Huawei Watch GT 2 Review: Looks good, trains well, isn’t very smart

Huawei Watch GT 2

It should be clear to anyone familiar with Huawei by now that the tech company is nothing if not reliable when it comes to producing devices that look exceptionally good and have outstanding battery life. Last year’s Huawei Watch GT 2 is certainly no exception here, and has since become one of the most attractive smart watches on the market.

Design

A large, remarkably clear AMOLED display is the headline design feature, rightfully one of the most eye-catching panels you’ll find on a wearable. My review model is a 42mm, which means the rounded display is a 1.2-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 390 x 390 pixels. The 46mm model is slightly bigger, with a 1.39-inch display and a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels.

Either will impress when it comes to visuals, with a 3D glass screen and attractive curved edges helping all the necessary information really pop out at you, even from a distance. As for bezels, they are kept to a bare minimum here, focusing on what made the original so nice to look at and improving upon it in every way.

Comfort gets a nod too, given the watch feels light and slim at only 29g and 9.4mm thickness. That may feel a bit tight on larger arms (in which case, go for the 46mm), but it does just fine with the average user.

Watch face options are a bit limited, but most of what’s available – both preloaded on the watch and through the accompanying smartphone app – should satisfy those with different tastes. Similar limitations apply when looking at the strap, with the watch available in either a black fluoroelastomer strap, or a beige leather one that looks to be the better choice.

In terms of bodies, you have the choice between beige and black, as far as the 42mm goes. More options would have went a long way, especially seeing as fashion is more than just the display when it comes to wearables.

Users wanting to take this for a swim should be able to easily dip to depths of up to 50m for around 30 minutes thanks to a 5ATM rating, which is standard for this generation.

The only two physical buttons on the watch’s right side is a home button, used to also select apps, and one solely for launching workouts and engaging with the health tracking side of things.

Rounding out the hardware is a mono speaker near the buttons, loud and useful for taking calls but dull in overall profile. I’d stick to using earbuds if you want any sort of enjoyable listening experience. Audio input is much better, with a microphone on the left side picking up clear and accurate commands even with a lot of environmental noise around.

Huawei have been smart in keeping this watch as simple as possible, even if the “Sports” version looks slightly more complicated and bulkier than the “Classic”. The latter is what you should go for if you’re more worried about how it looks.

The “Classic” is the way to go if you care about aesthetics.

Performance

When it comes to software, the GT 2 gets a bit tricky. Much like its predecessor, Huawei have opted for their own Lite OS over the more open Android Wear. Despite not being as comprehensive as competing operating systems, with no ability to add third-party apps or widgets, it is well designed and intuitive. That puts a dent on its use as a smartwatch, but if you’re less concerned about loading it up with apps and just using it as a daily fitness tracker and GPS, you shouldn’t have issues.

Everything here works well. The watch face, the stress level indicator, temperature, music, heart rate monitor and workouts. Connectivity with your phone’s Huawei Health app is seamless and runs with no issues, presenting comprehensive information in logical and engaging ways. The watch can share data with outside apps like Google Fit and MyFitnessPal, but perhaps intentionally most of the functionality comes from using it with Huawei Health.

This does more to lock you into the ecosystem, which is frustrating if this is the only Huawei device you own. Fortunately, Huawei Health is a really nice app. There’s scope to track most daily activities like walking, rowing, cycling, hiking, aerobics, climbing and more.

If anything, Huawei have overshot on the fitness tracker side and neglected to bring much to the GT 2 as a smartwatch. User satisfaction will depend on the individual, but those wanting a better looking Fitbit alternative are in good hands.

Overall performance was mostly smooth thanks to Huawei’s reliable Kirin A1 chip. I did notice some stutter on occasion, but there are very few Android devices I’ve played with without the occasional lag.

Hey, at least you have a genuine battery life of 14 days. As mentioned above, you can almost always rely on Huawei to bring you superior battery these days, and not just exaggerate in the specs.

Verdict & Value

The entry-level GT 2 is currently running for $219 at JB Hi Fi – significantly less expensive than something like Apple’s Watch Series 3, and slightly more affordable than the Fitbit Versa 2.

That’s a fair price with what you’re getting with the GT 2. Even just the very basic model, you’ve got a brilliant design and a competent, comprehensive fitness tracker. If you’re using this as part of a large Huawei ecosystem of devices, you’ve also got a decent smart watch. But if you think this will work just as well with your iOs device, or anything less than a modern Android phone, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

The Huawei Watch GT 2 looks good, it trains well, but isn’t very smart.

THREE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Highlights: Very attractive and comfortable; reliable and detailed fitness tracking.
Lowlights: Not many options to customise; insular to the Huawei ecosystem, with limited functionality outside of it.
Manufacturer: Huawei
Price: AU $219 (based on current JB Hi-Fi price)
Available: Now

Review based on a 42mm model loaned by Huawei.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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