Amid the brouhaha around Huawei’s Mate 30 smartphones, the announcement of the company’s Watch GT 2 smartwatch seems to have gone under the radar.
The GT 2 comes in two sizes – 46mm with a 1.39-inch display and 42mm with a 1.2-inch display.
The 42mm model, which lacks the built-in microphone and speakers of its bigger sibling, will not be available until next month. The 46mm model has two editions – Sport ($268, version tested) and Classic ($328).
The Sport edition comes with an all-black stainless-steel watch case with black silicone strap, while the Classic edition has a silver stainless-steel watch case with brown leather strap. Both are essentially the same watch.
The GT 2 is easily one of the better-looking smartwatches, with a classic look that can pass off as a dress watch.
Its round watch case has a single piece of glass over its display that seems to gel seamlessly with its black bezel. Run your finger from the bezel to the glass and you will feel the same smooth texture.
The GT 2’s curved protruding lugs add to the aesthetics, as well as let you easily swop 22mm watch straps, which you can get off-the-shelf. Indeed, I replaced the silicone strap, which I did not fancy, with my own brown leather strap during the review.
Running on Huawei’s own Lite OS, the GT 2 is compatible with both Android smartphones and Apple iPhones via the Huawei Health app.
• Classic design
• Accurate sleep, fitness tracking
• Great battery life
• No automatic workout tracking
• No cellular version
• No NFC
PRICE: From $268
DISPLAY: 1.39 inches, 454 x 454 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
WEIGHT: 41g (without strap)
BATTERY LIFE: 5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
But in terms of smartwatch functions, the GT 2 lacks some features of the Apple Watch. For instance, nothing happens when you tap on an Instagram notification, whereas on an Apple Watch, you can tap and view the Instagram post.
The GT 2 can make and receive calls when connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth. But it does not have a cellular version that would have allowed it to function on its own.
It also does not have Near Field Communication (NFC) functionality, so it cannot be used for cashless payments with NFC payment readers.
However, in terms of fitness tracking, the GT 2 is right up there with the Apple Watch.
For step tracking, its readings vary by only around 3 per cent from my calibrated Apple Watch Series 4. For GPS-tracked runs, the tracked distance is only off by 60m on my usual 5km jogging route.
One downside initially was the loud voice notification that sounds off at every kilometre during a run. It is quite embarrassing to let fellow joggers know how slowly I was running. I found the option to disable sound only when I swiped to the End Workout screen.
It also cannot automatically track workouts, unlike the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa 2.
For pool swims, you have to first set the pool length – either 25 or 50m. It accurately recorded the number of laps I swam and my swim stroke.
Sleep tracking is spot-on. It pinpointed the time I went to bed and woke up as well as when I got up to visit the toilet. There are sleep cycle graphs that break your sleep patterns into deep sleep, light sleep and rapid eye movement sleep, to provide insights into how to improve your sleep. For example, I was told to get two hours of sunlight daily to improve my deep sleep continuity.
Battery life is superb. It is rated to last two weeks on a full charge. At the end of five days of use, with the smartwatch constantly connected to an Android smartphone and with a 5km jog and a 500m swim thrown in, I found its battery life to have dropped to 50 per cent. In comparison, my Apple Watch Series 4 needs to be charged daily.
Perhaps, the best part of the GT 2 is its affordable price tag. Starting at $268, it is nearly half the price of the basic model of the latest Apple Watch Series 5.