Amazfit GTS 2e review TL;DR: Cheap it might be, the Amazfit GTS 2e packs a punch and delivers a decent fitness watch experience on a budget.
Amazfit has been busy establishing itself as not just another no-name Chinese smartwatch manufacturer in the last few years, and with the GTS 2e, it really hit the nail on the head. The smaller sibling to the Amazfit GTS 2, the GTS 2e has an Apple Watch-like body and sports Fitbit-like features for a budget-friendly price.
After testing the 'premium' Zepp E health smartwatch at the end of last year, I was slightly concerned that a running watch from the same brand not touted as premium might be of poor quality. Maybe because of this bias, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall design and the included health and fitness features of the Amazfit GTS 2e.
Amazfit GTS 2e: Price and availability
The Amazfit GTS 2e is available to buy now for $139.99 / £119.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: Design and ergonomics
The Amazfit GTS 2e is not a bad looking smartwatch. It has a 1.65" 'HD' AMOLED display with a resolution of 348 x 442 pixels (341 PPI) hidden under a '2.5D' curved tempered glass lens. The glass blends nicely with the bezel, making it look bigger than how large it actually is.
Not like a 1.65" screen is small, but the smooth transition between the edge of the screen and the bezel has a similar effect to infinity pools on top of high-rises: since you can't tell where the pool ends and the sky starts, your brain automatically assumes they are all the same.
The display and the switching between the different widget views are both sharp and fast, maybe not quite as responsive as the Zepp E, but on par with even more expensive touchscreen smartwatches such as the Fitbit Versa 3. There is one physical button on the edge of the case which confused me a bit at first: it has a 'digital crown' design but it can't be rotated so it is basically 'just' a push button.
That aside, controlling the GTS 2e is pretty intuitive and the menus can be found where you expect them to be. Should you ever get lost in all the submenus, you can always press the physical button to take you back to the watch face which also happens to be the home screen.
I didn't much like the strap on the Zepp E and was expecting the Amazfit GTS 2e to come with an even poorer quality strap but surprisingly, it is pretty decent and definitely better than the one included with the Zepp E. It's smooth silicon and during the test, it didn't break anywhere which is great for a watch priced as low as the GTS 2e.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: Activity and health tracking
The Amazfit GTS 2e is not a running watch per se but it has 90 sport modes and a bunch of fitness and health features that make it ideal for tracking both indoor and outdoor fitness activities. For example, just like the Fitbit Versa 3, the GTS 2e comes with built-in GPS, which might not be hyper-accurate – according to the map view in the Zepp App, I clipped through some buildings during my runs – but tracks distance relatively precisely.
The GTS 2e can also monitor heart rate 24/7, so not just during physical activities. The optical heart rate sensor gave me completely different readings from the Polar Vantage V2, a watch I tested at the same time as the GTS 2e. For obvious reasons, I tend to believe that the Vantage V2 reads heart rate more accurately, but that said, for everyday activities, the sensor accuracy of the GTS 2e seems good enough. I wouldn't choose it over a Garmin Forerunner 745 for a long-distance race, but for jogging and moving around in space during the day, it is perfectly fine.
Based on your activity throughout the day, you are given a Personal Activity Intelligence – or PAI, for short – score, which is essentially the same thing as Fitbit's Active Zone Minutes and Garmin's Intensity Minutes feature. The standard weekly PAI score goal is 150, in line with the WHO-recommended 150 minutes a week physical activity threshold.
Other sensors include a pulse ox (blood-oxygen saturation) sensor which is something we've also seen in Fitbit, Apple and Garmin wearables before. A low blood oxygen saturation is called hypoxemia which is a "sign of a problem related to breathing or circulation and may result in various symptoms, such as shortness of breath", according to Mayo Clinic.
You can also monitor your sleep quality with the Amazfit GTS 2e and I found this feature to be pretty accurate from the get-go. In the Zepp App, you can further scrutinise your sleep data e.g. how much deep sleep you had the night before. Here, you are also provided with some pretty generic tips on how to improve sleep. Who would've thought that reducing stress would improve sleep?
Does Amazfit GTS 2e have GPS?
The Amazfit GTS 2e does have a GPS chip on board which is quite unusual for a smartwatch in this price range. Better still, it uses multi-system positioning (GPS + GLONASS) which is generally more accurate than single-system options, not like there are many of those in 2021. However, as usual, having GPS on will significantly reduce battery life, compared to standby mode.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: Battery life
The Amazfit GTS 2e really shines when it comes to battery life. Officially, the 246 mAh battery found in the GTS 2e can last up to two weeks in smartwatch mode and up to 24 days (!) in watch mode. According to the Amazfit website, the GTS 2e will last up to a week even considering heavy use, which I assume means the sensors are on and the screen is used often.
Better still, the watch charges from 0-100 per cent in about two hours, so you won't need to attach it to the weird-looking magnetic charger too often. I was generally pleased with the battery life and only had to charge the watch once to see if it lives up to the 2-hour charge time claim (it does). It's amazing to see that a light smartwatch with an AMOLED screen and built-in GPS can last so long between two charges. Other manufacturers could learn from this: consider the 18-hour battery life of the Apple Watch.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: The Zepp App
All data from the sensors are fed into the Zepp App which is definitely not the worst companion app I've seen so far. The dashboard has all the main stats clearly displayed such as steps, heart rate, stress, sleep and PAI score. You can also click into each section and see everything in more detail too as well as change the watch and widget settings.
I mentioned this in the Zepp E review but there are some Chinese-to-English translation errors in the app that I find particularly entertaining. For example, the second icon on the navigation bar is called 'Enjoy' and in this section, you'll find enjoyable features such as the alarm clock and schedule. You also find the watch face store here which is admittedly more fun than the other features mentioned above.
Overall, The Zepp App is a pretty decent app and I'm sure the language barrier hiccups will be ironed out soon.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: Verdict
All things considered, the Amazfit GTS 2e is an excellent value for money health-cum-fitness smartwatch. It has its shortcomings but those are few and far between, especially if you are using the watch to track fairly light physical activities rather than hardcore athletic performance.
For its low price, the build quality of the Amazfit GTS 2e is excellent and the specs are admirable too: for a little bit over a $100/£100, you'll get a fitness watch that has an AMOLED display, aluminium body, built-in GPS, an optical heart rate sensor and a number of health and fitness features. The watch is easy to use and the touchscreen is also highly functional with not much lag either.
The only criticism I can offer is that the Amazfit GTS 2e lacks innovation. As opposed to coming up with new ideas, the watch takes features found in other watches and offers them for less money. But even so, I can forgive the Amazfit GTS 2e as it does it all so effortlessly. For this price, the watch is a real bargain. For those who don't want their fitness watch to also be a status symbol, the Amazfit GTS 2e is the perfect choice.
Amazfit GTS 2e review: Also consider
The Fitbit Versa 3 might be more expensive than the Amazfit GTS 2e but the brand is admittedly more established and tries harder to innovate. The Versa 3 introduced substantial updates over the Versa 2, such as built-in GPS and a more handsome design and user interface, and did it without a price increase. The inductive button might take some time to get used to, though.
The Apple Watch SE is even more expensive although still cheaper than your average Apple Watch. From our review: "The Apple Watch SE is a truly excellent smartwatch, and where Apple has cut back for the more budget price, you won't notice it significantly in general use. It feels like a full Apple Watch experience, with all the advantages that bring in convenience, fitness tracking, and health and safety features… for iPhone users. As ever, Android users need not apply."