• Saturday, February 23, 2019

Huawei Watch GT Review - glorified fitness tracker

Introduction

Smartwatches have for quite some time been that one thing that everybody wanted to have. How cool was it to read your messages and other notifications from your wrist? Now we have them and we now know that notifications are not the only thing to them.

This time around we bring you a smartwatch by Huawei – Huawei GT. This company has recently released some exceptional tech, and we were really excited to see what they have packed inside a wearable! Before we start, let’s see what Huawei has placed inside the factory box of the watch. There is the watch itself, a charging pad, a USB Type-C charging cable, and some user manuals. Our version of the GT came in Saddle Brown color, but also available are Graphite Black, Glacier Grey and Fluorescent Green.

Let’s now take a closer look at what this watch is all about.

Display

Right at the beginning, we must say that we loved the panel of this watch. It is plenty large for a wearable at 1.39”. Also, it’s an AMOLED display with the resolution of 454 x 454 pixels, so looking at the watch is a nice experience. This is obviously an interactive touch screen, and it is good enough to navigate around the watch.

Customization options are, however, limited. We must say that this has left us disappointed, especially after Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro. We expected the company to follow the same path and deliver something truly outstanding, but that was not the case. Let’s go back to customizability – you can’t really import third party watch faces into the GT. There’s only an option to choose between presets, and unfortunately, there’s not too many of them – a grand total of 13! They look nice, they are far from bad, it’s just that there’s not that many of them and you can’t really use your smartwatch as you would.

We must say that the AMOLED display has great brightness, and even at direct sunlight the screen is legible and nicely lit. The display also has adaptive brightness so it won’t stay super bright forever and overall it’s very pleasant to look at. While we’re at looking at the display, for the most time it’s completely dark. Tilt wrist to wake works great, so when you wish to check the time, you simply have to look at your watch to light the display up. There is an option to make it be always on, but it depletes the battery much faster that way.

Hardware and OS

Let’s start with hardware and build quality of the watch itself. It looks and feels really nice. It is made of stainless steel with a ceramic bezel design, so it’s sturdy, and honestly it feels good, solid. On the other hand it’s very light, despite the materials! It weighs at only 46g, and you won’t even notice that you’re wearing it. The watch really is nice, but we did have a problem with the strap. It's made of silicon and has faux leather stitched on the outer part. it's not bad by any means, it's just that we don't like it and would either prefer an all stainless steel or an all leather band. The band is well made, and we believe that it can last for quite some time.

The watch has two buttons on the right through which you can access many different settings. When you press on the bottom button, workout tacker pops up where you can track you workouts extensively. You can fully track:
  • Outdoor and Indoor runs
  • Outdoor Walk
  • Climb
  • Trail run
  • Outdoor and Indoor cycling
  • Pool and Open Water swims
All this makes the GT a truly great fitness tracker.

The top button let’s you access workout records and status, activity and sleep records, real time heart rate monitor, barometer, compass, weather information, and basically all other functions of the watch.

Take a closer look and see what we’ve said. Let us be honest now – this watch seem to be just a glorified fitness tracker! Yes, it looks and feels nice, and it does its tracking well, but that’s the only thing, and for its price it simply does - too little.
Let’s now speak about the software. Huawei decided to place their own LiteOS operating system on their GT and completely disregard that the fact that they could use the Google’s much more advanced WearOS. This is a major thing because the Huawei GT doesn’t have access to all the bells a whistles it could have. There’s no additional apps, no Play Store and no watch faces other than the ones preinstalled. Do you see know what we meant by “glorified fitness tracker”?

All in all, the watch does its job well, it’s just that its job isn’t what it’s supposed to be nor what you would expect a smartwatch to do.

Connectivity

This watch connect to your phone through Bluetooth. Connection and pairing process is rather straightforward, it’s easy to set everything up, however, you’ll need to install two Huawei’s applications, Huawei Mobile Services and Huawei Health (if you’re not already using a Huawei phone that is), in order to use the watch. That’s only a minor inconvenience and honestly not a big deal.

Here we have to say that we’ve had some weird things happening to us. Notifications are there, they are almost instantly appearing on the watch, but the issue is that they for some reason multiply. For the same message, for example, you end up getting 5-6-7 of the same notifications. It’s not that easy nor practical to scroll through all of them trying to see if maybe another notification has snuck in, and we found ourselves more often than not checking the phone anyway for the notifications.
Another issue that we have with it is that when you’re receiving the call, you can’t see who’s calling. No names or numbers show up on the screen, and you only get notified that someone is calling. Only after it stops ringing you see who called you, but at the point it’s simply too late.

Overall, here we’re left with mixed feelings. It all works, kind of, not really as we’d like it to, but it is what it is, and probably Huawei intended it to work exactly like this.

Battery

This is probably the best thing about the watch. The battery lasts… And lasts… And it lasts to the point where you forget when the last time you charged it was. Out of the box and without a single charge, our unit lasted for 7 days of normal use with heart rate monitoring on. The manufacturer specified that the watch is able to last 2 weeks in this mode, but up to 30 days with heart rate monitoring off.

This is truly excellent, and compared to some other smartwatches that need to be charged nightly, this one you’ll forget about having to charge, ever!

This is possible due to a 420 mAh battery and an economic AMOLED display. The watch charges through a special magnetic pad that you get in the factory box and charging it over night once a month shouldn’t be an issue at all.

Final words

Huawei Watch GT is a good smatwatch if you just need it to show time and track an occasional exercise. If you want a watch to be customizable and for you to be able to change the watch face every once in a while… It’s still good! Only 13 watch faces is not that many, but it’s enough.

Notification, as we’ve already said, work, albeit “too good”, and it’s all really just fine.

The issue we have here is the price. Huawei Watch GT is by no means a cheap smartwatch as it costs around 200 euros, and for that price we believe that we should at least get a watch with access to the Play Store!

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Great build quality
Very good AMOLED display
Heart-rate monitor works great
No third party apps or watch faces
No Google Play store due to LiteOS
Silicon strap
Too expensive for what it offers