• Rush Job: A Quick Review of The Amazfit GTR

    On the left, my cheap and cheerful Amazfit Bip; on the right, Amazfit's newer, more premium GTR. You can probably guess by the step count which one I prefer, but you would also be correct to say that this isn't even a fair comparison—the GTR is closer in looks, features, price and name to Huawei's GT.

    For my GTR I paid $199.94 CAD, a promotional launch offer from Gearbest. Here's how I got on with it...

    1.39 inch 454 x 454 pixel AMOLED display
    47.2 mm aluminum alloy case
    22 inch quick-release leather and silicone strap
    (unknown processor, OS)
    16 MB RAM / 40 MB storage
    410 mAh battery, 1.5 to 2 hours charging time
    Bluetooth 5.0
    5 ATM IP rating

    Battery Life
    Amazfit's bold claim of 24 days between charges doesn't seem all that far-fetched; in the 10 days that I've used it the battery has lost only 20% of its initial charge.

    There are two physical buttons on the GTR's right side but only one of them is remappable. The one positioned at two o'clock (with the red colouring under the pusher) can only turn the display on or off. The four o'clock button can be mapped to the app or function of your choice, but you'll have to press it twice to get there. This is because the first press will light up the display, just like the other button. So the point of the first button is...?

    The screen and default watch face are undeniably fetching, but can only stay lit for up to eight seconds at a time before adversely affecting battery life. And unlike Wear OS there's no option for an always-on display. This ended up bothering me a lot more than I thought it would.

    I also found the glossy notches on the bezel to be a bit distracting, but they do give you something to look at when the screen is blank. Which is often. There's a lift-to-wake function, at least.

    Fitness Tracking
    With onboard GPS and a heart-rate sensor fitness tracking is generally very good. Workouts are logged in the Amazfit app (for either Android or iOS), which seems to be an exact copy of the Xiaomi Mi Fit app. For some reason I can only use Mi Fit with my Bip, and only the Amazfit app with the GTR. Kooky.

    Music Controls
    You can use the GTR to control music or podcasts from your phone, with one big caveat: the OS on this watch doesn't seem to multitask, so if you're tracking a workout while listening to audio you won't be able to access music controls until your workout is done. I guess because battery life...?

    Notifications are similarly half-baked. With Wear OS or even my Bip they're always accessible from the main screen via a single swipe; on the GTR if you miss an incoming notification you'll have to navigate to where they live in the app menu, or assign a shortcut via the second hardware button. I feel pretty strongly that notifications are a critical function for smartwatches, and on this particular watch it doesn't seem like Amazfit gave enough thought to them.

    Also, like other Amazfit watches, there's no emoji support.

    Or widgets, or whatever you want to call them, the GTR's also got them. But they are limited in number to two: heart rate and step count. They live on either side of your watch face, an unnecessary redundancy. Wouldn't it be great if you could put a shortcut to, say, the weather on one side of your watch face instead? You can do this with the Bip, but not with the GTR.

    If you think the Bip looks like a cheap plastic toy but you don't want all the bells, whistles or the high cost of entry to Wear OS then you might be a good candidate for the GTR. I personally found too many missed opportunities in the UI to overcome the very basic OS. And maybe my expectations for smartwatches are too high but I 100% hate looking at dead screens, most of all on my own wrist.

    If you were still interested, the GTR is currently an online exclusive at Gearbest.com

    Andrew Currie has been blogging about mobile phones since 2001, smartphones (depending on how you define them) since 2002 and smartwatches since 2014.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Rush Job: A Quick Review of The Amazfit GTR started by acurrie View original post
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