REVIEW: Huawei Watch GT2e - 'Fitness First' Smartwatch
Taking advantage of the launch of their Huawei P40 range of handsets, Huawei also launched the Huawei Watch GT2e, the new version of their Watch GT2 smartwatch which launched last year, with an even greater focus on fitness. It is, in a nutshell, a kind of revision of the previous model with some features removed such as the speaker but with a new sport-orientated design and health-tracking features and the same impressive battery life.
The Huawei Watch GT2e uses the same Kirin A1 chipset that’s found on the Huawei Watch GT2. It can also record the same 190+ workout metrics as the Huawei Watch GT2, but it now also includes a SpO2 meter, something that was missing on the Watch GT2. What has changed, however, is that the Watch GT2e ditches the microphone and speaker found on the slightly more expensive Huawei Watch GT2, which is a shame, as we were a fan of being able to take calls on the watch when our hands were full.
The display on the Watch GT2e is the same AMOLED display found on the Watch GT2 which has a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels spread across 1.39″. It’s clean, clear and has impressive brightness levels also so you’re not going to have any issue seeing the screen in direct sunlight.
There are also wide selection of watch faces to choose from, both on the watch itself or you can see even more options inside the Huawei Health app. Each one has a different design and allows access to varying levels of additional info, such as your step count, at a single glance, so it’s really just a case of finding the one that best suits your needs.
One thing we do wish was improved over the Huawei Watch GT2 was the response time because it’s definitely slower than other smartwatches in terms of response time and fluidity.
The Huawei Watch GT2e boasts of impressive 2-week battery life, but it must be noted, if you do want to have an always on display to see the time at a glance, your battery life will be cut in half, still giving you almost a week usage between charges. Having come from a Wear OS powered Fossil smartwatch that I used to have to charge every night, this was definitely a nice upgrade.
While the dial and body of the Huawei Watch GT2e are very similar to that of the Huawei Watch GT2, the GT2e gains a sportier look thanks to the bands the watch comes with. On the side, the two input buttons return. The top one allows us to turn on the display (if you don’t have Always On Display enabled) and open the main menu, where you can access the different apps and settings. The bottom button then can be mapped to perform a series of predetermined actions, such as starting a sports session quickly or activating a timer.
The Huawei Watch GT2 shipped with more formal looking bands whereas the Watch GT2e ships with the option of dual-tone bands made out of fluoro-rubber for a sportier look. The watch we reviewed was the Graphite Black model and, as of time of writing, this also appears to be the only colour option available right now on the Three.ie website. Additional strap colours include include Lava Red, Mint Green, and Icy White but their Irish availability is TBC.
Features & App
The operating system of the Huawei Watch GT 2e is Lite OS, which is the same as Huawei’s other smartwatch offerings. Its performance is respectable for the price range we are in, but it still has room for improvement to get closer to other competitors such as Tizen on the Galaxy Watch range, Wear OS on Fossil etc. or WatchOS on the Apple Watch.
There are also no new features in terms of interface, since the same icons and colours are the same as the ones found in the Huawei Watch GT2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as the icons are easily identifiable when scrolling on the watch’s display, allowing them to be seen at a glance, something that’s helped by the size of the display also.
Unfortunately, unlike Wear OS or WatchOS powered watches, Lite OS only allows you to use the apps that are integrated in the OS itself so you cannot install apps from a dedicated App Store. That said, if you’re picking up this watch to improve your overall fitness, there are definitely enough apps on offer to use the watch without problems.
In terms of notifications, Huawei has definitely improved how they’re handled on the watch with them popping up in a cleaner UI but we do wish they were more interact-able, even if it was some sort of ‘Quick Reply’ ability to respond to texts or WhatsApp messages for example.
To tweak the watch to your liking even more and to modify the options and settings, you’ll need to connect it to the Huawei Health app, which comes pre-installed on all Huawei phones and can be downloaded on both iOS and Android as well. You’ll also need to create Huawei account to be able to access it and, from there, you can modify the notifications of the apps that are sent to the watch, access the exercise and sleep records, etc.
Speaking of which, the watch also allows you to monitor sleep thanks to the TruSleep function. According to Huawei, this function extrapolates the normal rhythm of the sinuses and respiratory signals from the heart rate data to analyze your sleep and, from using it for a few weeks now, the results are quite accurate and detailed. It allows you to check how much sleep you’re actually getting at night, broken into the various stages such as light, deep and REM, and gives you an overall score out of 100.
When it comes to fitness features, this watch is obviously aimed at individuals who want to get the most out of their workouts or training sessions and who need a watch to keep track of all their stats.
As mentioned earlier, Huawei claim to be able to track over 190 different workout metrics with some more obscure ones including parkour, urban dance, flying kites, swinging and bungee jumping. They obviously don’t forget the classics either, such as running, walking, etc.
When starting and recording a session, the watch uses three functions: the SpO2 sensor, the integrated GPS and the heart rate sensor. The GPS, being integrated into the watch itself, allows you to have a record of a route without having to carry your phone with you all the time. The heart rate sensor, meanwhile, is similar to that of previous models and is supported by two LED emitters and two other reading sensors to read your pulse rate.
From our time using the watch during various running and walking sessions, we found the tracking to be as accurate as previous smartwatches we’ve used with real-time stats being shown both on the watch itself or via the dedicated Huawei Health app.
Another function that the watch offers is the ability to store music on the watch itself thanks to the 4 GB of internal memory (which is less due to the space occupied by the OS). Now, seeing as the speaker has been removed, you can’t listen directly on the watch so you’ll need to connect a pair of wireless headphones or earphones to the watch itself.
The Huawei Watch GT2e is a smartwatch that really focuses on its fitness features first that, unfortunately means some other worthwhile features don’t get a look in. We wish Huawei left the speaker include like the GT2 and, on a more general point, Lite OS really needs its own app store to allow users install additional third party apps to really make the device a well rounded offering overall. In terms of battery, the Huawei Watch GT2e’s battery life is outstanding.
The Huawei Watch GT2e is available on Three.ie for €169.