Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: one of the best budget fitness watches around

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

8.1

Design

7.5/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Use of information

8.0/10

Value for money

8.5/10

Pros

  • Offers plenty for the price
  • Lots of sports modes, built-in GPS works well
  • Nice AMOLED display
  • Covers fitness tracking basics well, including SpO2 & stress
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Small display
  • Heart rate tracking can be patchy during exercise

 

The Amazfit GTS 2 Mini has recently been made available for purchase in the US. The wearable launched in December alongside the Amazfit Pop Pro, as a more budget friendly version of GTS 2. Huami, or Zepp as it’s now known internationally, has certainly been busy churning out new devices.

Essential reading: Amazfit GTS 2 vs GTS 2 Mini vs GTS – here’s how to choose

In our review we found Amazfit GTS 2 to be a solid follow-up to the first generation device. The upgrades include a 9-axis accelerometer instead of a 6-axis one, music storage, an SpO2 sensor, built-in GPS and more. The display is particularly impressive. It’s bright and clear and very responsive to touch.

Now it’s time to look at its little brother – the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini. The scaled back version promises a similar set of features in an even more lightweight design. But why the big price difference – $99 versus $179? I explain it all.

Jump to

Design
Features
The verdict


Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: Design

  • 1.55 inch AMOLED display
  • very lightweight
  • 9.7mm thickness
  • for those with small wrists
  • 7+ day battery life

In terms of looks, the Amazfit GTS 2 Mini looks like a cross between the first and second generation GTS. It has the same square design that the Apple Watch has popularized so much. It’s probably not fair, but I can’t help but compare every watch that adopts a squarish look to the Cupertino device.

The actual build of GTS 2 Mini is a combination of aluminium alloy and polymer. The body is attached to a sporty silicone strap. All of this makes for a nice looking package.

The main distinguishing factor between the GTS 2 and GTS 2 Mini is size. As its name implies, the later is a smaller version. It measures 40.5 x 35.8 x 8.95mm versus the 42.8 x 35.6 x 9.7mm of its big brother. So it’s also thinner.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: is one of the best budget fitness watches around

The size difference is not huge but it is noticeable. Particularly if you take into consideration that the GTS 2 is a pretty lightweight device, too. Holding it in your hand the Mini feels frail because of its small size but somehow sturdy at the same time. I doubt it will easily break.

This type of design makes it incredibly lightweight. At only 19.5 grams, you’ll struggle to find a smartwatch that weighs less. Which makes it a perfect unisex device.

Having said that, if you have large wrists I would not recommend the Mini as it will probably look too small. You will be better off with GTS 2 or perhaps one of the Zepp watches. This timepiece leans more towards the female gender and those with small wrists. I imagine it could also be a perfect device for a teenager.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

As far as the display, you get a 1.55 inch AMOLED on GTS 2 Mini that is well protected against scratches and drops with a robust diamond-like carbon coating. The resolution is 354 x 306 pixels while the density is 301 PPI. This is the exact same screen that is on GTS 2. But that one measures 1.65 inches.

Switch the watch on and you’ll immediately notice the incredible crispness and clarity of the display. It really is a thing of beauty. Indoors or out, everything is clearly visible thanks to 450 nits of brightness.

Not only that, but the responsiveness of the display is great. It never fails to register a touch, and swiping left, right, up or down through the various menus is a pleasurable and smooth experience. There’s nothing worse that repeatedly swiping on an unresponsive display as I have found out over the years.

I do wish, though, Huami chose a slightly larger font. What they’ve done is use the same user interface that is utilized for other devices in the Amazfit and Zepp series, and just made it slightly smaller.

But the main watch-face is great. And you can choose different ones. Four can be saved on the device itself, and there are a plethora of others that can be downloaded via the smartphone app. You can even upload your own photos to make the watch face truly yours.

Some of the watch-faces have complications. Like on the Apple Watch, clicking on the complication takes you directly to an app.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: is one of the best budget fitness watches around

GTS 2 Mini also has various screen settings that you can tweak. One of these is for an always-on watch face. In this mode the device transitions from a fully responsive watch face to a minimalistic one. The latter just shows the date, time and number of steps. Be warned – the always-on option will eat into battery life pretty quick.

As before, the GTS 2 Mini has a single physical button on the right side. The design around the button is slightly plainer than on GTS 2, but it functions the same.

Color options include Deep Pine Green, Rose Pink and Obsidian Black. The strap matches the color of the body. In my case, I have the Obsidian Black that is paired up with a black silicone band.

If you’d like to make the watch your own, taking the band off and replacing it with another one is a simple job. There’s a pin-hold mechanism on each side – move the pin and that side of the band slips off.

amazfit-gts-2-mini

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
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As far as the underlying specs, the GTS 2 Mini comes with the second generation BioTracker PPG that is capable of measuring SpO2 in addition to heart rate. Other sensors include a 9-axis accelerometer, 3-axis geomagnetic sensor, air pressure sensor, capacitive sensor, ambient light brightness sensor and built-in GPS. So no major difference there as compared to its big brother. There’s also a microphone that plays nice with Alexa.

If you’re wondering if there is built-in storage for music – there isn’t. Apart from the smaller form factor, that’s the biggest difference between GTS 2 and GTS 2 Mini. It also explains the much smaller price-tag of the scaled back version.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

The smaller size means the 5 ATM rated device can only accommodate a 220mAh battery (down from 246 mAh of GTS 2). This can keep the thing going for about a week with typical use and up to three weeks in long battery life mode. Switch GPS on and you’ll still be able to squeeze out 25 hours of training.

This matches the GTS 2 as the Mini is less power hungry due to its smaller display. Battery life is important and Huami realizes this. I certainly don’t want a device that needs charging every couple of days.


Amazfit GTS 2 Mini

Fitness and health tracking

  • All the fitness tracking basics are there
  • Excellent sleep tracking which includes naps
  • Stress monitoring around the clock
  • SpO2 on demand
  • PAI

The Amazfits have been improving as far as fitness and health tracking. All the usual suspects are there such as steps, distance, activity, stress, sleep, menstrual cycle monitoring and stress monitoring. You also get a PAI score to make sure you keep your heart pumping regularly. Most of this can be viewed on the watch itself, for longer term trends and more details head over to the Zepp app.

The heart rate monitor that you will find on the GTS 2 Mini benefits from Huami’s second generation BioTracker PPG. It allows for abnormal heart rate warnings. You can also track your blood oxygen with it and this works well. The only caveat is that the readings are on-demand. This is unlike some brands such as the Garmins which automatically measure your SpO2 while you sleep.

The other upgrade is the accelerometer. It is now 9-axis instead of 6-axis which should ensure better fitness stats.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

As far as accuracy, it is what you would expect from a typical smartwatch. The steps typically underperformed as compared to the Garmin Forerunner 935 on my other wrist. But as long as you are consistently wearing one device, you are comparing like with like.

The sleep stats were a closer match. Typically within 20 minutes of the Garmin. You can overlay heart rate on top of the sleep chart and the Amazfit will also track naps during the day. All of this is pretty good and accurate.

If you’re interested, there are also a plethora of insights below your sleep stats. This includes sleep breathing quality where you will be able to see if you’ve had breathing difficulty during the night, and stats on individual sleep stages.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

Information on your heart rate is also there. This includes resting heart rate which I found was typically 2-3 bpm higher than the Garmin. Which is pretty good. Every company has their own algorithms for calculating statistics so you will never get the same values.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

Other information covers your stress and there’s a PAI score – a heart rate derived value that quantifies how hard your ticker is working. We are seeing more and more companies tapping into this metric. The goal is to keep the daily value above 100 points. Scientific studies show that if you do this consistently, it can add many healthy years to your life.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: is one of the best budget fitness watches around

All things considered the GTS 2 Mini does a decent job at 24/7 activity and sleep tracking. I was happy with the stats.

My biggest gripe was updating the software on the watch the first time I took it out of the box. It took me a couple days to successfully do this as the watch would start but then fail to download the full file. This required the software download to start again, and again, and again… A quicker broadband connection would have perhaps resolved this problem, but I am reporting it as it is.

Sports tracking

  • 70+ sports modes
  • built in GPS works well
  • heart rate tracking patchy

The number of sports modes on GTS 2 Mini totals over 70. I was most interested in running as typically I find this is the most representative of the quality of sports tracking on a watch. Plus I’m a keen runner.

I put the Mini to the test a number of times. Having reviewed other Amazfit devices over the years I’ve sometimes run into problems with GPS. Often a watch would take forever to connect to the satellite and at times when it did the quality of signal was not that great.

I’m happy to report that I have not experienced any of these issues with the Mini. It was always very quick to connect, sometimes quicker than the Garmin. The quality of GPS tracking was also very good. Huami has obviously done a lot of work on improving its GPS connectivity. If you are into outdoor exercise this will be very important to you.

Just make sure to regularly update the GPS files on the watch. This is done automatically whenever you sync to the smartphone app.

Below is an example of a 5.82km run. The Garmin on my other wrist actually performed poorly and quantified the distance as 6km. But you can see the smooth lines on the Amazfit. For a number of laps the Garmin showed me going through buildings! So in this instance the Amazfit actually performed better than the Garmin.

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: is one of the best budget fitness watches around
Amazfit GTS 2 Mini vs Garmin Forerunner 935

As far as heart rate, the Polar OH1 strap on my arm had me pinned at an average of 161bpm for the duration with a max heart rate of 173 bpm. The Amazfit had me at 164 bpm as the average and 189 bpm as the max value. These discrepancies in heart rate appeared in other runs, too. Pulling the strap tighter helps, but it will still not be perfect.

This would all be resolved if Huami added the ability to connect to external heart rate monitors as most devices will struggle to capture running heart rate accurately from the wrist. It is probably the main thing standing now between high-end sports watches and the Amazfits. That, and a few Firstbeat-type performance metrics.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

Nevertheless I was pleasantly surprised with the run tracking ability of the GTS 2 Mini. It did a good job and the GPS works very well.

Smart features

  • basic smart features including notifications
  • no built-in storage for music – only music control
  • Alexa support when connected to smartphone app

I’ll round this review off with smart features. You do get a few such as call & message alerts, although the GTS 2 Mini does not have a speaker so you cannot accept calls on it.

Users can also use Mini to control music, camera remotely and there’s a microphone on-board for Alexa support. But there’s no built in storage music, which is important to note. The phone controls allow you to play and pause a song, skip forward and back and control the volume. I found the controls to be rather basic but they do work as intended.

Worth a mention is Alexa support. This comes backed into the GTS 2 Mini and it works. Before first use you’ll need to authorize your account via the smartphone app. But after that Alexa is easily activated by swiping to the left.

You’ll get the message “Connecting to Alexa” after which you can simply speak to the device and it will respond via the screen. You do need to have your smartphone in close vicinity and Zepp app open in the background for this to function, though. Otherwise you’ll get a “Network error” message.

Review: Amazfit GTS 2 Mini is one of the best budget watches around

Other smart features include weather, alarms, a countdown screen, stop watch, world clock, compass and Find Phone. There’s also a Pomodo Tracker. This is a little productivity app that is essentially a time management method. It allows you to break work into intervals, typically lasting 25 minutes in length. Apparently, this is the perfect time duration to help you not procrastinate and be productive.


Amazfit GTS 2 Mini review: The verdict

The Amazfit watches are improving with each passing generation and it is noticeable. The GTS 2 Mini is probably the best functioning Amazfit watch I’ve tested so far. And I’ve reviewed quite a few of them. Everything just works right out of the box.

You’ll get all the fitness tracking essentials, support for over 70 sports and built-in GPS that works really well. I do wish, though, that Amazfits had the ability to tap into external heart rate monitors. Heart rate tracking from the wrist during exercise will never be on par with such devices. I feel this an important thing separating the Amazfit line from more pricey sports watches.

amazfit-gts-2-mini

Amazfit GTS 2 Mini
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All things considered, I was very impressed with the GTS 2 Mini. There’s clearly a lot to like. Retailing for $99 on amazfit.com (check price on Amazon), it is one of the best value for money watches around. In the UK, you can also purchase it at Argos.

As its name implies, this is a smaller version of the GTS 2. It is ideal for women, those with small wrists and teenagers. Others might be better off going for its big brother or one of the Zepp watches. There’s also the Amazfit Bip U Pro which sells for a reasonable $69.99.


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