutely no rough edges on this watch. The way the right edge curves a little extra to accommodate the only button on this watch is pretty cool. A 2.5D tempered glass merges seamlessly into the rectangular aluminum alloy frame made.
The company has managed to keep the weight of this watch down to 25 grams (without strap) despite the additional sensors; an impressive feat. The Amazfit GTS 2e is extremely comfortable to wear for long hours. The silicone strap doesn’t cause sweating or skin irritation, and can be replaced with any standard 20 mm strap, in case you don’t like the ones included. I am always happy to see the standard pin buckle design for straps. There’s a single physical button that allows you to browse through the menus and access different functions of this watch in conjunction with its touchscreen display.
Sharp display with better watch faces
Just like the GTS, the Amazfit GTS 2e has a sharp 1.65-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 348 x 442 pixels that translates to a 341 ppi pixel density, which is impressive. The touchscreen is protected against scratches by a layer of tempered glass and has an anti-fingerprint coating that works very well. The screen has auto as well as manual brightness controls, and is perfectly legible outdoors even under bright sunlight. You need to flick your wrist to turn the screen on. If that doesn’t work, you can always press the physical button. Strangely, double tap doesn’t wake the screen up.
The ‘Normal’ sensitivity mode here isn’t as responsive as in other Amazfit watches, and it’s better to choose the ‘Sensitive’ option to wake the screen every time you flick your wrist. You can also schedule to turn off this option from the app during your sleep hours. Unlike its predecessor, you get a good variety of watch faces for the Amazfit GTS 2e in the companion app, and the transfer process is fairly brisk. A few preloaded watch faces can be customised to display a variety of information of your choice from step count, calories burned, heart rate, battery and more. Quite a few faces can be stored on the watch itself, which is good.
Simple user interface and a feature-rich app
As with all Amazfit watches, you need to download the Zepp app, add your device there and sync it over Bluetooth. Setup takes a bit of time initially, but things work smoothly thereafter. You can control several aspects of the watch such as screen brightness and activity selection from the device screen itself, but certain watch settings can be accessed and configured only from the app. Over-reliance on the app has gone down drastically in comparison to the first GTS. After the initial configuration, you mainly need it to add watch faces, set your fitness goals, get daily/weekly/monthly fitness reports and manage alerts and notifications.
The app interface hasn’t undergone much change over the past couple of years, and has started to feel a bit dated. It needs to be a bit more intuitive too, with related settings grouped together rather than being scattered across multiple tabs. But it does provide ample details about different aspects of your fitness activities. The watch UI is easy to use. All you need to do is swipe down on the screen for quick settings, swipe up to access notifications, and swipe left or right to browse through certain functions such as heart rate, PAI, daily goals progress etc. You can choose which options to display and in what order from the app. The physical button acts as a shortcut for all watch functions and also doubles up as a home button.
Performance is generally good, but the oximeter is temperamental
The Amazfit GTS 2e is essentially a fitness tracker with a few smartwatch functions thrown in. You can mute or reject calls from the watch screen, and can read your messages, however, you cannot reply from the watch. You can opt to receive notifications from almost all the apps on the phone, along with event reminders and weather updates. Like most fitness watches not based on platforms like Wear OS or Tizen, there is no app ecosystem. You have to make do with what comes preinstalled, and there’s plenty.
The Amazfit GTS 2e has 90 different sports modes derived from 12 main types of exercises — indoor and outdoor — including walking, running, cycling, swimming and more. It also auto-detects six workouts — Outdoor Running, Treadmill, Walking, Outdoor Cycling, Pool Swimming, and Elliptical. While it tracks your outdoor activities perfectly, courtesy of the built-in GPS, the indoor tracking is a bit inaccurate. The steps counter often reports fewer steps when out of GPS coverage, but doesn’t report false steps. Also, the distance recorded by GPS tracking and the one displayed in the app are out of sync, with the app reporting lower figures.
The GTS 2e is 5ATM water resistant, so you can wear it to the swimming pool when they reopen. The watch supports continuous heart rate monitoring, and you can choose the frequency of monitoring down to 1 minute. Ideally, keep the “Activity Detection” setting switched on. When the watch detects some physical activity, it automatically increases the monitoring frequency for more accurate readings and analysis. After you are done with the workout, the frequency drops again to save battery. All the fitness data is available in the app and it presents you with a daily, weekly and monthly breakdown of various fitness activities engaged in during that period.
The sleep tracking feature works well. It gets the overall sleep duration spot-on from the time you actually fall asleep until you wake up. It tracks the quantum of light sleep, deep sleep and awake time. REM sleep information is off by default and needs to be enabled from the app. You can also measure your blood oxygen level while asleep; this feature is in beta and does seem a bit undercooked for now. Best to avoid it and save battery. The watch can also measure your stress levels; you can check them manually or set it to all-day monitoring. Stress is calculated on the basis of the wearer’s heart rate variability.
The Amazfit GTS 2e has a couple of new features compared to the first GTS. It supports offline voice commands and also has Alexa support, which is neat, but can do with a coat of polish. The GTS 2e also has a temperature sensor and can serve as a basic thermometer. This watch also has an SpO2 sensor (oximeter) to measure blood oxygen saturation, but it’s a bit temperamental. It takes about 40 seconds to get a measurement, and it often gets it wrong if your hand isn’t steady enough with the watch face pointing upwards. Often, I had to repeat the process twice or thrice to get a correct reading, which makes it far from reliable.
Good battery life
There is one thing we have come to expect from Amazfit watches, and that’s solid battery life. The Amazfit GTS 2e delivers in that department. The company claims a battery life of 14 days on a single charge under typical usage scenarios. In real-world testing with sleep monitoring turned on for a week, heart rate monitoring (HRM) set to 1 minute, cumulative use of GPS for close to 3 hours during testing and five SpO2 readings per day, the battery lasted just under 10 days on a single charge.
These are pretty good figures, though not the best. With an HRM frequency of 5 minutes, fewer oxygen readings in a day and less use of GPS, it may last closer to two weeks. The built-in 246 mAh battery takes less than 2 hours to charge fully with the bundled magnetic pin charger.
Price and verdict
The Huami Amazfit GTS 2e sells for Rs 9,999 in India with a one year warranty. This is the same price that the first GTS was launched at, and is quite reasonable. For that price, you get a feature-rich, GPS-enabled fitness watch with a sharp AMOLED display, 5ATM water resistance, a variety of fitness modes and sensors and good battery backup. The only problem here is the competition, and even more so, the in-house competition. There are a handful of options from Amazfit that sell for the same price or lower, currently.
Typically, the Amazfit GTS series watches are the corresponding GTR series models in a more compact and rectangular form factor. I personally prefer the bigger, round dial that you get on GTR, but if you prefer the latter with a bit of resemblance to the Apple Watch, the GTS is the series for you. The price of the first GTS is down to Rs 5,999 which makes it a tempting deal if you can live without the SpO2 sensor and voice commands. The oximeter isn’t exactly the strong point of the GTS 2e, thus making the case for the GTS stronger, given its lower price.
If you cannot live without the SpO2 sensor, you have the Amazfit GTR 2e for the exact price as the GTS 2e with a larger screen and even better battery backup. If you wish to stick to the same form factor, there’s also the GTS 2 Mini for a good Rs 3,000 less. So while the Amazfit GTS 2e may not be a bad fitness watch, it is not a straightforward recommendation, given the above factors, and there is every chance of it getting lost in the home crowd.