In this Amazfit GTR 4 review, I'll try to explain why this fitness wearable won't be taking over the smartwatch market by storm, despite being perfectly capable of tracking everyday health and fitness.
I tested many Amazfit wearables in recent years, including the rugged Amazfit T-Rex 2, the smart-enough-but-not-so-premium Amazfit GTR 3 Pro, the Fitbit Versa alternative Amazfit GTS 2e and lately, I even gave the posture correcting Amazfit PowerBuds Pro a try.
Looking at these wearables, I can clearly see a pattern of Amazfit catching up with the competition; the build quality of the watches is getting better, and the sensors are more accurate. Now that Amazfit is all but caught up with others. It's time for the brand to start sorting out its character, which wouldn't just be "we do everything other brands can, but cheaper."
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Price and availability
The Amazfit GTR 4 launched globally on 1 September 2022 and is available to buy now directly from Amazfit in many countries for the RRP €199. Currently, the watch doesn't seem to be available in the US, UK or AU, although it's likely to become available in the UK in the near future.
The square watch-faced Amazfit GTS 4 and the smaller GTS 4 Mini is also available to buy in many countries. The former is priced at €199, while the latter starts at €99.99.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Physical design and build quality
The Amazfit GTR 4 has a 1.43" HD AMOLED touchscreen display embedded into an aluminium alloy bezel ("middle frame"). The screen has a 466x466-pixel resolution and is protected by the tempered glass lens, which has an anti-fingerprint coating and an anti-glare bezel. There is a watch crown and a push button on the edge of the case.
The bottom of the watch case is made of a high-gloss sprayed PC shell; this protects and houses the BioTracker 4.0 PPG biometric optical sensor. The quick-release strap is made of either fluoroelastomer, leather or nylon. I'm glad mine came with the fluoroelastomer band because the leathery strap of the predecessor seriously tarnished the value perception of the watch.
On the other hand, the GTR 4 feels like a premium smartwatch. Well, maybe now quite as premium as the all-ceramic Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro, but quality enough for the price. If only the watch crown and the push button were also aluminium, that'd be excellent.
The Amazfit GTR 4 weighs only 34 grams (case only) and is water-rated to 5 ATMs. The watch's dimensions are 46x46x10.6mm. It uses a 22mm quick-release strap.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Features and navigation
The Amazfit GTR 4 is built on the Zepp OS 2.0, which has a bad rep, but I think it's far from being unusable. The overall performance is pretty fast, and transitions between screens are smooth. The layout/menu structure is easy to understand, not least because the watch uses similar interactions to other modern smartwatches: swipe left or right to view the screens/tiles, down from the watch face to access the settings, up from the watch face to check notifications and so on.
As for features, the GTR 4 does everything you can expect from a decent smartwatch in 2022. It measures heart rate, sleep, and stress, recognises eight types of sports activities automatically, has built-in GPS, Amazon Alexa smart assistant, and you can even answer calls on the watch via Bluetooth. The GTR 4 also has a similar feature to Fitbit's Active Zone Minutes called 'Personal Activity Intelligence' (PAI) which tracks heart rate 24/7 and logs any activity that raises the heart rate.
If anything, the watch has too many features; do I need World Clock or a Pomodoro Timer on my watch? Not really. The same goes for Membership Cards, Voice Memos. Thankfully, the more important features are listed at the top of the menu, so you don't have to riffle though all the random stuff to see your heart rate.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Battery life
The Amazfit GTR 4 is yet another good example of why I don't understand wearables such as the Pixel Watch and the Apple Watch. On paper, the GTR 4 has a 14-day battery life, and based on my experience, as long as you don't abuse the GPS or the Bluetooth, the watch will last for around 10 days easily. How come the Apple Watch still can't last for longer than 18 hours on a full charge?
I must confess, I usually turn auto blood-oxygen monitoring off on smartwatches, as I find it A) pointless in my case and B) extremely detrimental to battery life. I also don't bother with things such as always-on screen because I'm happy to twist my wrist twice to wake the screen if needs be to significantly improve battery life. With these 'tricks' applied, I was easily using the Amazfit GRT 4 for long periods without charging, which I like in a watch with a big AMOLED screen.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – GPS and heart rate sensor accuracy
One of the biggest USPs of the GTR 4 is what Amazfit calls an "Industry-first Dual-band circularly-polarised GPS Antenna." The design is said to be similar to that used in the aircraft and automotive fields and enables stronger positioning that's "99% as accurate as top handheld GPS locators."
From what I can tell, GPS performance is good, and the watch also picks up the signal pretty fast. I haven't tried the Amazfit GTR 4 in extremely busy urban environments, but in mixed surroundings, it works really well, especially considering this isn't a dedicated GPS running watch.
As for heart rate tracking, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Generally speaking, I found the watch's algorithm to overestimate heart rate. On one occasion, I was sitting on the sofa, just idly browsing the phone, and the watch said my heart rate was around 100; compare this with my average resting heart rate of around 50 bpm. I wasn't excited or anything, either.
Heart rate tracking during endurance activities is better – the algorithm is clearly more geared towards fast movers. During testing, there weren't any unusual spikes in heart rates during my runs and walks, which is admirable for a not-dedicated running watch.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Sports tracking
The Amazfit GTR 4 recognises eight activities automatically, and these are Treadmill, Outdoor Running, Elliptical, Outdoor Cycling, Indoor Walking, Rowing Machine, Pool Swimming, and Walking. It not only recognises swimming but the GTR 4 can also track heart rate via swimming (something I haven't tested I must admit).
There are over 150 sports modes available on the watch, and as you can guess, these include some random stuff such as artistic swimming, group callisthenics and pelota, the latter of which I just googled is a "court sport played with a ball using one's hand, a racket, a wooden bat or a basket, against a wall or, more traditionally, with two teams face to face separated by a line on the ground or a net." I do it all the time.
The wearable also recognises 25 strength training movements automatically, similarly to Garmins. And as with Garmins, it's an interesting feature more like a useful one, as I'd not trust my watch to keep track of my reps and sets for me; nevertheless, it's available.
There are some pretty cool advanced running features on the watch, such as Track Run mode, Smart trajectory correction and Virtual pacer. Now, I appreciate that people who need such features might not opt in for this watch, but rest assured, they are available, which adds to the versatility of the Amazfit GTR 4.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Verdict
The Amazfit GTR 4 is a very decent fitness smartwatch. Its build quality is admirable – apart from those plastic buttons – the AMOLED screen is bright and pretty, the features are plentysome, and the watch is excellent value for money overall.
Now that Amazfit is getting out of the shadows of more established brands, it's time for them to start thinking about branding. Most importantly, they have to start figuring out a way for people to use their products, not because they have to (e.g. it's cheaper than the competition), but because they want to.
No one will notice an Amazfit GTR 4 on your wrist the same way everyone will spot a Garmin/Fitbit/Apple Watch – these wearables communicate something about you to the observer. In the case of Amazfit GTR 4, it's unclear what this message is. This doesn't take away from the excellent qualities of the wearable, but unless something drastic happens in the design/branding department, Amazfit won't be able to step out of its own shadow.
That said, the Amazfit GTR 4 is nothing to be frowned upon. It's a superb smartwatch for an affordable price, a combination many people appreciate. If you're in the market for a cheap yet reliable fitness smartwatch, the Amazfit GTR 4 won't disappoint.
Amazfit GTR 4 review – Also consider
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is a brilliant alternative to the Amazfit GTR 4. It successfully bridges the gap between smart and fitness watches and does it seemingly effortlessly. Better still, it offers impressive battery life despite having such a sizeable AMOLED display. Highly recommended.
Alternatively, the predecessor Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is a decent cheap smartwatch with plenty of functionality. It might not feel as premium as the GTR 4, but it's well worth considering as a low-cost option.