The Huawei Watch series has undergone a series of changes over the years. From the first-gen glitzy-looking Watch - which we thought was just too massive - through to the second-generation Watch 2 Sport - which, as its name suggests, focused on the sports-tracking side of things - the Chinese company has been considering its position for some years.
Its latest answer? The Huawei Watch GT, a third-generation device of sorts, which ditches Google's Wear OS (formerly Android Wear, as per the two previous devices above) in favour of Huawei's LiteOS software. The reason being simple: battery life. With a charge lasting for up to a purported 30 days, has Huawei cracked the do-it-all smart sportswatch?
Design and Software
- 1.39 OLED screen
- Measures just 10.6mm thick
- Stainless steel chassis and ceramic bezel
- LiteOS operating system (not Google Wear OS)
- Android and iOS support (not just Huawei phones)
In pictures the Huawei Watch GT looks the part; like a fusion of fashion and sportswatch rolled into one. In reality, however, the watch straps - which are interchangeable thanks to a standard release mechanism - have a plasticky, budget look to them which lets the whole aesthetic down.
The GT is certainly thinner than previous Huawei Watch devices, though, tackling a common criticism head-on. The surrounding ceramic bezel doesn't rotate and there's no crown control - it's just those two control buttons protruding outwards - for a simple and tactile way to interact.
The screen is round, so no cut-off 'flat tyre' to be seen anywhere here, and is covered in a diamond-like protective coating to avoid scratches. It's a touchscreen panel, so you can scroll through various settings and menu lists.
However, using the Watch GT and it feels more like a first-generation device. The name is a misnomer: the refresh rate is low, so scrolling through menus is quite stuttery, while on-screen text isn't the easiest to read given the alignment within the circular form.
Tracking and Performance
- TruSeen 3.0 heart-rate monitoring (6x optical LED sensors)
- GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO (BEIDOU for China)
- No NFC, no payments (including Huawei Pay)
- Indoor, Outdoor, Training activity tracking
- Up to 30 days battery
Using the Watch GT and it's quick to see the Apple influence. The colour schemes and circular activity-tracking bars are a clear, um, 'homage' to the Cupertino-based company.
The Watch GT doesn't have many apps, of course, being that it's based on its own LiteOS software. That's not necessarily the end of the world, as Huawei handles the main functions that you'll need, including notifications and activity-tracking, but you can't get, say, Strava or other apps here.
The choice of operating system is for the sake of battery life. The Watch GT has dual chipset architecture, with different ones being used for different tasks. If you're inactive then the watch will know and set itself to sleep, while activity will fire it back into life.
With heart-rate tracking on but GPS tracking off, Huawei claims the Watch GT will last for 30 days as your step-tracker. Switch everything on, go at it on the exercise front, and Huawei claims the GT will deliver a non-stop 22 hours of tracking - which is Iron event levels.
The GT can be used for a variety of tracking: Indoor tracks running, swimming, cycling; Outdoor tracks running, hiking, swimming, walking, cycling; Training adds running course and free-training. The watch can even track swimming strokes. And sleep-tracking in built-in too.
There's no NFC on board, however, so no payment options built into this device. There's no 4G for independent use either, making it quite a different prospect to the Watch 2 Sport from 2017.
Overall the Huawei Watch GT is a mixed bag. It looks glitzy in pictures, but doesn't deliver the quality of build in reality. It's got a purportedly long-lasting battery life - but nothing more stand-out than a Garmin device, which would also offer a wider array of apps and a better-established tracking system. Huawei's LiteOS operating system, too, feels like a counter to the GT name, with operation not being very fluid.
The GT's success hangs in the balance of its price point. At £200 it certainly undercuts the high-price Garmin devices, so some may see it as a viable long-lasting exercise tracker.