Your friends can change their hairstyle or the style of their jeans, but you will still recognize them. Amazfit isn’t my friend, or even human, but I’ve now tested several similar-looking fitness trackers from its maker Zepp (formerly Huami). They all have the same constants: Zepp Health OS is nearly unusable, the watch never stays connected reliably, and the proprietary Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) metrics aren’t helpful or intuitive. On top of that, the straps felt plastic and uncomfortable to wear.
So I don’t have high expectations for the latest Amazfit GTR 3 Pro ($230). But it surprised me – three weeks later, this is Zepp’s first wearable that I really like. The bluetooth connectivity has improved, the strap has broken in, and I’m almost sure I like the PAI. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the watch keeps telling me I’m “in good shape.”
More How much you like a fitness tracker than many other gadgets depends on the software you like it of liking. Is your friend using a wearable or its app? Is this data easy to read and applicable to your life? Each fitness tracker also has a major proprietary health metric, such as Fitbit’s daily readiness score or Garmin’s body battery.
Zepp Health uses PAI based on research by Ulrik Wisløff, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. It uses your age, gender, resting heart rate, and heart rate data from the past 7 days to calculate your PAI, but it’s really just a metric similar to Amazon’s Activity Points. When you do activities that increase your heart rate, you accumulate PAI. It starts with an initial goal of earning 30 PAI per day, and targets a final goal of 100 PAI per day.
I’m healthy, but not particularly so. I passed my PAI measurements, biked to school every day, ran 3 to 4 miles a day, and walked absentmindedly in the kitchen drinking Go-Gurts, earning over 250 PAI points a day. To be fair, this watch doesn’t just automatically track my cycling workouts, it aggregates them. I find that I spend over an hour a day on my bike when I’m moving around everyone.
You can change your goals like steps or sleep hours to hit, but you can’t change your PAI. It feels lovely to wake up every morning and be told that I’m as healthy as a 20-year-old (I’m not), but it’s not a great motivator to improve.
Other metrics measured by Zepp Health OS are steps, sleep, heart rate and activity. You can scroll through tons of workouts, including everything from Zumba to board games to standard cycling, walking, and trail running (but karaoke still doesn’t have a workout category). It has onboard GPS, which is surprising for a fitness tracker at this price, and it’s remarkably accurate—measured in line with my Garmin Instinct 2S.
You can also share your data with WeChat, Health, Strava, Amazon Alexa and Relive apps sync. It even has advanced training features like VO2 Max and can analyze your training load, although I wouldn’t rely on these as a training tool (I’m in “good workout”, typo if you must know). I just never found the data reliable.
When I tested the Amazfit watch last year, it often disconnected from my phone. The latest model is easier to use, not only because of improved Bluetooth connectivity, but also because the GTR 3 Pro looks and wears better. I tested the brown leather version and it is not made of genuine leather. The straps were stiff and uncomfortable out of the box, but gradually softened over time. Two knobs on the right side of the slim aluminum bezel are reliable pushers and feel good to turn.