The Amazfit GTS comes with a metallic shell, made from a lightweight aluminum alloy, that forms the main body of the smartwatch/fitness tracker. The bottom of the watch has a polymer cap, which when combined with the relatively small 220 mAh battery, contributes to the meager 25g weight of the main watch unit. This is in contrast to the 36g weight of the aluminum variant of the 47mm Amazfit GTR and the 31g weight of the lightest Apple Watch 5. The lightness of the watch gets more noticeable when the bands are accounted for, as the Amazfit GTS comes with simple silicon bands, unlike the silicon-reinforced leather that the GTR comes with. The end result of this combination is that the watch merely looks and appears heavier than it actually is. It feels very light on the wrist, to the point that you can forget that it is there, a (lack of) sensation that it shares with smaller fitness trackers like the Mi Band 4. At least for my own preferences, I do prefer my watches to have a certain weight and heft to them, so the weight-to-size mismatch took some getting used to.
While the GTR comes with a metal lip resting on the circumference of its display, the GTS comes with curved/rounded edges on all four sides of its display. This gives the watch a clean and seamless look and is one of the contributing factors that give off the Apple Watch vibe and impression.
When you take a closer look, you will notice that the GTS has extended lugs on the side for its straps, which is in contrast to the indentation that the Apple Watch relies on for connecting the watch module with the straps. The Amazfit GTS also has a single circular wheel centered on one of its sides, as opposed to the Apple Watch’s press button and the offset crown. Amazfit GTS’s circular wheel does rotate, but doing so is pointless as there is no functionality attached to it — you can only push/press the button to elicit any reaction from the watch.
The silicon bands, while they are of good quality, are rather simplistic and basic. This simplicity takes away from the allure of the “watch” aspect of this gadget. Huami does sell more band options globally, but not specifically in India through official channels. Thankfully, the straps can be easily removed, so you can swap in higher quality and different material bands for the 20mm band size. I would suggest you do so, mainly because the watch module by itself can look better when paired with a more premium band. While the silicon bands are of good quality, the base material itself feels flimsy and does not do justice to the ₹9,999 price tag of the gadget. I wish Huami coupled the watch by default with the leather band that we see on the GTR 47mm, as that adds a more premium touch to the watch which it currently lacks. Without a premium feel to it, the GTS ends up as a glorified Mi Band 4 with a larger display — and while that may not be such a bad statement considering how impressed we were with the Mi Band 4, you still do want your watch to look good on your wrist. The Mi Band 4 got away with looking modest and unassuming because of its lower price tag; for the Amazfit GTS, the expectations are much higher, and it does not deliver as well as the Amazfit GTR 47mm does in this regard.
A smaller complaint I had with the Amazfit GTS was the prevalent bezel border that hugs the edges of the display. This is a small issue that comes to light only when you use watch faces that have a non-black background. Since the Amazfit GTS has an AMOLED display, watch faces that have an AMOLED black background appear prettier as one does not notice the bezels on the device, giving it a seamless look. When you switch to a different background color, for instance, the white watch face that you see in the photo above, you are reminded of the existence of the bezel. It’s not a deal-breaker in any way, but it’s something I can’t ignore.
When it comes to protection, the display comes with Gorilla Glass 3 on top, which should protect it from scratches, and an anti-fingerprint coating (the smudges you see in some of the pictures are because of my sunscreen). For water resistance, the Amazfit GTS does not come with any official IP rating or warranty against liquid damage, but Huami claims the watch can withstand 5 ATM pressure. This is valid only for freshwater, so you can wear the watch while you are swimming in a pool, but not in the sea.
The Amazfit GTS has a 1.65-inch rectangular AMOLED display that has a resolution of 348 x 442, giving it a good 341 ppi pixel density (higher than the 326ppi on the GTR 47mm). Even at close distances, you are unlikely to notice any of the individual pixels, so the display always appears sharp and clear. In its official spec sheet, Amazfit claims 100% NTSC coverage, meaning that color reproduction on the display should be up to the standard — though it still is a 1.65-inch display on your wrist and not a monitor on your desk, so this spec would not have been an issue even if it had been inferior.
Much like the Amazfit GTR 47mm, the Amazfit GTS can get very bright and remain readable under sunlight. This watch also comes with an ambient light sensor, allowing the watch to control brightness automatically and react quickly to ambient lighting conditions. There is no apparent shifting in colors either, when you view the watch from an angle.
The Amazfit GTS also comes with an always-on-display (AOD) functionality, that displays basic information like time, date and step count in either an analog dial or digital dial. You can only choose from these two preset faces (or turn AOD off), so there is no further customization that is possible over here, which is a bummer. AOD also has the massive drawback of draining battery life, but this is something we witness across the entire spectrum of displays and hence, is not an issue unique to the GTS in any way. I do not find AOD to be worth the trade-off.
Hardware and Connectivity
Huami has not divulged any information about the onboard processor that makes the Amazfit GTR tick, nor has it for the GTS. There’s neither information of the RAM on the smartwatch nor about the onboard storage. And since the GTR and GTS are more of a hybrid between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, they also lack some of the hardware features we see on proper smartwatches like the Mi Watch — so there are no speakers, no mics, no NFC, no USB ports, and certainly no network connectivity features beyond Bluetooth. Fewer features mean longer battery life and cheaper pricing, so this isn’t a pure negative in any way.
For its sensors, the Amazfit GTS comes with a PPG (photoplethysmography) heart rate sensor, commonly referred to as an optical heart rate sensor. This PPG sensor is complemented by a 6-axis accelerometer, 3-axis geomagnetic sensor, a barometer for measuring the air pressure, and an ambient light sensor. It also comes with GPS and GLONASS for positioning.
Exactly like the Amazfit GTR, the hardware on the Amazfit GTS isn’t very exciting or peculiar, and it serves well when it comes to tracking stats related to workout and sleep. The UX on this watch isn’t very taxing either, so the modest processing capabilities are sufficient for the tasks the device has set out to achieve.
The GTS connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth 5.0 BLE. There aren’t other options for connecting your watch to your phone or your watch to other accessories such as Bluetooth headsets. And since you can’t store any music on the watch, there would have been little point to connecting an audio accessory directly to the watch anyway. You can, however, control music playback on your smartphone through the watch, and this music could be playing through a Bluetooth audio accessory. I wish Huami considers baking in some storage, basic music playback functionality, and the ability to connect to Bluetooth audio peripherals for future smartwatches in this range, as then one can comfortably leave behind their smartphone when working out.
The Amazfit GTS is also capable of sleep tracking. But since this watch has a larger size than that of an inconspicuous fitness tracker, I subjectively find it uncomfortable to fall asleep while wearing one. I also found the watch to not be very accurate in detecting when I wake up, as I often idle in bed for a good 10-15 mins even after waking up, and the watch was unable to detect the fact that I had woken up and had some very light hand movement. I attempted to gather data on the deviation by wearing both the Mi Band 4 and the Amazfit GTS to sleep, but I could not fall asleep at all with both on my wrist, and hence, can provide no further insight.
PAI uses the heart rate data collected during physical activity to provide a PAI score. The total PAI score is based on a rolling 7-day window, and the goal is to maintain a PAI score of 100 or more, which has apparently proven to provide maximum health benefits. The goal of 100 PAI was chosen as a normalized value, but what each person needs to do to achieve 100 PAI is also apparently unique to them. As you become more fit, it also becomes inherently more difficult to achieve 100 PAI which makes it appropriately challenging for all levels. Shamefully, I never got past 11 PAI in the weeks after the feature was rolled out, which is a reflection of the lack of exercise in my life.
The Mi Band 4 set my expectations very high for battery life on the fitness trackers, so naturally, Huami’s claims on power efficiency had me intrigued. And for the most part, the Amazfit GTS delivers on the marketing claims. Despite having just a small 220 mAh battery, compared to the 410mAh battery on the Amazfit GTR 47mm, the Amazfit GTS can touch 14 days of battery life. With more frequent heart rate measurement, more exercises, and more notifications and vibrations, I could comfortably reach 12 days of battery life. Keep in mind that this is without AOD, as turning on AOD absolutely massacres battery life. The Amazfit GTS with AOD gives just under four days of battery life, which is less than a quarter of what you can otherwise get. Seeing how you can lift the watch to wake it up, this tradeoff felt unwarranted for AOD.
The Amazfit GTS takes about an hour to fully charge, and it does so with the magnetic charger clip that is included in the box. Since the charger holds the watch in place with the help of decent magnets, you don’t have to struggle with the watch in any way to get it to charge. This fixes my biggest annoyance with the Mi Band 4 and its horrible charging cradle and reaffirms that magnet-based solutions are the way to go for charging these smart accessories. Like the GTR, the maximum charging rate for the smartwatch is 2.5W (5V @ 0.5A). You only get the USB charging cable in the box — no charging brick is included, but this is a fairly standard situation for accessories.