Huawei Watch GT 2 review: Don’t let the name fool you

Huawei Watch GT 2 review: Don’t let the name fool you

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Huawei has really upped the ante with the Watch GT 2’s design (Image: Express Newspapers)

HUAWEI WATCH GT 2 REVIEW • £219.99 (as tested)

  • FOR – Excellent build quality • Vibrant AMOLED display • Monstrous battery life • Awesome fitness tracking functionality • Always-on display
  • AGAINST – Not a fully-fledged smartwatch • Huawei’s software isn’t as adept as Google’s Wear OS

Don’t let the name fool you. The Huawei Watch GT 2 is not a smartwatch. Yes, you read that right.

Instead, the device can more accurately be described as a fitness tracker with a few smartwatch features bolted on. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s important to set expectations so you know what you’re getting into.

Now that you know what the Huawei Watch GT 2 is trying to be, you need to know if it’s any good. Here is Express.co.uk’s full review.

Design and display

Huawei has really upped the ante with the Watch GT 2’s design. It’s no Omega, but the wearable actually feels like a relatively high-end piece of tech, much more so than its predecessor – the Huawei Watch GT.

Whether you pick up the Chinese timepiece in its 42 millimetre of 46 millimetre case, you’re getting a stainless steel finish that is undeniably premium.

And of course, a variety of different straps are available to make sure this device stays securely fastened to your wrist. Our unit came with both a genuine leather band for glitzy nights out on the town and a black rubber version for intense gym sessions.

It’s worth noting that Huawei does sell the device with single rubber straps too at a slightly reduced price of £199.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

The Huawei Watch GT 2’s battery life is excellent (Image: Express Newspapers)

If you pick up the much beefier 46 millimetre variant, you’re treated to a 1.39-inch AMOLED display that has a pixel-packed resolution of 454×454. Overall, the panel looks crisp and gets bright enough for clear viewing when you’re running outside.

For those craving a smaller wearable, the 42 millimetre comes with a 1.2-inch AMOLED that similarly totes a HD resolution.

By far the best feature about the GT 2’s display is its always-on functionality. This means you’ll never have to awkwardly flick your wrist to get a glimpse at the time.

Although this feature undoubtedly chews away at the watch’s battery life, we commend Huawei for giving users the option to enable it if they don’t mind having reduced longevity.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

Huawei Watch GT 2 does have support for third-party applications, but it’s extremely limited (Image: Express Newspapers)

Performance

It’s immediately evident the Huawei Watch GT 2 values fitness first and foremost. Most of the hardware’s digital dials not only look sporty, but they also feature segments for activity information such as the user’s heart rate and step count.

Load up the watch’s app list with a quick press of its top side button and you’ll see its workout app placed front and centre. Additionally, out the box, the wearable’s secondary button is tuned to jump straight into a workout for you.

When it comes to fitness tracking, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is excellent. The device not only provides an accurate heart rate, but also calorie counts for specific workouts too.

The hardware’s user interface is easy to get your head around, meaning you can spend less time faffing about with your wrist to focus on your enduring cardio session.

Huawei has also engineered the Watch GT 2 to boast a bevy of useful functionality once you’ve finished in the gym, too. The wearable is capable tracking sleep, stress and can help you do breathing exercises à la the Apple Watch.

Our personal favourite here is sleep tracking. In our testing the wearable did a laudable job of piecing together our sleeping patterns and displaying them in an accessible manner via the Huawei Health app.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

Of course, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is water-resistant (Image: Express Newspapers)

During our time with the Huawei Watch GT we have become very attached to it, simply because of its laundry list of fitness features. We can’t imagine doing a workout without it constantly feeding us calorie stats or heart rate information.

Then there’s everything else. On paper, the Huawei Watch GT 2 should let you interact with notifications and act as a quick tool for switching songs you’re listening to. You know, basic smartwatch stuff.

But here the device not only stumbles, but falls flat on its face.

Why is it so bad at performing basic smartwatch features you ask? Well, that all stems from Huawei’s use of a proprietary operating system over Google’s Wear OS.

As you’d expect, Huawei’s own wearable software is designed to work harmoniously with, well…Huawei apps and services. That means if you’re jamming to your favourite album on Huawei’s own music app, you can easily pause, play and change tracks.

The trouble is that nobody (at least nobody we’ve ever met) is fully invested in Huawei’s apps. Unfortunately, that means most people using the Watch GT 2 will never be able to take advantage of its complete array of functionality.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

In the UK, the Huawei Watch GT 2 starts at £199 for those wanting a single rubber strap (Image: Express Newspapers)

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

The Huawei Watch GT 2 provides accurate heart rate tracking (Image: Express Newspapers)

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

If you pick up the much beefier 46 millimetre variant, you’re treated to a 1.39-inch AMOLED display (Image: Express Newspapers)

Huawei Watch GT 2 does have support for third-party applications, but it’s extremely limited. Take Spotify for instance. When streaming, the wearable will issue you with an alert telling you what song you’re listening to. But alas, this can’t be interacted with it all, making its existence absolutely bizarre.

Similarly, you can receive text message notifications from WhatsApp, but at no point will the watch offer you the chance to reply with either pre-set messages or your voice.

Notifications on the Huawei Watch GT are a big tease. The device dangles them so close in front of you but never lets you get close enough to act on them without pulling your phone out.

We’ve come to accept the Huawei Watch GT’s limitations during our time with it. And if you’re thinking of picking up this wearable, you’ll need to make sure you’re aware of them too, if for nothing else but to save any bitter disappointment in the long run.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

Our Watch GT 2 unit came with both a genuine leather band for glitzy nights out on the town (Image: Express Newspapers)

Battery

Even with its power-guzzling always-on display, the Huawei Watch GT 2’s battery life is excellent. In fact, we can easily use it for an entire week on a single charge.

Astonishingly, that commendable endurance can be extended by another week if you turn the always-on display off.

Our only gripe with the Huawei Watch GT 2 here is the fact it uses a proprietary charger, meaning if you’re travelling you will have to remember it or risk it dying on you.

With that said, we’ve found charging to be pretty nippy. The wearable is typically able to get from zero to 100 percent in just over an hour.

Price

In the UK, the Huawei Watch GT 2 starts at £199 for those wanting a single rubber strap. Those that want an additional leather strap for evenings out on the town will have to splash out an extra £20.

Those determined to improve their fitness are sure to get their money’s worth with the Huawei Watch GT 2. But for anyone looking for a well-rounded smartwatch, we’d suggest going elsewhere.

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

It’s immediately evident the Huawei Watch GT 2 values fitness first and foremost (Image: Express Newspapers)

Verdict

The Huawei Watch GT 2 is an exceptional fitness tracker housed in a deceptive smartwatch body. The Chinese tech giant has truly created a workout partner that we can’t imagine going without.

While its lack of smartwatch functionality is still somewhat difficult to overlook, you’ll still enjoy the GT 2 as long as you’re aware of its inherent limitations.

Fitness fanatics rejoice, Huawei has made an excellent device for you. For everyone else – especially those that shudder at the idea of tracking lengthy gym sessions – give this one a miss.

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