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Huami Amazfit GTS hands-on review: familiar design at a low price

Huami Amazfit GTS hands-on review: familiar design at a low price

At an event at the IFA 2019 in Berlin, Huami launched its's new smartwatch: the Amazfit GTS. It looks a lot like the Apple Watch Series 4, but there is some cool tech in here for the price. We have already worn it. Here are our first hands-on impressions.

Amazfit GTS release date and price

The Amazfit GTS comes straight in at the top of Huami's 'fashion' line of smartwatches. Unveiled at IFA, the GTS comes in six different colors: Desert Gold, Lava Grey, Steel Blue, Obsidian Black, Vermillion Orange and Rose Pink. Each color variant comes with its own matching strap. Unlike some other smartwatch manufacturers, Huami has gone for a single size with the GTS.

It will be available at the end of September for a price of €129.99 in Europe. Huami now sells its wearable products in more than 60 countries, so keep an eye out for it in your region. For the build-quality a feature set on offer here, you can't argue with the price.

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Four of the six different colors available / © Huami/Amazfit

A very familiar design

From a distance, you'd be excused for mistaking the GTS for an Apple Watch Series 4. The design inspiration is clear, but the Amazfit watch does not feel like Apple's wearable. As soon as you pick it up, it is immediately noticeable just how light it is. The watch weighs 24.8g without the strap. Huami Founder, Chairman and CEO, was keen to point out that this is 17.5 percent lighter than the 44mm Apple Watch Series 4. The smartwatch is also 12.1 percent thinner than Apple Watch Series 4.

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The GTS is thinner than the Apple Watch Series 4 / © AndroidPIT

Despite the affordable price tag, the GTS does not feel too cheap or 'budget'. The body is made of metal and polymer, and it feels pretty solid. The back of the watch face is quite coarse and feels more economical, but not when you are wearing the watch. The strap is made of silicone and is comfortable enough.

The single button on the side shows some of that cost-cutting that has taken place to get the GTS down to the price point it is being sold at. It feels tough enough when clicked, but it rotates like a crown - don't be expecting to be doing any scrolling through the menus with it though.

In terms of sensors, the GTS has an accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic, air pressure, ambient light and Huami's BioTracker PPG for measuring heart rate. There's also built-in GPS, which will delight runners. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth 5.0. It is waterproof up to 5 ATM.

A high resolution AMOLED

Huami, which has been providing wearable hardware for Xiaomi such as the Mi Band fitness trackers, has placed a strong emphasis on the display with the GTS. It's a 1.65-inch AMOLED panel with a resolution of 348 x 442 pixels (340PPI). The Huami boss also called out Samsung as well as Apple during the launch event, announcing that the GTS has the highest resolution currently available on the market. The glass itself is Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and it curves at the edges to meet the housing. You already know where you have seen this before.

The display itself is quite pleasant, and the colors pop. We'll have to wait and see how it performs in a wider range of conditions , such as outside in bright sunlight, or when exercising and so on, when we do our full review. There are a total of six display areas on the watch face, five of which are customizable. Only the top left area with the time is displayed has to stay where it is. You can also customize the entire watch face as one, switching between several presents. You can also down new watch faces. All of this customization is done via the Amazfit app. It looks deep, and we'll be digging into it when we test the smartwatch thoroughly.

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The Amazfit app offers customization options / © AndroidPIT

24-hour, uninterrupted heart-rate minitoring

The BioTracker PPG heart rate sensor is Huami's answer to the growing need for this kind of health-focused technology. Rather than go down the ECG route rivals such as Apple and Withings have done, Huami is adopting a more long-term monitoring approach. The BioTracker measures your heart rate constantly, providing 24-hour, uninterrupted readings. Of course, this data has to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially on affordable devices such as the Amazfit GTS, but fair play to the brand for trying something different. We've said it before and we will continue to stress it, do not entertain the idea that a smartwatch can replace a real doctor or professionally taken heart reading - we are nowhere near there yet.

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There are 12 sports modes to choose from / © AndroidPIT

For fitness fanatics, there are 12 sports modes covering both indoor and outdoor activities. Some of these designed for the gym. Huami makes a range of proper sports watches, though, and most consumers would not go for the GTS if they were serious about tracking their exercise accurately. Still, it's nice to have it in there. There's also sleep monitoring. All of the basic functions you'd expect a modern smartwatch to have are here.

10 days battery from a single charge

The Huami Amazfit GTS is fitted with a 220mAh battery. The company said that you can get 46 days worth of juice out of it in basic watch mode, which is with everything turned off and just using it as a digital watch, checking the time an average of 100 times per day. With GPS permanently tuned on, Huami said it will last 25 hours. With everyday usage, it can last 10 days on a single charge, apparently. We will find out during our full review process if these numbers stand up to the test.

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The GTS is designed to be worn all day / © AndroidPIT

Early Verdict

The Huami Amazfit GTS is certainly an interest new wearable, and there's more to like than just the very competitive price. The watch recently won the IFA Product Technical Innovation Award 2019, and you can see why. Whether or not it stands up to regular, daily usage, we'll have to wait and see. We're looking forward to testing this one though. Watch this space.

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