Amazfit GTS 2e review: A budget smartwatch packed with features
Amazfit is now well established as a budget wearable brand, offering devices that come packed with features while retailing at a fraction of the cost of their big competitors – and after thoroughly testing the Amazfit GTS 2e, we can confirm that it continues that trend.
At a glance
- Lightweight, attractive design
- Tracks just about everything
- Software could be improved
- Very affordable price
This is a smartwatch offering a host of functions: it'll monitor your heart rate and blood oxygen levels, it'll track your location via GPS, and it will do all the usual step counting and workout recording that you'd expect from a wearable like this. Sleep tracking is included as well, and is smart enough to sense your sleeping and waking times automatically.
There are some missing functions to talk about too. There's no NFC for mobile payments, no way to take calls on your watch, and no real app market to speak of – you get the basics in terms of phone notifications, but this isn't a smartwatch you can use to hail a cab or send an email. It's first and foremost for health and activity tracking.
Perhaps the key selling point here is the price. At US$139.99, the Amazfit GTS 2e smartwatch is almost a third of the price of the cheapest Apple Watch 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, while offering a lot of the same functions and features (and it'll work with both Android phones and iPhones too).
After a couple of weeks with the watch as our constant companion we came away impressed with how much it offers for the money, and it's sure to appeal to those who want to limit their spending without cutting too many corners in terms of functions and features.
The aesthetics of the Amazfit GTS 2e are mostly slick and streamlined, with a definite Apple Watch vibe. The device feels comfortable and light on the wrist, and the 1.65-inch AMOLED screen is bright, crisp and clear;: you'll have no problem checking the time or your fitness stats on this display. An always-on mode is supported, though you'll have to take a hit in terms of battery life.
The smartwatch has a premium look to it, helped by the aluminum alloy body and the curved glass on the front. It's waterproof too, to a depth of 50 m (164 ft), so you don't have to worry about taking it in the pool.
We found the selection of watch faces to be neither as wide nor as professional-looking as those on rival devices from the likes of Apple and Fitbit, but there's enough choice that you should be able to discover a few that you like the look of. The wearable does have a few rough-ish edges, and software is one of them – it feels a bit underwhelming compared with what you get from watchOS or even Wear OS.
However, the watch is certainly not buggy or slow in operation. It's easy to navigate around, and to find the key features, and it works alongside the Amazfit-made Zepp app for Android or iOS. Like the on-board software, the mobile app feels like it could use a bit of a polish, but overall it does a good job of logging your stats and giving you easy access to the watch's configuration options.
The Amazfit GTS 2e is a strong performer when it comes to its core features, with activities including running, treadmill work, cycling, swimming, skiing, elliptical training, dance, water sports and combat sports all catered for. In total you've got 90 different sports modes to pick from, and there's also a free training mode you can make use of if you're doing something that doesn't fit into a predefined category.
We tested the heart rate and blood oxygen readings on the Amazfit GTS 2e against measurements from a dedicated pulse oximeter, and found the smartwatch to be impressively accurate in terms of heart rate. The two devices didn't match up exactly all the time, but were a couple of digits apart at most (although it was noticeable that the dedicated device reflected heart rate changes faster than the smartwatch did).
The gap was wider when it came to blood oxygen, with the Amazfit wearable some way off from the pulse oximeter – quite possibly as it's a more difficult measurement to take. This is the newer technology of course, whereas heart rate monitors have been standard issue on smartwatches for years now, and it would seem SpO2 readings aren't quite ready to be relied upon just yet in this case.
Other tracking, including steps and sleep, seemed to be accurate as far as we could tell. Sleep tracking kicks in automatically based on movement, and during our testing the watch appeared to be mostly spot on in figuring out our waking up and going to sleep times. It's harder to judge how well it was tracking deep and light sleep, but we didn't notice any major issues in terms of discrepancies with our sleep experience.
The watch will even combine different metrics to assess your stress levels throughout the day, and there's an overall Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) score that you get as well, intended to provide a summary of your health – though we didn't find this all that useful. You're covered for the basics with alarms, timers, and weather forecasts on your watch too, without any extra software required.
As for battery life – always an important consideration – it was relatively decent, on the whole (considering the Apple Watch is good for about a day, anyway). With always-on mode enabled, we found the battery life on the Amazfit GTS 2e dropped by about 25 percent for every 24 hours, so you're looking at about four days in total. If you really use your smartwatch a lot, expect less; if you can do without the always-on display, you'll get quite a bit more.
The manufacturer quotes the maximum battery life as 24 days, but we're assuming that involves a lot of tweaking and leaving the smartwatch in a drawer for an extended period of time. In normal use a few days seems normal, but it's good to know it can last for longer if the situation demands it.
The Amazfit GTS 2e didn't particularly wow us during our time with the wearable, with the watch faces and software not quite up to the standard we've seen from some of the other smartwatch makers in the business. However, it's undoubtedly packed with features and monitoring options, most of which seem to work well and accurately.
It's the pricing that really makes the Amazfit GTS 2e worthy of your consideration, and you get an awful lot in return for comparatively little money. If you can live with a few software quirks and want an affordable way to monitor everything to do with your health and fitness – from blood oxygen to REM sleep – then we'd say it deserves a place somewhere on your shortlist of options. It's difficult to find such a good smartwatch for this price.
This is actually a slightly cut down version of the Amazfit GTS 2, which might be an option for you if you're able to spend a little bit more. The 2e smartwatch will set you back $139.99, and your choice of options are a black casing with a black strap, a silver casing with a green strap, and a gold casing with a light purple strap.
Product page: Amazfit GTS 2e