Huawei Watch GT 2 Review – Just how smart is it?
Huawei Watch GT 2 Smartwatch Review
We were in Berlin for the launch of Huawei’s Mate 30 smartphones as well as the brand’s latest smartwatch, the Watch GT 2. Furthermore, we were lucky enough to come back with a Watch GT 2, and it has been our daily wrist wear ever since.
We liked the look of Huawei’s first smartwatch. The Watch GT was certainly a promising proposition. However, we weren’t quite ready to take the plunge.
Now the Watch GT 2 has arrived. Building on the foundation of its predecessor with two new sleek designs, the Huawei Watch GT 2 sports the same simple user interface but adds more features.
The trick that Huawei has to pull off is to offer a decent watch with a screen and features that impress along with excellent battery stamina. Have they managed this?
Read on to find out.
Huawei Watch GT 2 Design
The watch comes in two flavours, a 46mm and 42mm. We have been testing out the larger of the two. This weighs in at 41g and sits rather nicely on our not overly chunky wrist.
We have seen the Watch GT 2 on larger wrists, and it still looks good.
The indexed bezel around the watch face looks cool but is fixed. In other words, the bezel does not rotate and is pretty much decorative.
What you do get is 3D glass with nicely slanted edges. We have the model with a polished stainless steel casement, and we reckon it looks excellent. The other finish in this size is black brushed stainless steel that lends it a more stealthy look.
Also, the Watch GT 2 has a remarkably slim profile measuring only 10.7mm.
Finally, the bright 1.39-inch (454 x 454) AMOLED display is clear.
Under the hood, you get 4GB of storage for your selection of faces and offline music. You can either play the music through the watch speaker or via connected Bluetooth headphones. Nice.
Processing is taken care of by Huawei’s Kirin A1, which is the same processor found in their FreeBuds 3 earphones. The larger watch gets a full 32MB RAM whereas the smaller version ticks along with just 16MB.
There is some intelligent task management going on inside these smartwatches.
The 22mm quick-release straps make it really easy to change from the tan leather band and the additional black silicone one included in our bundle.
Having a nice case and choice of straps is one thing. However, it’s the watch face that you’ll be spending most of your time looking at.
We think that the current crop of Huawei watch faces are decent and we particularly like Shadow. However, you are not able to customise the watch faces or download them from anywhere other than Huawei’s app.
You do, however, get the option to have an always-on display or simply go with a blank face until you move your wrist to see the time.
Listed in the options as ‘lock screen’ you get the choice of digital or analogue faces in monochrome. Again, we like these and understand that the ‘lock screen’ options are pared down to conserve battery life.
It might be easy to assume that, due to its lightweight and minimalist design, that this would be the same for its feature set. Don’t worry, there is still plenty to play with.
Firstly, there is a pretty accurate heart-rate sensor on the base.
Additionally, there are slits for the speaker output and microphones – yup, you can take calls and play music through the Watch GT 2.
The interface, Huawei’s Lite OS, is straightforward to navigate. Granted, you don’t get as many functions as some other smartwatches, but this makes it easier to use and hands you that claimed fortnight battery life.
All it takes is a downward swipe to access quick settings and a horizontal one to scroll through to the apps such as heart rate, stress, weather, music, fitness logging etc. Finally, an upward swipe enables you to see your notifications and messages. It’s a bit of a shame that you cannot respond to messages directly from the watch, though.
The physical buttons work as short cuts. The top button takes you to the watch’s app list. The bottom one, however, is customisable and is defaulted to trigger to record a workout. Oh, how we laughed at that one as we tucked into a burger.
We’ve used the timer, alarm and stopwatch quite a bit and the compass is a nice touch. That said, the Watch GT 2 isn’t big on multitasking. Let’s say you’ve kicked off a workout, and then someone asks you to set a countdown, or you need the stopwatch – this will mean you’ll have to pause or stop your workout to use one of the other apps. Not a big deal, but could be seen as a shortcoming.
I think you’re fit
We like the addition of stress monitoring and sleep tracking as these are areas that we definitely need to improve.
Huawei has also included a barometer to measure air pressure in the GT 2.
Overall, the Watch GT 2’s heart rate tracking seemed to be accurate when compared with its competitors and more expensive professional options.
We were impressed at the range of workouts that it supports, too. Sixteen in total, including running courses, outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor walk, indoor walk, outdoor cycle, indoor cycle, pool swim, open water, climb, hike, trail run, triathlon, elliptical, rower and other for gym workouts and the like.
If you’re appy and you know it
The smartphone companion app, Huawei Health, works with Android and iOS, and links to Apple’s Health app, Google Fit and also My Fitness Pal. However, the lack of Strava integration and such will undoubtedly put off more active healthy types.
Sleep tracking we found quite useful. The results are broken down into light, deep and REM sleep, with guidelines on how well you’re resting across all three metrics. We found that the Watch GT2 could even spot when we took a power nap (passed out) during the day.
If you’re the type to run for fun, then you’ll also like the charts you get to review. Here you get your pace, heart rate, cadence and altitude at different points in the session to mull over. Actually, you can also get further involved and check out performance metrics such as aerobic and anaerobic effort, VO2 Max, and the recovery time required before repeating all that effort. We’re pretty sure our recovery time will be measured in weeks.
Daily activity is tracked automatically. Here you get your steps counted, any exercise you do and your resting/average heart rate.
All very impressive considering that the battery lasts so long.
Like most boasts of stamina, you need perfect conditions to get Huawei’s 2-week battery life. However, we generally clocked in well over a week between charges.
We guess that turning off the smart features such as heart monitoring and the like might get you that magical fortnight.
However, get that lock screen always-on display going and then 5-7 days will be the best you can achieve. That said, we think it’s still impressive.
We were slightly disappointed that battery charging isn’t wireless. However, the upside is that it’s quick.
From empty to full tank only takes an hour and the magnets in the cradle snap securely to the Watch GT 2.
If you are looking for a smartwatch with excellent battery life and some health tracking smarts, then the Huawei Watch GT2 is what you’re looking for.
The design is great from any angle, and the full-colour AMOLED panel is gorgeous.
We like the always-on lock screen and loudspeaker, almost as much as we love the week+ battery life.
The Watch GT 2 does fall short on some functions when compared to others out there, and it won’t play with third-party apps, so might put off serious fitness freaks. However, for the rest of us seeking a good-looking watch with a great health tracker for less than £200, the Huawei Watch GT2 gets our vote.
Price and availability
The Huawei Watch GT 2 46mm comes in two flavours, the black-cased Sport (black or orange strap) which costs £199 and, the silver-cased Pebble Brown (leather strap with a spare sports strap included) for £219.99 as reviewed here.
If you just want a fitness band, perhaps check out Honor’s Band 5 that costs less than £30!