Huawei GT2 Watch REVIEW
Huawei GT2 Watch REVIEW
Huawei’s handsome new tracking watch has amazing battery life. How how does it rate otherwise? PAT PILCHER is on the case.
Huawei’s original GT watch scored a hefty nine out of 10 last year, and now they’re back with the GT Watch 2. Has Huawei bettered what was already pretty good? And if so, how?
In the look and feel department, the good news is that Huawei has upped the ante with the Watch GT2. While you’d be unlikely to unclasp your Omega or ditch the Rolex, It does feel more high-end than the original Huawei Watch GT.
While Huawei decided not to sell the 42mm GT Watch Elegant in New Zealand, the 46-millimetre GT Watch 2 is an attractive timepiece. The review unit is finished in stainless steel, and the dial/bezel is a single piece of glass. While the 46mm device could not be called small, its design leans towards a sporty look.
The review unit came with a leather strap, but you can also get steel or silicon versions. While these are touted as being better for workouts, you might want to check and see if silicon reacts with your skin.
The beefier 46mm version attached to my wrist sports a gorgeous 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454×454. In use, you get the ultra-vivid and high contrast levels you’d expect from AMOLED, which proved easily bright enough for viewing outdoors.
One of the things I liked best about the GT2’s display is that I could set it to an always-on mode. Most other smartwatches turn off their screen to conserve battery and require that you do a dorky wrist flick to wake up the display. The GT2 display can be left on, and it won’t need a nightly charge.
A key point to take into consideration with the GT2 is that it is more of a fitness tracker than a smartwatch. Unlike Android Wear or the Apple Watch, third-party app support is limited to the point of being nearly non-existent. A lot of the bells and whistles you’d expect with a smartwatch are also not present.
That said, the functionality already installed is impressive. As a long-time smartwatch user, I can say this: Most third party apps I’ve installed have usually sat unused, consuming storage and battery. Put simply, what really matters is how long a smartwatch will run between charges.
With both Android Wear and the Apple Watch, you’re looking at daily charges. Forget to plunk them on the charger overnight, and you’ve got a wrist ornament with brick-like functionality the following day, which isn’t ideal.
Huawei has looked at what functionality people value and use most and optimised the GT2’s OS (known as Lite OS) to deliver extraordinary battery life. One of the first review tests I usually do with any widget I’m trying out is a run-down test. After fully charging a gadget, I use it until it goes flat and note how long that took. I was nearing the end of the GT 2’s run-down test when I got a polite email from Huawei asking if I was ever going to write a review for the watch. The email arrived an astonishing two weeks after I’d started the run-down test. At that point, its battery was still at 15 percent. That’s zero charges compared to the 14 or so charges I’d have needed with Android Wear or an Apple Watch.
If given a choice between third party apps I’m unlikely to use and two weeks of battery life, I’ll choose battery life every time.
This isn’t to say that the GT2 is lacking when it comes to functionality. The emphasis with the GT2 is first and foremost fitness and health. Heart rate and step counts are front and centre. Pressing the lower side button reveals 16 different workout-tracking options. These range from running, triathlons through to swimming (the GT2 is rated to 5ATM).
The usual smartwatch suspects such as Smartphone Notifications are also present, and there are also a few new app wrinkles with the GT2. Stress tracking, complete with breathing based, relaxation exercises is also available. The GT2 also has 4GB of storage. This allows you to upload music (via the Huawei health app) and pair the GT2 with Bluetooth headphones. This arrangement delivers workout tunage without you having to lug a phone about. The two features that stood out for me were sleep tracking (which gave me an easy to understand overview of my lack of sleep) and the find-my phone feature (I’m always misplacing my phone).
The headline feature with the GT2, aside from its two-week battery life, is the inclusion of a speakerphone. A built-in speaker and mic mean that you can both answer and initiate calls from a GT2 tethered to your smartphone. Call clarity was excellent. The speaker on the GT2 is small and required I hold the watch to my ear, then keep it near my mouth when answering calls in noisy environments.
In terms of usability, those upgrading from the original GT watch will find the GT2 instantly familiar. For new users, its user interface is so simple that they’ll be up and running in no time flat. Swiping vertically top to bottom reveals a sub-menu with all the settings you’ll need while on the go. Swiping upwards displays emails and messages. Horizontal swipes give you an at a glance overview of your fitness stats, heart rate, stress levels, weather, and music controls. The topside button pulls up a scrollable list of watch functions, acting as a “back button” while the bottom button lists available workout tracking options.
One grizzle I wish Huawei would address is the GT2’s proprietary charger. While it works fine, it is another piece of plastic to carry around and potentially lose when travelling. Here’s hoping wireless charging is included with the GR Watch 3. Charging is, however, quick. I was able to go from zero to fully charged in around an hour.
The other bonus with the GT2 is that it is affordable – where Apple Watches start at a hair under $780, the GT watch can be had for a pocket pleasing $349
All told, The GT2 Watch is a great fitness tracker with limited smartwatch functionality. Add to this an insanely good battery life and its ability to store and play music/act as a speakerphone, and there’s plenty to like.