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Huawei Watch GT 2 Review: Best-In-Class Battery, Underwhelming Software
Huawei recently announced the company's 2nd gen. smartwatch- Huawei Watch GT 2 in the Indian market. Available in two size variants, 42mm and 46mm, the Watch GT2 can be purchased from both online and at retail outlets across major cities in India. The Watch GT2 comes at a starting price of Rs. 14,990 (42mm) and Rs. 15,990 (46mm). Notably, it the first product from the company to be powered by the all-new Kirin A1 chip, a chipset exclusively designed for the wearables.
- Best-in-class Battery Life
- Reasonable Price
- Stylish Traditional Watch Design
- Loud And Clear Speaker
- Limited App Support
- Very few Watch Faces
- Crown Buttons Lack Scrolling Functions
- Lite OS Is Very Restrictive
- Underwhelming Hardware
We were eagerly waiting for Huawei to launch the Watch GT 2 as it comes with a claimed battery life of two weeks on one full charge. Now that's quite a bold claim for a smartwatch that falls under category with the history of the worst battery life. To be honest, smartwatches cannot last for even two days on a stretch but Huawei begs to differ. We started testing the Huawei Watch GT 2 and here's what we found out.
Design And Display
Huawei Watch GT 2 comes in two size variants. You can choose to buy the 42mm or the 46mm size variant depending upon your wrist-size preferences. The 46mm variant, the one we are using is best suited for larger wrists. The 42mm variant features a 1.2-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 390x390-pixels, while the 46mm model flaunts a slightly bigger 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels. The display is quite vivid and touch-responsive. The brightness levels are also adequate to offer a comfortable viewing experience outdoors.
Traditional Circular Watch Face
The classic design styled circular dial has a bezel with a 24-hour scale engraved on it. The scale adds a slight traditional touch to the smartwatch design but makes bezels appear quite thick. Huawei has added a 3D glass on the dial which combined with the traditional watch faces make the thick bezels less obtrusive.
There are two metal crown buttons on the right side of the smartwatch. You can rotate these crown buttons but they won't perform any function. When pressed, the top button opens up the menu while the bottom one, which can be customized, activates the exercise modes. You can only use the screen to scroll up and down to choose various exercises and options in the settings menu. The crown buttons could have at least given the basic scroll functionality. Why Huawei?
Lightweight 5ATM Water-Resistant Body
The smartwatch feels very light on the wrist (41g), which makes it comfortable to wear even while sleeping to track the sleeping pattern. The speaker unit, heart rate sensor and a microphone for Bluetooth-enabled calling are placed at the bottom panel of the smartwatch. The Huawei Watch GT 2 has a 5ATM water-resistant body.
User Interface And Performance
The Watch GT 2 runs on Huawei's wearable OS- Lite OS. It offers all smart wearable features without taking a toll on the battery life. The Watch GT 2's user interface is pretty easy to use. You can swipe left or right on the main watch screen to access all functions such as heart rate monitor, music, step counter, weather and more.
Swiping from the left works as a back function and a swipe from the bottom shows the notifications. Long pressing the primary watch face opens up the catalogue of watch faces, which are very very limited in numbers. The sad part, the watch faces are not customizable and you also cannot download third-party watch faces.
Swipe Down To Access Quick Settings
A swipe down on the primary watch face takes you to quick settings panel. Here you can check date, battery and Bluetooth status and can also access settings menu. The Lite OS does not allow you to access quick settings from any other screen, which is slightly restrictive and makes very little sense. The settings menu is pretty straightforward. It shows all the sub menus- display, sounds, DND mode, etc. in a list format. You can set the screen to show digital and an analog watch face as an always-on display, but it increases battery consumption.
Hardware- Good On Storage But Kirin A1 SoC Feels Underpowered
The UI navigation is pretty simple but there's a noticeable delay in every swipe and scroll you perform on the display, especially when you swipe from left to perform a back action. It seems that the Kirin A1 SoC is not very powerful in nature. It comes integrated with an ultra-low power consumption application processor, which feels pretty underpowered on the Watch GT 2. Some level of optimization might resolve the latency issues.
As far as the internal memory is concerned, the Watch GT 2 can store up to 500 songs. You can pair the watch with wireless headphones and can go out for a run without carrying your phone.
Notifications Support, Bluetooth calling, And Other Features
You also won't miss out on notifications as the Watch GT 2 supports notifications from SMS messages, e-mail, calendar, and all required social media apps. You can also receive calls on your wrist as the Watch GT 2 support Bluetooth-enabled calling; however, you cannot make a call from the smartwatch, which is again Lite OS' restrictive nature. The built-in speaker is loud enough to offer a clear voice of the caller and the microphone also worked seamlessly. You can also play music on your wrist with the help of loud and clear built-in speaker.
Some other useful features where the Watch GT 2 comes handy include stopwatch, Find my phone, compass, flashlight, barometer, etc. You can also check your call logs on the smartwatch. Surprisingly, the contact tab did not show my phone contacts even when the smartwatch was provided access to my phone's contact list. The smartwatch says that you can add contacts from the Huawei Health app; however, there's no such option in the companion application even after linking your email account to the Huawei's database.
Health And Fitness
Coming on to health and fitness features, the Watch GT 2 allows you to start the workout sessions with 15 sports activities including eight GPS-backed outdoor sports (running, walking, climbing, hiking trail running, cycling, open water, triathlon) and seven indoor sports (walking, running, cycling, swimming pool, free training, elliptical machine, rowing machine). At any point of time, you can check the distance covered on the trail in the companion app as the data is GPS-backed.
The smartwatch is capable enough to notify you if your heart rate is above 100bpm or below 50bpm for more than 10 minutes. It can keep a check on your fitness progress covering your step count, calories burned and medium to high-intensity activities. The built-in heart-rate sensor offers real-time heart measurement throughout the day.
Huawei Watch GT 2 can also monitor your sleep backed via TruSleep 2.0 technology. The technology uses the watch's heart rate sensor and built-in 3-axis accelerometer combined with some data analysis algorithms to monitor your sleep pattern. The data is divided into four stages- deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, and waking. In addition to the sleep analysis, the smartwatch also accurately tracks other data and show a detailed representation in the companion application. You can also link your health data to Google Fitness and MyFitnessPal apps.
Battery Life And Charging
The biggest selling point of the Huawei GT 2 is its best-in-class battery life. There's no smartwatch in the market at present that can match the battery life of the Watch GT 2. The Kirin A1 wearable chip 's power-saving algorithms 2.0 ensures week's long battery life. I have recharged this smartwatch just once during my review duration and it lasted for 9 days even while connected to my smartphone. However, you need to disable some features to fetch out a long battery life. I kept the heart-rate monitor in smart mode and also restricted the GPS-backed activities.
Disabling the automatic stress monitor also increases the battery life. If you use the Watch GT 2 at its full-capacity, the smartwatch will still last at least 4 days on one full charge, which is still better than most of the smartwatches in the market. The company bundles a magnetic charger in the box which has a Type-C port.
Should You Buy Huawei Watch GT 2?
Thanks to Huawei, the wearable market finally offers a good-looking and feature-packed smartwatch that won't trouble you for constant low-battery notifications. This sub-20K smartwatch can easily last for more than 9 days even while connected to your smartphone for notifications and fitness-centric data. You have the freedom to choose between two size variants. The 46mm variant offers three different band options.
The health-tracking features on the Watch GT 2 are quite accurate and some other features like compass, flashlight, music playback, Bluetooth-enabled calling, etc. come handy in everyday routine. However, from a performance point of view, the Lite OS delivers a half-baked smart wearable user-experience and the underlying Kirin A1 chip feels underpowered.
Overall, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is for users who are looking for a sub 20K smartwatch that looks good, lasts really long and effectively tracks vitals. If you are looking for a full-fledged smartwatch user-experience, you can check out the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Active smartwatches or the Apple Watch Series 3 (in sub 20K price-point).