The new Active smartwatch from Huawei Watch GT 2e takes on the best in the biz, but has it got enough oomph for work and play?
+ Sleek design
+ Display graphics & quality
+ Battery life
+ Value for money
+ Fitness capability
Watch out for:
– No notification response system
– Huawei Health app is clunky
– iOS users miss out on some key functions
As time has gone on consumers have gone from wide-eyed amazement at the idea of a smartwatch to now expecting their wearable tech to be able to keep up with whatever life can throw at it. Huawei has been in the smartwatch game for some time now and while better known for their smartphones, their wearables have been affordable, reliable and durable alternatives to more mainstream options.
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is the latest evolution of the already established GT series and focuses on two selling points: long-lived battery and fitness tracking. Huawei uses just three words to break down its latest offering, chic, smart & sporty.
All about the Look: Style
Kicking things off with the ‘chic’ element of the GT 2e and with a durable stainless-steel frame and 1.39-inch AMOLED HD display the watch is attractive and great for people who like their fitness tracker to look and function like a more conventional watch. There are two options in the range, the Active and the Sport and there are paired with colourful fitness straps that allow for the wrist to breath, and for the device to sit comfortably. The GT 2e is a large smartwatch at 47mm, if you’d like any smaller, you’d need to look at others in the GT range which start at 42mm in size. The sporty nature of the device means that you aren’t going to wear it to a black-tie ball, but for everyday work and play it’s sits perfectly. In fact, this writer had various friends asking about the watch having not seen one before and thinking it looked great. Android users can also access over 100 different watch faces through the Huawei Health companion app, iOS users sorry you miss out on this function.
Go all day: Battery Life
A common downfall of the modern high-powered smart watch is that the battery life really only lasts a day or two with normal usage, less when working out or taking a lot of calls and messages. You will not have this problem with this one. Well, not unless you forget to charge every fortnight as the GT 2e will give you a frankly unbelievable two weeks of normal usage battery life. To break down what ‘normal’ usage is that is: 50 SMS, 6 Calls, & 3 alarm notifications per day. Alternately it can also give 90 min worth of work out & 30min worth of music playback. There’s even a super cool SP02 feature where the watch can measure your blood oxygen levels. The execution of this is a little clunky as you have to wait completely still for a minute or so while it takes measurements, and then doesn’t log the reading within the app which kind of reduces the point of having it in the first place. How does it manage all that? Dual-chip design and clever power saving algorithms ensure the device consumes less energy to achieve the same power as its competitors.
Clear communication is key: User Experience
For the ‘Smart’ aspect of the Huawei Watch GT 2e, your watch receives real-time notifications for incoming calls, SMS messages, emails, calendar events, and more. It also packs a treasure trove of intuitive features that make daily life a breeze, from weather forecast, alarms, timer and flashlight. You can even use it to find your phone. However, there is some limitation to the device that renders it more of a fitness wearable rather than a true smartwatch. The notifications system is clear and simple, by swiping up you can see past message that have come through, however there is no response capability. You are also unable to do a two-way voice call from the watch itself. If you leave a text unread on your phone for whatever reason the GT 2e also has a habit of re-notifying you of the message, sometimes days later. This is not necessarily a drawback but certainly can mess with your sense of deja-vu. Unlike some of the competition you can play music directly with your Huawei Watch GT 2e, after pairing it with Bluetooth earphones. With internal memory for up to 500 songs, it can store your favourite music to enrich your workout, with no strings attached, and the freedom of a workout without worrying about having your phone nearby. Overall a positive user experience.
Get running: Fitness
The final ‘Sporty’ element of the Huawei Watch GT 2e is definitely its strongest facet. The aforementioned Huawei health app allows you to go into detail with your workout with data available for almost any read-out you could desire. There are 15 professional work out modes to choose from – from rowing to walking to running to open water swimming.
There’s also a further 85 new workout modes which include cardio & strength training components. Even flying a kite, fishing and driving your car can be added to the detection system. In case you forget to delve into the dizzying array of workout options, there’s an automatic detection function of 6 workout modes; and it will ask you first whether you’ve started working out too. Not only can the device track your real-time daily fitness and movement but for us stress-heads out there it can monitor your stress levels throughout the day and provide breathing exercises to help you out during the day. The durability of the watch comes into play here with the body feeling solid yet light enough to not interfere with whatever workout you throw at it.
Show me the money: Value
For what is essentially a lower-end smartwatch The Huawei Watch GT 2e performs admirably and reliably and for the money, there’s not much competition. With an RRP of $349, other smartwatches that are almost double the price don’t necessarily give you twice the features, so the value-for-money is high. The device itself was a pleasant surprise with excellent screen clarity and user-friendly nature. The biggest downfall of the Huawei Watch GT 2e is in fact the accompanying Huawei Health app. With the ability to change the watch face appearance and music storage lost to iOS users, a large chunk of the potential market is left wanting. The app itself lets the package down and the inability to support third party apps, be Android or iOS blunts its nature as a smart watch. As a fitness tracker, and for any exercise buffs out there, there is little disappointment to be found. The sheer array of options is almost overwhelming however entirely accessible by anyone who wants to get working out.
Are we addicted? Verdict
At this price point you’d be hard-pressed to find another smart wearable with the same durability and functionality of the Huawei Watch GT 2e. This writer was impressed by the style and comfort of the watch and while the Huawei Health App leaves some things to be desired, the variety of functions, and the integration of higher-end functionality allows these niggles to fade into the background. With the addition of more iOS compatibility (not necessarily Huawei’s fault), and ability to respond to notifications, the Huawei GT 2e can mix it with the big players, think of it as a top-of-the-line fitness tracker that also is a watch rather than the other way around. And the battery life claims, well after a week of heavy use this writer is sitting at 45% battery left and a two-week life well within grasp.
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is a great value alternative to more mainstream brands and fitness enthusiasts would find little to disappoint.
Tech Addict Rating: 7/10
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is available online and at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Mobileciti, Huawei Authorised Experienced Store Chatswood, Amazon, HappyTel. RRP. $349.00.