Smartwatch Battle: Fitbit Sense vs Amazfit GTR 3 Pro
Whether you’re an Android user or an iPhone owner who’s looking for a smartwatch priced around Rs 20,000, the flagship products from Amazfit and Fitbit deserve to be on your radar. They follow different design approaches and adopt different selling propositions but they do the job — to help you reach your wellness goals. So how do the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro and Fitbit Sense stack up?
Do you lean towards a circular dial or a squircle (yes, this is a real word)? Both watches exude a premium vibe and feel great on your wrist. The GTR 3 Pro is finished in aircraft-grade aluminium, while Fitbit has opted for a more premium stainless steel finish on the Sense. You can accessorise them with third-party bands or original accessories — Fitbit’s range includes custom-designed straps from designers like Victor Glemaud and iconic American brands like Horween. The displays are also evenly matched; vibrant and offer great visibility in sunlight. The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro boasts a circular 1.45-inch AMOLED Ultra HD (480 x 480 pixels) display, and the Fitbit Sense is fitted with a 1.58-inch (336 x 336 pixels) display.
UI and Experience
This is where the differences emerge. The GTR 3 Pro features two buttons on the right spine and the top button doubles as a scroll wheel that can be used for navigation. There are no physical buttons on the Sense. There’s an indented haptic side button (Fitbit calls it a ‘solid state button’) that takes some getting used to. I still miss the old-school physical button but this new addition does have a lot of functionality (you can customise the press and double press). The Zepp companion app works well on both Android and iOS devices and is much improved but it’s still not in the same league as the more seasoned Fitbit App. This is one of Fitbit’s strengths; the UI is also easier on the eye.
I found the ‘One-tap Measuring’ feature a handy inclusion in the GTR 3 Pro. All you have to do is hit this button and keep your wrist still for 45 seconds, and you get four key metrics delivered on one screen — blood oxygen saturation (SpO2 levels), heart rate, breaths per minute and a stress level score. There’s a raft of workout modes that cover almost any form of outdoor or indoor fitness activity you are likely to try.
The Fitbit Sense offers a few more features and scores with its wellness pitch. Our gripe with the SpO2 tracking — that it is not ‘on demand’ — still remains. You have to install SpO2 and a SpO2-friendly watch face before the Sense can track your readings in your sleep (it can only do this when you’re on sleep mode). The ECG feature is on-demand though and is also easy to run; the Sense is one of the only wearables that currently offer this in India.
The other interesting feature is the skin temperature sensor. The Fitbit Sense takes three nights to estimate your baseline temperature and then begins to measure variations with the skin temperature sensor. The other sensor that I think is quite informative is the EDA Sensor that measures your stress levels. It’s a lot of data, especially once you add other Fitbit regulars like calorie counts and sleep tracking. You get even more insights if you get the Premium subscription (Rs 999/year) that’s free for the first six months with Fitbit Sense.
Connectivity and features
One of our continuing cribs about the Zepp app and Amazfit wearables is the lack of a genuine app ecosystem. The GTR 3 Pro doesn’t really change that. You get heaps of watch faces, 2GB plus storage space to port songs onto the watch, a speaker for calls when your phone is hooked up via Bluetooth and also Alexa on your wrist. The Sense has a slight edge here. You can activate your digital assistant with a quick press of the haptic button (I tried it with Amazon Alexa; it also works with Google Assistant) and get voice responses (the speaker volume is manageable). You can answer calls on speaker mode from your wrist. Android users can also respond to text messages from the watch. You can’t store music on the watch; the Spotify app allows you to control your music but even this app doesn’t offer the option of saving your favourite playlists on the watch.
It’s advantage Amazfit here. Battery life is pegged at about 12 days for regular usage. In my experience (with the always-on display and about 1 hour of workouts), the GTR 3 Pro managed about 4-5 days on a single charging cycle. I used the Always-on display on the Sense and managed to stretch the battery for three days with a one-hour workout (that used GPS). Battery results will vary from user to user, but you should manage 2-3 days with the Always-on display and three hours of workout tracking. You could stretch it to 5-6 days.
The Fitbit Sense has the edge here with its wellness pitch and a more seasoned UI. But it’s been around awhile and costs slightly more. The Amazfit GTR 3 Pro is the newer of the duo and offers better battery life. Ultimately, this might boil down to your preferred shape for a smartwatch dial and your brand comfort levels.