I’ve reviewed plenty of smartwatches including hybrid, Tizen, and Android Wear-powered watches. The thing with smartwatches is they can be very robust or very simple, depending on what you get. To be honest, while I have been rocking a Samsung smartwatch when I’m not reviewing others, I find that, while really customizable, I only utilize a fraction of what’s available. Our Huawei Watch GT 2 review takes a look at a fitness smartwatch recently released in Canada that ticks all the boxes, albeit being a bit limited when it comes to customization.
The Huawei Watch GT 2 has the following features and specifications:
|Display||46mm: 1.39 inch AMOLED 454 x 454 HD touchscreen|
42mm: 1.2 inch AMOLED 390 x 390 HD touchscreen
|Sensors||Accelermoeter, gyroscope, geomagnetic, optical heart rate, ambient light, air pressure, capacitive|
|Battery||46mm: 14 days for typical use|
42mm: 7 days for typical use
|Charging port||Magnetic charging thimble|
|Charger voltage||5V 0.5A/1A/1.5A/2A|
|Buttons||Power button, function button|
|Water resistance||5 ATM|
|Watch Case||Metal + plastic|
|Watch Case Colour||46mm: Black Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel, Titanium Grey Stainless Steel|
42mm: Black Stainless Steel, Stainless Steel, Rose Gold Stainless Steel
|Watch Strap||46mm: Titanium Grey Metal Strap, Orange Fluoroelastomer Strap, Brown Leather Strap, Black Fluoroelastomer Strap|
42mm: Khaki Leather Strap, Cyan Fluoroelastomer Strap, Rose Gold Milanese Strap,Black Fluoroelastomer Strap
|Wrist coverage range||46mm: 14-21cm|
42mm: 13-20cm (Sport Edition); 13-19cm (Classic/Elegant Edition)
|System requirements||Android 4.4 or later|
iOS 9.0 or later
|Dimensions||46mm: 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7mm|
42mm: 41.8 x 41.8 x 9.4mm
|Weight (without strap)||46mm: 41g|
What’s in the box
- Huawei Watch GT 2
- Charging cradle
- Charging cable
- User Guide & Safety Information & Warranty Card
- Screwdriver (Only in Huawei Watch GT 2 46 mm Elite)
The review sample Huawei sent to us was the Huawei Watch GT 2 46mm. As such, it has a roughly 46mm casing that is just over 10mm thick. The size, thickness, and weight of the watch are quite nice and it’s definitely comfortable to wear around the clock. The casing itself is black and has a non-rotating dial around the outside. An inverted triangle indicator is at the top of the dial with white lines and the numbers 2 through 22 at the hour positions printed on it. On the side are two buttons: power and function. Between the buttons is where the speaker resides with the microphone on the opposite side.
On the back of the watch, you’ll see an array of four sensors and two magnetic pins for charging. The sensors allow the watch to take your heart rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels. While SpO2 wasn’t available at launch, a recent update enabled it on the watch and in the app.
There are a few different styles of watch straps available for the Watch GT 2. Our review unit came with the black fluoroelastomer strap. In the past, I’ve had minor irritation issues with these types of straps but after having used the watch for over a month with this strap, my skin has been just fine. The strap is attached to the watch via the standard quick release clips so it can easily be changed. Both sides of the strap have closely spaced rectangular holes cut out of it. Not only a design element, but this also allows you to fasten the watch at pretty much the perfect tightness for many wrist sizes. The strap also has two free loops. The loop closest to the watch itself has a nub that fits into the holes on the opposite strap to help hold it in place alongside the classic buckle.
As far as watches are concerned, the Huawei Watch GT 2 looks like your typical fitness watch based on the design alone. It also features a 5 ATM water resistance rating so you can wear it while swimming or at the beach without fear of wrecking it.
The 46mm version of the Huawei Watch GT 2 has a 1.39 inch AMOLED 454 x 454 HD touchscreen display. It is quite bright, even on automatic brightness settings. While this is great while outside during the day, when you are in dimly lit rooms or conditions it can be a bit of an issue. When rolling over at night, when the watch screen goes on, it’s pretty bright. As such, in my opinion, it could use an even dimmer setting on it.
As for the colours, the AMOLED screen is rich and vivid as one would expect. The touchscreen is responsive and I didn’t have any issues swiping left, right, up, or down or while tapping the watch face to launch a workout.
Aside from the brightness settings, the display on the watch is pretty good. Everything is crisp and clear and easy to read.
Ease of Use
When starting up the Huawei Watch GT 2 for the first time, you’ll be prompted to select a language. Next, you’ll be directed to download the Huawei Health app for your device and pair the watch to it. To pair the watch, open the app, accept the permissions, click on the devices tab, and add the smartwatch. Once paired, your fitness and health data, contacts, and location information syncs between the Watch GT 2 and the Huawei Health app on your device.
Once paired, you can enable notification access in order to receive notifications on the smartwatch as they appear on your phone. While you can receive notifications, you can’t respond to them from your watch. It would be nice to be able to respond to at least SMS messages and chat apps from the watch. Hopefully this is something Huawei can add in the future, especially considering it has voice capabilities (more on that in a bit).
Once you’re paired, that’s about it. Pressing and holding the top button allows you to power the watch on, off, or restart it. Pressing the same button lets you select the various apps like workout, heart rate, SpO2, call log, barometer, compass, notifications, weather, stopwatch, alarm, timer, flashlight, find phone, settings, and a couple more.
Pressing the bottom button gives you quick access to initiate a workout. Workouts include assisted running courses (run/walk, fat burning, MAF180, aerobic, and more), outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor/indoor walk, outdoor/indoor cycle, pool swim, open water, climb, hike, trail run, triathlon, elliptical, rower, or other. As you can see, it is a pretty detailed and robust list. Each workout has a settings option which will let you toggle notifications for distance, heart rate, and guided training effect. Once you start a workout, the watch will guide you through different stages of the workout.
The watch obviously defaults to the watch face screen, swiping left or right will cycle through the various screens. When swiping left, these include heart rate, stress, weather, music, and daily activity tracker. These screens are for displaying data only and cannot be drilled down into. On the other hand, if you press the top button and select heart rate, you can also swipe up to get a slightly more detailed look at your current days heart rate zone stats. In this same screen, sleep will display the breakdown between sleep and naps, activity record has a few further detail screens, and so forth.
Finally, swiping up shows your currently active notifications while swiping down gives you quick access to Do Not Disturb, Show Time, Find Phone, Alarm, and the Settings features. This screen also shows your current Bluetooth connectivity status, remaining battery life, date, and day of the week.
The Huawei Watch GT 2 runs on LiteOS. While it runs well, there’s virtually no customization on the watch. As mentioned above, the watch has a watch face screen and screens for heart rate, stress, weather, music, and daily activity record. Given the fact the watch also includes a barometer, compass, workout, alarm, timer, and other functionality, you’d think you could set your swipeable home screens. Unfortunately, you can’t. Personally, I’d love to add a couple more home screens to the watch, and even swap out one or two like the music one. Sure, you can still access the timer or barometer by pressing the top button and scrolling down but that just takes extra steps.
What can you customize? The watch face itself — but even there it’s only limited customization. Currently you can select between 15 different watch faces. Of these, only four allow you to customize them. It would be nice to be able to customize at least the colour hints on each watch face at a minimum. Of the ones you can customize, it is limited to certain display features based on the design. You can also choose between four different stand-by watch faces which, when enabled, offer up an always-on display which decreases battery life as well as disables the raise to wake feature.
The real meat of the smartwatch reporting, however, is the Huawei Health app. The main dashboard by default shows your daily activity across the top as well as tiles for heart rate, SpO2, stress, sleep, weight, and exercise records. This can be edited to remove or add tiles you desire. Across the bottom are tabs for health, exercise (which lets you start a workout or view the training plans), devices (for pairing devices, adding or managing music on the watch, firmware updates, and notification settings), and me which lets you adjust your profile and other settings.
Health and activity tracking
To be honest, the tracking for heart rate, SpO2, stress, sleep, and workout activity is some of the best I’ve seen.
Each tracking feature displays your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly stats. Selecting the heart rate settings cog allows you to set a heart rate warning as well as heart rate zones. These zones include warm-up, fat-burning, aerobic, anaerobic, and extreme. It even breaks down exercise intensity zone levels and how they affect your body, very useful information.
Each of the other activities also has an info screen which display some really useful information as well as tips to improve sleep quality and reduce your stress levels. Overall, it really is robust in its tracking and reporting.
One weird thing about the app is the inconsistency in the additional info. In one screen it’s found in the settings cog, in another the hamburger menu, in another the info icon, and in yet another the more settings.
As far as the software rating is concerned, while I’ve scored it an 85 overall, it would be split to 75 for the watch software limitations and 95 for the Huawei Health application.
The Huawei Watch GT 2 is powered by the company’s Kirin A1 chip. As mentioned above briefly, the watch does function quite well with quick touch and swipe response.
Initiating a workout is straightforward, however, the GPS does seem to take a bit (upwards of 30 seconds to a minute) to lock. Once locked, the workouts seem to be pretty accurate and the voice coaching/updates are helpful as well for training plans. As far as fitness functions, the watch performs very well.
This is a section you normally don’t see in a fitness or smartwatch. The Huawei Watch GT 2 has music storage capabilities (and can be used to control third-party music apps like Spotify) and can also be used to answer a phone call. To be honest, I was pretty surprised and impressed with the sound quality when playing the default track stored on the device. It gets quite loud and remains clear, and even better than some smartphones that I’ve used in the past. Depending on what you’re doing, if you don’t want to run with headphones or take your phone, using the Watch GT 2 to listen to music while you walk or run is totally acceptable.
The watch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It is easy to connect and it stays connected as long as you’re within a 30 foot range of your phone. As mentioned above, GPS does take a short while to connect. Once it does, however, it stays connected for the duration of the workout and is accurate.
With the Huawei Watch GT 2, you can make and answer calls on the watch. The first time I tested this out, I didn’t tell the calling party I was using the watch. During the conversation, they didn’t mention they couldn’t hear me or ask me to repeat myself. Near the end of the conversation, I asked how it sounded and was told “just fine.” When I explained I was using the watch via speakerphone type mode, they were surprised and mentioned it didn’t sound that different than through a smartphone.
Huawei claims 14 days of battery life under average use for the Watch GT 2 46mm version. During our testing, we consistently hit the 12 to 14 day mark between charges. When using GPS to track your workouts, however, we ended up getting 8-10 days with a daily GPS workout activity. I estimate an hour of GPS workout activity takes up about 4% battery life.
When depleted, the watch takes just over an hour to charge using the included charging cradle.
For a fitness watch, this one definitely has great battery life depending on what you’re using it for.
With an MSRP starting at US$199 (for the 42mm)/CA$299 (for the 46mm), it isn’t exactly cheap with it comes to only having fitness functionality without much customization. While there are other fitness smartwatches in the market that are similarly priced and more non-fitness features, the Huawei Watch GT 2 does fitness quite well. On that note, if you only want fitness features without added distractions, you can’t go wrong with the Watch GT 2.
While limited in customization, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is a great fitness smartwatch. With assisted workouts, GPS, and onboard music storage, it’s definitely a watch fitness enthusiasts will want to consider. If you’re looking for a fitness watch, the Huawei Watch GT 2 would be a great choice. However, if you’re looking for a fitness watch with more smartwatch features, you’ll want to look somewhere else.
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Huawei Watch GT 2US$199.99+/ CA$299
Ease of Use9.5/10
- Fitness-centric design
- Comfortable to wear
- Quite a few specific fitness type tracking available
- Displays heart rate, SpO2, and stress levels on watch
- Displays weather on watch
- Can store and play music on the watch
- Professional guided workout modes available
- Can use the watch for phone calls and use it as a speakerphone
- Decent sound quality for a watch
- No extra apps can be installed
- Limited watch faces
- Screen is bright (at night) even with ambient mode on
- Can't make calls or reply to texts from the watch
- Can't swipe away a single notification (can only clear all)
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