Since 2014 Huami has been in the market for wearables. In 2016, however, it only began to gain momentum when unveiled to the world as a subsidiary of Xiaomi. But Huami isn’t precisely what it is. While the company capitalized on its partnership with the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, it is an enterprise of its own with several owners, including Xiaomi.
The company also manufactures products that do not come under the names of Xiaomi and Mi. Huami’s Amazfit brand offers its own wearables line, including Amazfit GTS.
Attractive-looking style with a beautiful display
Touted as a budget version of the Apple Watch, the Amazfit GTS is lightweight and robust. The high-end smartwatch inspires it, there’s no doubt, but the GTS has some benefits over its muse.
This is a smartwatch built to survive the rigors of numerous daily wear and exercise operations, given its performance-based emphasis. An aluminum case with plastic on the case back features the GTS, making things comfortable and lightweight. The watch is just 9.4mm thick as well, which ensures that it’s slimmer than the Apple Watch. It has also been slapped with the same water resistance classification (5 ATM certified) as the smartwatch from Apple, making it suitable for a shower and a pool swim.
Such an excellent quality display is what’s very exciting to see on a watch at this price. In a 1.65-inch square display, Corning Gorilla 3 tempered glass secures the oval AMOLED display. This crisp display is supported with a 348 x 442 pixel resolution at 341ppi, and the NTSC color spectrum completes the vivid color experience. There’s quite a sizeable screen bezel, but it does a decent job of being masked by the available watch faces. An always-on display mode ensures that it can still function much like a regular watch that always holds the time in focus.
While this body is made from aluminum alloy, there is a basic on/off button on its side. It also comes in a standard size and six color variants. The 20mm-wide strap can be easily replaced with 3rd party watch straps.
Fast performance and smooth software
To deliver the GTS software interface, Huami uses its own operating system, and there’s also the Amazfit companion mobile app (Zepp). We had no problems combining the watch with the app, and it syncs beautifully and easily with the data on the devices. The watch can also sync to Strava as well as Mi Fit.
We could tell from our experience, performance-wise, that the watch app works amazingly well. When swiping between screens, although there is a little bit of latency, the GTS generally runs without problems as well as launching modes and for general use.
It’s pretty straightforward in terms of what you get in the way of a software experience on the watch. The watch faces are upfront, containing two very Apple-like interchangeable faces out of the box, which have adjustable widgets for features such as heart rate and weather forecasts. There is a large selection of additional watch faces that you can find inside the companion app, but it is apparent that the two preloaded modular ones are the better looking of the lot.
Incredible features such as a proprietary BioTracker
The Amazfit is almost as packed as its spec sheet when it comes to features. It includes some smartwatch features found in higher-end fitness trackers, such as music control, smartphone alerts, and an optional always-on display. You can use the GTS to control music for starters, but only if it is already playing on your phone (you can’t launch a playlist from your watch). And you can’t respond to notifications as well while you can access updates from your smartwatch.
There is also plenty of onboard health tracking technologies on the Amazfit GTS, including built-in GPS, a six-axis accelerometer, a three-axis geometric sensor, and the proprietary BioTracker optical heart rate sensor from Huami. The GTS records steps, speed, distance, burned calories, heart rate, and Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) score automatically. PAI is a “score” that evaluates your fitness level by taking your individual stats into account (age, gender, resting heart rate, and maximum heart rate). It is harder for someone who is in good shape to get a high score than someone who has never worked out before. Your PAI score is measured over a rolling seven-day cycle, and your risk of cardiovascular disease can be minimized by keeping it above 100.
It also has 12 manual workout modes — seven GPS activities (outdoor running, walking, outdoor biking, open-water swimming, hiking, skiing, and mountain running) and five non-GPS activities (treadmill, indoor cycling, pool swimming, elliptical trainer, and freestyle).
Long battery life that can last as long as 14 days
Amazfit’s watches have been renowned for offering fantastic battery life, and that doesn’t change for the GTS. We did enjoy the battery life of the GTS. The 220mAh battery comfortably lasted the promised 14 days, even with auto-brightness switched off, and constant heart rate tracking and alerts turned on.
The basic watch mode – which means disabling, among other features, heart rate tracking and Bluetooth – gives you an incredible 46 days if you just want to push things further.
If the battery is low, the status alerts pop up to let you know. However, there are no power-saving modes to keep stuff running here. Charging is done in about two hours by the tiny charging cradle that drives the watch from zero to 100 percent.
The verdict: Huami Amazfit GTS
The GTS really does well as a smartwatch and keeps things to the basics. So if you care about reading notifications and not much else, it will do the job, but it is not really smart. For applications such as contactless payment support, message responses, apps, and so on, you’d have to look elsewhere.
In the end, with its excellent battery life, the Amazfit GTS delivers a pretty good smartwatch experience and trumps the Apple Watch, especially in its pricing. Look no further than the Amazfit GTS if you are hunting for one of the best cheap smartwatches in the market.
Performance8/10 Very good
- Clear and vibrant display
- Comfortable for 24/7 wear
- 2-weeks battery life
- Not very original design
- Can't respond to notifications
- Slow watch face syncing