There was a time when a budget smartwatch looked very much like the cheap wearable it was. Indeed, Amazfit’s early devices were cheap and cheerful, chunky plastic affairs. We loved them but if you wanted your smartwatch to look good, you needed to spend a bit more cash. The Amazfit GTR 4, however, proves that there’s no longer a compromise.
It’s a fully functional smartwatch that’s not only stacked with smart and fitness-focused features but also looks and feels luxurious – for an amount of money that, frankly, beggars belief. It’s the best budget smartwatch we’ve used by quite some distance.
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Amazfit GTR 4 review: What do you get for the money?
The Amazfit GTR 4 costs £199 and that’s a very reasonable price for a watch that looks and functions as nicely as this. It looks sumptuous with a slender aluminium frame that sits nicely on the wrist and is finished smartly in matte silver. It isn’t overburdened with controls – all you get is a clickable rotating crown at the top of the right edge and a shortcut button on the same edge at the bottom – but those both feel lovely to use.
It’s comfortable to wear, too. The model I was sent for review came with a black elastomer strap but you can also buy the watch with a leather or nylon loop strap. Whichever you choose, though, it’s easy to swap out straps via the standard 22mm spring pin system. It’s tough, too, with a water resistant rating to 5 ATM (50m) and, with tempered glass topping the display, it should stay looking good for a good while. Even after wearing it for a couple of months, there was barely a scratch on it.
More important than all of this, perhaps, is that the display is fantastic. It’s large, bright, sharp and readable – a 1.43in AMOLED number with a resolution of 466 x 466 pixels – and it has an always-on mode so it looks great 24/7. Plus, the watch’s Zepp OS feels as fluid and responsive as any smartwatch I’ve used.
It isn’t just the look and feel of the Amazfit GTR 4 that impresses, though. It’s also absolutely stacked with features, many of which you usually have to pay a little more for. There’s all the core stuff, of course, from step and stair tracking to background heart rate, sleep tracking and workout modes – you get 150+ of these, so whatever you do to stay active should be covered. Notifications come through from your smartphone and you can take and make phone calls over Bluetooth, just like the majority of its rivals.
In addition to that, there’s also blood oxygen and breathing rate sensing (including sleep breathing quality), high and low heart rate warnings, and stress and menstrual cycle tracking. Not to mention that it also comes with Alexa voice assistant support, offline voice control and dual-band GPS.
Moreover, there’s plenty of stats to get into on the training front, including training effect and recovery advice plus comprehensive workout statistics: examples include cadence, stride length and gradient distribution for runners. The watch can broadcast heart rate information, although you might not want to do that for the reasons stated below. You can even import routes (in TCX, GPX or KML format) and follow along via breadcrumb navigation.
Battery life is also very impressive with a 475mAh battery rated at up to 14 days typical usage, 25 hours of GPS in full accuracy mode, 44 hours of GPS in “balanced” mode and 52 hours in power saving mode.
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Amazfit GTR 4 review: What was performance like?
I tested the GTR 4 in my usual way, comparing against a Stryd Wind running pod for distance accuracy and a MyZone MZ Switch heart rate chest belt for heart rate monitoring. I enabled the most accurate GPS mode for all testing.
The results were split right down the middle. The GPS accuracy proved superb, matching the Stryd Wind running pod for distance more closely than any of the wearables I’ve tested recently. Across five runs and 60km of running I recorded an average total deviation of only 0.79% and no run was more than 1.33% different.
It’s certainly far better in this regard than either the FitBit Sense 2 or the FitBit Versa 4, which are the GTR 4’s closest rivals when it comes to the target market. It was pretty quick at gaining a GPS lock as well; when venturing out for a run I found it would typically grab a solid signal in well under a minute after leaving my front door.
The heart-rate monitor, on the other hand, tanked badly. Across the same series of runs, compared with the MyZone chest belt, I recorded a massive deviation of 9.2%. Your mileage may vary but I found that, no matter how snugly I cinched the strap onto my wrist, the GTR 4 tended to lock onto my running cadence and stay there, leading to one of the worst overall performances I’ve seen recently from any smartwatch or sports wearable.
Don’t get me wrong, the heart rate monitor is fine for background readings and spot checks but I wouldn’t rely on it for a reliable workout readout. It’s just as well the watch allows for the connection of Bluetooth chest belts. If you’re going to buy this watch, you’ll need to get yourself one.
This is the only blip when it comes to overall performance, however. Battery life is brilliant, especially if you turn off always-on mode – I found it lasted nearly two weeks in this mode before it needed to be charged with around eight hours of GPS use (with full accuracy enabled). As mentioned previously, the OS feels incredibly responsive and fluid, too.
Amazfit GTR 4 review: What could it do better?
This watch does a lot and it does it pretty well but there are a few areas in which it could be improved. I’ve already touched on its weakest area – heart rate monitoring – but I have come across some other issues, with one being that it falls short as a more serious training tool.
If you’re looking to train for a specific goal like a 5km parkrun or longer distance, it isn’t the best device for following structured workouts and long-term training plans. The reason for this is that you’re limited in the type of structured workouts and training sessions you can set up.
You can enable basic interval training sessions on the watch itself with warmup and cooldown segments and a custom number of repeats but that’s your limit. And although it is possible to set workout targets (or alerts as Amazfit calls them) for things like cadence and heart rate zone, these only apply to the workout as a whole and can’t be applied to individual intervals.
I'd expected the accompanying Zepp app to expand on this more but although it presents all your data in an easily digestible format there's still no way to add extra workouts, either your own or prebuilt.
Amazfit GTR 4 review: Should you buy it?
If you’re looking for a sports watch for running, triathlon, swimming or something else with a goal event in mind, then the Amazfit GTR 4 probably won’t be for you. In this regard, you’ll want to choose a Garmin Forerunner 55 or Coros Pace 2 instead.
But if you’re after a tracker or a smartwatch that does a bit more – actually let’s say it, a LOT more – then it’s a great option. It’s good looking on the wrist and comfortable, with features not present in rivals at this price, such as accurate dual-frequency GPS. Plus the display is great, the UI feels fluid and ultra responsive and battery life is impressive. I’d recommend the Amazfit GTR 4 above the Fitbit Versa 4 or the Fitbit Sense 2.