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Huawei Watch GT2 review: Good hardware marred by bad software

Huawei’s Watch GT2 offers a bright AMOLED display, but it also comes with a sleek looking design, a heart rate sensor and insanely long battery life for Rs 15,990. Here's our review of the device

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rs. 15990
Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Published: December 30, 2019 2:22:00 pm
Huawei Watch GT2, Huawei Watch GT2 review, Huawei Watch GT2 price in India, Huawei Watch GT2 specifications, Huawei Watch GT2 feature Huawei Watch GT2 review: At Rs 15,990 this is an affordable smartwatch packed with features. Here’s what we thought of the performance. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/ Indian Express)

Apple Watch Series might be the best smartwatch on the market, but it costs a lot of money. Enter the Watch GT 2, Huawei’s second-generation smartwatch. Not only does it offer a bright AMOLED display, but it also comes with a sleek looking design, a heart rate sensor and insanely long battery life, for Rs 15,990.

But there is a lot more to consider when buying a smartwatch, especially when Apple’s Watch Series 3 starts at Rs 20,900. I tested Huawei’s Watch GT2 for a week, and here’s what I think about the smartwatch.

Huawei Watch GT2 review: Design and aesthetics

I reviewed the 46mm stainless steel model (the smaller, 42mm variant is not available in India) with a black sports band, and it looks good with just about any type of outfit. The watch has a circular face and two crowns, similar to a traditional timepiece. While the bezel doesn’t rotate – it still looks cool. There’s a heart-rate sensor on the underside, and on the right side, you will notice the speakers and microphones.

Huawei Watch GT2, Huawei Watch GT2 review, Huawei Watch GT2 price in India, Huawei Watch GT2 specifications, Huawei Watch GT2 feature The watch has a circular face and two crowns, similar to a traditional timepiece. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/ Indian Express)

Its size and weight is just right. The silicone band didn’t irritate my skin during runs or brisk walking. The Watch GT2 is also 5ATM rated, which means it can survive a water test at 50 meters for up to 30 minutes. Simply put, you can wear the Watch GT2 on a rainy day or even swim with it.

Huawei Watch GT2 review: Display and watch faces

The circular 1.39-inch AMOLED touch display has a 454×454 pixel resolution, which makes content look sharp and crisp, even in bright sunlight. More than the display’s crispness, I liked its always-on nature. So when I am out for a meeting or waiting for the train to come, I can glance at my watch to get the time without having to raise my wrist or tap the display. I believe every smartwatch must have an always-on display to feel natural. But Huawei still does not allow you to customise the always-on display, other than choosing the analog or digital clock.

Huawei Watch GT2, Huawei Watch GT2 review, Huawei Watch GT2 price in India, Huawei Watch GT2 specifications, Huawei Watch GT2 feature The circular 1.39-inch AMOLED touch display has a 454×454 pixel resolution, which makes content look sharp and crisp. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/ Indian Express)

I was disappointed by the watch faces selection. There are 14 different watch face designs to choose from, but there is no way to download more if you wish to. On iOS, the app doesn’t have the option to download more watch faces. The only way to download more watch faces is to pair the watch with an Android smartphone.

Huawei Watch GT2 review: Performance and battery

With the K1 chipset and 4GB storage, I never experienced any performance issues. There was no lag when scrolling through the main menu or sorting through notifications.

You can make calls from the watch, though you still need a phone nearby. Having built-in speakers is an advantage, which means you can not only take calls but also listen to music from the watch. Plus, the watch has every possible sensor you can think of, including gyroscope, accelerometer, an optical heart rate scanner and even air pressure sensor.

Huawei Watch GT2, Huawei Watch GT2 review, Huawei Watch GT2 price in India, Huawei Watch GT2 specifications, Huawei Watch GT2 feature Huawei Watch GT2 tracks heart rate, calories burned, steps, distances walked. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/ Indian Express)

GPS is also built-in for location tracking. However, the watch misses on NFC, meaning you can’t use the watch to make contactless payments. I don’t miss the feature, because contactless payments are yet to gain popularity in India.

Perhaps the highlight of the Watch GT2 is its battery life. In my testing, the watch’s battery lasted roughly an entire week on a single charge. Keep in mind that the battery gets depleted quicker during intense running or workouts. Apple Watch, in contrast, offers two day of battery life.

Huawei Watch GT2 review: Software and fitness tracking

The biggest weak point of Huawei’s flagship Watch GT2 is its software, and somewhere the company knows this too. While the user interface is simple and easy to navigate, you are looking at a smartwatch that’s half baked.

Notifications on the Huawei Watch GT2 is a big mess. So when you receive notifications from WhatsApp, the screen does not automatically turn on – and that’s very annoying. The second big issue is how you interact with the notifications. You can view notifications, but can’t respond to messages through the watch. I faced the same problem with the Fitbit Versa 2.

Huawei Watch GT2, Huawei Watch GT2 review, Huawei Watch GT2 price in India, Huawei Watch GT2 specifications, Huawei Watch GT2 feature The biggest weak point of Huawei’s flagship Watch GT2 is its software. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/ Indian Express)

Another problem with the Watch GT2 is its proprietary software. Like the first gen Watch GT, this model too runs on Huawei’s own Lite OS. As one’d expect, the software doesn’t have an app store, meaning you can’t download any apps on the watch itself. In reality, you are forever stuck with the pre-installed apps. The lack of features in the Lite OS and the non existent ecosystem makes the Watch GT2 a terrible smartwatch.

Where I think the Watch GT2 does well is in the fitness tracking department. Similar to other smartwatches and fitness bands, the Huawei Watch GT2 tracks heart rate, calories burned, steps, distances walked, etc. I think the watch provides accurate heart rate, but also steps taken.

The watch now monitors 15 different activities — from swimming to hiking. Plus, you can monitor your sleep too. It uses the heart rate monitor and artificial intelligence to provide sleep analysis.

All of those workouts and data that the watch collects can be viewed on the Huawei Health app. Since I paired the watch to my iPhone, I found the iOS app too basic. The Android version of the app is slightly improved and offers a lot more features.

Huawei Watch GT2 review: Verdict

The Huawei Watch GT2 is a confusing device at the end of the day. It tries to offer a fitness tracker in a smartwatch body. That’s where I think the Watch GT2 fails to impress. No doubt, the watch has an excellent design and solid fitness tracking capabilities. But I can’t recommend the Huawei Watch GT2 because of its weak smartwatch functionality. To me, the Watch GT2 is a glorified fitness tracker and nothing else. I would urge you to consider the Apple Watch Series 3 or else buy the Fossil Sport.

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