Ameya DalviAug 30, 2022 18:26:02 IST
– Classy and compact design
– Lightweight and comfortable around the wrist
– Sharp AMOLED display
– Very good battery backup
– Built-in GPS, impressive feature set
– New Zepp OS is simple and snappy
– Reliable tracking, detailed companion app
– GPS lock takes longer than usual
– Auto-detection of workouts doesn’t work
Price: Rs 7,999
We have grown fond of Amazfit products over the years, especially their GTR and GTS series. Though not perfect, we have seen a steady improvement in the hardware as well as software with every new generation of their watches. The Amazfit GTR 3 that we reviewed last year was a well-rounded product that debuted new sensors and newer UI for the watch as well as the Zepp app.
While its latest iteration is expected shortly, the first member of the 4 series, Amazfit GTS 4 Mini is already here. It offers a lot of GTR 3 goodness in a more compact form factor for almost half the price. Sounds interesting? So let’s get to know it better.
Classy and compact design, comfortable to wear
Given that this is a GTS series watch, you get a rectangular dial. The design is polished with absolutely no rough edges, and the watch is just 9.1 mm thick. A solitary physical button allows you to access different functions of this watch in conjunction with the touchscreen display. The aluminium alloy frame blends seamlessly into the display. The frame predominantly has a matte grey finish with just a shiny line where the frame meets the display. It makes the watch look elegant, especially the black variant that we got for review.
The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini is available in multiple colour shades to appeal to a broader audience. The watch is incredibly light and weighs just 31.2 grams with the straps, and somehow feels even lighter. It is comfortable to wear for long hours as the silicone straps don’t cause sweating or skin irritation. Just that the locking mechanism is slightly different from the standard buckle and hoop option, and can take a couple of attempts to get used to. If you don’t like it, you can replace the default straps with any third-party 20 mm straps.
Sharp display with provision for multiple watch faces
Despite the Mini suffix, the screen size of the GTS 4 Mini is the same as that of the GTS 2e and slightly bigger than the GTS 2 Mini. It has a lively 1.65-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 336 x 384 pixels. Despite the reduction in resolution from the non-Mini GTS models, you still get a 308 ppi pixel density here, and the display is sharp enough. The screen is protected against scratches by a layer of tempered glass and also has an anti-fingerprint coating; both do their job well.
The screen has auto as well as manual brightness controls and is perfectly legible outdoors even under bright sunlight. When not under bright sunlight, even 50% brightness is good enough. You need to flick your wrist to turn the screen on, and if that doesn’t work, you can always press the physical button. Double tap doesn’t wake the screen up, but the flick option works well most of the time. You can also turn off the flick gesture or schedule it to stay off during your sleep hours.
Though not as many in the case of the main GTR and GTS series watches, you get close to fifty watch faces (at the time of writing) for the Amazfit GTS 4 Mini in the companion app. The transfer process is fairly brisk too, and you get a generous number of slots on the watch to store watch faces of your choosing. A couple of preloaded faces can be customised to display information of your choice ranging from steps count, calories burned, heart rate, battery and more.
Upgraded user interface and a feature-rich app
Just like all other Amazfit watches, you need to download the Zepp app and sync your device with it over Bluetooth. The process is a lot smoother, and unlike earlier generation watches from the company, the overreliance on the app for configuring several watch settings is significantly lower now. You can access and control several features of the GTS 4 Mini from the watch. In fact, you can even see the breakup of workout or sleep data and a few other things on the watch screen itself. But things like fitness goals, reports and watch faces are understandably available only in the app.
The UI is similar to the one you get on the Amazfit GTR 3. The Zepp OS interface feels more eye-catching now with lively colours and cooler animations. It is still clean and easy to use even for a novice. You need to swipe down on the home screen for quick settings, swipe up for notifications, and swipe left or right to browse through various widgets like daily goals progress, PAI, heart rate, sleep data and more. The physical button acts as a shortcut for all the watch functions and also doubles up as a home button from any screen.
The app interface changed last year and it’s still the same; there was no need to tinker around with it so soon anyway. It feels uncluttered and intuitive. All the fitness cards are presented on the home screen, and they can be shuffled around as per your choice. They display your heart rate, stress and blood oxygen levels, sleep data, step count and more. The Health tab shows your workout data and lets you set goals. The Profile tab is mainly about managing the settings of the watch and personal information.
Reliable fitness tracking and faster measurements courtesy of newer sensors
Though the word smartwatch is liberally used these days, the Amazfit GTS4 Mini is essentially a fitness tracker with a few smartwatch functions thrown in. You can mute or reject calls from the watch screen and can read your messages, though you cannot reply from the watch. Directly calling from the watch is not an option either. You can choose to receive notifications from the desired apps on the phone, along with event reminders and weather updates. You get Alexa support too, however basic.
And there’s a little more, or rather a beginning of something interesting. Zepp OS that this watch runs had opened up to app developers last year for having third-party apps on the platform. And you now have 10 mini apps to show for their initiative. Still early days, but something worth keeping an eye on. The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini also uses the newer sensors found on the more expensive GTR 3 and GTS 3 watches for faster and more accurate tracking.
The BioTracker PPG 3.0 biometric sensor can monitor heart rate, blood oxygen, stress levels and sleep, and some of them round the clock if you wish to. The speed of SpO2 measurements has also noticeably improved since the 2 series. You still need to keep your hand steady, but you can get an accurate score in 15 to 30 seconds on this watch. You also get one tap measurement for four health parameters in 45 seconds. It measures your heart rate, oxygen level, stress level and breath rate in one go. You again need to stay still for that.
The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini can track 126 different activities and sports that include your usual walking, running, cycling, swimming, strength training and their variations. It has a 5-satellite GNSS GPS module to track your outdoor activities. While the outdoor walks and jogs are tracked accurately, it takes a lot longer than usual to get a GPS lock. At times it even took as long as 5 minutes even when I was out in the open. The company claims that this watch can auto-detect seven workouts, but that didn’t work for me even once during the course of the review.
The indoor tracking isn’t bad either, but the pedometer is slightly on the conservative side, but the good part is it doesn’t report false steps. The watch is 5ATM water resistant and can be worn for a swim without a worry. Some of the fitness data can be checked on the watch screen and the rest is available in the Zepp app with a neat daily, weekly and monthly breakdown of various activities you indulged in. You also get a weekly PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) score, that gives you an idea of how active you have been during the week.
Sleep tracking works well here. The overall sleep duration from the time I fell asleep till I was up seemed spot on. It tracks the quantum of light sleep, deep sleep, REM periods and awake time. You get a sleep score and some insights based on the quality and quantity of sleep. All-day stress monitoring is also available on this watch. Stress is calculated on the basis of your heart rate variability. Menstrual tracking is supported and so are certain breathing exercises. You also get sedentary reminders if you are stationary for close to an hour.
Good battery life
One striking feature of most Amazfit watches is a solid battery backup. The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini too does a commendable job in that department despite its smaller footprint. The company claims a battery life of 15 days on a single charge under a typical usage scenario. And if you do not use GPS much, it can even go on for 21 days; something I learned unintentionally as I couldn’t step out for many walks or jogs during the test period due to the Mumbai rains.
However, an hour of GPS usage tends to drop the battery by 7 to 8 per cent. In a real-world usage scenario with heart rate monitoring set to 1 minute, stress monitoring at 5 minutes intervals, 3 hours of total GPS usage per week, 2 SpO2 readings daily, and sleep monitoring turned on for a week, the watch’s 270 mAh battery should last you for close to two weeks, which is impressive. It takes less than 2 hours to charge fully with the bundled magnetic pin charger.
Price and verdict
The Amazfit GTS 4 Mini sells for Rs 7,999 in India with a one-year warranty. If you think about it objectively, it is even cheaper than the two years old GTS 2e, and with a feature set similar to the GTS 3. That spells great value for money right there. At that price, you get a slim and stylish fitness watch with a sharp AMOLED display, built-in GPS, reliable fitness tracking thanks to the newer sensors, detailed companion app, 5ATM water resistance and very good battery backup.
It doesn’t support the calling feature from the watch, but we still don’t consider it a must-have feature, given the way it is implemented in budget watches. There are also a few minor shortcomings in the GTS 4 Mini, but the pros easily outweigh the cons, and it is very easy to recommend this product to those looking for a compact fitness watch. If you like a bigger or circular dial, this is not a watch for you. You would be better off looking for a good deal on one of the Amazfit GTR watches in the upcoming festive sales.
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