Home » Amazfit GTR 4 hands-on review: An industry-first GPS system for $199

Amazfit GTR 4 hands-on review: An industry-first GPS system for $199

by Mark Dylan


Pros

  • Lovely, refined design
  • Gorgeous AMOLED display
  • “14-day” battery life
  • Reasonable priced at $199
  • Extensive amount of customization

Cons

  • No Google Assistant support

Wearables continue to be released at a pace that requires me to grow additional arms to test them all and the quality continues to impress. I’ve spent several days with the new Amazfit GTR 4 and will continue to put it through its paces. It’s a rather stunning fitness-focused smartwatch that offers a lot and lasts for a couple of weeks while being priced at just $199.99.

Last year we saw the GTR 3 and GTR 3 Pro, both excellent alternatives to some of our best smartwatch picks. While the Amazfit watches come with the standard suite of smartwatch features, they are ultimately fitness-focused wearables with an amazing amount of customization and health/wellness tracking metrics.

Specifications

Display 1.43-inch 466×466 pixels resolution AMOLED touchscreen
Materials Aluminum alloy and plastic
Durability 5 ATM
Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0
GNSS Dual band frequency and GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou/QZSS
Sensors BioTracker 4.0 PPG biometric, acceleration, gyroscope, geomagnetic, air pressure
Battery 475 mAh, 14 days typical, 25 hours GPS
Bands 22mm quick release
Dimensions 46 x 46 x 12.4 mm and 34 grams (without strap)

Hardware

  • Luxury looks for $200
  • Brilliant AMOLED display
  • Microphone and speaker

I’ve been testing a lot of watches lately, including a couple of luxury Google Wear OS watches, so I figured a watch that was priced less than $200 wouldn’t be that compelling. When I opened the package, I was very impressed by the elegant design features of the GTR 4, including a narrow matte finish bezel with subtle black lines for the minutes around a smooth glass display. The brushed aluminum casing looks awesome with symmetric bumps on each side and two easily accessible buttons on the right.

The stunning AMOLED touchscreen impresses with vivid colors and very high resolution that provides a classy look and detail for various watch faces. 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. A long press of the upper button and a standard press of the lower button can be customized for your preferences. I have the top button set to launch Alexa and the bottom button for workouts.

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An elegant-looking smartwatch with a reasonable price.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The back of the watch has a glossy black plastic back with two connection points for the magnetically attachable charging cable. The GTR 4 launches with the latest BioTracker 4.0 PPG sensor that has six lights to measure your key vitals; blood oxygen, heart rate, stress, and more.

Also: Best smartwatch for Android users

There is both a microphone and a speaker on the GTR 4 so you can use Amazon Alexa and hear the results. Having these key elements also means that you can take and receive phone calls from your watch when it is connected to your phone. You can even listen to music through the speaker in a pinch if you don’t have a connected headset.

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

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The two buttons are customizable for your optimal experience.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Navigating on the Amazfit GT4

  • Swipe down for quick controls
  • Swipe right and left for quick app access
  • Use the buttons for customized access

Using the Amazfit GTR 4 is as intuitive and highly customizable. To turn on the display, you simply raise your wrist or press one of the side buttons, revealing one of the hundreds of watch faces that the Zepp app has to offer. You can even upload your own photos to use on your watch face or select an animated watch face for some added pizazz. Some are classic faces while others are heavy on the presentation of the health data collected by the watch. There are some customization options for various complications too.

Swiping down from the top reveals the nine quick toggles in the control center — with more as you swipe across. You can customize which of the available items appear on the display and reorder them as you desire in the smartphone app.

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Nine icons show up on the display, but you can swipe for more

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

A swipe up from the bottom displays your notifications. When a notification comes in, action items will appear below it, like replying to a text message.

One new feature with the GTR 4’s software is setting the default app/widget on your first left swipe, similar to the user interface elements we have seen on Garmin watches.

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

For workouts, you can press the lower right button to launch the Workout utility and then scroll to find your preferred fitness routine. More than 150 sports modes are available in Zepp OS, including board games, combat workouts, driving, and much more. To make things manageable on the watch, you can add, remove, and reorder your most used workout modes for quick access. 

Smartphone software

  • Spend time exploring the exhaustive app
  • Customize your data cards
  • Confirm GPS settings

To experience everything there is to offer with the GTR 4, connect your phone and 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, scales, and treadmills.

Three main pages of information are presented within the Zepp app: 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 that can feature up to 17 data cards, These include PAI, sleep, stress and blood oxygen, bodyweight analysis, ECG, and body temperature. Some of this data is not collected by the GTR 4, 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 the Zepp app to track your activity.

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.

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

One of the new features on the Amazfit GTR 4 that is compelling for such an affordable wearable is the support for dual-band frequencies and five GNSS systems. In the smartphone app there is a GPS settings page where you can choose from four options; accuracy (uses both bands and all satellites), balanced (single band and two GNSS satellite systems), power saving (single band and one GNSS system, and custom where you can specify exactly how you want your position tracked. Others tend to automatically select these options so it’s interesting to see Amazfit provide such fine control here.

Bottom line…for now

I’ve only been using the Amazfit GTR 4 for about a week and had a business trip so I still need to take it out for running, walking, cycling, and more health and fitness testing. Initial indications are that sleep tracking is fairly accurate, the battery decreases about 10% per day, and Alexa works well.

Replies to notifications seem to rely on default messages and those have failed so I need to explore this area of the watch to figure out how useful notifications will be in daily usage. There are a lot of watch faces available, but I’m a fan of some of the lovely default ones.

The hardware of the watch is fantastic and I love the size and comfort of it. That big high-resolution display is very visible and easily readable too.

Alternatives to consider

Apple and Samsung dominate the smartwatch world with wearables that last two to three days. There are other options to the Amazfit GTR 4 that last for a week or more so check these out.



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