REVIEW: Huawei Watch GT2 Pro
Huawei’s wearables are more important to its business than ever as it continues to build an ecosystem of connected, non-smartphone products in the face of continued restrictions from the U.S. government. Its latest is the Watch GT2 Pro, a follow-up of sorts to the Watch GT2 launched this time last year.
Why do I say “of sorts?” There’s a reason it’s not called the Watch GT3, and that’s because it’s technically very similar to GT2. Also, the Pro moniker describes an upgrade in materials rather than technology. This means it still concentrates on health tracking over deep smartwatch functionality, and uses its long battery life to appeal on the tech front. Here’s what it’s like to wear one for a few days.
The Huawei Watch GT2 Pro uses the right materials. The body is made from lightweight yet strong titanium, the screen is covered by sapphire crystal, and the case back is ceramic. In the world of watches these are often taken as a mark of quality, and here they keep the Watch GT2 Pro from looking cheap or like a toy.
Sapphire crystal has a different, more attractive sheen to it than glass, and on the Watch GT2 Pro, it disguises the OLED screen underneath very well. But it’s the ceramic back that’s the real winner here. The cool-to-the-touch finish makes it much more comfortable to wear than the plastic-backed Watch GT2, and even though it’s only 5 grams lighter than the older model, it’s more pleasant to wear for longer periods.
It has gained some bulk though, and is several millimeters thicker than before. The 46mm case looks bigger due to the shrouded, all-in-one lug design and the largely flat sapphire crystal screen. The wonderful curve on the Watch GT2’s glass is missed here, and the simple markings on the bezel don’t have the same visual impact as the GT2’s chronograph markings.
There are two buttons on the side of the case, and these have a slightly texture finish on their edges. We got the silicone strap with our review model but there is also a leather option for the non Sport model. The gunmetal gray titanium body goes really well with the black silicone strap, but I’ve also commandeered by brown leather strap from my GT2 model and attached it to the Pro model, which I think looks good.
Performance and software
The Watch GT2 Pro uses the same Kirin A1 processor as the Watch GT2, and it’s a moderate performer. The low-energy chip is there to extend the Watch GT2 Pro’s battery life rather than return blistering speed, so the Huawei-developed software is often slow when you wake the watch up. Once the watch is going, this slight muddiness disappears.
I’ve used the Watch GT2 Pro connected to a Huawei P40 Pro+ but if you’re using it on another, non-Huawei device, it requires the Huawei Health app, which is also available for iOS, to be installed. Connection is simple and worked without a hitch, plus it was reliable, with reconnections quickly taking place without prompting. The app is excellent for processing and displaying fitness data, right down to showing routes obtained by GPS on the watch during a walk or run.
Overall, we found the workout tracking on the Watch GT2 Pro is good. There are 100 different workout modes, including new skiing and golf driving range modes, plus it has a Route Back feature to help you return to a starting point even when the GPS signal is lost. It also shows sunrise and sunset information, weather information, and moon phase and tide times. I’d like a little more health data to be shown on the watch, instead of being forced into the app.
Workout modes are accessed using the lower button on the case, but the in-workout controls are somewhat confusing. While it’s natural to long press or swipe on the screen to access controls to stop the workout, here you have to instead press the upper button on the case, which elsewhere in the system is a Back or Menu button. Not very intuitive.
Notifications are presented in one long list accessed with a swipe up the screen, but none can be interacted with. Tapping a card just shows the same information on a slightly larger canvas.
Battery and other features
Huawei says the Watch GT2 Pro’s battery will last for about 14 days before needing a recharge, or about 30 hours with the GPS constantly working. I’ve been wearing my watch for three days, and the battery has depleted to 70% with moderate use and with the always-on screen active, suggesting 10 days will be possible. The wireless charging plinth has a rapid charge feature that boosts the battery for 10 hours use in just five minutes.
The heart rate sensor has been improved with new LEDs and better materials so it returns more accurate readings. It operates 24 hours a day for tracking during workouts and sleep. There is also an automatic stress test that operates in the background, as well as SpO2 levels during workouts, making the Watch GT2 Pro a comprehensive health wearable.
It can be used on its own when exercising due to the GPS and Bluetooth connection for wireless headphones. There’s 2GB of storage space on the watch ready for your music collection, but it will take a while to transfer a playlist that takes up most of that as it’s performed using Bluetooth. There’s no stand-alone support for streaming music apps like Spotify when you’re out and about, but the on-watch music controls do work when it’s playing from your phone.
In terms of smart watches, the Huawei Watch GT2 Sport goes a long way at answering the needs of potential buyers. The hardware is well designed and feels robust, like you’ll get years out of it, before having to look for a replacement.
The battery life on offer here is some of the best we’ve seen from a smart watch. The success of wireless devices really depends heavily on great battery life. I’ve had far too many devices that are flat when I want to use them and have always struggled to build that routine to charge nightly.
With the seriously impressive battery life on offer here, it feels like the watch is always ready to go.
Given the lack of Android Wear, the watch does lack some common features you may be looking for, including Google Pay. When you consider the scenario of buying food or drinks after exercise, it’d be really handy to have this in a watch and not have to take your phone or wallet.
All things considered, this is a really capable watch, one that looks like a watch, not a piece of technology on your wrist, which is something I think most potential owners will really appreciate.
You can learn more about the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro here and it has an RRP of €299.