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(Pocket-lint) - The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is a smartwatch with a mid-range price point that clearly has high-end smartwatch aspirations. It sits pretty at the top of Zepp Health's wearable family in terms of features and design.

Building on the GTR 2, which launched in late 2020, the Pro offers sports modes aplenty, Amazon Alexa integration and its own offline voice assistant, plus the introduction of an app store with the arrival of a new Zepp OS smartwatch platform.

Building a more fully-fledged operating system for its watches seems to be a move that Zepp wants to build more capable smartwatches without making a bigger dent in your bank balance. Has it managed to achieve that here with the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro?

Design and display

  • 22mm removable straps
  • 46mm case,10.6mm thick
  • Waterproof up to 50 metres
  • 1.45-inch AMOLED display, 460 x 460 resolution

The GTR 3 Pro features a good-sized 46mm case, sitting 10.6mm thick off the wrist, which is made from an aluminium alloy that comes in silver or black colour options. On the right side you'll find a crown that you can press-and-twist to scroll, alongside a single physical button to offer a shortcut to favoured feature. Other than that, it's a very streamlined look.

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Flip it over and you will find some plastic, which is also where you'll find Zepp Health's latest BioTracker 3.0 sensor, able to deliver metrics based around heart rate, blood oxygen and also able to capture breathing rate and temperature readings.

You can also see that the 22mm strap attached to the case is removable via a very simple pin mechanism. That strap comes in either leather or a more exercise-friendly fluoroelastomer. We had the former option, and it's safe to say it's a good quality leather strap with a classic watch buckle and enough holes in the strap to make sure it should fit most wrist sizes.

On the screen front, the 1.45-inch AMOLED display is punching above its weight - it's larger than you'll find in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, for example -  and it's bright, colourful and capable of displaying deep blacks. Plus there's the option to set it to stay on 24/7 - just be prepared to see the battery life to get a hit when you do though.

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In terms of durability, there's tempered glass on that screen to make it better resistant to scratches - and we can't say it suffered any damage in our time with this watch. You're not getting any rugged military standard level of protection like you'll find on the Amazfit T-Rex Pro, however, but it is swim-and-shower-safe thanks to 5ATM water-resistance rating.

The GTR 3 Pro ticks all the important boxes. There's few places to fault it as far as how it looks. It might be nice to have a few case and strap combinations to choose from, but at least you do have the option to switch things up in the strap department.

Software and performance

  • Works with Android and iOS
  • Zepp OS adds app store
  • Built-in music player
  • No third-party apps

The GTR 3 Pro runs on Zepp OS, a new operating system built by Zepp, which entails various revamps to the user interface and the introduction of an app store. Like previous watches, there's no disclosure of the kind of processing power onboard here - though we found performance in general to be fine. Swiping through screens is smooth as is launching different modes and apps.

Speaking of apps, the new app store is only accessible from the Zepp companion app right now. It's definitely on the basic side and there's just one app out of the small bunch we found that brings some third-party integration to control smart home devices from your wrist. It's now over to Zepp to convince developers to bring some big-name apps to the party because there's not much here right now.

Outside of apps and some new interface animations, you're getting the ability to view notifications, and make calls using the onboard mic and speaker (when paired to your phone over Bluetooth). There's a music player with 2.3GB of storage, which only works by adding music you own from your phone. If you still use your phone to stream music, there are controls available that do work well with third-party music apps like Spotify.

Zepp Health retains the offline voice assistant it introduced on the GTR and GTS 2, which gives you hands-free control of key watch features like starting a workout or launching the music player. There's also Amazon's Alexa here too, which doesn't take long to setup and will field the typical Alexa voice queries.

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The key things you're really missing on the smartwatch front are the ability to respond to notifications, make payments, and a more fully stocked app store. The parts that do make the cut work well, but clearly there's room for improvement and for some core features to grow to become more useful.

While the watch software remains intuitive and largely unchanged, the Zepp app has been given a bit of cleanup - and it was needed. There's a lot going on inside of this app and it needs to be a more user-friendly place to spend time in. It's still not quite there, but it's definitely a step in the right direction in helping you fully understand what this watch is actually capable of.

Sports and fitness tracking 

  • One-tap measurements tracks four metrics
  • PeakBeats training insights
  • Temperature sensor
  • 150+ sports modes

Zepp's strategy with how it aims to let users monitor their health and stay fit is to throw a lot of features at you and hope that most of them hit. There's lots of sensors, lots of sports modes, and all manner of metrics.

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We'll start with what you can expect in terms of sensors. Top of the list is an optical-based BioTracker biometric sensor to track heart rate during exercise, and powers features like stress monitoring and new PeakBeats training insights.

Then there's an accelerometer, gyroscope sensors for tracking motion, plus geomagnetic and altimeter sensors for richer environmental data. A new sensor addition is a temperature one, though based on our experience it's way off the mark for accuracy.

For sports tracking, there's built-in GPS along with Glonass, Galileo, BDS, QZSS satellite system support for more accurate mapping data. There's a hefty 150+ sports modes with eight of those modes offering automatic tracking recognition.

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In that sports mode, we found the experience was good and you have a nice amount of data to pore over, but elements like distance tracking for outdoor workouts and heart rate monitoring were off the mark. The latter falls into the trap of struggling at reading high-intensity workouts due to sudden peaks and drops in heart rate.

New PeakBeats insights let you better understand if you're training too much and give you a better idea of just how fit you are to take on tougher workouts. However, these should definitely be seen as more of a guidance than definitive advice - as we found resultsoverly harsh in advising excessive recovery time off the back of short workouts.

As a fitness tracker, the GTR 3 Pro will count your steps with a good level of accuracy, though it doesn't do much outside of inactivity alerts to make sure you get off your seat on a regular basis during the day. When it's time to go to sleep, you can expect to see a breakdown of sleep stages, including REM sleep and sleep duration. You can also capture breathing quality and it'll even track naps during the day.

While none of the health features on this smartwatch are designed to detect serious health issues - like an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch can - Zepp seems to be moving in that direction and maybe one day it'll be packing an ECG sensor or be capable of monitoring blood pressure. Right now, it can't do those things though.

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What it can do right now is things like monitor heart rate, blood oxygen and temperature continuously. There's also features for women's health tracking, stress monitoring, and Zepp's PAI Health assessments that's tagged as a well-being feature with daily score. 

A new one-tap measurement lets you get readings for heart rate, stress, breathing rate and blood oxygen all at once. While it's useful to be able to capture all of this health data, it isn't really used for health insights and there's not a huge amount of action put behind it sending alerts for low or high heart rate and SpO2 levels.

Battery life

  • 450mAh capacity battery
  • 35 hours of GPS battery life

The GTR 2 was good for around a week's use and that doesn't really change with the GTR 3 Pro. If you switch on the full gamut of features at your disposal like continuous heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, then you'll get around the quoted six days of battery life. Add the always-on display into the equation and that will drop to a handful of days.

The maximum you can expect is 30 days, but that means turning to the battery saver mode, which means sacrificing the ability to use a range of features on a daily basis. 

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Zepp has done a pretty impressive job on its watches of promising impressive battery life if you're planning to make regular use of the GPS to track outdoor activity. The Pro offers 35 hours of GPS battery life, which is actually down from the 48 hours promised on the GTR 2. Despite that drop, those numbers held up in our testing and also hold up well against dedicated sports watches that sit around this price - from the likes of Garmin and Polar.

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Things haven't changed on the charging front, with a similar small charging cradle used to get the watch from 0-100 per cent in two hours. Unlike Fitbit's smartwatches and some Wear OS smartwatches, you don't have a fast-charging feature to give you a quick top-up if you need it to get through a day with minimum charge time.

Verdict

The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is another attractive smartwatch with software that's easy to get to grips with and it offers a big collection of features for smartwatch fans and those who want something to double-up as a fitness tracker or sportswatch.

However, in attempting to go from middling smartwatch to full-fat smartwatch, Zepp just isn't quite there yet. The new app store is pretty bare and lacks any big third-party names, so it's going to take a lot of development to make Zepp OS a real force. The software definitely has some buggy moments too.

There's definitely a lot to like here about the Pro - particularly with its looks - but if you look around at this price range you'll easily find a smartwatch with an OS that feels more polished already. It could get better in the future, but right now the GTR 3 Pro is not quite there across the board.

Also consider

Pocket-lintAlternative photo 1

Huawei Watch GT 2e

It might not be Huawei's latest, but for the money it still gets you a great fitness-focused watch with similar smartwatch features and weeks of battery life.

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Writing by Michael Sawh. Originally published on 18 November 2021.