I fell in love with my first Amazfit GTR watch. It was mind-blowing that a “smartwatch” could last over 25 days on my wrist without charging. My expectations grew since then, and I promised myself not to buy another wearable after Mi Watch (review) unless it meets all my demands. Amazfit GTR3 Pro (AmazonUK, US) meets almost all of them. Almost. It looks like I will have to wait for the perfect wearable a little bit longer. Amazfit GTR3 Pro will occupy my wrist until then.
No frills unboxing reveals the Amazfit GTR3 Pro and a charging cable. GTR series had always a really slick design I liked. Despite almost identical form factor to its predecessor, Amazfit GTR3 Pro makes it feel even more premium (which is expected from a £179 wearable). The silicone strap may not have many fans, but this edition of the strap is very soft, smooth and silky to the touch. The machined aluminium body has more curves than the original design and comes with a button and a crown. The crown’s operation is smooth and devoid of feedback until it’s used to scroll through menus. Wearable’s vibration motor will provide you with satisfying feedback.
Then, there is an AMOLED screen. Blacker than black, contrastier than…. (that’s not even a word!). It feels like someone put a 4K HDR display into a watch. Looking at Mi Watch and Amazfit GTR side by side, I can’t help but notice the exceptional contrast on Amazfit GTR3 Pro. It’s 480x480px, 1.45″ display that brings insane contrast and brightness to your wearable. Amazfit devices never had problems displaying information in the direct sunlight, but Amazfit GTR3 Pro takes it to another level. It’s bright!
The bezel is thin and hidden under glass with curved edges. The whole watch weighs 32g and the weight is barely noticeable on the wrist (size isn’t).
Almost a smartwatch!
Amazfit devices blurred the line between sports trackers and smartwatches. Amazfit GTR3 Pro isn’t a fully-featured smartwatch but drifts further away from smart bands. Smart bands and sports trackers are single-threaded devices that serve as displays rather than interactive devices. Amazfit GTR3 Pro pushes that boundary further by letting you resume your workouts later, switch between screens or have music streamed in the background of the Zepp OS. These are not innovative features for smartwatches but as far as sports trackers are concerned, these are important changes.
It’s almost perfect (at least for my use cases). For a while, I wanted a wearable that comes with:
- Excellent battery life
- Music storage/playback
- GPS activity tracking
- Mobile Notifications
- Alexa integration
- NFC payments
Unfortunately, NFC did not make it to the list, but I was willing to make that sacrifice, as I’m likely to have the phone with me when the shop visit is on the agenda. One of the “must-have” conditions was the music storage with Bluetooth playback. I hate taking my phone running (Xiaomi Mi 11 – review) as it’s big and not suited for that purpose. Having a wearable that streams music directly to your headphones is what you want when you are active.
Amazfit GTR3 Pro
I can’t deny that the watch is packed with features. I made my purchase decision way before the end of the features page, so there were things that pleasantly surprised me, as I wasn’t expecting to have it!
I totally missed that Amazfit GTR3 Pro has a speaker! During my live stream, I thought the slots at the one side of the watch were for the barometer (also included). It turns out that the wearable has a pretty powerful speaker that can be used to handle calls, play music and issue audible notifications.
Just bear in mind that the notification sound, while pleasant, cannot be changed (at least at the time of the review).
The sensor array isn’t limited to HR but comes with SpO2 and skin temperature. What’s better, is the fact that unlike on Mi Watch (review), the SpO2 sensor can measure the oxygenation of the blood without you stopping for a minute. It all happens in the background.
Offline voice commands
Alexa integration was one of the most prominent features, but Amazfit GTR3 Pro comes with a secondary (offline) recognition mode. It helps you open apps, control music and performs basic tasks (start/stop workouts etc) without ever touching the watch. It works surprisingly well and it’s much faster (unless you have custom shortcuts) than using usual menus.
For lefties and righties
Unlike anything else I had on my wrist, Amazfit GTR3 Pro brings a simple yet effective setting. Instead of picking a left/right wrist that will aid the “lift up” gesture, the wearable lets you flip the screen upside down.
Why this is awesome? Thanks to quick-release straps, you can put the watch on any of your wrists and decide on which side your buttons are going to be on. It’s a perfect and elegant solution.
Amazfit GTR3 Pro gives you pretty rich customisation options. Actions are defined in the Zepp app and are no longer limited to a single customisable button. The watch comes with plenty of watch faces to pick from at launch and all menus can be trimmed to your size.
With offline voice commands at hand, I don’t even have to scroll through the list of apps with a nicely designed magnetic crown. I just say the word and the feature opens up on my wrist. It’s a handy thing to have when your palms are occupied with something else.
With generous screen estate, notifications received on the watch are easy to read and contain all the information stored in that format. It’s not a “proper” smartwatch, so don’t expect quick replies or do anything else other than dismissing it.
A Google Now alike panel brings the most important information to a single, scrollable view. I would list these, but you can customise that screen with whatever information you want or remove completely. It’s a great time saver if you just want to look at the weather and confirm if your heart isn’t about to explode at the same time.
App Store? Wait what
As I thought I can’t be surprised anymore, Amazfit GTR3 Pro (AmazonUK, US) brings a small App Store to the table. While the options in the Zepp app aren’t amazing at the moment, the fact that you can develop apps for this ecosystem is a game-changer. Give it 6 months or so, and we could see interesting options being available. For now, you can add a pregnancy countdown, teeth brushing monitor and a couple of other mini-apps to amuse yourself.
It looks like the tracking is back to being reliable as well. I was finally able to log my naps automatically, something I’m notorious for (sleeping not logging). The logs of whatever happened to me at night (including wake ups) are mostly accurate, with shorter wake-ups not being logged due to lack of motion on my side.
It also looks like the sleep score, while scoring higher than in the past, reflects how I feel in the morning.
I can’t stress enough how much fun is to leave the phone behind and go for a run with the watch on the wrist, favourite tunes playing via Bluetooth from my beloved Haylou GT1 headphones and nothing else. I just need a smart lock that fits my door to remove the key from the equation.
With the Amazfit GTR3 Pro wrapped around my wrist, I went for a 10km bike commute and a 3km run. Enough to get things tested. It’s where Amazfit GTR3 Pro shines. Literary. The display is almost blinding at night if not set to automatic brightness and visible from any angle. A rich exercise faces are not only filled with important metrics but can be customised to suit your needs.
The watch found GPS within 10sec (away from the phone) and I was ready for my run. The track here and there seems to be off by a meter or two when looking at the map, but that’s to be expected if you run in areas with less than stellar GPS reception. My usual 3km route was around 30m shorter than usual (a distance easily lost by cutting corners) and the 10km bike ride confirmed perfect (although aided by the presence of the phone) record.
What’s great is that the sensor picked up the correct HR without finding the watch. I usually have to spend a moment or two to babysit the correct position, but with Amazfit GTR3 Pro it just started to work. It’s a great improvement over what I’m used to seeing on the Mi Band series or even 1st gen Amazfir GTR.
Zepp app delivers a lot of insight and useful metrics on par with what’s usually logged by cycling computers and calculated by Strava. Not having these behind the paywall is an added benefit. Now with the ability to sync between Strava, Google Fit and Relive – you can share your achievements with others.
In short, the watch is made for runners, of all distances. Having the watch set to the max with music blaring over my headphones, I lost about 5% of the battery over the course of 20 min of intensive exercise. Bear in mind that my battery was below 10% so the drain was probably a bit heavier than usual.
With everything set to the max (brightness, screen on time) but without an always-on display, Amazfit GTR3 Pro has lasted a full week. That’s 7 days of constant teams messages at work, showcasing the AMOLED display to my friends, playing silly tunes on the smartwatch’s speaker and generally toying with it.
With a more conservative approach (and automatic brightness is more than enough) you could expect easily 12-15 days on a single charge. It may not be as amazing as 25 days on the original GTR, but Amazfit GTR3 Pro has plenty of functions that justify the shorter lifespan.
Zepp app went a long way. Formerly known as the Amazfit app looks modern and packed with features. I noticed a couple of small bugs in the watch interface (weather overlay not moving, first synch issue), but these were resolved in the first firmware update a week later.
I have faith that the annoying bugs will get sorted eventually. I already love my ultra-bright Amazfit GTR3 Pro (AmazonUK, US) and I don’t believe the buyer’s remorse will ever creep in. NFC payments are the biggest letdown, but considering everything else and decent battery life, it’s going to be some time before I’m going to make a move to another wearable. For a brand that hardly anyone around me heard of, Amazfit is doing a great job at securing reputation. I already consider it to be a strong contender and alternative to marred by battery life smartwatches. Let me know your thoughts in this Reddit thread.
💳📈 – See the transparency note for details.