Huawei Watch GT2 Pro REVIEW
Huawei Watch GT2 Pro REVIEW
Huawei’s new watch concentrates on what’s most important and extends battery life in the process, explains an impressed PAT PILCHER.
With every tech company and their dog launching wearables, it’s hard not to get carried along with the hype. At the end of the day, it always comes down to real-world use, as there’s a lot of hype instead of the stuff that matters. Huawei’s latest, the GT2 Pro watch, leans towards the latter, and because of this, it acquits itself well.
On paper, the GT2 Pro looks compelling. It promises one of the most extended run times between charges of nearly all wearables launched so far. It’s loaded with features that you’ll actually use, rather than those that sound great but stay untouched. Its activity and health tracking capabilities are also rather good too. Coupled with the use of high-end materials, a pleasing design and high-quality build, the GT2 Pro isn’t too shabby at all.
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Where Apple and Samsung support third party apps/watch faces for their wearables, Huawei has taken a different approach. Instead of trying to cover as many feature checkboxes as possible, they focused on paring things down to genuinely useful features and making them as polished as possible.
From a design perspective, the GT2 Pro is attractive. Its body has been hewn out of titanium, so it’s both light and sturdy. Around the front, its face is crafted out of super durable sapphire glass. The back is ceramic, which is far less likely to irritate your skin. Many other wearable makers put enormous effort into their designs, and ankle-tap themselves by using a silicon strap, which irritates the skin of many. The GT2 Pro comes with a leather strap that won’t irritate your skin. For swimmers, there’s a silicon strap bundled too.
All told, high-end materials and a well-executed design make the GT2 Pro a beautiful watch indeed. Unlike previous GT Watches, the GT2 Pro marries a sporty look with a more formal design. It looks a little dressy and works equally well when worn with a suit, or at the gym. It’s a traditional-looking timepiece in that it has a circular display, and like most other digital watches, two buttons on its right-hand side. Its OLED screen is also super crisp and vivid. When used outdoors under direct sunlight it was perfectly readable too.
The GT2 Pro straddles two niches. While it isn’t a smartwatch, it does have smartwatch capabilities. It isn’t a full-blown fitness tracker either, but its fitness tracking credentials are impressive. In short, Huawei has pulled off a delicate balancing act. In trying to cover both camps, it could have failed to do an excellent job at either, but it proved very useable. On the smartwatch front, Huawei has all the basics covered. Notifications show up on the watch, along with haptic feedback. Bluetooth calling is built-in, allowing you to take and make calls with your wrist. Swiping up from the bottom of the GT2 Pro’s screen, you can scroll through notifications. 2GB of onboard storage allows you to store up to 500 music tracks and play them back using paired wireless headphones.
Its fitness tracking abilities are also well rounded. There are over 100 workout modes, believe it or not, and even belly dancing is available. For more practical use, it’ll cover running, rowing, swimming (it’s 5ATM water-resistant), skiing and more. There’s even a driving range mode which covers stats such as swing speed. Runners will also like its GPS functionality, which can overlay your route onto a map so you can see what ground you covered. Equally handy is the ‘Route Back’ function, which is essentially an offline navigator that can get you back to a waypoint even if it’s disconnected from your phone. Different workout modes also offer a plethora of functionality with sunrise and sunset times, tide times, moon phases and bad weather alerts all available.
On top of that is SPo2 (blood oxygen) and heart rate monitoring, along with Huawei’s industrial-strength sleep tracking baked in. Rounding things out are relaxation exercises and stress monitoring. You can see your health stats by swiping left to right on the watch, or by firing up the Huawei Health app.
Part of the reason that Huawei’s GT2 Pro can sit astride the fitness tracker and smartwatch camps is that they’ve developed their own wearable operating system, Lite OS. Unlike Google’s Android Wear or Apple’s watch OS, it isn’t trying to be a jack of all trades and killing battery life in the process. Instead of being built to accommodate third party apps, Huawei optimised Lite OS with a focus on maximising battery life. There are a tiny number of apps from Huawei, and you still get notifications from your phone. Many reviewers see this as a minus, but having owned and used most smartwatch brands over the years, I’ve found that I hardly ever use third party watch apps. The apps that I do value are those that are already baked in by Huawei, and these are all well designed and highly polished.
There are gaps, however. There is no NFC payment capability, nor is there Spotify support. These are small change, as Huawei’s approach delivers where it counts the most – close to two weeks of battery life (slightly less with GPS enabled). The significance of this cannot be overstated. With Apple’s much-vaunted watch or Google’s many Wear OS devices and Samsung’s Tizen line up, you’ll get a day, maybe two days use before charging is needed. With two weeks between charges, sleep tracking and fitness tracking features can be used with little interruption.
Speaking of battery life, the other big news with the GT2 Pro is that it now supports Qi wireless charging. This handily means that instead of being reliant on an easy to lose proprietary charging puck, it’ll charge with most Qi chargers. I was also able to charge it using the power share capabilities of my P30 Pro.
The selection of watch faces (via the Huawei health app) has improved over earlier models, and the good news is that Huawei typically supplies more with subsequent software updates. That said, Huawei has some way to go before the watch faces supplied match what is on offer with Tizen or Wear OS.
So, the verdict? The GT2 Pro is an excellent looking wearable with a decidedly premium feel. When it comes to fitness tracking and getting notifications, there isn’t much missing. Combine that with best in class battery life, and there is a lot to like. About the only thing holding the GT2 Pro back from a perfect 10/10 is the lack of NFC payments and Spotify. Still, it’s otherwise an excellent wearable option. The GT2 Pro Watch can be bought from PB Tech, Noel Leeming and JB HiFi.