Huawei GT Watch Review
Huawei GT Watch Review
PAT PILCHER discovers that Huawei’s new fitness tracking watch is useful for much more than a saunter down to the local chip shop.
Smartwatches are one of those curious gadget categories that started out as a compelling idea. “Wouldn’t it be great to get phone notifications on your wrist!” eventually morphed into the sublime stupidity of the US$17K single day battery life Apple Watch Editon. At last, a watch takes back a lot of the goodness of the original smartwatch concept, hence my Huawei GT Watch review.
The GT Watch is a smartwatch with a heavy emphasis on fitness tracking. Unlike its Android WearOS powered counterparts, it runs Huawei’s in-house developed LightOS. While some might be scratching heads and saying “wait, what?”, there are good reasons for this.
“Oh, it tells the time, too! Who’d have thunk?”
All the smartwatch basics are installed: you get smartphone notifications, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring and GPS run mapping. Oh, it tells the time too (who’d have thunk?). About the only thing conspicuously absent are third-party apps.
But there are plenty of apps, including a stopwatch, a timer, an alarm, weather, a barometer, a compass, a ‘find my phone’ function, fitness tracking, heart rate tracking and sleep tracking.
There is also a ‘workout status’ and ‘workout record’ function. Workout status gives you a heads-up of how your current workout is going while the workout record function gives you an overview of your exercise progress over days, weeks or months.
The Assorted Fitness-tracking apps means the GT watch can track outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, climbing, trail running, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, swimming in a pool, swimming in the open water, and ‘Other’, which tracks time and calories burned based on movement detected by the GT watch accelerometer and heart activity as recognised by the heart rate sensor.
“It can run for up to two weeks before crying for quality time with its bundled charging dock”
Last but by no means least there’s also half dozen or so different watch faces. A long press on the current watch face lets you flick through the different faces on offer. Huawei should soon offer the ability to upload more watch faces from the Huawei Health App, too.
While the pitiful drone of some reviewers can be heard as they whine about the lack of third-party apps on the GT Watch, it’d be fair to say that they need a simple reality check.
Very few people use smart watches for much more than telling the time, checking their step-count and phone notifications. I didn’t use Spotify, Uber, Google Maps or a multitude of other next to useless third-party smartwatch apps. They’re usually terrible, and I didn’t miss them.
The big reason that there are no third-party apps is that Huawei have not been courting developers for the LightOS environment. Instead, they’ve focused on keeping it small and efficient. Because of this, I didn’t need to charge the GT watch for ages. It can run for up to two weeks before crying for quality time with its bundled charging dock. That’s one week and six days more than Android Wear and the Apple Watch, and a week and half longer than Samsung’s Galaxy Watch. Perhaps the third-party app complainers should ponder this while they wait for their watches to charge.
“It’s also bright enough to illuminate my immediate surroundings at night.”
The GT watch resembles an old school sports watch. Much of this is thanks to the alloy body, the round OLED touch-screen display and the two physical buttons on its right-hand side. The display is 1.39-inches with a 454 x 454-pixel resolution. On-screen colours are vivid and the display is more than bright enough to view under direct sunlight. Thanks to a built-in torch app, it’s also bright enough to illuminate my immediate surroundings at night. About the only real hint of its smart credentials is the silicon strap, which can thankfully be replaced with a standard watchstrap.
If fitness is your thing, then the GT watch has you well covered. It has GPS, Glonass and Galileo built in so no matter where on earth you go for your morning run, swim, cycle, walk, it can keep track of your movements, which are able to be displayed on a map in the Huawei Health app.
There’s also a barometer on-board so you can keep track of barometric pressure, which can be handy for detecting sudden weather changes. It doesn’t matter if you get caught in a downpour wearing the GT Watch – it’s 5ATM waterproof. In non-watch geek speak, this means that you can go swimming with it and it’ll happily keep working. It also has a swimming workout tracking mode.
“No matter where on earth you go for your morning run, swim, etc, it can keep track of your movements”
There’s little to dislike about it and that’s why my Huawei GT Watch review is so positive. It does all that you’re ever likely to need, no more and no less. And its very reasonable $349 price sticker makes it affordable. It also has the best battery life of any smartwatch currently on the market. Add in 5ATM water resistance and a plethora of fitness options for good measure and the GT Watch is a good option.