When the Amazfit GTS launched in 2019, it made all of us smartwatch aficionados sit up and take notice. That watch looked like an Apple Watch Series 4 and yet cost one fourth its price. Surely, it wasn’t the perfect deal but it got the affordable spectrum of the smartwatch market busy. Last month, the Amazfit GTS 2 came out with a tantalizing design and some notable upgrades to take on new competition from Xiaomi and Realme. It is pricey though and isn’t that great a deal as its predecessor. Also Read - Top smartwatches under Rs 10,000 in May 2021: Realme Watch S Pro, Amazfit GTS 2e and more
Enter the Amazfit GTS 2e. At Rs 9,999, it comes in as the spiritual successor to the original GTS smartwatch. It’s got most of the bells and whistles of the expensive GTS 2 but cuts some corners to keep the price south of the Rs 10,000 mark. It launches alongside the GTR 2e smartwatch, a watch that it shares 80 percent of its features. Also Read - Amazfit T-Rex Pro review: A great fitness tracker that misses out on certain smartwatch essentials
After the rather disappointing experience with the Amazfit GTR 2, I was worried about whether Amazfit did justice to the GTS 2e by just using a new design. Well, Amazfit blew away all my worries in my experience with it over the last two weeks. Also Read - COVID-19 symptoms monitoring: 5 affordable blood oxygen saturation monitoring watches to buy
The Amazfit GTS lineup has always proudly aped the Apple Watch Series 4 and with the second generation, nothing changes. Except for the weirdly curved side housing the rotatable crown, this is easy to mistake for an Apple Watch from a distance. The rectangular display is big and has narrow bezels all around. Despite having just 2.5D curved glass (the standard GTS 2 has 3D curved glass), there’s not a bit on this watch that feels cheap.
Okay, that may be an exaggeration. Amazfit has this obsession to stick to cheap-feeling silicon straps as standard on its expensive GTS 2 and GTR 2 series watches. I wish the company considered offering leather straps or fabric straps to up the ante. These straps, however, are comfortable to wear all day and even during sleep. I never experienced skin irritations or the watch slipping around the wrist.
Despite having a chassis made of aluminum alloy, the GTS 2e doesn’t impart its bulk. Moreover, the GTS 2e has a unisex design compared to the manly look of the GTR 2e (in my opinion). The display has some kind of fingerprint resistive coating and is protected by tempered glass. The display does resist fingerprints well but it gives up occasionally to extremely oily fingers.
The smart stuff
The prime concern of the GTS 2 family of watches is to be a smartwatch first and a fitness tracker later. The GTS 2e takes that mantra quite seriously. It uses the updated proprietary operating system that’s powering all the current generation watches. That means you get smooth animations and tastefully design watch apps as well as beautiful interfaces. Compared to the old GTS, the GTS 2e looks years apart in terms of the interface look & feel.
Weirdly, unlike the more expensive GTR 2, the GTS 2e is faster and opens apps as well as menus without any jitters. The Google discover-like feed still needs optimizations but the rest of the watch is as smooth as butter. The new thermometer, barometer and altimeter functions are part of the main menu that’s now available with one press of the crown.
The GTS 2e does let you choose from a preset selection of watch faces and the ones pre-installed look fine. You can use the Zepp app to download new watch faces from the online store, which updates every few weeks with new faces. Some of the default faces allow for widget customization as well as background wallpaper change. For a watch that costs Rs 9,999, I am more than happy with the customization options available here.
I am also happy with the quality of the display. The 1.65-inch AMOLED display throws out eye-popping colors and does justice to the colorful interface of the watch. All the text and icons appear sharp, which is of big help while reading messages. The auto-brightness system works like charm and under direct sunlight, I was able to clearly read the content. The Always-On display feature is an added bonus for enhancing productivity and the way it adapts the watch face for its minimalist interface is tasteful.
What I don’t like though is the inability to read larger chunks of messages and interact with then in any way. The GTS 2e shows notifications from apps and messages but you can’t reply to them or deal with them. My 2-year-old Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro lets me read full emails and respond to messages, albeit with preset replies. Maybe Amazfit could do something for the GTS 2e in the future? Similarly for calls, you can only reject or silence them, but not answer them. There’s no speaker here like the GTS 2 and that’s why you are paying slightly less for this one.
You still have offline voice commands to play with, although it often sounds stupid to shout to a watch to do basic tasks. Moreover, by the time you are done registering the right command, you will be done with the entire activity with some swipes and button presses. This is just a useless gimmick.
The Zepp app itself needs no introduction. I tested the GTS 2e with my iPhone 12 and surprisingly, it worked well. It never lost connections or forgot to show notifications, which is in stark contrast to the Amazfit GTR 2 that I tested a few weeks ago. The app lets you play with a lot of the watch settings as well as tracking functions. Given that it syncs the data over Bluetooth, it still takes close to a minute to fully connect with the watch.
The health stuff
Despite its focus on being smart, the GTS 2e brings together almost all of Amazfit’s prowess in health tracking. Apart from the usual heart rate tracking as well as step tracking, the GTS 2e can measure your blood oxygen saturation levels, body temperature, atmospheric pressure, altitude, and sleep. If this isn’t enough to impress you, a total of over 90 sports tracking modes should be enough.
Is the tracking reliable? In my daily work routine, I wore the GTS 2e alongside the Apple Watch SE and it did record comparable steps as well as burnt calories. The heart rate data matched on both the watches too. Do note that I set the GTS 2e to record my heart rate data every 30 minutes and it did so with ease, making a graph out of it on the watch. The SpO2 monitoring still takes time to register data and one slight movement makes you restart the process. Since I had no access to the medical-grade device for measurement, I took the data for granted.
The thermometer function gives a rough idea about body temperature. Throughout the cold winter weeks, the watch kept showing average body temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius, which is quite lower than the usual average human body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.
I am no fitness enthusiast and hence, the running, as well as cycling tracking options, never saw the sun. However, I did try out the walking mode and the data tracking was fairly comparable to the Apple Watch SE. It showed my pace, calories burnt, distance, and more. The watch latches on to your phone’s GPS to record the location data as well. The Zepp app creates a detailed graphic report on your phone, which you can use to analyze your workout later.
For the sleepy heads, the sleep tracking function works well to give an estimate of your sleep quality. I wore the GTS 2e on many nights and it did record my exact doze-off times, my deep sleep moments as well as my light sleep moments. It even recorded REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement). Amazfit says the GTS 2e can also track nap times during the day but given that I am not a nap person, I could never try out this feature.
The watch does encourage you to walk around every hour, provided you have switched on the sedentary reminder. You can even keep an eye on your stress levels. You don’t get options to make it remind you to drink water. Additionally, the GTS 2e does not offer female menstrual health tracking, which is weird for a watch that usually has over 90 sports modes to track!
Lastly, there’s Amazfit’s usual PAI system that calculates an overall estimate of all your activities throughout the day and awards you a score out of 100. The more you stay active, the higher your score will be. The PAI system also takes into your consideration your sleep scores, which does help grab higher scores.
The 246mAh battery on the Amazfit GTS 2e promises 14 days of stamina under typical usage, which includes regular fitness tracking modes as well as constant connection to the phone. My usage involved constant pairing with the phone for the whole work hours, always-on display, daily walking mode usage, and 24-hours heart rate monitoring. I had to hunt for the charger after 11 days, which isn’t bad. The bundled magnetic dock when paired to an 18W adapter takes two hours to fill up the battery.
Is the Amazfit GTS 2e worth buying at Rs 9,999? Let’s go over it again. The GTS 2e looks handsome, has a large and stunning display, offers smooth performance, has lots of fitness tracking functions, an overload of sensors, and has enough “smart functions” to keep the geeks happy. Am I missing something that it does not have for an accessible smartwatch? Keeping aside the notification troubles, some missing health tracking modes, and minor glitches, I guess the GTS 2e offers everything an average person seeks.
The question that arises is: should you choose this over the Xiaomi Mi Watch Revolve and Realme Watch S Pro? Both these watches have different design philosophies and are virtually similar underneath. The Mi Watch Revolve is the finest to touch and has similar fitness measurement functions. There’s very little separating it from the Amazfit GTS 2e when you consider the whole package.
Hence, it is completely up to you to choose what appeals the most to you. I am happy to see three great smartwatches at Rs 10,000 with different appeals. If I had to pick one, I would choose the Mi Watch Revolve for its finer build quality.