The Amazfit GTR 42 mm smartwatch is lightweight and comfortable with some nice attention to detail not found on other watches in its affordable price range. From the makers of the popular budget friendly Amazfit Bip, the GTR is an upgrade in both style and function with a variety of colors to choose from. There’s also a 47 mm GTR with even better battery life but this review will focus on the 42 mm GTR.
- Battery life
- Good Fitness Tracking
- Good Build Quality
- No mic or speaker
- No ability to respond to notifications
- No music storage or third-party apps
Amazfit watches are known for their affordability and good battery life but where they sometimes have fallen short in the past was their GPS and heart rate accuracy… at least in my tests.
The GTR has been an improvement in my tests, with the GPS functioning quite nicely and the heart rate sensor keeping up for the most part with both the Garmin Vivoactive 4s and Apple Watch Series 5.
Check the current price and availability of the Amazfit GTR on Amazon.
What drew my attention to the GTR was its look. While the Bip and its close cousin the new GTS (which I am currently testing) are heavily inspired by the Apple Watch in style, the GTR is more its own critter which I appreciate.
The watch case is made of aluminum while the bezel is ceramic with shimmering tick marks that catch the light for a nice effect. It only weighs 25.5 grams while the thickness is a slim 9.2 mm which makes for a super comfortable fit and practical size.
The screen is Corning Gorilla 3 tempered glass with a 1.2″ AMOLED display: 390×390, 326 ppi. In other words, it’s a full color display with good resolution.
It has a waterproof rating of 5 ATM which means it supports swimming. It also has built in GPS+GLONASS and BioTracker PPG heart rate sensor.
Amazfit GTR Sensors:
- ambient light sensor
- PPG heart rate sensor
While the larger 47 mm has a large 410mAh battery for up to 24 days of battery life the 42 mm has a smaller 195mAh battery but still capable of up to 12 days of battery life which is still pretty darn good.
Okay, now that we’re done with the boring specs, we’ll dig into how the watch actually performs!
The GTR is very easy to learn how to use. While it has a touchscreen display it also features two useful buttons on the right side that perform practical actions, which I’ll get into more in a bit.
Swiping to the right or left on the screen will bring up steps and heart rate data. Swiping down will show battery percentage remaining, the date and some quick settings and features such as flashlight, screen brightness, do not disturb settings, battery saver, and lock screen.
Swiping up on the screen will bring up the main menu. It reminds me a lot of the original Ticwatch OS which is a good thing because I was always fond of it.
From the main menu you can view the day’s stats, PAI, heart rate data, access the 12 workout modes, view activity history, the weather, control music playing on your smartphone, view notifications, set alarms, so event reminders and get to other functions such as a compass, timer, count down, and find phone feature.
Through the settings on the watch a new watch face can be selected (more on that too in a bit), set screen-on duration, customize the bottom button to open a variety of functions of the watch such as heart rate, workout, weather, notifications, etc., turn on or off always-on display and view system info where you can shut down or factory reset the watch.
The GTR supports the following activities:
- outdoor running
- outdoor cycling
- indoor cycling
- open water swimming
- pool swimming
- trail running
GPS/Heart Rate Test vs. Garmin Vivoactive 4s
The following are the stats for a short test I did between the GTR and Garmin Vivoactive 4s on a paved bike path. The watches consistently showed nearly the same data throughout the walk for both distance and heart rate.
There was any erratic behavior from either of the watches for heart rate or GPS. The estimated distance from the GTR was 1.19 miles and 1.20 miles for the Vivoactive 4s.
Elevation data differed the most probably because the GTR uses GPS data to determine elevation while I believe the Vivoactive 4s uses its built-in altimeter. GPS data is typically more accurate.
In this case the GTR’s elevation data was more accurate than the Vivoactive 4s but the altimeter on the 4s hadn’t been calibrated.
|Amazfit GTR||Vivoactive 4s|
|Avg HR||104 bpm||103 bpm|
|Max HR||122 bpm||115 bpm|
|Avg Speed||2.58 mph||2.6 mph|
|Max Speed||3.80 mph||3.6 mph|
|Elevation Gain||15 ft||49 ft|
|Elevation Loss||12 ft||23 ft|
|Min. Elevation||182 meters (597 ft)||525 ft|
|Max. Elevation||188 meters (617 ft)|
|Total Distance||1.19 miles|
So, overall the GPS performance of the Amazfit GTR was good. It’s typical behavior that I see from many watches, some much more expensive. This is a location in which I know well and have tested tons of watches so I know what to look for. It did good.
Amazfit GTR in the Gym vs Apple Watch Series 5
I also took the GTR into the gym and did a variety of workouts, getting my heart rate up higher than I did with the GPS test. I compared it against the Apple Watch Series 5. The following data is from a treadmill workout.
|Amazfit GTR||Apple Watch Series 5|
|Avg. HR||111 bpm||110 bpm|
|Max HR||135 bpm||134 bpm|
Again, in this test the GTR kept right up with its competitor, the popular Apple Watch Series 5. The data is nearly identical but I did notice that the Apple Watch was faster at locking in on my heart rate than the GTR. The GTR took a couple minutes to accurately lock onto my heart rate as compared to the Apple Watch and the treadmill’s HR sensor. But once it locked in it was very good.
*The total distance for the GTR is the calibrated distance. This was the first treadmill tests I had done. The GTR allows you to calibrate the actual distance for better accuracy in future activities. I’ll have to see how it performs next time on the treadmill and update you with those results.
The treadmill’s estimated distance was 1.76 miles and the Apple Watch nailed it.
But overall, you can see that the average heart rate, min and max heart rates were very close so I think the GTR can be trusted as a good fitness watch in the gym
I also used it on the elliptical machine, and did some weight lifting and again it was very close to the Apple Watch. For example, on the elliptical machine the average heart rate for the GTR was 119 with a max HR of 139 while the Apple Watch estimated an average HR of 120 and a max of 138.
So, I guess the moral of the story is that the Amazfit GTR 42 mm is pretty darn good as compared to the competition in both the gym and outdoors. Your mileage may vary. If you do high intensity workouts, I would expect the optical heart rate sensor to struggle on any watch.
Optical wrist HR sensors really struggle reading an accurate heart rate during weight lifting but that’s because the wrist is flexing so much. For those types of workouts you really want to look to a chest heart rate strap for the best accuracy. The Apple Watch and The Vivoactive 4s will pair with Bluetooth HR straps while the GTR does not.
However, for most people that do moderate workouts, the GTR should do just fine.
Step tracking on the GTR is a bit conservative when compared to other watches. You can expect lower step counts than what you would see from Fitbit or Apple. Step tracking seems to be accurate during long walks but it will miss some steps from shorter walks – those walks with a total step count of less than 40 steps or so. This is probably meant to prevent the watch from mistaking random arm movements as steps. Many watches do this.
I would estimate that the total daily step count is probably 10-15% lower than the actual steps taken during the day.
You can expect about a week’s worth of battery out of the 42 mm GTR. 12 days is the advertised length and that might be stretching things a bit. If you’re doing regular workouts and tracking your sleep I would expect around a week.
I wouldn’t worry about having 24/7 heart rate monitoring enabled as it doesn’t seem to noticeably affect battery life. You can set the frequency of heart rate measurements down to once every minute when at rest. This will enable more accurate resting heart rate and sleep data and I think a little decreased battery life is worth it.
One thing that does negatively affect battery life quite significantly is always-on display. With that enabled you might get 2-3 days of battery life. with it turned off you’re going to double battery life. So, if you don’t mind charging the watch more frequently, knock yourself out and use always-on display. If not, then turn it off.
There are several watch faces to choose from in the Amazfit app and many look very nice. There are classic styles, masculine, feminine, whimsical, stats heavy, analog, and you name it. New watch faces are added occasionally as well.
Only three watch faces can be stored on the watch at one time with two of them being default watch faces shipped with the watch. The third watch face is the one that you sync from the app. Syncing watch faces over isn’t as time consuming as I’ve found the Fitbit Versa 2 to be but it would be nice to be able to store my favorite 3 or 4 watch faces on the watch to quickly switch between them.
I’m not going to take off too many points for this because there are so many faces to choose from and they don’t look like crap!
Syncing and Bluetooth connectivity with the iPhone XR I tested the watch with was good. The Bluetooth range seems to be a bit shorter than many other watches I’ve tested but I didn’t have to fiddle around to get the watch to sync over activity data. The connection seems to be stable.
Notifications were received reliably. It would be nice to have at least quick replies available to respond to notifications. This feature is not included with the GTR. There’s also no mic or speaker which I always miss on a smartwatch but since I had it paired with an iPhone, Apple wouldn’t let me use those features anyway if they were available.
[Insert snarky comment about Apple here.]
Third party apps are not available for the GTR and neither is music storage but music apps playing on your smartphone can be controlled through the watch and this feature worked quite well.
Sleep tracking is supported on the GTR and I’ve found this to be probably the weakest feature of the watch. Results were so-so. I’ve tested better so if sleep tracking is super important to you then the GTR might not be your thing.
I’m impressed with the attention to detail in the design of the GTR. It’s a good looking watch with good functionality and good fitness tracking. The 42 mm is the ideal size for most people.
I appreciate the two buttons on the watch that allow the wearer to scroll through data screen while working out. Scrolling can also be done using the touchscreen but that’s not too practical when riding a bike, running, or swimming.
Oh, and speaking of swimming. I still need to test how will the GTR does for swimming and I will update those results here soon.
The Amazfit GTR is an improvement over the Amazfit Bip in fitness accuracy and design. It’s an affordable and attractive watch with good fitness features. If you’re wanting a watch to answer phone calls through or respond to text messages you’ll need to look to something else.
If you have an iPhone, I’d recommend the Apple Watch Series 3, 4, or 5 and if you have an Android smartphone you have more options such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, (I rated this very high) and a multitude of WearOS watches. (Links take you to Amazon to view pricing.)
If you don’t care about speaking through your watch or responding to text messages but want an affordable, stylish, capable fitness watch with good battery life then the GTR is a very good option whether you have an iPhone or an Android smartphone. I’ve been impressed by it.
Check the current price and availability of the Amazfit GTR on Amazon.