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Amazfit Might Have Made the Best Budget Smartwatch

The Amazfit GTR 2 is a round boi.
The Amazfit GTR 2 is a round boi.
Image: Amazfit

Smartwatches under $200 keep getting more advanced and more worth your money, but the newly launched Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2 could actually pose a threat to the “budget” options from more well-known smartwatch brands. At $180, both the Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2 offer feature sets that punch way above their price.

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On top of continuous heart rate monitoring, Amazfit says you’ll also be able to get notifications if your heart rate is abnormally high. The watches will also support on-demand SpO2 readings, stress tracking, and this time around, both watches will also support Amazon Alexa on the wrist. This is on top of your typical smart notifications, an always-on display, sleep tracking, and the ability to take calls over Bluetooth on the wrist. Oh, and both watches have built-in GPS and are safe for swimming with 5ATM of water resistance. And the GTR 2's got an estimated 14-day battery life, while the GTS 2 is rated for 7 days.

That’s incredible for just $180. For context, these are features that Samsung, Apple, and Fitbit put on more expensive watches, with some reserved for premium flagships above $300. Neither watch has cellular capability, a third-party app store, or NFC payments, but for less than $200 this is a pretty stacked feature set.

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That, and they look much nicer than their price tag belies. At least, in photographs. We’ll have to see how they look in person before delivering a final verdict. The main difference is the GTS 2 has a 1.65-inch rectangular AMOLED display, while the GTR 2 has a circular 1.39-inch AMOLED display with “crafted 3D curved glass.” Basically, the GTS 2 still sports that Apple Watch clone vibe (albeit it seems to be on the nicer end with the Oppo Watch rather than Amazfit’s own Bip S). The GTR 2 has a much more classic style that’s similar to some hybrid analogs.

Send in the Apple Watch clones :cough: the Amazfit GTS 2 :cough:
Send in the Apple Watch clones :cough: the Amazfit GTS 2 :cough:
Image: Amazfit

There has to be some sort of catch right? If there is, it’s most likely the software itself won’t be quite as polished as say, Samsung or Apple. These watches will use the Zepp app, which isn’t the best one out there. It’s fine, though there are a few quirks and it doesn’t present the myriad of settings options in a straightforward way. However, one thing the GTS 2 and GTR seem to have addressed is the lack of onboard music. Amazfit says both watches will have about 3GB of storage so you can listen to music locally, and crucially, without your phone.

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I’ve yet to see this kind of comprehensive feature set on a watch under $200, unless you count the now discounted Apple Watch Series 3—which I truly don’t recommend buying at this point for reasons I have written about several, several times. The closest would probably be the Fitbit Versa 3, which at $230 also has digital assistant support, built-in GPS, heart rate notifications, multi-day battery life, an always-on display, and sleep tracking. That said, the Versa 3 lacks stress tracking and an on-demand SpO2 app (though it does have more passive SpO2 tracking). Many of the features for the GTS 2 and GTR 2 were also featured in Huami’s (Amazfit’s parent company) Zepp E smartwatch—but for $70 more, half the battery life, and without built-in GPS or Alexa support.

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Again, we’d have to test out the GTS 2 or GTR 2 before we can confidently say the budget category will never be the same again. However, it is an ambitious undertaking to release a smartwatch with this many features at such an affordable price. The GTS 2 will be available starting November 1, while the GTR 2 will be available a few days earlier on October 30. Both watches can be found at Amazfit’s site or on Amazon.

Update, 10/27/2020, 1:45pm: Clarified battery life is different for the GTS 2 and GTR 2, and Amazfit emailed Gizmodo after publication to note that both watches will in fact use the Zepp app.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

misterchief81
misterchief81

I’m curious to know what the internal hardware is like. Like you mentioned, the feature set and design of the phone are pretty outstanding for the price, but if it’s like the Fossil watches, speed and responsiveness are a concern. As an iPhone user, I wish apple would make an apple watch that actually represented a traditional round faced watch. It doesn’t leave us with a lot of options for those of us that prefer that style, and while Fossil’s smartwatches look nice (for the price), their issues are well documented.