- John Reilly
- On November 7, 2019
We’ve been using the new Huawei Watch GT 2 for over a month now and, having moved from an Wear OS powered Fossil Watch, there were quite a few things to get used to. In our full review below, we’ll cover its design, specs, and overall features. The watch is Huawei’s second-generation GT watch, called Huawei Watch GT 2 powered by Kirin A1 chipset promising two weeks battery and always-on screen. Does it live up to this lofty battery life claim and is it able to compete with the best Android has to over on the smartwatch front? Let’s see.
When it comes to sizes, there are two versions, 46mm and 42mm, the larger packs a 1.39-inch always-on AMOLED display with 454 x 454 resolution while the smaller one will stick to 1.2-inch 390×390 AMOLED screen. It measures 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7 mm (1.81 x 1.81 x 0.42 in) and weighs 41 grams. It comes with a stainless-steel frame, ceramic back and it is waterproof for up to 50-meter. It will even measure your heart rate while swimming. Let’s not forget the GPS that will give you more accurate measuring.
We are testing the bigger 46 mm watch that has a larger battery and two weeks promised battery life. If you want to be realistic, this number will be lower depending on the usage, but still getting a few days out of a wearable, let alone a week or close to two, sounds almost miraculous.
Of course, the battery life comes with the sacrifice of the features as Lite OS developed by Huawei is not compatible with the Google Wear platform or its Store. Lite OS so far doesn’t have an app store, and you get to use the features that come preinstalled with the watch. You can install new watch faces, but they are available via Huawei Health app and are rather limited to around a dozen designs.
The new Kirin A1 chipset brings in the Bluetooth 5 support as well as Bluetooth LE 5.1 and promises up to 150-meter connection, but this would have to be in an ideal case. In our testing, it worked flawlessy in my two bedroom apartment, which is fairly well spread out, so I was able to interact with notifications from my phone, even the furthest corners.
The 46mm watch that we tested comes with 32 MB of RAM and 4GB storage which is an upgrade compared to a 16 MB RAM and 128 MB storage with the Watch GT. The 42mm version of the watch has 16MB RAM and 4GB storage.
Our particular Watch GT 2 with brown leather strap had just a bit shy of 2500MB accessible for your data, mainly music and watch faces. The watch also uses an all-in-one 3D glass screen, creating a wider, boundless display for the OLED 1.39″ panel.
Two weeks battery life should be achievable with both the intelligent heart rate monitor and call notification functions on and weekly usage of up to 30 minutes of Bluetooth calls; up to 30 minutes of music playback; up to 90 minutes of exercise and using the scientific sleep mode at night. Naturally, the actual battery life will depend on practical, real-life use.
In a couple of hours of extremely heavy usage, we managed to burn through 9 percent of the battery, when the screen is set to go automatically to sleep. We used notification, Bluetooth, music and went countless amount of time exploring the options and features. After a whole day of heavy use and all the sensors on, it will burn around 30 percent of battery. This will get you roughly three days of heavy use without GPS.
A week of normal use is also possible if you’re using the always on clock face but this could extend even further if you have this turned off. I personally like to have the clock face always viewable when wearing the watch but we did manage to get close to two weeks of battery when we first started reviewing this device and had this feature turned off.
What’s in the box
The pretty stylish presentation box comes with the watch itself, short manual, charging pad and a USB Type-C cable. The brown leather strap 46mm watch also comes with an additional black sports band.
To set up and use the watch, all you need is the Huawei Health or Huawei Sport app, pair the watch via Bluetooth, and you are good to go. Unsurprisingly, the watch also comes with a nice variety of pre-installed watch faces but, even with the choices available, we would have liked more to pick from.
From the clock screen, you can swipe left for the heart rate monitor that is well designed and does what it is supposed to. Swiping further left to the right gets you to the stress level monitor as the name implies help you maintain normal stress levels. The next screen shows you the weather details in your current area with low and high forecast for that day.
The next swipe brings you to the music menu, and this simple interface lets you play music. Music is rather loud for such a small device and. seeing as Huawei has included a built in speaker, you can now take calls on the GT 2 as well. During my testing, I found call quality to be equally as loud and impressive. Callers on the other end of the line also said they had no real issue hearing me over the watch’s microphone but it’s obviously never going to be as good as using your actual handset.
The last swipe shows a number of steps, time you’ve worked out that day and how many times you stand up from the chair, and it is very similar to Apple app tracking the same details.
The great thing is that swiping from the watch face backward gets you to the last item in the menu.
The watch comes with two dial buttons and the one above wakes the watch up and gets you to the menu, while the one below can be predefined and by default gets you to the health/fitness activity settings.
Fitness and health
In the sports mode, Huawei Watch GT 2 is compatible with 15 sports, including eight outdoor sports (running, walking, climbing, hiking, trail running, cycling, open water, triathlon) and seven indoor sports (walking, running, cycling, swimming pool, free training, elliptical machine, rowing machine).
For these 15 sports modes, the watch provides full-scale monitoring of approximately 190 types of data. The GT2 watch also provides targeted pre-exercise data analysis for different sports, data recording analysis during the exercise, and professional advice afterward. It is like having a personal intelligent sports coach to make your workout safer and better.
Huawei also plays big on the health management capability of the watch. Heart rate monitoring helps monitor bradycardia and heart failure. Unless in the sports mode, the user will get a notification if the heart rate is above 100 bpm or below 50 bpm for more than 10 minutes. Users can also view the data in the Huawei Sports and Health App to keep an eye on your health in real-time.
The watch comes with a sleep monitor. Huawei TruSleep 2.0 monitors sleep quality, real-time heart rate, sleep breathing quality, and uses big data analysis to rate sleep quality. The watch also comes with in house developed TruRelax technology, which helps users relieve stress by recording HRV (heart rate variability) values and providing feedback on the user’s stress index.
The watch will remind you to stand up and move if you are too lazy and even trigger an alarm. The watch will help you track the number of steps you take each day, calories burned, and the number of times you stand up. Health and fitness options are something that we will take a deeper look on a later date; we checked the options to make sure they are there and that they are working, but as it is the case with battery life, it just takes time.
The watch comes with a flashlight, alarm, timer, stopwatch, compass, air pressure, call log, contact, breathing exercise on top of the workout, music, stress, and heartrate we already mentioned.
The battery life and smoothness of the application and user interface is something that we’re really impressed by on this watch. The Apple watch usually last a maximum of a day or up to 18 hours. The new Android Wear watches should last up to two days while Samsung watches range from two to five days, in best-case scenario.
Have in mind that these watches have apps and a bit more serious operating systems, but still the fact that Huawei Watch GT2 can give you all the fitness data you need and show notifications, enable you to take a quick call on a watch and play a music and hold charge for up to two weeks is spectacular. Even getting full seven days sounds amazing when comparing to the competition.
While I’m ok to charge my phone every day, and nowadays with 7nm SoCs from Qualcomm and Huawei you can get to a two-day battery life from a high-end phone, the biggest obstacle of getting wearable devices onto more wrists is a constant need to charge them.
Overall, I loved my time with the new Huawei Watch GT 2. Yes, I do wish it ran Android Wear for better app compatibility but this gorgeous display watch can last more than a week of standard use and even more with the always on display feature disabled, which is something very few, if any, other smartwatches worth their salt can claim.
The Huawei Watch GT 2 will retail for around €249 and should be available in the coming weeks. We’ll be sure to update this review with stores you can get one once we know more.