The watch is Huawei’s second-generation GT watch, called Huawei Watch GT 2 powered by Kirin A1 chipset promising two weeks battery and always-on screen.
As we mentioned in the watch announcement article, there are two versions, 46mm and 42mm, the larger packs a 1.39-inch always-on AMOLED display with 454 x 454 resolution while the smaller one will stick to 1.2-inch 390x390 AMOLED screen. It measures 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7 mm (1.81 x 1.81 x 0.42 in) and weighs 41 grams. It comes with a stainless-steel frame, ceramic back and it is waterproof for up to 50-meter. It will even measure your heart rate while swimming. Let's not forget the GPS that will give you more accurate measuring.
We are testing the bigger 46 mm watch that has a larger battery and two weeks promised battery life. If you want to be realistic, this number will be lower depending on the usage, but still getting a few days out of a wearable, let alone a week or close to two, sounds almost miraculous.
Of course, the battery life comes with the sacrifice of the features as Lite OS developed by Huawei is not compatible with the Google Wear platform or its Store. Lite OS so far doesn’t have an app store, and you get to use the features that come preinstalled with the watch. You can install new watch faces, but they are available via Huawei Health app and are rather limited to around a dozen designs.
The new Kirin A1 chipset brings in the Bluetooth 5 support as well as Bluetooth LE 5.1 and promises up to 150-meter connection, but this would have to be in an ideal case. In our short test, it would be working on two stories apartment, even the furthest corners.
The 46mm watch that we tested comes with 32 MB of RAM and 4GB storage which is an upgrade compared to a 16 MB RAM and 128 MB storage with the Watch GT. The 42mm version of the watch has 16MB RAM and 4GB storage.
The tested Watch GT 2 with brown leather strap had just a bit shy of 2500MB accessible for your data, mainly music and watch faces.
The watch uses an all-in-one 3D glass screen, creating a wider, boundless display for the OLED 1.39-inch panel.
Kirin A1 SoC
The Kirin A1 chipset brings an advanced Bluetooth processing unit with BT 5.0 and BLE 5.1, a powerful audio processing unit, an ultra-low power consumption application processor, and a separate power management unit. The SoC uses ARM Cortex M7 processor capable of ultra-low power consumption of 10uA/MHz. Huawei claims that this is far below the industry average of 30uA/MHz.
The first Huawei Watch GT that launched in October 2018, was powered by Cortex M4 processor and came with 16 MB of RAM and 128 MB storage. Since the first watch could not play music or let you answer your phone calls, this was just enough to run Huawei Lite OS and get the health and sports tracking data.
The new in house developed Kirin A1 chip, is now based on Cortex M7. Richard Yu, the CEO of consumer business at Huawei mentioned a dual-core design. The ARM Cortex-M7 is a high-performance core offering almost double the power efficiency of the older Cortex-M4 and according to ARM own data the performance efficiency of M7 is at 5.01 CoreMark/MHz while M4 scores 3.42 CoreMark/MHz
Additionally, M7 can score 2.14/3.23 DMIPS/MHz while M4 depending on the area size can score 1.25 /1.52 /1.91 DMIPS/MHz. Technically one can get close to twice the performance, but Huawei would have to reveal a bit more details about Kirin A1 for us to get more accurate data.
Two weeks battery life should be achievable with both the intelligent heart rate monitor and call notification functions on and weekly usage of up to 30 minutes of Bluetooth calls; up to 30 minutes of music playback; up to 90 minutes of exercise and using the scientific sleep mode at night. Naturally, the actual battery life will depend on practical, real-life use.
In a couple of hours of extremely heavy usage, we managed to burn through 9 percent of the battery, when the screen is set to go automatically to sleep. We used notification, Bluetooth, music and went countless amount of time exploring the options and features. After a whole day of heavy use and all the sensors on, it will burn around 30 percent of battery. This will get you roughly three days of heavy use without GPS. A week or normal use should be possible but as promised, we will update you on the battery life.
What's in the box
The very stylish box comes with the watch itself, short manual, charging pad and a USB Type-C cable. The brown leather strap 46mm watch also comes with an additional black sports band.
The box is very stylish, and the watch in our case was pre-charged. All you need is Huawei Health or Huawei Sport application, pair the watch via Bluetooth, and you are good to go. The watch comes with a variety of pre-installed watch faces, and by default, the watch screen doesn’t come always on. In case you want to do that, you simply go to watch settings and enable that. In case you do this, Huawei warns you that this will cut your battery life roughly in half.
The next swipe is the heart rate monitor that is well designed and does what it is supposed to. Swiping further left to the right gets you to the stress level monitor as the name implies help you maintain normal stress levels. The next screen shows you the weather details in your current area with low and high forecast for that day. Frequent travelers such as yours truly would want to have more than one city weather forecast, and we hope that this comes with some future update.
The next swipe brings you to the music menu, and this simple interface lets you play music. Music is rather loud, and you can hear a person answering the phone call too. They can hear you well too.
The last swipe shows a number of steps, time your worked out that day and how many times you stand up from the chair, and it is very similar to Apple app tracking the same details.
The great thing is that swiping from the watch face backward gets you to the last item in the menu.
The watch comes with two dial buttons and the one above wakes the watch up and gets you to the menu, while the one below can be predefined and by default gets you to the health/fitness activity settings.
Fitness and health
In the sports mode, Huawei Watch GT 2 is compatible with 15 sports, including eight outdoor sports (running, walking, climbing, hiking, trail running, cycling, open water, triathlon) and seven indoor sports (walking, running, cycling, swimming pool, free training, elliptical machine, rowing machine).
For these 15 sports modes, the watch provides full-scale monitoring of approximately 190 types of data. The GT2 watch provides targeted pre-exercise data analysis for different sports, data recording analysis during the exercise, and professional advice afterward. It is like having a personal intelligent sports coach to make your workout safer and better.
Huawei also plays big on the health management capability of the watch. Heart rate monitoring helps monitor bradycardia and heart failure. Unless in the sports mode, the user will get a notification if the heart rate is above 100 bpm or below 50 bpm for more than 10 minutes. Users can also view the data in the Huawei Sports and Health App to keep an eye on your health in real-time.
The watch comes with a sleep monitor. Huawei TruSleep 2.0 monitors sleep quality, real-time heart rate, sleep breathing quality, and uses big data analysis to rate sleep quality. The watch also comes with in house developed TruRelax technology, which helps users relieve stress by recording HRV (heart rate variability) values and providing feedback on the user's stress index.
The watch will remind you to stand up and move if you are too lazy and even trigger an alarm. The watch will help you track the number of steps you take each day, calories burned, and the number of times you stand up. Health and fitness options are something that we will take a deeper look on a later date; we checked the options to make sure they are there and that they are working, but as it is the case with battery life, it just takes time.
The watch comes with a flashlight, alarm, timer, stopwatch, compass, air pressure, call log, contact, breathing exercise on top of the workout, music, stress, and heartrate we already mentioned.
The battery life and smoothness of the application and user interface is something that is warming our heart toward this smartwatch. Apple watch usually last a maximum of a day or up to 18 hours. The new Android Wear watches should last up to two days while Samsung watches range from two to five days, in best-case scenario.
Have in mind that these watches have apps and a bit more serious operating systems, but still the fact that Huawei Watch GT2 can give you all the fitness data you need and show notifications, enable you to take a quick call on a watch and play a music and hold charge for up to two weeks is spectacular. Even getting full seven days sounds amazing and in addition to very stylish watch design, these are key attributes of this watch.
While I am ok to charge my phone every day, and nowadays with 7nm SoCs from Qualcomm and Huawei you can get to a two-day battery life from a high-end phone, the biggest obstacle of getting the wear devices popular is a constant need to charge them.
The first impression is that this gorgeous display watch can hold at least three days of extremely heavy use and more than a week or standard use.
The wireless charger would be nice. Once we have spent a bit more time with the device, we will update the review.
At €249 it is cheaper than most of the competition but still doesn't sound affordable.