(Pocket-lint) - When Huawei first stepped away from Wear OS as its platform of choice and went off and did its own thing with the Watch GT, there were a few things that stood out. Huawei promised seemingly impossible battery life from a watch with a full-colour OLED screen. But also, the software did seem remarkably limited. At least when compared to 'proper' smartwatches.
We're now a few generations in, and what has become clear is that Huawei is aiming to make fitness tracking the most important feature of the Huawei Watch, and that's something Wear OS watches lack. Earlier in the year, that focus led to the Watch GT 2e; a very affordable watch with 100+ different tracking options for activities.
Now, Huawei is building on the GT 2e's platform and has built the Watch GT 2 Pro: a watch with very similar performance, but made from much more luxurious materials.
Design and build
- Titanium 46mm case
- 46.7 x 46.7 x 11.4mm - 52 grams
- Sapphire crystal glass over the display
- Leather strap with the 'Classic' model
- Nebula Grey and Night Black colours
There are two models of GT 2 Pro: Classic and Sport. The former is the one you'll see in our hands-on photos. It's the one that ships with a lovely, relatively flexible and soft, leather band. It also ships with a spare rubber strap, for when you want to go running/go to the gym. The Sport model only ships with the elastomer band.
The big change in design here is down to the materials. Its case is made from titanium, a lightweight and robust metal, with the screen capped off with a sapphire crystal lens, and the underside built from ceramic.
It's hardwearing and lightweight but features quite a simplistic, minimal design. We love the look of it, and the way the reflective sapphire crystal glass covering the black bezel and index contrasts nicely with the natural, duller grey of titanium.
That glass on the top is completely flat too, which aids that minimalist appearance but still features an angled chamfer around the edges. What we really appreciate however is the way the leather strap joins the case. Unlike previous years, the curvature of the metal fixing points curve to create this almost uninterrupted line between the leather strap and the case.
It doesn't just look purely functional anymore. And yet, you can still easily remove the strap to replace it with another using the quick release catches. Although, you'll need one with the right tapering to make it look as seamless as the one that ships with the watch.
The underside is almost as attractive as the top, and that seems to be a trend among smartwatch makers these days. The ceramic, shiny base curves upwards gently into the heart-rate sensing area which features upgraded hardware we'll get into a bit more later on.
Display and performance
- 1.39-inch round AMOLED panel
- 454 x 454 resolution
- 4GB internal storage
- 14-day battery life
- 30 hours of GPS sports tracking
- Wireless charging
When it comes to display and hardware, a lot is the same as it was before (mostly). It has a similar round, bright OLED panel on the front which - compared to many other smartwatches - has a high resolution and pixel density. That means finer details in watch faces, but also means colours are vibrant and easy to see when you're outside.
It activates automatically when you raise your wrist, or you can enable one of the handful of 'standby' screens, which are essentially always-on watch faces that update every minute, rather than showing second by second animations. When activated it does cut into the epic battery life on offer though, so that's worth considering.
Being quite a large display it should be great for reading data from when you're out running or working out too. At least, if it's like its predecessors, it will be.
As far as battery life goes, Huawei says you'll get up to two weeks of use from the smartwatch when it's fully charged. Part of that is enabled by the low refresh rate of the screen and also the fact that - by default - it's off most of the time. You do cut into that time if you enable features like the always-on display, or you use it a lot for fitness tracking with GPS, but still, it's got far better battery life than Wear OS, Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch devices.
Of course, we'll need to test it further to see if it lives up to those promises. We've only had a few days with it so far, and so it's just a little early to give our full verdict on that.
One thing that has changed is the charging method. The old magnetic disc with two physical contact points has been replaced by a fully wireless charging system. It's still magnetic, but like Apple Watch and Samsung, it uses a wireless tech to deliver power. This also means if you have a phone with reverse wireless charging, you can top it up using your phone.
Fitness tracking excellence
- 100+ workout modes
- New additions include Golf and Skiing advancements
- More accurate HR readings
- Offline navigator with auto-return route
- Outdoor assistant
It's no secret that Huawei's operating system on its watches is lacking a little in interactivity. The low refresh rate display means animations aren't the smoothest, and the basic level of notification support means you can't reply and react to messages from your phone like you can with the Galaxy Watch 3 or the Wear OS watches, but that's a compromise made to lengthen the battery life.
Where Huawei excels is in fitness tracking data. With previous watches, we've been pleasantly surprised at the amount of data you can get, particularly when running. And the activity list seems to be growing all the time.
The latest version of Huawei's health offering has more than 100 different activity tracking modes and - while some of those offer more basic data than others - that's an impressive list.
Recently, it's added a dedicated driving range mode for when you want to practise your golf swing. It'll give you swing speed/tempo as well as show you your downswing and backswing details in an aim to help you improve your form. There's a pro skiing mode too which can track downhill and cross country skiing, as well as snowboarding.
If that wasn't enough, Huawei now has an offline navigator built into the various outdoor/trail walking and running activity modes. That means it can help you find your way back if you've lost your way a bit and just need to return to your starting point.
Add to that an outdoor assistant which shows you sunrise/sunset times as well as tide times, moon phases and weather warnings. All in all, that means you have an accomplished tool for staying safe and aware when you're out in the wild.
With all of this combined with a new heart-rate sensor - dubbed TruSeen 4.0+ - it means that your physical activity and exertion is going to be more accurately tracked than before too. The LED lights that shine to enable the feature are brighter than before, while the power efficiency has been improved at the same time. Huawei has also brought in some machine learning capabilities to make computing that data more accurate too.
As with previous versions of Watch GT, the latest model looks to be a great fitness and activity tracker, but this time one that's built using some of the finest materials. There's a lot to like here.
While we need to spend a bit more time with it testing its various features, our first impressions are similar to those from previous generations. In a lot of ways this is the Watch GT 2e, but in nicer clothes and with more advanced heart-rate monitoring sensors.
For those who want a smart sports watch that tracks all the sessions they could wish for, with good levels of data and detail, it could be ideal. Of course, it's pricier than the Watch GT 2e, but given the materials used in its build and the craftsmanship in design, that's expected. When you boil it down, it still seems very good value for money.