The GTR Mini is a good looking and capable smartwatch for not a lot of money. Yes, the tracking isn’t as good as more expensive alternatives, but if you want a way to monitor your health all while exploring what smartwatches can do, it’s a solid and inexpensive choice.
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Amazfit has added to its Mini line of smartwatches with a diminutive version of its popular GTR 4. So, can it fit the same kind of features into a smaller space? Here’s the full Tech Advisor review of the Amazfit GTR Mini.
Design and build
Lightweight and comfortable
Stainless steel frame
Compared to the rectangular Amazfit GTS 4 Mini that I reviewed recently, it’s immediately apparent that some corners have been cut with the GTR Mini, but these are aesthetic rather than in quality. This is because the GTR bears a round design that’s akin to many classic watches, and is also in keeping with the larger GTR 4.
At around 36g, with the strap, the GTR Mini is a nice, lightweight watch. The 9.25mm depth means it sits well and doesn’t easily get caught on shirt sleeves or other clothing, plus the 42.83mm casing isn’t too big even on my reasonably slim wrists.
There’s a stainless steel band running around the circumference of the device, adorned with a single crown. Unlike with the larger GTR 4 (and Apple Watch), the crown is simply a button, so you can’t turn it to scroll through options on the 1.28in AMOLED circular display.
The rear of the device is where you’ll find the BioTracker PPG optical sensor, along with the twin magnetic charging points to which you attach the included (and bespoke) charging cradle. Everything is also protected by a 5 ATM waterproof rating, which means you can safely take the GTR Mini for a swim.
A 20mm silicone strap with quick-release fittings finishes off the design, offering enough holes to accomodate a good selection of wrist sizes (Amazfit states 150-200mm). I did find that the included one caused a reaction to my skin, with the underside of the clasp area rubbing slightly. I’ve used plenty of Amazfit devices over the years, and haven’t found this to be the case, so I’m guessing this must be a skin irritation particular to me rather than a problem with the design. I swapped it out for a leather strap I had on another watch, and everything was fine from that point on.
It’s a good looking device that feels more like a dress watch than the sporty vibes given off by the GTS 4 Mini. It’s available in three color-schemes: Midnight Black, Misty Pink and Ocean Blue, plus there are a variety of alternative color straps available on the Amazfit site.
1.28in AMOLED display
416 x 416 resolution
The round 1.28in AMOLED panel acquits itself well. It’s bright enough to still be legible on a sunny day, albeit only just, colors are easily discernible and the text is clear and easy to read. The 326ppi means everything looks sharp, which is a good job as some of the watch-faces on offer are not the best in terms of design. More on that later. Amazfit lists the face material as tempered glass, but doesn’t state the likes of Gorilla Glass, which isn’t surprising at this price.
There is a rather sizable bezel around the edge of the display, resulting in a little less on-screen space than you might first suspect. This also means you’ll lose the ends of text as it remains obscured until you scroll it up to the higher parts of the display. It’s no big deal, but it’s just something to adjust to if you’re used to more rectangular designs. Touch response is good, with most commands being executed immediately and scrolling through menus proved simple and reliable. A solid display from Amazfit.
Software and features
Zepp OS 2.0
No third party app support
Amazfit uses a proprietary OS for its smartwatches called Zepp OS 2.0, which is also accompanied by the Zepp app you’ll need to download to your iOS or Android device. Within this you’ll find all the features that work on the GTR Mini, plus a very minimal app store which doesn’t really have anything useful.
The first thing to do is find a watch face that displays the information you require, which isn’t easy. While there are over 80 available through the Zepp app, too many are variations on the same design. This is compounded by the fact that this particular design mimics the twin hand layout of classic watches, with the digital information squeezed either out to the sides and difficult to read or in the central dial complications that can be obscured by the hands.
This makes the GTR Mini feel like a, well, traditional watch rather than a smart one. It also continues the dress versus sports watch differentiation theme between the GTS 4 Mini and GTR Mini, with the former offering much better data on the screen whereas you’ll have to go looking for it on the GTR Mini.
There are faces that offer useful things like heart rate monitoring, steps and other metrics, plus you can edit some of the standard ones, but most of the best ones you’ll have to pay for. Sure, they’re very cheap (around $1/£1 or $2/£2) and can be downloaded in seconds, it just feels dumb to not offer them as part of the standard package, especially when they do come with the GTS 4 Mini.
It’s a shame, as the GTR Mini has plenty of useful features under the hood. Alongside the health tracking that we’ll cover below, there’s also a suite of built-in apps that help with messaging and personal organisation. You won’t find WhatsApp or Spotify, instead things are handled by Amazfit’s generic notifications and music apps, but these integrate well with those services and others.
You can see incoming messages and reply with a small selection of preset responses. To be fair, they are mainly along the lines of ‘I’m busy, I’ll reply later’ but in a pinch they can be all you need. There’s no onscreen keyboard or onboard microphone, so you’re stuck with these options, which is a bit limiting. For instance, you can be notified that your phone is ringing, but you can’t answer it on the watch as there isn’t a speaker either. It’s all quite common for devices in this price point, but just something you should be aware of up front.
There’s a selection of other apps including directions, to dos, various timers, and a calendar that can be synced to Google Calendar, although you’ll need to do this on the Zepp app as it doesn’t set up automatically. Sadly, I couldn’t get the GTR Mini to recognise Tasks from my Google Calendar, which is something I hope gets fixed with a future update.
Navigating through the menus is a simple case of swiping left and right or up and down, all of which access different features. You can reorder them in the Zepp app and remove ones that you don’t need to display on the watch at that time (they can be restored later if you need them). Pressing the crown button takes you straight back to the home screen, then pressing it again takes you to the quick launch menu for installed apps.
You can also select an app that it launches if you press and hold for a couple of seconds. I set this to Music as it meant I could quickly adjust volume or playback on my bluetooth headphones when out walking the dog without having to swipe through menus. Very handy.
There’s disappointingly no NFC, so you won’t be able to use the GTR Mini to make payments at a checkout.
Health and fitness tracking
120+ sports modes
Heart rate, SpO2 and Sleep monitoring
While the GTR Mini may try to hide its sporting nature, there’s plenty of health and fitness tracking capabilities built into the device. You can choose from over 120 different sport tracking modes, ranging from the traditional walking and running, right up to hula hooping or foosball.
Tracking isn’t automatic, so you’ll need to start it manually as you begin a session, but there are a few activities (such as walking, running and cycling) that can be set to trigger once the GTR Mini senses your movements. There’s also GPS onboard to track your routes.
You see all of your data in the Zepp app, which collates your various activities so you can review your progress. There’s also the PAI system which rewards you for exercising and being active, all of which scores PAI points and lets you know how your fitness targets have fared over the past week. It’s similar to closing your rings on the Apple Watch and acts as a subtle challenge to do more so that you can keep a streak of points going.
As with the Amazfit Band 7 and Amazfit GTS 4 Mini I’ve reviewed recently, the tracking itself feels very much ballpark rather than accurate. My heart rate often reported as being faster than it was, and some of the auto-tracking reports were a bit wayward. The GTR Mini does seem consistent though, so as you get used to wearing it you can mentally compensate for the readings it produces. They’re not miles off, just a bit generous.
Sleep monitoring was a similar story, with a good level of data being there to help me analyse my sleep patterns and their quality, but the watch did sometimes struggle to realise that I’d woken up, and was even using my phone. Again, ballpark is still helpful, as it shows you a record of when you went to bed and woke up (roughly), which can make you more aware of any changes in behaviour that would be better for your health.
If you’re training for a specific discipline where you need precise data, then I’d suggest you opt for more premium options like the Apple Watch SE or the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6. But, if you want a device to help you monitor your fitness and push you to be more active, and you don’t want to spend hundreds, then the Amazfit GTR Mini will certainly fit the bill.
Battery life and charging
Long battery life
Recharges in around two hours
One area where the GTR Mini really shines is the battery life. From a single charge, and using the device in a normal fashion, with a heart rate monitoring measuring every five minutes, occasional GPS tracking, auto activity-tracking on, and plenty of Bluetooth connecting to headphones, I managed to get through 10 days before I started thinking about recharging.
I could have gotten more if I’d wanted, but didn’t want to be caught out on a run and find the watch dying and losing my progress. It makes a huge change from my old Apple Watch Series 6 which needs recharging at the end of every day. Using the GPS tracking does bite into this quite a bit, with Amazfit saying you’ll get a maximum of 25 hours of continuous tracking before the battery runs dry.
The proprietary charging cradle attaches magnetically to the base of the GTR Mini, although it does continue the trend of being comically short. Why manufacturers seem to think that this is a good idea baffles me. Either make it that you can plug in your own cable or just make them longer. It’s not difficult.
Recharging the GTR Mini takes around two hours, which is not bad at all when you can probably get away with two weeks of use before you need to do it again.
Price and availability
The GTR Mini is available now from Amazfit for $119.99/£129.90/€129.90. If you’re keen on the circular design then there’s also Google’s Pixel Watch but it’s a bit more expensive at $349/£339/€379 and expected to be replaced by the Google Pixel Watch 2 before the end of the year. There’s also the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 that was recently announced and starts at $299.99/£289/€299.99.
Of course, there’s also Amazfit’s own GTS 4 Mini, which sits around the same price and favours a more sporty, rectangular design and pretty much all the same features. Or there’s the bigger brother GTR 4 which adds scrolling via the digital crown, onboard storage for music, more sports modes, a larger display and some extra upgrades for $199.99/£199.99/€199.99. If you want even more options you can check out our guide to the best smartwatches currently on the market.
The GTR Mini is a bit confusing. The design and available watch faces suggest a classier, dress watch aesthetic, but it still comes with plenty of health tracking capabilities, just like its sibling the GTS 4 Mini. The fact that you have to delve a little further into the menus to find some of the important data is a bit disappointing. You’ll also find more accurate health and fitness tracking if you go for the higher priced alternatives, not to mention support for third-party apps.
But, with that being said, it remains a very capable and useful assistant for those who want to improve their fitness and explore smartwatches without breaking the bank.
1.28in Circular AMOLED display
416 x 416 resolution
Zepp OS 2.0
BioTracker™ PPG biometric sensor (Heart rate, SpO2 and Sleep monitoring)
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.