Amazfit GTR 2e review: a budget-friendly smartwatch for the casual health and fitness enthusiast.
So, I recently got back into running. After a long hiatus due to Covid, parenthood, and general laziness, I dusted off my old Samsung Gear Sport and started hitting the road. With a half-marathon in mind, I soon began clocking up the kilometres and working towards my goal. And while my Samsung Gear Sport was, and still is, an excellent smartwatch, its age started showing. Despite fully charging the battery before leaving the house, I could barely reach 13km before it needed charging again. So it was time for me to dip my toe into the ever-increasing smartwatch waters to see what else was on the market.
After much searching, the Amazfit GTR 2e was recommended to me as a smartwatch that looks great and offers a lot for as little as £99, which is a smidgeon less than the Amazfit T-Rex Pro. With an impressive 24 days of battery life and heart rate and stress monitoring, the GTR 2e is one of the many smartwatches offered by Amazfit, a Huami-owned brand. Both of these brands were new to me but trusting the quality of their competitors, Xiaomi and Huawei; I decided to go ahead and try them.
The GTR 2e certainly wasn’t short on features and made a great first impression. It came packaged in a small, appealing box, it was very straightforward to set up and pair with my phone, and it didn’t take long for me to get it up and running.
Compared to the Gear Sport, the GTR 2e felt very light when compared to watches such as the Fenix 6 and Tactix Delta, and the screen was incredible. However, although the screen looked beautiful, but it didn’t look very robust. My greatest fear was this gorgeous, glassy-looking display might suffer once I took it with me on a Tough Mudder, a climbing session or any other rough and tumble activity.
The GTR 2e has an “Always-on Display”, which significantly impacted battery life. I overcame this issue by opting for it to sleep and wake using a wrist flip gesture which I found to be quite responsive, far better than the Gear Sport.
The watch’s interface controlled a simple and intuitive navigation system which I particularly liked. The watch face felt streamlined and less obstructive than the Gear Sport, which features a physical scrolling crown.
Even though some visual spacing issues triggered my designer’s brain, the watch notifications were good. For example, I could select individual apps to send notifications to my phone, which was incredibly helpful.
I work out a few times a week (anything from basketball to weights and running), and the GTR 2e did an excellent job tracking my time and indicating the calories I had potentially burnt.
As well as having 90 built-in sport modes, the GTR 2e can supposedly autodetect six core workouts. I say supposedly as the watch didn’t even manage to recognise when I was going for a walk, never mind riding a bike or going for a swim.
The heart rate monitor was slightly hit and miss. When it was working, it seemed reasonably reliable, but it didn’t always detect my heart rate during a run or would take a while to pick up my heart rate.
A PAI score is a feature I have never entirely understood. It was good to see the GTR 2e congratulate me for achieving active minutes, but it would have been helpful to tell me how many minutes of daily activity I should be aiming to achieve.
The sleep tracking was decent. Admittedly, I only tried it once, after falling asleep on the sofa for a few hours with the watch on, because I found it too big to wear all night.
The stress monitor feature sounded exciting but was simply an unhelpful graph showing my stress levels based on my heart rate during the day. I expected it to be proactive and tell me if I was stressed and when I should relax.
- The AMOLED screen creates exceptionally bright and colourful images.
- It’s surprisingly light, especially considering the large battery and screen.
- It’s packed with plenty of features.
- It has a clean interface with lots of information.
- It’s not proactive in telling you how to best train, recover or predict race times and performance.
- I have never quite understood what PAI is, how it’s measured, or how I can interact with it.
- The GPS is can be unstable. If you want to use it to track your run, I wouldn’t advise the GTR 2e for this. It often loses GPS, which leads to it not showing a pace for your run. When tracking a run on a phone with Strava alongside the Amazfit, there would be a huge difference in distance, sometimes around 500m or half a km. This is too big of a difference when you’re serious about your running and your times. That said, the GPS produced accurate results when I tested it on a long walk.
- The heart rate monitor is unstable; I ran a whole 10km with no heart rate showing and no idea of my effort, even though my band was tight.
Alternatives to the Amazfit GTR 2e
Although slightly less impressive from a characteristic and features point of view, from a tracking perspective, the Garmin Forerunner 55 is much more reliable than the GTR 2e. Its GPS and heart rate monitors are much better, and it’s a sportier fit with a sportier band. It’s a good running watch with some innovative features, while the Amazfit is a smart and fitness watch with running features.
If you’re looking for a smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a solid alternative with very similar features to the GTR 2e at just a slightly higher price point, selling on average for £150. The Galaxy 4 features GPS, heart rate and body composition monitoring, all presented in a slimline, comfortable design. Unfortunately, the watch is only compatible with Android devices, and some features can only be accessed with a Samsung smartphone.
Can the GTR 2e Function as a Hiking Watch?
As a mainly hiking blog, TrekSumo features a lot of gear I wouldn’t normally consider buying and one of the questions James had was: does the GTR 2e make a good GPS hiking watch? And I’m inclined to say yes. As you’ll see in a minute, my general thoughts suggest there are better watches for serious runners who want to track progress down to the metre, or heartbeat…. but you’re going to pay a price for that kind of tech.
But as a hiking watch? Definitely. The GPS function is more than adequate for tracking location and distance travelled. And I get the feeling most hikers don’t obssess over monitoring improvements to anaerobic threshold, cadence etc.
If you’re in the market for an affordable overall lifestyle and fitness smartwatch, the Amazfit GTR 2e will serve you well. If you want notifications on your wrist, step and sleep tracking, heart rate and stress monitoring, all in an attractive and light package, this is an excellent purchase at its price point. But if you’re serious about your running and are looking for a running watch, the Amazfit isn’t it.