Amazfit GTS 2 Smartwatch Review

Amazfit GTS 2
Amazfit GTS 2

The Amazfit GTS 2 has that familiar Apple Watch look, but the similarities soon depart. It soon becomes apparent that the GTS 2 is much more focused on fitness than being a smartphone on your wrist, and that’s a good thing if you’re wanting to focus on your health.

Having said that the GTS 2 (available on Amazon) does come with a built-in mic and speaker which is very handy for answering phone calls. This feature only works when paired with an Android smartphone. If paired with an iPhone, you’ll see who is calling but won’t be able to take calls through the watch. Apple only allows this through their own Apple Watch. It’s an Apple thing.

I’ve been wearing the GTS 2 for about a month, and that says a lot about it, because I’m usually ready to ditch a watch I’m reviewing after a week or two and go back to my Apple Watch.

What keeps this watch on my wrist are its impressive health insights and ability to motivate me to be more active. The Apple Watch doesn’t motivate me to move at all.

Probably the best fitness or health feature of the GTS 2 is that it actually takes all my physical activity of the day into account. I get credit for my busy, labor-intensive job. Many fitness trackers and smartwatches only consider timed health activities that you do, such as going for a run, a bike ride, a swim, etc., instead of noticing those time when you’re more physically active, like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, running surgical instruments here, there and everywhere as I do on my job.

I love that about it because one, it gives me a much clearer picture of my true physical activity, and two, it doesn’t paint me as a couch potato when I’ve been physically active.

It also doesn’t just focus on steps. Didn’t walk 10,000 steps a day that you were kayaking for 8 hours? Well, according to a lot of fitness trackers you didn’t do enough that day. You didn’t meet your health goals. You’re a fitness slouch. That’s silly.

Instead, the Amazfit GTS 2 uses PAI. It stands for Personal Activity Intelligence. You’ll get a 7-day score which measures how often you raised your heart rate through activity. The goal is to reach a score of 100 or higher. The goal takes into account your age, maximum heart rate, resting heart rate, weight, etc., so it’s an individualized metric.





I like it. I think it’s a good way to look at overall physical fitness and physical activity. There’s nothing magical about walking 10,000 steps a day. Yes, it’s good for you, but so is lifting weights, swimming, bicycling vacuuming the floor, cleaning out a garage, etc. You’re not a fitness failure if you don’t walk 10,000 steps a day, as long is you’re physically active in other ways.

The Pros of the Amazfit GTS 2

Okay, so I like how it handles physical activity. What else do I like?

  • Lightweight
  • Good Battery Life
  • Excellent Sleep Tracking
  • Stays Connected to My Phone
  • Syncs Quickly
  • Decent Built-in GPS
  • On-baord Music Storage
  • Mic and Speaker
  • Good-Looking Watch Faces
  • Decent Heart Rate Accuracy

Some Cons of the Amazfit GTS 2

Some things I’d like to see improved are: screen readability in bright sunlight, ability to respond to text notifications, support for more app notifications, and a better strap.

The screen is difficult to see in direct sunlight. I can read it, but it could be improved. There’s no ability to interact with text message notifications. It would be nice to have some built-in canned responses, if nothing else. I replaced the strap within the first day or two, but luckily it is very easy to replace with its quick release standard size of 20 mm.

It would also be great to have more physical buttons. The touchscreen is very responsive and works well, but when I’m riding a bike it’s very difficult to swipe. Physical buttons make more sense on a fitness watch.

Now, let’g get to accuracy tests for GPS, heart rate, and other metrics.

Amazfit GTS 2 Accuracy

GPS Accuracy

I tested the built-in GPS of the Amazfit GTS 2 against the Garmin Venu SQ since I’m also testing it out. Also, they are priced similarly and offer much of the same functionality.

Garmin Venu SQ

Below is one test I did on a long bike ride. I also used the Pacer app on my iPhone to determine GPS accuracy. I’m assuming the GPS on my phone is pretty accurate.

Amazfit GTS 2 Data

Total Distance: 12.87 miles
Workout Time: 01:09:49
Average Speed: 11.07 mph
Calories Burned: 436
Average Heart Rate: 130 bpm
Max Heart Rate: 169 bpm
Elevation Gained: 548 feet
Total Climbing: 11,358 feet
Max Speed: 19.27 mph
Paused Time: 00:08:40
Total Time: 01:18:29

Altitude

Uphill: 547 feet
Down: 501 feet
Uphill: 00:14:06; 20%
Downhill: 00:10:41; 15%
Flat: 00:45:02; 65%

Data from the Garmin SQ

Total Distance: 12.77 miles
Workout Time: 01:12:00
Average Speed: 9.6 mph
Calories Burned: 437
Average Heart Rate: 124 bpm
Max Heart Rate: 146 bpm
Elevation Gained: 252 feet
Max Speed: 20.0 mph
Total Time: 01:19:54

Data from Pacer

Total Distance: 12.6 miles
Workout Time: 01:19:20
Average Speed: 9.5 mph
Calories Burned: 563
Average Heart Rate:
Max Heart Rate:
Elevation Gained: 367 feet
Max Speed: 15.4 mph

GTS 2Venu SQPacer
12.87 miles12.77 miles12.6 miles

Heart Rate Accuracy

GTS 2Venu SQ
Max HR169 bpm146 bpm
Ave HR130 bpm124 bpm
Calories436437

By looking over the data, we can see there was a difference in estimated distance. The GTS 2 estimated a longer distance than both the Venu SQ and the Pacer App, but all three gave a slightly different number.

In my experience the GTS 2 distance estimates are little generous, but you’ll have a good ballpark number to work with. I didn’t see any strange behavior in GPS tracking, especially after enabling workout pause.

The heart rate data overall looks similar between the GTS 2 and the Venu SQ, though the max heart rate is quite a bit higher on the GTS. The average heart rate is also higher.

I was wearing the GTS 2 on my left wrist which typically gives me better accuracy. The Venu SQ was on my right wrist where it moved around more. The max heart reading of 146 bpm seemed low to me, because I was really working it at times. It was probably in the 150s here and there. The 169 reading from the GTS is probably too high, but overall the GTS 2 performed well.

It’s the most accurate watch I’ve ever tried, but it’s better than average. If you want a more accurate heart rate during your workouts you’ll want to use a chest heart rate monitor, but both of these watches gave me data that is helpful and within a reasonable range of accuracy.





Screen shots of the Zepp App

Sleep Tracking

The Amazfit GTS 2 has the best sleep tracking of any watch I’ve tried. It’s even better than Fitbit which has always been the best in my opinion. What’s great about the GTS is that it is smart enough to know when you’re awake and when you’re asleep and not just during nighttime hours. It can even detect naps, if they last 20 minutes or longer. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night and fall asleep hours later, it’ll detect when you fell back to sleep.

The sleep score seems accurate too. Sometimes when I slept fewer hours I had a better score because I had more restorative sleep. The watch picked this up. If I woke up still feeling groggy and tired, I had a lower sleep score.

I’m really impressed with the sleep tracking.

Connectivity

I have the GTS 2 paired with a Google Pixel 3A phone. The watch stayed connected reliably, and reconnected quickly when I came back in range of the phone.

Syncing health data, even GPS data, was almost instant. In contrast, the Garmin Venu SQ was painfully slow in syncing data, and often became disconnected from my iPhone XR.

Other Features

There are several watch faces to choose from, and they’re good quality. You can have data galore on a watch face, or choose or more classic, or whimsical watch face to suit your needs and style.

Transferring music to the watch was super easy. Music that I had downloaded to my phone transferred quickly.

You can also control streaming music apps on the watch such as Spotify.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m very happy with the Amazfit GTS 2. If you have an Android smartphone it’s one of the better watches to choose from. You’ll have the full functionality of the watch, including answering and making phone calls through it.

As an iPhone user you may still want to choose a watch like this over the Apple Watch because it has a much longer battery life and is focused so well on physical health in an easy-to-understand fashion.

Battery life was about 3-4 days for me but, that’s with some GPS usage tossed in and the highest heart rate tracking and sleep tracking abilities enabled. You can dial that back a bit and have it measure your heart rate less frequently for even better battery life, but you’ll lose the excellent sleep tracking and other detailed and more accurate health insights.

Check out the Amazfit GTS 2 on Amazon.

The Garmin Venu SQ on Amazon. The full review of the Venu SQ is coming!