Amazfit GTS 2 is Switching it up from its typical formula (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Amazfit has always been a company that drew my interest because they seem to understand what people want in a watch: weeks and weeks between battery charges while having added exercise tracking functions. Since their first successful attempts, this Huami brand has up their game with AMOLED displays, heart monitor and GPS but never swerved from its overall user experience design: until the Amazfit GTS 2.

By swerving I don't mean pulling a huge 180 and becoming another daily charging premium wearable device like Apple Watch and Google WearOS watches. But Amazfit obviously took a turn to a middle road where it diverts from its insane battery longevity, in exchange for a more polished user experience.

Amazfit made a quiet, but drastic change in the GTS 2 display (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Lower latency + Higher Refresh Rate = More responsive screen

Interestingly, the screen responsiveness is a specification that you won't find on Amazfit's official website, but is very apparent once you start using it. Honestly, I did a double take after using the GTS 2 for a while, and I had to get both the GTS 2 and GTR 2 side-by-side to ensure that I'm not imagining things. Once I placed the two devices next to each other, and swiped both screens at the same time, the feature that Amazfit upgraded quietly became apparent.

The GTR and even the GTR 2 had the same identical screen responsiveness - which is less than what most of us are used to on our modern smartphone screens. Not that it's not responsive, but the lower refresh rate and a noticeable latency is quite obvious. I have always justified that user experience as a small sacrifice to make for its whopping 60 day+ battery life - a price I was happy to pay.

The GTS 2 however once you start swiping, you immediately feel smoothness and responsiveness, and the inertia scrolling that we're all used to on phones and flagship weables. So how much of the battery life does it cost? Upon normal usage, instead of the weeks of battery life, I'm now getting around 5-7 days battery life with normal use.

Amazfit's new collection of watch face designs that has corresponding always-on designs (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Seamless Always-on Integration with Themes

For the first generation of the Amazfit flagships, even though there were many watch faces to choose from, many of the designs were less than impressive. They were either over cartoonish, cutesy or looked on the cheap side.

With the second generation of GTS and GTR however, the theme store is another aspect that has been revamped, and is a totally different game. Especially with the GTS 2, which had more attractive themes than the GTR 2. Admittedly, a partial reason is that many designs seemed to have been inspired from Apple Watch's repertoire, but hey, if it looks good, I say no harm no foul.

What's also great is that these attractive themes now have matching always-on designs. It's a stark contrast with the first generation's default (and unfortunately less attractive) digital and analogue always-on watch faces.

Drastic and beautiful change in the watch back design (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

Beautiful (Plastic) Watch Back

I was hit with another surprise when I first turned the GTS 2 around, because its watch back was completely different from the GTR 2. Instead of the same matte-black plastic back found on the GTR, GTR 2 and GTS, I was dumbstruck as the GTS 2 watch back looked like a piece of contoured glass. It was only from Amazift's website that I found that the back is actually plastic - which might sound less premium, but doesn't make any noticeable difference in day-to-day use.

The Amazfit GTS 2 is closer to the Apple Watch experience than any of its other siblings (Photo: IBTimes / Jeff Li)

The Bottom Line

Though it doesn't seem like it on paper, in person, there is no doubt that the GTS 2 stands apart from its siblings in its user experience. Unless you're a smartwatch power user, or can't live without the premium material build of the Apple Watch, the GTS 2 will suffice as a credible, and (much more) affordable alternative with still enough battery life to run around the AW in circles.

David is a tech enthusiast/writer who is often on the move and is on a mission to explore ways to make his overhaul flights more enjoyable. This is a contribution to an ongoing IBTimes review series on gadgets for Business Travellers.