Huami Amazfit GTS Smartwatch Review: A high-quality copy
Well copied. Smartwatches are becoming more popular, with OEMs now bringing cheaper models to market too. Apple remains a big player in the sector with its Watch, so it should come as no surprise to see other manufacturers basing their attempts on its design. The Huami Amazfit GTS bears an uncanny resemblance to the Apple Watch while costing a lot less. Its price alone should be reason enough to check out what this cheap smartwatch has to offer.
Originally the unknown developer behind the Xiaomi Mi Bands, Huami has since developed a wide range of products and sells wearables for every budget. The company not only offers in-house designs like the Amazfit Verge Lite but also takes a seemingly unashamed slice of inspiration from other OEMs.
The Amazfit GTS, our focus for this review, falls into the latter category. As you may have noticed, Huami's latest smartwatch looks like the Apple Watch 5. The Amazfit GTS is more than a mere copy though, with its AMOLED panel, GPS and 50 metres of water resistance all worth mentioning. The smartwatch can even work without being tethered to a smartphone, something of which not all its competitors are capable.
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|Specifications: Huami Amazfit GTS|
|Sensors||3-axis magnetic field sensor, 6-axis accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, barometer, optical heart-rate monitor|
|Connectivity||GNSS, GPS, GLONASS|
|Other components||Bluetooth 5.0 / BLE|
|Display||1.65-inch AMOLED348x442 (340 PPI)Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Other||Up to 50 metres water resistance|
Huami includes a USB charging adapter in the box, along with a user manual. The Amazfit GTS currently costs around US$140 in most markets, although this includes local sales taxes that would not apply in the US.
Set-up & Installation
The Amazfit GTS requires hardly any set-up once unpacked. All you need to do is download the corresponding app on your smartphone and pair it with the watch via Bluetooth. The watch displays a QR code that should take you to the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store when scanned, but the one that our review unit produced did not work for some reason. You must also create a profile on the app before using the watch, but that did not take long to complete in our experience.
Our review unit received a system update during our initial set-up, which improves system performance. Huami squashed some bugs with the update too, including text being cut off at the edge of the display.
Huami stores user profiles on its servers, which can be compared anonymously with data from other user accounts. While the accompanying smartphone app allows you to choose which notifications to display on the watch and the order of its menu items, our review unit proved to be rather stubborn. The weather app, for example, would only display a forecast about 15 km away from where we were. Also, it would not recognise any closer towns by name or postcode, for some reason.
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Case & Connectivity
As we mentioned earlier, the Amazfit GTS looks a lot like the Apple Watch 5. There are some subtle differences between the two devices, though. Huami has positioned the crown, which responds to pressure rather than turns, at the middle of the watch rather than the top as with the Apple Watch 5. Incidentally, the crown can still be turned freely. The Amazfit GTS also has traditional lugs for attaching straps, rather than the proprietary solution that Apple opted for with its Watch series.
Huami has covered the AMOLED display with 2.5D glass that curves slightly as it meets the metal chassis, which is pleasingly sturdy. We should point out that the display has comparatively wide bezels, which we measured at approximately 3 mm. We only noticed these when scrolling, though. Huami has opted for a plastic back, which is where the watch's two charging pins are located. These magnetically attached to the bundled charger, but only when we find the correct orientation. These pins are flanked by optical heart-rate sensors too.
While Huami claims that the Amazfit GTS can withstand being submerged in up to 50 metres of water, the instructions that it included in the box warn that the watch is unsuitable for diving or for activities in fast currents. The company advises to keep the watch away from jets of water too, like when showering or in the sauna.
The Amazfit GTS comes with a 12-month limited manufacturer's warranty, for reference.
Huami has equipped the watch with an ambient light sensor, allowing it to adjust its brightness automatically. You can change brightness manually too with an onscreen slider. The display does not get that bright, but it is enough to use the watch outdoors even on sunny days. Hence, you should never encounter any readability issues in our opinion.
The Amazfit GTS also has a 220 mAh lithium-ion battery that should last for around 14 days between charges with all its functions enabled. Huami claims that the device will only need recharging every 46 days in watch mode. Our review unit needed recharged every month after only moderate use, though. We mainly used the device as a watch during this time, only recording an activity two or three times a week.
Operation and Software
While you must enter key data and structure menu items on the smartphone app, all other tasks can be done on the watch. Its touchscreen responded accurately during our tests, while the glass covering it has a smooth finish that is resistant to fingerprints.
The system includes languages other than just Chinese and English too, including German as our photos below demonstrate. We encountered no mis- or untranslated parts of the UI during our tests, either.
The start screen shows the time, date and weather forecast, along with the battery level, kilocalories burned that day and your heart rate. Swiping left or right brings up the pedometer and detailed heart-rate information, while a secondary swipe brings you back to the home screen. Swiping down brings up the app drawer, which includes the sports and activities list, along with an app for controlling music on your smartphone. There is a compass and timer among others too. The watch also includes a separate settings menu for customising the home screen or activating an alternative display with "analogue" clock hands. The smartphone app has a section for downloading more watch faces too.
While we are on the topic, the smartphone app is comprehensive and provides the watch with all your vital data. You can input not only your size, weight and age but also on which hand you wear the watch. The app allows you to customise whether the watch should record your pulse and sleep rhythms throughout the day too. Keep in mind that enabling these functions will shorten the watch's battery life and means that you will need to charge it more often.
In our opinion, the most exciting feature here is the degree of workout analysis that the app can provide. The watch supports 12 activity types and logs your data once you have started one of them. It then synchronises your data with your smartphone, which you can view on the Amazfit app. As the screenshots below demonstrate, the app can overlay the route that you have cycled or run over Google Maps and provide diagrams about your heart rate and how hard you have worked. Unfortunately, Huami does not allow this data to be exported, so you can only view it on the app.
The Amazfit GTS inspired a mixed reaction when we first received it. Huami has since updated the accompanying Amazfit smartphone app and fixed the bugs from which our review unit suffered. Hence, we now have no concerns about recommending the device if you are on the lookout for an affordable smartwatch.
Huami has equipped the device with a sharp AMOLED panel, integrated GPS and a long-lasting battery. We like that the watch does not always need to be connected to a smartphone to function too.
Huami has got a lot right with the Amazfit GTS, ironing out the software kinks that initially plagued our review unit. The smartwatch is well-built and can be used without always being tethered to a smartphone.
Overall, the Amazfit GTS is ideal for those who want a simple smartwatch with built-in fitness tracking capabilities. The watch will not look out of place next to its more expensive contemporaries, though. So, if it does not have to be an Apple Watch, we would recommend taking a look at the Huami Amazfit GTS.