The world of smartwatches is tricky. There is no such thing as a perfect smartwatch that strikes a true balance between the features, complexity and battery life. Similarly, the Huawei Watch GT is one that runs but needs to work on its functionality. It appears to be more like a fitness band, but one that looks like a great traditional timepiece that catches your eye. But is it compelling enough for you to get one?
Samsung Galaxy Watch Specifications:
- Design: Leather or rubber strap, stainless steel bezels, 46.5 mm
- Display: 1.39″ AMOLED, 454 x 454 resolution
- Processor: Cortex-M4
- RAM: 16 MB
- Storage: 128 MB
- OS: Lite OS
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with GLONASS / Galileo
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, Heart rate, Barometer, Compass
- Battery: 420 mAh
- Corresponding app: Huawei Health
The design of this smartwatch is one of the best things about it. It’s not every day that your smart wearable looks like a classic timepiece. There are two variants of this smartwatch – a sports version and a classic one. The sports one, with its rubbery design, really does look like a sports watch, while the classic one is the better looking. It’s a leather strap with the steel casing and black bezels on a circular body makes it close to a regular wrist-watch.
It has two buttons. The upper one lets you access the basic watch features while the other button takes you to the workout section. Underside, the watch is ceramic and even with slightly raised sensors, it rests comfortably on your wrist. And even if the strap is leather on top, the bottom of it is a combination of silicone and rubber, which makes it comfortable to keep on your wrist at all times.
You only get the watch in a single size, though – at 46.5 mm, it is big and looks masculine. Those with small hands might not go for it, but I actually like it. The only problem is that the leather strap is prone to discoloration due to the buckle placement. But that’s easily forgettable while wearing, so, maybe not something to worry about.
This watch is also 5 ATM Water-Resistant, meaning you can wear it for 50 meters underwater.
On the display side, the 1.39” AMOLED display looks great! It’s 454 x 454 resolution makes it look vibrant. The icons and texts are sharp, with deep blacks and punchy colors. Brightness levels are also good enough, and you get good legibility in the sunlight, too.
There is also an Auto-Brightness feature, which adjusts the brightness of the screen according to the environment. However, there is no “Always-On” feature on this one. The closest thing you have to that is the “Show Time” option in its settings toggle, which keeps the screen on for 5 minutes.
Another thing I’m concerned about is that there seems to be no protection on the display. But the watch has survived the daily abuses pretty well. I’m a pretty clumsy person and even after occasional impacts on the wall, or door, there isn’t a scratch on it.
Overall, the display is likable, mostly, because it’s large and has a good pixel density.
This is where the watch falls short – it runs on Huawei’s new Lite OS – and it does seem really light! After all, it is running on 16 MB of RAM and 128 MB of storage. The chip inside it also has not been disclosed, but it is a Cortex-M4 chip.
That selection of internal hardware doesn’t make it the most agile of smartwatches. It is easy to see that after a few swipes to the left and right. The transitions are not that smooth, and you’ll feel the jitters after some fast swipes.
That being said, the watch doesn’t do much either. I mean, it actually does a lot more than your Fitbits but is not as comprehensive as other smartwatches out there.
Swiping down on the home-screen toggles the settings shortcut, while swiping from the bottom up shows you your notifications. And this is where Huawei’s Lite OS has compromises. There is no 3rd party app support. But after the latest update, you can now get notifications corresponding to the app, which was not the case before.
Swiping on the sides takes you to your Heart Rate, Weather and your Activity Log. And that’s about it. Long press on the home screen allows you to choose from a select few Watch Faces – a total of 13, at the time of this review. The number might go up with newer updates.
The top button takes you to the installed apps and functions like Stopwatch, Alarm, etc. And there’s even a Flashlight – which is nothing but your screen glowing white at max brightness. You can also access your workout records, activity logs, and sleep. The other button takes you the workout preset, where you can find a limited number of workouts. It mostly focuses on the general exercises – like running, walking, climbing and swimming. There are no gym workouts like on the Samsung Galaxy Watch. But again, it costs like, a lot less than that, and this will be enough for the general populace, so, it’s okay.
One thing I liked about it a lot is its continuous heart-rate monitor. It is constantly measuring your heart rate, and that makes other readings all the more accurate. For instance, your sleep, your walks, and other activities can be more accurate. All the logs are stored in the Huawei Health App, which is the supporting app for this watch, and not the Huawei Wear.
This watch also comes with GPS tracking making for a good location and distance tracking. And that is useful in your outdoor walking or running sessions. Plus, the watch also lets you track the intensity of your workouts – like warm-up, fat-burning etc. The types of workouts aren’t much, but each one of them is pretty comprehensive.
With most of the features concentrated towards fitness tracking, this watch appears more like a fitness band, that looks like a regular watch. There are no other features like playing music or such. You can get call alerts, but since you can’t use it to call or reply, you can only check the caller ID, and maybe choose whether to pick up, or reject it.
So, yes, the watch is not as comprehensive, and it mostly concentrated towards fitness tracking. But what it does, it does a great job at it.
This is the part where it shines through and through – a massive 420 mAh battery. Combined with the watch’s LiteOS, and the fact that it doesn’t do much, the battery life is excellent! When you wear a smartwatch that tracks your body activities continuously, it’s natural that you don’t want to take it off every other day and charge it.
And with this, you don’t have to! Huawei claims the battery will last you two weeks with normal use, and I got around 12 days. That’s pretty impressive for a smartwatch.
Plus, it charges fairly quickly. You get a charging dock with a USB-C, and it charges fully in less than two hours. Thanks to this, I didn’t have to charge it overnight. Which is why I have complete records of my sleep and activities.
To sum up, the Huawei Watch GT is one good fitness tracker. When I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch, I said that it would be interesting to see Samsung make a toned-down variant of the watch for a lesser price. And this looks like just that. It removes the things that we don’t normally use and concentrates more on fitness and health.
But it does leave some things out – like 3rd party app support. And Lite OS, isn’t that appealing, especially with its jittery UI. So, for me, it’s still a bit expensive at a $200 price tag. Especially, when Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch Active for a similar price, and that seems to do more than this. Of course, to me, the Galaxy Watch Active doesn’t look as attractive as this one, and the battery probably won’t last nearly as long either.
This is one great looking buffed-up fitness tracker with some smartwatch features and excellent battery life. But it still leaves some features to be desired. So, for me, it’s not a complete smartwatch, yet. Therefore, this is a line between fitness trackers and smartwatches.
This costs Rs.20000, here, in Nepal, too, which is great pricing on Huawei’s part. If you’re into regular fitness stuff, and want continuous health monitoring without having to charge it every other night and don’t mind some slow UI, then, go for it. It makes me want more, but still, for what it is, it is good enough.
- Classy and elegant looking design
- Stainless steel construction with leather and silicone strap
- 50 ATM Water resistance
- Comfortable wear
- Continuous heart-rate sensor
- Two-week battery life
- Poor hardware choice
- Lacks features, limited usability
- Limited Watch Faces