Ameya DalviNov 23, 2021 09:34:04 IST
Among the multiple fitness watches Amazfit has launched in India, the GTR series remains my personal favourite, thanks to the circular dial, sharp AMOLED display, reliable fitness tracking and excellent battery life. We now have the third-generation watch from the series for review. Just like the second generation, Amazfit has launched two variants in the GTR 3 series. While they were called GTR 2 and 2e then, the company prefers GTR 3 and 3 Pro now.
The GTR 2e was the more affordable variant of the two then, and the GTR 3, that we will be looking at closely today, performs that role in this generation. In comparison to the GTR 2, it has fewer features, but boasts of better battery backup as well as newer sensors and user interface. So, let’s see what has changed and what hasn’t with this latest fitness watch from Amazfit.
Little change on the design front
Not much has changed here, and the GTR 3’s design is almost identical to the GTR 2’s with narrow bezels and a curved glass that almost covers the outer ring. The hour markers are present on the periphery that blend with several analogue watch faces making the watch feel completely bezel-less. It has a round dial, and the stainless-steel body is replaced with aluminium alloy. It still feels as sturdy, but the weight has dropped further to 32 grams (without straps).
Unlike the previous GTRs, you do not get faux leather straps on the GTR 3; the default straps here are made of silicone. They still have a standard 22 mm width, and you can replace them with any third-party straps of the same width. The watch is extremely comfortable to wear for long hours, and the straps have a wavy pattern underneath for better airflow to minimise sweating and skin irritation after prolonged use.
A couple of physical buttons grant you quick access to the watch features and fitness modes, along with the touchscreen. The top button on the GTR 3 has a crown that can be rotated to scroll through the menus and data. It is a cool feature to have when you wish to scroll through the data without blocking the screen.
Good old AMOLED display with some interesting new watch faces
The excellent 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels and a 326 ppi pixel density from the Amazfit GTR 2 has been carried forward to the GTR 3: no complaints there. The touchscreen has a layer of tempered glass to protect it from scratches, and an anti-fingerprint coating to reduce the smudge marks. I guess both work well as the screen is scratch-free even after weeks of usage, and you don’t need to wipe the screen clean frequently either.
The screen has auto and manual brightness controls and is legible outdoors even under bright sunlight, but you need to push the bar closer to peak brightness. Indoors, the screen is bright enough even at 50 percent. As always, you can turn it on by flicking your wrist. There are two sensitivity settings for that – Standard and Sensitive; the latter works better in the GTR 3. You can also press either of the physical buttons to turn the screen on. The ‘lift wrist to wake’ feature can be scheduled to stay off during your sleep hours.
The Always On display option is available but it does drain the battery considerably. Better to keep it off and flick the wrist when you want to check the time or notifications, rather than leaving it on all the time and letting it consume battery. Watch face collection is generally good with Amazfit and it is no different for the GTR 3. The watch comes preloaded with a handful of watch faces, some of which can be customised to display a variety of information like steps count, calories burned, heart rate and more.
There are about a hundred more available in the Zepp app. You also get animated watch faces for the GTR 3 and the preloaded ones look quite cool. But again, they consume extra battery, and the watch does give you a hint that they are ‘power intensive’. You can store quite a few faces on the watch itself. As always, I tried adding a dozen faces and the watch did not complain.
User interface and Zepp app both get a makeover
As with all Amazfit watches, you need to download the Zepp app, and sync your device with it over Bluetooth. The process felt a lot smoother than before. Unlike earlier, you can now control several features of the GTR 3 from the watch itself without the need to go to the app. But certain watch settings, fitness goals, reports and addition of watch faces are accessible only from the app. The overreliance on the app keeps decreasing with every generation, which is a good thing.
The UI seems peppier now with lively colours and cooler animations, but not very different from before in terms of functionality. It’s a good thing Amazfit did not tinker around with it much as it was clean and easy to use, and remains that way. You need to swipe down on the home screen for settings, swipe up to access notifications, and swipe left or right to browse through various widgets like daily goals progress, heart rate, sleep data and more. The top physical button acts as a shortcut for all the watch functions and doubles up as a home button from any screen. The other button gives you quick access to all workout modes.
Finally, the app interface has undergone a change that was long overdue. It feels cleaner, more intuitive and with related settings grouped together. Even someone new to the platform should be able to find his or her way around. All your fitness cards are grouped together on the home screen, and they can be shuffled around as per your choice. They display your heart rate, stress and blood oxygen levels, sleep data, steps count and more. The Health tab shows your workout data and lets you set goals. The third tab (Profile) is mainly about managing the settings of the watch as well as personal information.
Fewer smartwatch features for now
Like most fitness watches not based on platforms like Wear OS, the smart options are limited. However, the Zepp OS that this watch runs has supposedly opened up to app developers to have third party apps on the platform. It’s still very early days but things may get interesting before long. For now, the Amazfit GTR 3 lets you reject or silence calls from the watch screen. Unlike the GTR 2, this watch does not have a speaker to answer the call from the watch itself. Another thing missing is internal storage to store music on the watch.
The screen is large enough to read all the notifications and messages clearly that you choose to enable, but you cannot reply from the watch. You can opt for notifications from almost all apps on your phone, along with event reminders and weather updates. Just like its predecessor, the GTR 3 supports offline voice commands as well as Alexa support. While the latter is still elementary, the former still doesn’t work as intended. When I asked for the oximeter, it opened the barometer; too much performance pressure, I suppose.
Fairly reliable fitness tracking and faster measurements
Fitness tracking is where the GTR 3 shines courtesy the new BioTracker PPG 3.0 biometric sensor that can monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, stress levels and sleep. The first three parameters can be monitored round the clock if you so wish. One big improvement is the speed of SpO2 measurements that used to take forever in the GTR 2. Here it takes anything between 15 to 30 seconds if you stay still, and that’s brisk. Even better, this watch has one tap measurement for four health parameters in 45 seconds. It measures your heart rate, oxygen level, stress level and breath rate at one go. The readings are reasonably accurate.
The Amazfit GTR 3 can track over 150 different activities and sports that includes your usual walking, running, cycling, swimming, strength training and more. It tracks your outdoor activities perfectly, courtesy of the GPS module that supports various satellite navigation systems. The indoor tracking isn’t bad either, but the steps counter is a little on the conservative side and under-reports steps, but doesn’t report false steps, which is good. The watch is 50 metres water resistant and can be worn for a swim.
The company claims that this watch can auto-detect eight workouts including indoor and outdoor walking, but neither worked for me. Even after 30 minutes of walking, the particular workout did not start automatically. All the fitness data is available in the Zepp app with a neat daily, weekly and monthly breakdown of various fitness activities you indulged in. It also displays a weekly PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) score, that gives you an idea of how active you have been during the period. The goal is to score 100 points each week.
Sleep tracking works well here. The overall sleep duration from the time I fell asleep till I woke up seemed perfect. It tracks the quantum of light sleep, deep sleep, REM periods and awake time. Unlike GTR 2, the REM sleep information is available here from the get-go. You get a sleep score and some advice based on the quality and quantity of sleep. You can also measure your stress levels manually or set it to all day monitoring. Stress is calculated on the basis of your heart rate variability. There are a lot more interesting features for you to explore on this watch, but I will stop here to keep the length of this review in check.
Battery life is better than GTR 2, but not better than GTR 2e
The battery capacity has been reduced slightly from 471 mAh to 450 mAh, but the company claims the battery can last a week longer up to 21 days on a single charge with typical usage. In real-world testing with sleep monitoring for five days, heart rate monitoring set to one minute, stress monitoring at five-minute intervals, two hours of GPS usage in a week, two SpO2 readings daily, the battery lasted close to 19 days. Use of animated watch face drops it to a fortnight.
The GTR 2 used to last for close to 18 days on a relatively lighter load. With that load, the GTR 3 should be able to get closer to the advertised 21 days. These are excellent battery backup figures only surpassed by the first Amazfit GTR and GTR 2e that could go past three weeks each on a full charge. The bundled magnetic charging base can charge this watch in under two hours.
Price and verdict
The Amazfit GTR 3 sells for Rs 13,999 in India with a one-year warranty. For that price, you get a stylish fitness watch with an excellent AMOLED display, built-in GPS, reliable fitness tracking, 5ATM water resistance and a solid battery backup. The watch may be lacking a couple of features from the GTR 2 that is priced a thousand rupees lower, but the newer sensors and UI more than make up for their absence. The overall experience was extremely positive.
The real challenge may come in the form of the GTR 2e that’s priced at Rs 9,999 and sells for a couple of thousand rupees lower in online sales. It looks identical to the GTR 3, has most of its features and offers a higher (up to 24 days) battery backup. We do not know if the newer UI will be available on the 2e anytime soon, but it surely won’t have the newer sensors present on the GTR 3. However, at that price, it remains a tempting deal. If you do not mind paying a small premium for the upgrades, the Amazfit GTR 3 won’t disappoint you at all.
Price: Rs 13,999