But what if you don’t have hundreds of pounds to spend on the latest big-brand ‘wearable’, but still like the idea of being able to monitor your health and fitness, receive phone notifications and more, on the go? Enter Amazfit.
The Hong Kong-based brand offers much of the same functionality at way lower price points. Is this too good to be true?
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro smartwatch details and specifications
Amazfit’s top-end watch tech comes in three forms – square-faced (GTS), ‘ruggedized’ (T-Rex) and round-faced (GTR), all with slightly different feature sets.
While tempted by the Casio G-SHOCK-style T-Rex 2 – with claimed 24-day battery life – it would’ve dwarfed my skinny wrist. Instead, I went for the smaller GTR, which is elegant enough to do double duty as a ‘daily driver’ for office use.
I tested the 3 Pro model – Amazfit’s most expensive offering, but still very affordable compared to the £700+ Garmin Fenix 7.
It looks smart, with a smooth finish to the case and only minimal branding on the strap. At just 58g, it’s light and comfortable to wear. It’s waterproof to 50m, and I wore it for swimming with no problems.
You get a full-colour, 1.45in, 480x480p AMOLED display. Navigation is via touchscreen and two (programmable) physical buttons. It runs on parent company Zepp Health’s (formerly Huami) latest OS.
The software isn’t the most refined, but I was able to link it to my phone easily enough and slowly get my head around the rather confusing multiple menus.
Amazfit’s ‘BioTracker PPG 3.0’ optical biometric sensor monitors blood-oxygen saturation (useful for those with respiratory problems or for riding at altitude) as well as the usual metrics, such as heart rate, breathing, stress and sleep quality.
Other built-in features include GPS (with support for the five main navigation systems), a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass and temperature sensor, plus a music player.
Connect the watch to your phone via Bluetooth and you can make and receive calls, as well as monitor texts and other notifications. This is useful when riding because it means you don’t have to scrabble around in your pocket for your mobile.
You can even view weather forecasts or enable offline Amazon Alexa voice activation. Via the Zepp phone app, you can analyse your data, download watchfaces and more.
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro smartwatch performance
One of the GTR 3 Pro’s biggest features is its claimed 12-day battery life with typical usage; that depends on which features you have enabled, but I found its 450mAh battery would last well over a week on a single charge, with the Bluetooth connected all day and the GPS activated for a couple of rides.
Operation certainly isn’t as slick as with the best watches in its class.
The touchscreen doesn’t always respond first time. The display can be slow to ‘wake’ when you turn your wrist and, while the GTR 3 Pro should automatically recognise when you begin cycling, I found I often had to manually activate the workout mode instead.
You don’t get mapping or navigation, either. I found the sleep tracker often mistook lack of movement for light sleep, too, but that’s an issue I’ve had with other smartwatches.
In terms of accuracy, I was reasonably impressed. Blood oxygen readings were consistently just one per cent lower than with an oximeter.
Resting heart rate also tallied, but when riding, the GTR struggled to keep up with spikes and drops in exertion.
Again, that’s a common issue with optical (wrist) rather than pulse-based (chest) HR monitoring.
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro smartwatch bottom line
If you’re after a dedicated sports watch for serious training, you’re better off looking elsewhere.
But if you’re smartwatch-curious and like the idea of getting notifications on the move and being able to track basic fitness data, the GTR 3 Pro is well worth considering.