Noel Campion says Huawei Watch GT will keep you punctual, rested and healthy for a very reasonable price.
I’ve gone from someone who never wore a watch to always wearing one. This is in part because I’m always trying new smart watches for review. Over time, it becomes a habit and now I feel weird if I forget to put it on and leave home without it.
Smart watches have been a hard sell for many, but I think that people are starting to see the benefits beyond the tech as more of us become aware of our personal fitness and health.
The Huawei Watch GT is 10.6mm thick, with a round 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen display available in Classic or Sport models. I’ve been testing the Classic, which has a stainless steel round body with black ceramic bezel and a brown leather strap. The Sport variant has a black stainless steel body with a matching silicone band. I love the look of the Classic Watch GT, which looks like a traditional analogue watch down to the leather strap and metal buckle clip. The leather looks real, but has a black silicone-based material on the back and is fully waterproof making it more practical. A lot of people have commented about its looks and some were surprised it was a smartwatch at a glance, especially with analogue watch faces.
The Watch GT feels really comfortable to wear and is not as heavy as the Samsung Galaxy Watch. This makes it easy to wear for sleep tracking and an essential feature if you intend on wearing it all day.
Like the Galaxy Watch, the Watch GT doesn’t use Google’s Wear OS. Instead, Huawei uses their own custom Lite OS for mobile and features a barometer, accelerometer and a built-in heart rate monitor that by default will track heart rate continuously. The built-in GPS makes for excellent tracking of runs or cycling routes. On the downside, there’s no NFC for mobile payments like Google Pay, which is a real bummer. Also, there’s no wifi, but considering the price compared to the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch, I can understand the omission.
Lite OS is incredibly simple with no visible lag or slowdowns in everyday use. Also, all the essentials are present including 12 watchfaces, apps including weather, stopwatch, timer, flashlight, compass, barometer, altimeter, heart rate, sleep and alarms. The only negative is that there’s no way of downloading or purchasing additional apps or watchfaces. This is a pity, but I have found that even with a fantastic ecosystem like Apple Watch OS, I’ve rarely wanted to look for an app to download and you’re also stuck with the stock watch faces with no way of getting more.
Notifications will appear on the Watch GT for text messages or other apps like messenger, but you can’t respond from the watch and although you will see calls including who the caller is, you can’t actually answer or talk through the watch.
There’s no speaker on the Watch GT, so notifications with only notify you with a vibration. You can choose which apps you want to allow notifications from, but you also have to enable your phone to allow notifications from these apps as well.
The Watch GT uses the Huawei Health app to communicate and adjust some settings on the watch. Here you can enable TruSleep for sleep tracking. This will monitor your sleep quality and breathing patterns in real time and analyse your sleep patterns and diagnose six types of sleeping problems.
You will also receive more than 200 personalised sleep quality assessments and improvement suggestions based on the Center for Dynamical Biomarkers, Harvard Medical School. It breaks a night’s sleep down to overall time asleep, deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, deep sleep continuity, awake times and breathing quality. It breaks down the percentage of each and whether it’s low, high or normal.
The Watch GT has limited functionality as a smartwatch, but it has enough of the basics for it not to be a big deal for me. Interestingly, I found this bare-bones approach to be less intrusive.
Fitness bands are good for fitness tracking, but they don’t look great for everyday use. The Watch GT looks great for smart dress or casual and is comfortable enough to make it great for all activities. As a fitness tracker, the Watch GT is excellent. The GPS tracking is accurate enough and the heart rate tracking was spot on most of the time as long as you ensure it’s nice and tight on your wrist before you start a workout. After a run, for example, you get a comprehensive report on the Health app including a map of your route, duration, average pace, calories burnt, pace and charts of your heart rate, pace, cadence, altitude and details on your performance.
The Watch GT doesn’t automatically detect workouts, so you have to start them manually, but thanks to a waterproof rating of 5ATM, you can use it during your swimming sessions.
The Watch GT has one of the best smartwatch screens I’ve seen with bright, vibrant colours, super sharp text and graphics. However, there’s no option for always-on display. This is a pity, but it more than makes up for this on battery life, which is good for nearly two weeks with continuous heart rate monitoring, or up to a month if you turn that off. If you do a lot of workouts with GPS then this will, of course, drain the battery much quicker.
Overall, the Huawei Watch GT is a great watch that tells the time, provides enough smarts and excellent fitness tracking with best in class battery performance at an affordable price.