Amazfit GTR 3 review: An affordable smartwatch punching higher than its $180 price

Amazfit continues to offer affordable smartwatches with the powerful Zepp smartphone application. The GTR 3 offers an amazing amount of customization, long battery life, lovely design elements, and extensive health and wellness data.

A major weakness of today's smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch, is battery life that lasts one to two days. Support for third party apps is a strength of these watches, but if you want a watch that provides all of the essentials, lasts for weeks, and is only priced at $179.99 then you may want to consider the Amazfit GTR 3.

Amazfit launched the GTR 2 last year, see our full review, at the same $179.99 price and while the name appears to indicate that the GTR 3 is the true successor to that watch, as you will read below it is not. The GTR 3 actually leaves out some features from last year while the GTR 3 Pro is the true successor, but priced $50 more at $229.99.

Also: Best smartwatch for Android users 2021: Top watches

The Amazfit GTR 3 runs a RTOS (real-time operating system) developed by Amazfit, which is why it gets such long battery life. The Zepp OS has a new logo that appears when you start the watch and is shown on the retail package. The watch provides all of the essentials you need in a watch, without duplicating apps found on your phone. The Zepp smartphone application offers an almost overwhelming experience with an extensive amount of settings, data collection, reports, and suggestions for improving your health and wellness.

Like

  • Long battery life
  • Low price
  • Extensive amount of customization
  • Lovely design and light weight

Don't Like

  • Limited notifications
  • HR readings aren't always consistent

Specifications

  • Display: 1.39-inch 454x454 pixels resolution AMOLED touchscreen
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM
  • Connectivity and sensors: Bluetooth 5.1, BioTracker 3.0 PPG biometric sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope sensor, barometric pressure sensor, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BDS/QZSS
  • Battery: 450 mAh, up to 21 days in typical usage, 35 hours of GPS
  • Band size: 22mm
  • Dimensions (GTR 2): 45.8 x 45.8 x 10.8mm and 32 grams
  • Colors: Thunder Black and Moonlight Grey

For $50 more you can purchase the GTR 3 Pro with a slightly larger 1.45-inch display, addition of WiFi, onboard MP3 music storage, speaker to support phone calls, and shorter 12-day battery life. All of the same health and wellness tracking features found in the GTR 3 are present in the GTR 3 Pro.

Hardare

The Amazfit GTR 3 doesn't stand out as anything special at first glance, but it is very light, has a lovely matte finish around the bezel, and comfortable silicone bands. When you turn it on, the stunning AMOLED touchscreen impresses with the vivid colors and dark contrast with clear fonts. It is very responsive to taps and swipes, unlike some other watches we have tested in the past. Your finger slides across the glass as it transitions smoothly into the bezel sides.

There are two buttons on the right side of the watch to help you navigate around the interface. The top bottom has ridges along the edges and this button serves as a scroll wheel to help you quickly fly up and down lists of items in the watch software.

The back of the watch has a matte finish hard plastic material with the advanced BioTracker 3.0 sensor and all of its lights to measure your key vitals; blood oxygen, heart rate, stress, and more.

There is a microphone on the GTR 3 so you can use the offline voice assistant for basic control commands or use Amazon Alexa. Alexa will not speak the results of your query since there is no speaker speaker on this watch, but results will show up on the display.

The standard 22mm silicone band is very comfortable and appears to be well constructed too. Quick-release pins let you easily swap out bands.

Watch software

Raise your wrist or press one of the buttons to turn on the display and show your selected watch face. There are more than 100 available watch faces that are accessible in the Zepp app installed on your smartphone. You can even upload your own photos to use on your watch face or select an animated watch face. Some are classic faces while others are heavy on presentation of the health data collected by the watch. There are some customization options for various complications too.

Swipe down from the top to quickly view the nine icons in the control center. You can customize which of the nine available items appear on this screen and reorder them as you desire. The nine items in the control center include flashlight, do not disturb, theater mode, screen always on, calendar, brightness, battery, find my phone, and settings.

Swipe up from the bottom to view your notifications. Press and hold on the watch face to customize or change your watch face. Most watch faces also have a pencil icon that you can tap to customize the watch face color, style, and complications.

Swipe from left to right to view the shortcut cards. There are about 20 options available in the Zepp smartphone app that you can include here. The shortcut cards are a great way to quickly access and view key information at a glance, such as current weather, forecasted weather, alarms, heart rate, PAI, world clock, and more. Keep swiping left to right or go from right to left to move through quick access apps. Like other cards, these are all customizable in the Zepp smartwatch app.

Also: Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2 hands-on review: Affordable, fashionable, and comprehensive health watches

Press the top button to view the included apps and then you can simply rotate the top button to scroll through the list. You can also swipe your finger up and down the display. A large number of apps are available in the Zepp smartphone application that you can add, remove, reorder, and then sync to the watch. These include health and wellness information, weather, calendar, cycle tracking, stopwatch, breathe, camera remote, and more. When you tap on one then you dive deeper into the app. To go back one level, swipe from left to right on the display.

Press the lower right button to launch the Workout utility and then scroll to find your preferred workout. More than 150 sport modes are available in Zepp OS, including esports, combat workouts, board games, kite flying, darts, frisbee, equestrianism, driving, and much more. To make things manageable on the watch, you can add, remove, and reorder your most used apps for quick access. You can always add or remove these various activities from the watch when you need them.

Selecting a workout opens up the workout and, if warranted, the watch tries to connect to GPS satellites. Tap on the settings here to set goals, alerts, auto lap, auto pause, virtual pacer, cadence assistant, and even set up specific multiple data pages for your selected activity. The functionality provided here is similar to what we see on much more expensive GPS sports watches and it is clear I need to explore these more in depth and write another article focused on the Zepp OS capabilities.

You can customize what happens when you long press the upper button or single press the lower button so if you don't like the default settings then don't fret. Just about everything on the GTR 3 can be customized to your preferences.

Smartphone software

In order to connect your phone and experience everything there is to offer with the GTR 3, download and install the Zepp app to your phone. The Zepp app is a very comprehensive application that supports connecting and managing all of your Amazfit products. It is used for various earbuds, like the PowerBuds I reviewed, as well as other Amazfit wearables, scale, and treadmill.

Amazfit appears to have been listening to customer feedback and along with improvements to its smartwatch user interface, it also improved the smartphone application. Three main pages of information are presented as the home page, health, and profile. There is an amazing amount of information, watch settings, and more in this application and I recommend you spend a few hours going through it all and setting it up for your specific needs.

The application launches with a home page with a possible 15 data cards that appear. These include PAI, sleep, stress and blood oxygen, bodyweight analysis, ECG, body temperature, and more. Some of this data is not collected by the GTR 3, but can be collected elsewhere and entered manually so that you can track all of your health data in a central location.

The Health page shows several cards, including walking, running, cycling, target settings, and friends. You can also tap these various exercises and then use your phone and Zepp app to track your activity.

Also: Amazfit ZenBuds review: Audio puts you to sleep, the earbuds track all of the details

The Profile screen is where you see the status of your devices and can also control and completely manage the specific devices. Your goals, records, friends, third-party connected accounts (We Chat, Google Fit, Strava, Relive, and Amazon Alexa), and other settings are present here.

Tap on the Amazfit GTR 3 in the list and then you will find access to the Store (watch faces), App Store (Zepp developed apps like water time, brush teeth timer, and more), notifications and reminders, health monitoring, watch settings, app list management, shortcut cards, app settings, find watch, activity heart rate sharing, lab, system update, and more. Tapping on each of these opens up more areas to explore in the Zepp application to fully customize the experience for your needs.

Back on the main home page, tap the four leaf icon in the upper right corner to view All Data. Here you can see categories for exercise data, status data, health sign, and body measurements. Much of this data is entered manually as the GTR 3 does not track all of this, but this data may help determine the accuracy of the coaching features.

There are some health tips and summary reports, including charts, for the exercise and health data that are interesting and helpful to understand your health and wellness. You can use some of the tips for motivation to improve your health and it is a comprehensive application.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

After spending a couple of weeks with the Amazfit GTR 3, it is clear that I need to set aside one of my watches and spend an extended period of time with the GTR 3 so I can better understand the PAI metric and see if the extensive amount of data collected helps me achieve my health and wellness goals. It's been a joy to use a watch that I only have to charge every couple of weeks and I'm convinced a smartwatch just doesn't fit my needs with their limited one to two days of battery life.

I am a fan of the scrolling top button and brilliant display. The light weight of the watch and comfort of the silicone band also make it a watch I can wear 24/7 with pleasure.

The Zepp smartphone application is rather incredible with the vast amount of customization available for the app and the GTR 3 watch. It may be daunting for some people, especially those who may be looking at the GTR 3 because of its lower price point. You can also just go with the default settings and may be perfectly happy, but I highly recommend you take a deep dive into the application and get the GTR 3 optimized for your daily needs.

GPS has been fairly accurate, heart rate readings have been good but missing at times, and the GTR 3 challenges other affordable watches with its workout customization. A large number of activities are supported and there are eight that can be set for auto-detection.

The default long press of the top button was set for Amazon Alexa and I've enjoyed using this to search for and find out a ton via the connection to my smartphone. The results come back in text or picture form since there is no speaker on the GTR 3, but this has been great for my needs.

One area smartwatches clearly beat the GTR 3 is in the area of notifications. They are lean on the GTR 3 so if you need a watch to answer texts or take calls, then you will need to look elsewhere.

In my experience, the advertised battery life is accurate and it is a relief to wear a watch you can count on being charged up when you need it. The more time I spend with the watch, the more impressed I am by what it offers for just $180. I highly recommend you consider the Amazfit GTR 3 and if you need onboard music and a speaker, look to the GTR 3 Pro.

Amazfit GTR 3 smartwatch review: Battery life, data, and design