Huawei Watch GT 2 review: The almost perfect smart watch for $214.99
The Huawei Watch GT 2 is, as the name suggests, the official successor of the Watch GT and therefore also of the Honor Watch Magic, which was based on the GT last year. The Honor Watch Magic was my Smartwatch of choice so far, even if the Amazfit GTR almost replaced it. So now the Huawei Watch GT 2 has to outdo these two watches. To achieve this, Huawei promises a battery life of 2 weeks, more sports features, internal music memory as well as a speaker and microphone for phone calls just like James Bond. You can find out whether the mission was a success in our review.
|Huawei Watch GT 2 46 mm||Huami Amazfit GTR 47 mm|
|Display||1,39″ AMOLED, 454 x 454p, 326 ppi||1,39″ AMOLED, 454 x 454 p, 326 ppi, Gorilla Glas 3|
|Editions||Sport (Black, red), Classic (leather), Elite (Metal)||Aluminium, Titanium, stainless steal|
|Battery||455 mAh, 14 days runtime||410 mAh, 24 day runtime|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1, GPS + GLONASS||Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS, NFC|
|Features||Music Memory & Control, Bluetooth Phone Calls, Pedometer, Sleep Monitor, Heart Rate Monitor, Alarm Clock, Push Notification, 15 Sports Modes||Music Control, Pedometer, Sleep Monitor, Heart Rate Monitor, Alarm Clock, Call & Push Notifications, 12 sport modes|
|App Compatibility||Huawei Health Android 4.4, iOS 9||Android 5, iOS 10|
|Water resistence||ATM 5 (Baths, Showers, Swimming)||ATM 5 (Baths, Showers, Swimming)|
|Dimensions | Band | Weight||45,9 x 45,9 x 10,7 mm | 22 mm | 41 g||47,2 x 47,2 x 10,75 mm | 22 mm | 36, 40, 48 g (depending on version)|
Huawei Watch GT 2 with two versions (46 mm & 42 mm)
Like the GT last year, the GT 2 will again be available in two sizes, each with three editions. We are testing the large 46 mm version in the Sport Edition, which I personally also prefer to the 42 mm version. The 42 mm GT 2 with its smaller and very thin case (41.8 x 41.8 x 9.4 mm) and the elegant design without bezel but with 3D glass to the edge is kept beautifully simple. Especially the Classic (light brown leather bracelet) and the rose-golden Elegant Edition are more likely aimed at women..
The 46 mm version is also available in three editions: Sport with a black or red sport strap, Classic with a brown leather strap and Elite with a grey metal strap. Depending on the edition, the case is also black (Sport), silver (Classic) or grey (Elite), but is always made of stainless steel. By the way, all non-Sport Editions still come with a matching Sport bracelet, because the bracelets can be easily replaced. We were allowed to test the large 46 mm Watch GT 2 in the black Sport Edition, but with the exception of statements about the design and the bracelet, all statements can also be transferred to the other editions of the 46 mm version..
Stylish watch on the wrist
Like the first GT and the Honor Watch Magic, the Huawei Watch GT 2 has a quite normal and classic watch design. You get a bezel, which is under the same glass as the AMOLED panel. Because of this 3D glass there is no edge between the dial and the bezel, which I personally like very much. The stainless steel case begins right below the bezel, which is also kept plain black in our Sport Edition.
The entire case measures 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7 mm and weighs 41 g, but feels much narrower than the Amazfit GTR, which should theoretically be only 0.05 mm thicker. The GT 2 feels smaller and feels even more like a normal watch than the GTR, which I consider an advantage of the GT 2.
The two buttons are made of stainless steel and have a good pressure point. The upper one functions as a home button as well as a power switch for the display and, if pressed for a long time, also as a power button for the whole watch. In addition, a short press of the button on the home screen brings you to the app list. The lower push button is freely assignable as a function key with one of the apps and can be used during sports tracking to switch between the individual displays.
Of course, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is also waterproof. Thanks to the ATM5 rating, the GT 2 can be worn in the rain, in the shower or even the bath without hesitation and can also worn for a swim; only diving and contact with salt water should be avoided.
Sharp & bright Always-On AMOLED display
The color display didn’t really change from the first Watch GT, but that’s absolutely nothing negative. This means that it is a 1.39 inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels. This results in a sharp pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. In addition, it is also nice and bright, so that the watch remains easily operable even in direct sunlight. This is partly due to the good automatic brightness control in “Auto” mode. Alternatively, you can choose between five brightness levels, but in auto mode the display gets darker than in level 1, which you learn to appreciate especially at night time.
This might be the only disadvantage of the Always-On mode of the GT 2, the light. You can’t set the Always-On display to be active from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., for example. It goes out as soon as the watch is sure that you are asleep, but the light of the watch is just annoying when you try to fall asleep. Either you get used to it like I did or you switch off the AoD manually. Apart from that, the Always-on display is very good and works as desired. The settings can be found on the watch itself in the advanced display settings under “Standby-Watchface”. There you have the choice between an analog and digital watchface and the accent colors red, green and white. By the way, the AoD eats about 50% of the battery life, which Huawei also points out when activating the function.
While you can only use two watchfaces with the AoD, you have 25 to choose from for the normal dial, which is much better than the nine pieces you had at the beginning of the Honor Watch Magic. So for most of them there should be a suitable design and alternatively you can use your own pictures, graphics and photos as background – very cool!
Operation & Features of the Huawei Watch GT 2
As we’re used to from other wearable, the GT 2 is mostly operated by wiping and typing on the screen, the two buttons are used less frequently. Above the dial (home screen) there are a few quick settings such as “Do not disturb”, display time (permanently), phone search, alarm and settings. You can also see the connection status, the battery status and the date. Under the Home screen all notifications of the apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram etc.) for which you have activated notifications on the watch are listed. If you wipe from the Home screen to the left or right, you will find the diagrams for pulse, stress, weather, music control and the known activity rings.
In order to access the other functions, you have to press the upper button and an app list will appear. This contains the following: Training, training records, training status, heart rate, activity records, sleep, stress, breathing exercises, music, contacts, call list, barometer, compass, weather, news, stopwatch, timer, alarm, flashlight, phone search and settings. In these settings you can then add Bluetooth headphones, set the vibration level and “Do not disturb” and set the function of the lower button.
The system itself works well and at least offers me pretty much all the functions I’d expect from a smart watch. Here and there inputs are still processed with slight stuttering, which is not due to the screen, but to the software. But this can be improved by updates and with my Honor Watch Magic exactly the same happened, which is why I am confident here as well..
New: Music storage & phone calls with the GT 2
One of the biggest innovations to the first Watch GT is that you can now not only control the music on your mobile phone, but also have 2GB free internal memory on the watch. This is available to the user for storing MP3 and AAC files. The transfer of music works via the Huawei Health App (Android/iOS),, but it takes a rather long time per song (30-40 seconds). So if you want to broadcast an entire running playlist or podcast, you should give your watch enough time for the transfer. Once the music is on the watch, the playback works very well and without interruptions via connected Bluetooth headphones. If you want to annoy all your fellow human beings, you can even output the sound via the integrated loudspeaker of the watch, but a musical pleasure sounds different.
Because the loudspeaker is actually only designed for occasional phone calls. In order to make calls with the watch, you can either accept incoming calls on the watch, transfer individual contacts to the watch and call them, or dial someone from the call list on the watch. Since the watch has no eSIM or similar, the call still takes place via the mobile phone and the watch simply functions as a Bluetooth loudspeaker with microphone, which works surprisingly well. The quality is good on both sides and even my grandma could understand me without any problems. Possible scenarios would be: Hands too full for a smartphone, calling while on a run and no headphones at hand, in a car without a hands-free system or just lazy on the couch and the phone is an armlength too far away. Overall, the function is not a must for me, but a nice and well implemented extra.
Huawei Watch GT 2 with 15 sport modes & 13 running courses
In addition to its functions as an everyday smart watch, the GT 2 also offers real sports tracking. A total of 15 sports are supported at the start, eight of them with GPS tracking. The sports are as follows: Running (Outdoor/Indoor), Walking (Outdoor/Indoor), Cycling (Outdoor/Indoor), Swimming (Indoor/Outdoor), Mountain/Hiking, Trail Run, Triathlon, Crosstrainer, Rowing Ergometer and Free Training.
For me personally, outdoor running is particularly interesting, particularly in connection with the internal music memory. Because GPS tracking works and the music playback works as promised, you could leave the annoying mobile phone at home without having to run without motivating music. And yes, it works exactly as I imagined it would! This is how you have to proceed:
- Transfer music/podcast to the watch before the run
- Connect Bluetooth headset to the watch
- Start music playback
- Only now start the desired sport tracking
- Control music through headphones
The last step is necessary because you can’t get out of the sports mode without quitting it, so the music control must be possible via the headphones. Play/Pause, loud/quieter and skip tracks worked directly. The connection between watch and headphones was always stable in my tests, even if you deliberately let your arm hang completely.
The connected headphones can also be used to tell you when you have reached a certain interval (distance or time). So I was informed after every kilometer and I was also informed about the current pace (minutes per kilometer). In addition, you can also set a virtual pacer and will be informed once per kilometer whether you are running faster or slower than the desired speed (e.g. 6 min/km). This is especially motivating if you don’t have a running partner or just don’t want to keep looking at your watch to check your pace.
So, let’s get to the actual tracking. This works by positioning via GPS and GLONASS and of course also via the sensors (acceleration, heart rate & barometer). The GPS fix was achieved within 5-10 seconds, which is the same as the Honor Watch Magic. As comparison for the measured distance I had the pure sports watch “Garmin Forerunner 645” on the other arm. In total, the Huawei Watch GT 2 lacks about 150 meters for a distance of 5 kilometers. So the GT 2 behaves similar to the Honor Watch and much better than the Amazfit GTR.
The 13 running courses mentioned in the title can be started directly from the watch and are divided into four levels. So there are courses for all levels of runners, but especially for beginners the courses are in my opinion a good motivation andeasily implemented. The only negative point of the sports tracking and almost the entire watch is the lack of synchronization with Strava. Because currently the data of the Huawei Health App (Android/iOS) can only be synchronized with Google Fit and MyFitnessPal, so even Runtastic is not available. We have also asked Huawei about the Strava integration and will let you know the answer as soon as we receive it.
Classic tracking of sleep, steps, pulse & stress
Like any other smart watch or fitness tracker, the Huawei Watch GT 2 can also track everyday life. Namely sleep, steps, pulse and stress. Especially when it comes to sleep tracking, Huawei is ahead of its Amazfit competitors because tracking is more accurate and also works during the day for shift workers. For example, quiet lying in bed is not yet mistakenly counted as sleep. I still see the information on steps and pulse as guideline values, but they are not accurate.
With pulse tracking, however, you can now switch to the smart variant, which recognizes whether you are just sitting at your desk or running straight to the track and increases or decreases the frequency of the measurement accordingly. The stress tracking determines the stress level based on the heart rate while you are not moving. If you have too much stress, you could, for example, use one of the breathing exercises on the watch.
2 weeks battery life | 1 week with AoD
Huawei promises about 14 days runtime with the 455 mAh battery. They use a quite realistic use with pulse, sleep, step and sport tracking as well as notifications, music playback, calls and 200 screen activations per day. But since I like to have a watch that permanently displays the time, I had the Always-on display permanently activated and the watch made use of the battery. Nevertheless, I came up with a week’s running time, which also coincides with the statement that the AoD halves the battery life. Without AoD I would probably get the advertised two weeks.
The GT 2 is loaded with the magnetic charger known from Honor Watch Magic. Fortunately this has a USB-C port and can be used with your existing USB-C cables. The charging process then takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from 0% to 100%, whereby 50% are already reached after 30 minutes..
Huawei Watch GT 2: The almost perfect smart watch
At least that’s what it is for me. Modern design, a good AMOLED display including Always-on function, many sport modes and a long battery life form a good basis here and in addition it has almost all the important extra features. Apart from Google Pay and Strava I didn’t miss any app or feature. But for Google Pay it would need a watch with Wear OS and they usually have a runtime of 2 days, especially if you want to go running. And for Strava integration I could use the Amazfit GTR, but would have to do without the very good GPS tracking, the music storage, the phone function and the better sleep tracking of the GT 2 and it would not be worth it after a week with the GT 2.
So the Huawei Watch GT 2 stays on my arm for now, hoping that Strava will come. And all those who have never heard of Strava can simply get the GT 2 without hesitation. What do you say about the watch? Do you prefer the long battery life or do you need more apps?To the gadget