Huami Amazfit GTS: Apple Watch clone that falls behind in OS and performance

The Amazfit GTS is a good-looking smartwatch under Rs 10,000, but does it measure up to the likes of Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin in the tracking and software department? Let’s find out.

Huami may have been in the wearables market for quite some time but only recently has it shot to prominence. With its latest watch, the Huami Amazfit GTS, the manufacturer has managed to grab eyeballs.

On the surface, the Amazfit GTS is an Apple Watch clone that retails at a significantly lower price point (Rs 9,999). But, is there more to it?

We tested the watch for about three weeks, and here are our impressions.

Basic specs

The Huami Amazfit GTS can track all your fitness needs but may not double up as a companion to your smartphone. It supports 12 activity tracking modes: outdoor running, treadmill, walking, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, climbing, pool swimming, open water swimming, skiing, elliptical trainer, mountaineering, trail run, and exercise.

The device sports a 1.25-inch AMOLED display (348x442 resolution with 341ppi) that is supported by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The screen is large and vibrant. There is a 2,200 mAh battery, and the watch weighs only about 25 grams.

Build and design

The Huami Amazfit GTS shares Apple Watch’s square-shaped display and rounded edges. It is carved out of aluminium alloy that keeps it relatively lightweight and gives it a premium finish.

There is a single circular wheel, which rotates and can be pressed for various functionalities. There are hefty bezels, which may not be visible if you enable a black watch face.

The Gorilla Glass 3 protection and anti-fingerprint coating helps prevent scratches and other damage in case of falls.

Display and dial

The 1.65-inch AMOLED display is sharp and clear. It has good sunlight readability and an ambient light sensor for the “automatic brightness” feature.

The viewing angles are great with no “colour bleed” on any side. The display is also very responsive to touch unless it is covered in water.

The watch comes with an always-on display (AOD) functionality, which impacts the battery life. There aren’t too many customisations and you can choose from only two preset faces - analog dial or digital dial. The dials display time, date, and step count.

If you don’t like the preset watch faces, you can download more through the companion Amazfit app.

Software and UI

On booting the Amazfit GTS and connecting it to a smartphone via a QR code, the smartwatch receives several rounds of updates. And, this can be a painfully slow process.

However, the UI is simple and easy to navigate. The OS is Huami’s own and it doesn’t support any third-party apps, which can be a downside for some users.

Swipe left to check your heart rate readings, right to track steps walked. Swipe up to open the menu, and down to go to settings. To open the home screen, you have to press the wheel once. On long-pressing it, you are taken to the workouts page.

Notifications on the Amazfit GTS are broken. You do not get the latest alerts, and what you get is inconsistent. Only the oldest notification is displayed. So, you have to keep checking the watch to stay abreast with the latest alerts. This is a bit of a downer.

If you check/clear a notification, it is not removed instantly. And, the watch supports only English so far. This can be restrictive for language users.

Activity tracker

About 12 different types of activity tracking are supported by the watch, and that is good by most standards. You can check metrics like calories burned, time elapsed, steps walked, and heart rate in the fitness tracking mode. More detailed information can be accessed in the Activities section on the companion Amazfit app.

In terms of accuracy, the Amazfit GTS performed better than the Mi Band 4, but fell short of Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin smartwatches’ performance.

Battery life

The 2,200 mAh battery inside the Amazfit GTS is rated to run 14 days on a single charge (without the always-on display enabled).

If you enable that mode, the battery is depleted by about 15 percent each day. Even then, a single charge lasts a week.

Verdict: good, but needs some fixing

The Amazfit is surely a fashionable smartwatch, and a fairly affordable gadget in the sub-10,000 segment. It wants to be an Apple clone - and by the looks of it, it is - but the device disappoints when it comes to OS and tracking performance.

If Huami fixes the accuracy issues, improves the software, and enables third-party apps, it would have a winner in the Amazfit GTS.

But, until then, this will appeal to only first-time smartwatch-owners, who do not want a Mi Band, for instance, or cannot afford the pricier Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)