Smartwatches have definitely gained traction as a decent alternative to an actual timepiece over the years, but there is still room for improvement. With the release of Huawei’s Watch GT2 Pro, will the wearable tech landscape change or is it just another run-of-the-mill device? Let us dive deeper into the review to find out.
- Beautiful design
- Quality build
- Long battery life
- Qi wireless charging supported
- Does not track blood oxygen levels automatically
- No always-on capability
- Limited watch faces
Huawei Watch GT2 Pro design and build quality
The build quality of the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro is impeccable. It not only looks good, but it also has a very premium feel when wearing it. I have a smaller than average wrist, and yet it fits handsomely with a couple of notches to spare. In front lies a 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen display with 454 x 454 resolution, but there is no always-on capability here. You have a number of watch faces to choose from, although I did feel that at least half of them are gaudy looking in nature. Come on, Huawei, you can do better than that!
Sporting a titanium case with sapphire glass and a ceramic back, many people had positive impressions of its design when I wore this around my wrist. There are two buttons on the right side of the timepiece, with the upper one allowing access to the menu, while the bottom button is a shortcut key to sports activities.
The 47mm case is accompanied by a couple of hot-swappable hands - one leather strap and the other, a fluoroelastomer strap that is more suitable for workouts and swimming. It is a pleasant surprise to see Huawei headed in this direction, by bringing together both design and features with a couple of band options to suit the occasion.
The Huawei Watch GT2 Pro comes with 5 ATM water resistance, so wearing it while swimming is not an issue, although the usual precautions apply for such a rating.
Setup was easy. All I had to do was to download the Health app on the Google Play Store (also available on the Apple App Store), connect the smartwatch via the Health app, and I’m good to go. Of course, if the GT2 Pro was reset, you will first need to select your language of choice before proceeding with pairing the GT2 Pro to a smartphone.
As a smartwatch, it should ensure that I am able to gain access to most of my smartphone functions without having to actually take my smartphone out of my pocket. For starters, it will display notifications from my smartphone, ranging from incoming text messages, WhatsApp messages, emails, etc. However, I felt that the messaging feature was half-baked as I could not even send a quick reply via WhatsApp in the form of a template as there simply wasn’t an option to do so. Even my Casio WSD-F20 Pro-Trek that was released close to 4 years ago allowed me to reply messages and actually view images on it - something the GT2 Pro misses out on.
However, a plus point in my books would be the ability to accept calls on the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro and speak to it. This made me feel like Dick Tracy, and the built-in speaker proved to be loud enough to carry out a decent conversation but with one caveat - this function works only if you are using an Android-powered device. iPhone owners would best stick to their Apple Watch. Of course, this works great only if you are alone in a room, as I am quite sure most of us would like to ensure our conversations remain private, which is why the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro is best used when paired to a pair of wireless earbuds. No prizes for guessing where Huawei is trying to steer you toward the Huawei Freebuds Pro.
Apart from that, the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro also doubles up as a fitness tracker, an integrated GPS chipset, sleep monitoring capability, a heart rate monitor and SpO2 tracking. There is 4GB of internal memory, so you can always playback your favourite locally-stored tunes, or use it as an external controller for music playback via a smartphone app. Unfortunately, there is no way to synchronise your Spotify files for offline playback, which is a bummer as I would have loved to be able to go out running without having to lug my smartphone around.
Other drawbacks on the GT2 Pro would be the lack of contactless payments option and a voice assistant, which does not make sense considering the premium price you would fork out for this smart timepiece.
How does this stack up as a fitness tracker against other dedicated fitness trackers or smartwatches? The Huawei Watch GT2 Pro takes a page out of Cupertino’s playbook by using rings that denote the number of steps taken, active minutes, and even standing time. Swiping left on the home screen will let you check out how you are doing in meeting your goal with an app keeping track of everything else. After enough time with the GT2 Pro, you can then see trends formed concerning activities such as the number of steps, distance, calories, and even the flights of stairs climbed. You would need to crunch that information yourself and make what you will of it.
The Huawei Health app also wants to keep up the motivation factor by awarding you with medals whenever you hit selected milestones - such as completing 10,000 steps daily and performing streaks of activity. One particular watch face that goes well with the fitness tracking aspect shows off all of the vital statistics on the home screen itself, giving you a general idea at a glance without having to access the app directly. How convenient!
I have never used a sleep tracker before, so I do not have any base experience for comparison purposes. With the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro, it relies on what it calls Huawei TruSleep that analyses sleep stages while boasting of over 200 personalised insights into sleep data. From there, the program will attempt to help you live better with suggestions, including sleeping earlier (and longer!), skipping caffeine and alcohol.
Each night’s sleep is broken down in stages - featuring light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Upon waking up the next morning, I am always excited to check out my overall sleep score, with my day buoyed by an improved sleep score while giving me the impetus to hit the sack earlier that night should my score drop from the previous night.
Of course, all of these readings are just ballpark figures as it is not an actual lab scenario and neither is the equipment finely calibrated to match those found in sleep labs. It provides a general indication of your sleep quality based on data sets, you will have to do the math.
Stress. Everyone faces a degree of it one way or another every single day. How does the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro fare in tracking daily stress? It will rely on your heart rate and focus on stress signals as opposed to using electrodermal sensors. Through this, you will be able to keep tabs on your daily stress core (from 0-100), and while the number can be deemed to be somewhat abstract, it does provide insight into what is supposedly ‘normal’.
You will need to be truthful when answering the questionnaire on your smartphone, as the collection of your answers will play an important role in calibrating the overall score, from whence the app will keep track of your stats on a daily basis.
It might be something useful over a longer period of time since stress tends to creep up on you, so an extended time with the GT2 Pro would probably yield more discernible results when it comes to stress tracking.
While the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro is able to track over 100 activities, those living in tropical climates will have to give up skiing and other snow-based activities. However, it is always nice to have options as and when required.
With running being one of the most popular sporting activities worldwide, the GT2 Pro has banked on this particular activity as the main focus. My outdoor runs with the GT2 Pro proved to be a joy as it accurately tracked my route without any dropped connections. In addition, there are a slew of guided workouts for anyone to get started right out of the box.
Among them include interval sessions, varied training plans to suit different athletic levels of the individual, and also recovery sessions which are often overlooked by beginners.
You will be able to glean information about your run via the Huawei Health app, and all of the basics are there: pace, cadence, altitude, and route. Heck, you are even able to see whether you can ‘afford’ to chow down on that double cheeseburger after the run based on the number of calories burned. Need an impetus to nudge you to improve on the next run? Your average speed, stride length, steps, and elevation gain are all there.
Huawei has certainly thrown the kitchen sink this time around with Firstbeat data points being made available to the wearer as well, albeit these can only be accessed via the Health app: aerobic/anaerobic training effect, VO2 Max and recovery time. I believe that the casual exerciser who wants to get their thrice-weekly 30 minutes of aerobic activity done would most probably give this a miss even if the data is available at their fingertips.
I do not golf, but there is also a Driving Range mode, making it tag alongside Skiing mode to provide a more upmarket feel to this timepiece. Last but not least, there are other modes such as yoga to help you reduce those stress levels.
Heart rate and SpO2 tracking
The Huawei Watch GT2 Pro incorporates the TruSeen 4.0+ heart rate sensor that relies on machine learning algorithms over the course of time in order to deliver a more accurate heart rate reading. There are low and high peaks of heart rate data, and it should work well enough under most conditions, although there is a very real possibility of the sensor failing to provide an accurate reading when you are involved in an activity that causes your heart rate to rise and fall rapidly.
How does it keep track of your blood oxygen? This is done when the SpO2 app on the watch performs this check, and all results will be plotted for you to make a comparison. It is a manual operation, so it does not perform this automatically while you sleep, making it limited in this sense compared to other devices that actually do keep track of your blood oxygen levels during sleep.
Huawei Watch GT2 Pro battery
While Huawei boasts of up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge with the GT2 Pro, my actual experience proved to be less. I managed to obtain up to 10 days of battery life before requiring a trip to the nearest power outlet.
The context of my usage pattern? Most of the features in the watch were turned on, and these include continuous heart rate monitoring, Huawei TruSleep, and automatic stress test. In addition, I also took it out for 30-minute runs three times during the duration of the review period with GPS turned on. It is highly conceivable that I would have been able to push the battery life to 14 days if these features were turned off.
It is nice to know that the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro charges on a magnetic plate and also boasts of Qi wireless charging for that extra touch of class. However, the charging process was too slow for my liking, as it took me close to 4 hours to obtain a full charge. This is not a big deal as most people would charge it overnight anyway, and having to do so just three or four times a month makes it bearable.
Do bear in mind that the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro is a smartwatch first, and a fitness tracker second. Anyone who is on the lookout for accurate tracking while doing all kinds of sporting activities would do well to purchase a device that supports a chest strap and give this a miss.
However, if you would want a handsome-looking, gender-neutral watch that keeps track of time, alerts you of incoming messages and calls, while doing a decent job that is on par or even better than that of affordable fitness trackers, then the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro fits the bill perfectly. Of course, the €269 ($330) price tag is definitely more expensive than your standard fitness tracker, but none of those more affordable alternatives look half as good.
Android users would benefit more from this than iOS users, simply because it can handle incoming phone calls, but that is a minor plus point unless you are one who attends to plenty of calls in a day.