Huawei Watch GT2e review: Rugged, stylish and highly recommendable

Noel Campion tests the new Huawei Watch GT2e.
Huawei Watch GT2e review: Rugged, stylish and highly recommendable
Huawei Watch GT2e .

The Huawei Watch GT2e is a variation on the popular GT2, with similar looks and performance. I’ve been testing it for a couple of months for a long term review. 

I set it up on an Android phone and an iPhone to see how well it worked on both. This is a smartwatch aimed at activity-centric users and my review device came in the matte black finish metal case and a removable rubber strap.

One size has to fit all as the GT2e only comes in a 46.8mm case, unlike the GT2 which is available in both 46mm and 42mm case sizes. 

The GT2e is slightly larger than the GT2 and it will feel large on smaller wrists. However, sporty types will love the big display with its vibrant colours, excellent contrast and strong brightness, which is easy to see even in bright sunlight.

Like all of the other Huawei smartwatches, the GT2e comes with a proprietary charging puck that magnetically attaches itself to the watch. 

This has a USB-C port and you get the necessary cable in the box, but no power adaptor which makes sense and is the norm. On first power-up, the watch will walk you through the pairing process but you’ll need to download the Huawei Health app for either iOS or Android if you don’t have it already.

Display 

The 1.39-inch AMOLED display (454 x 454px resolution) is one of the best you’ll see on any smartwatch and is identical to the more expensive Huawei Watch GT2. 

It has the typical raise-to-wake gesture, which works well even if you’re lying horizontally. If you don’t mind taking a hit on battery life, you can also use the always-on display feature. This will show a simple either digital or analogue watch face that is always on. 

The only thing I don’t like about the always-on display is it turns off the raise-to-wake, so you have to tap on the screen or press a button to see the full display. 

Also, you only get two analogue and two digital watch faces to choose from. These only tell the time and date, so you won’t see other information like heart rate, battery percentage, steps, etc. at a glance without touching the watch.

Health App 

The GT2e requires the Huawei Health app to work. It has tons of features, options and different watch faces to choose from. Each time you open the app it will sync all your data from the watch to your phone. 

Huawei Watch GT2e.
Huawei Watch GT2e.

You can set which apps send notifications or if you prefer, turn them all off. I only allow a few apps to notify me otherwise it can get really annoying. Nowadays, I like my smartwatch to show me all the information I want in a glance rather than have it buzz me all the time with non-important alerts and I do the same with my phone.

You can enable features like the one to remind you to get up and stretch if you’re sitting too long or turn on the continuous heart rate monitoring from within the app. 

You can have it adjust the frequency of heart rate measurements automatically while still saving power or in real-time for more detailed information at the expense of battery life.

For some reason, the iOS version of the app doesn’t show the stress, SpO2 or female cycle calendar tracking cards.

You can pair Bluetooth headphones to the watch and transfer and store music on it, but this requires the Huawei Music app and won’t work with downloaded music from other streaming services like Spotify. 

However, you can control music playback from the watch from Spotify which is a nice bonus.

Workout 

The GT2e can track 100 workout modes. Essentially, these are just the names of workouts or activities you can choose from a list. Once activated it will record the data under the name of the activity you picked. 

However, it can auto-detect six commonly used workouts; outdoor running, outdoor walking, indoor walking, indoor running, elliptical machine, and rowing machine.

If you start a run or even a walk, the watch will track your location via the GPS along with heart rate, speed, meters climbed and kcals burned. As an activity tracker, the GT2e has an impressive feature set and appears to be very accurate.

SPo2 is a blood oxygen saturation feature that measures the percentage of haemoglobin in the blood that contains oxygen. If your Spo2 is below 90%, you may be at risk of developing hypoxemia. 

You have to manually perform this test on the watch and historical data will appear in the Huawei Health app for Android only.

Sleep 

The Huawei TrueSleep monitoring is the best I’ve used on a smartwatch, but not everyone will enjoy wearing a watch while they sleep. It provides detailed information about your sleep patterns and quality of sleep. 

The sleep app on the new Huawei Watch GT2e.
The sleep app on the new Huawei Watch GT2e.

Apps and software The Huawei GT2e comes with a decent amount of apps including alarms, stopwatch, breathing exercise, Huawei Music, barometer, compass, weather, find phone and a flashlight. 

Unfortunately, you can’t download more, but I never felt that I was missing out as I have everything I need on my phone. The only exception to this would be a contactless payment app like Google Pay. 

Also, although you can get message notifications, you can’t respond from the watch. Again, not a big deal, but it would have been nice to at least respond with a quick reply.

Battery

Huawei claims two-week battery life and this is pretty accurate. This includes wearing the watch daily, with heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, phone notifications and the occasional workout.

Unlike most other smartwatches, you don’t have to worry about bringing the charger for a long weekend or even for a two-week vacation. 

If you turn on the continuous heart rate monitoring and the always-on display and set the brightness to max this time will be reduced.

Verdict 

Overall, the GT2e is only missing the speaker, microphone and Bluetooth calling from the Huawei Watch GT2. 

It looks rugged and stylish with a stunning display that’s easy to see in all lighting conditions. 

Undoubtedly, there are ‘smarter’ smartwatches like the Apple Watch, but the convenience of not having to worry about charging another device every night makes the Huawei GT2e highly recommendable.

Available now from three.ie for €169

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