Amazfit GTS 2 mini review

Amazfit just released the GTS 2 mini. It's the third model in the GTS 2 line and the cheapest, you can get it for around 80€.

As this watch share a lot with the more expensive models, you may wanna read my review of the GTR 2 & 2e : GTR 2 & 2e review


Design and built quality 

It sports a smaller and simplified design and a bit more plastic than the GTS 2 and 2e models. The size of the watch is on the small side, close to the small Apple Watch and will fit better petite to average wrists. It's perfect for women as well as men who don't like huge watches or have thin wrists. It's rather thin and light which makes it a better choice if you wanna keep it at night to analyse your sleep. The GTR 2 & 2e are big and heavy enough you could kill your partner, just moving in your sleep.

Here we just have a circle of metal around the screen covering half of the sides, the back and other half being simple plastic. There is one button without the protective edges distinctive of the GTS2 & 2e design ... I didn’t like that strange looking shape. I clearly prefer this simple and straightforward design, closer to the original GTS.


As the lugs are made of plastic their reliability in the long term may be a point of concern but it really depends on the plastic quality. Most Garmin watches are essentially plastic and doesn't break easilly but Fossil Sport have had some broken lugs amongst many other problems.



Screen : excellent

As always with the current models, the AMOLED screen is gorgeous, giving naturally a perfect contrast and vibrant colors. It's even a bit better because the white balance is a tad warmer, making the display more pleasant to use especially at night under electric lights. 

At 1,55" it's a bit smaller than the 1,65" GTS 2 & 2e display but it certainly doesn't feel small or cramped, everything being sharp and clear. 

The screen is significantly brighter than on a GTR 2 and GTS 2 and a lot brighter than the disappointing panel of the original GTR which was too dim and pinkish.


Battery life : excellent

The battery life of the watch is clearly better than the rather disappointing GTS 2 model and should be the same as the GTS 2e or the GTR 2 : you can count on one full week with AOD and HR every 5mn, shutting the watch OFF every night. See my GTR 2 review for more details.


Software : simplified but efficient

Most of the software is the same as on the GTS 2 and GTR 2 lines so you can read my detailed review of the GTR 2 models. However there are some differences as the watch has a smaller screen and a smaller memory, no speaker, no temperature sensor and a slightly different platform. 

Overall performance is good, everything work fine without any slow down.

The system shortcut panel you get with a swipe down is a very simplified version. It shows the phone connection status, battery level, time, date and shortcuts to DND, alarms, brightness and settings. As settings are simplified too, changing some parameters is quick and this slimed down panel is perfectly good enough.

About settings, it’s strange to note that there is no airplane mode.


No multitasking

There is no multitasking, so the multitask cards you can access by a left swipe on the GTS 2 and GTR 2 are not available. A left swipe will show you the last shortcut. 

When you launch a timer, it stays active on screen until the AOD watch face appears, then if you push the button the timer shows again. You cannot go back to the watchface or the apps list while the timer is running. 

If a notification appears on your watch, it will be displayed and then disappear to let the timer work. When your timer is stopped or ended you can go back to the main screen and view your notifications normally.

Sport activities work exactly the same except that you can access the music player remote with a right swipe. That's quite convenient.

Some may consider the lack of multitasking annoying but frankly, will you often need to check the weather on your watch during a countdown or an activity ? I don't miss multitasking at all on a smartwatch.


Watchfaces : good

GTS 2 watchfaces are not compatible. The Amazfit free store offers an increasing choice of nearly 70 new watchfaces at the time of this review. The website Amazfaces has some more watchfaces too but not much. The 2 basic watchfaces can be customized : you can choose the data fields content. The first watchface has 6 customizable datafields and you can have detailed weather forecast, sun rise and sun set times, UV index, some apps shortcuts ... that’s excellent !

AOD works the same as GTS 2 and GTR 2, but the 2 generic AOD styles are a lot better, more modern, easier to read, better looking.  Some watchfaces does have their own dedicated AOD. In AOD mode, the watchfaces moves to protect the screen ... when the GTR 2 and GTS 2 moves the display just a little bit, the mini can move it a lot more, like on a screensaver. 

This watchface is designed to show cut numbers, this is not AOD’s fault

AOD is significantly brighter than on a GTS 2 or a GTR 2 but won’t be readable in bright sun.

There are already 2 basic watchfaces you cannot delete and you can load only 2 extra watchfaces in the watch memory, VS more than 20 on the GTR / GTS 2. Of course you can use Zepp on your phone to send any other watchface to the watch to replace one of the 2 user memory slots. 2 is a bit short and it’s a pity you cannot replace the 2 basic ones to get 4 user selected watchfaces stored in the watch.


Notifications : good and better than on GTR 2 & GTS 2 !

This is one of the best parts of the mini : notifications are globally better !

The mini will store your 10 last notifications and you will access the list with a swipe up. The GTR 2 and GTS 2 can store the 20 last ones, but let's be honest, scrolling through 20 little notification cards is a bit tedious. 10 is probably quite enough. 

You can touch a notification to expand it. Then you will read up to 120 letters or signs VS 250 on the GTR 2 / GTS 2. 120 is good for text messages, for some tweets, but not for a long reddit comment. It should be ennough to decide if the message needs immediate answer or not and I believe it's the main use of notifications on a smartwatch.

So finally what is better ?

NOTIFICATIONS ARE MUCH MORE EASY TO READ !

The font is a lot bigger, text is a lot easier and comfortable to read. This was the main problem with the way GTR 2 and GTS 2 handled notifications but it' absolutely OK on the mini. This may seem trivial but it makes the notification so much better !

NOTIFICATION STATUS IS SYNCED WITH YOUR PHONE, BOTH WAYS !

You can erase notifications from the watch and it will be cleared on the phone (at least on my iPhone) and it works the other way too ! Notification status syncing never worked for me on the GTR 2 / GTS 2 line.

You can erase notifications one by one with a swipe on its card or all at once. By the way, did you notice that Twitter notifications doesn’t show the sender’s name ? How strange !


Health and sport : as good as GTR 2 & GTS 2

There are only 70 sports VS 90 on the more expensive models. Otherwise everything is fine and work the same about sport and health. So you can read my previous review if you want a bit more details.


Apps : a lot better than GTS 2 & GTR 2 !

Most of the apps are the same, so you can read about it in my previous review of the GTR 2. But there are more apps on the mini ! And finally the only essential thing still missing is a planning to quickly check your next appointments, but you can ask Alexa.

Apps exclusive to the mini :

- Pomodoro is a famous timer to help you focus and be efficient.


- Menstual cycles management is an app ... I cannot test ... It lets you input the times of your periods and get statistics about it. Of course the app tells you that it’s for reference only and you should NOT use it as a contraception method.

- To do list is a usefull task manager. You can add and manage tasks from Zepp but you can check and mark tasks as done directly on your watch too. If tasks have a due date they will appear in this order on the watch. Simple and efficient.

- World clock is simple clock displaying the time for 6 city you can select in the Zepp app.

- Camera remote works fine on my iPhone. You have to launch the camera app on the phone and then use the watch to trigger the camera. You cannot actually see the picture on the watch, it’s a simple remote but can be very usefull for a group picture, for example.

- Breathing is a basic breathing exercise to help you focus and calm down.

- Sleep is a quick overview of your essential sleep metrics.

- Alexa, the famous voice assistant is here too (more on it later).


Apps that didn’t made it to the mini :

- Skin temperature (GTR & GTS 2e only) (not very usefull)

- Phone call (GTR & GTS 2 only)

- Barometric altimeter EDIT : THERE IS A BAROMETER INSIDE THE COMPASS APP, swipe up and wait for a bunch of seconds

- Events (a useless app that doesn’t sync with any calendar)


ALEXA IS THERE AND WORKS FINE !

Alexa on a smartwatch expands features a lot, and this is precisely what the Amazfit line needs. Alexa allows you to see your planning and lists like todo or shopping lists. With voice you can even add or remove items both on your calendar and lists, this is exactly what these watches needed to become truly smart smartwatches.

You can ask basic things to Alexa and launch some routines for home automation. But you cannot use Alexa to send a message or answer a notification.

Be aware that a voice assistant is fully connected and having Zepp running in background on your phone is mandatory. It’s absolutely necessary to make sure the system doesn’t kill Zepp after a while to preserve battery. Most Android phones tend to do that but you can stop this for a given app in your phone settings. It seems some chinese brands like Oppo, Xiaomi and One + are overaggressive with battery optimisation and tend sometimes to not follow your settings and may kill background processes after a while anyway. This can affect any smartwatch, not only Amazfit devices. If your phone kills the app or services, no watch will work properly.


Conclusion

For me, it's quite certain that the Amazfit GTS2 mini is the best Amazfit smartwatch for this generation. Compared to their more expensive devices it looses few and quite unsignificant things but gain a lot of usefull functions and improvements. 

- Build quality is good, not premium but not cheap at all. 

- Design is simple but nice and will fit everywhere. 

- Battery life is excellent.

- There are more usefull apps

- Alexa works fine and expands the possibilities

For 80€ you get one of the best smartwatches available on the market.



For me there is no doubt that the GTR 2 mini is better than the quite good Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense  

Now we are left wondering what is Amazfit doing with the GTR 2 and GTS 2 models ? How is it possible they offer significantly better software on the ultra cheap and less powerful GTS 2 mini ?

They clearly have to bring these software enhancements to the more expensive models !