Huawei Watch GT 2 hands-on: Huawei’s best watch to date?

 

It’s been nearly a year since we first got our hands on the Huawei Watch GT, a lifestyle-focused watch with impressive two-week battery life. Today the Huawei announced a follow up Huawei Watch GT 2, alongside the new Mate 30 lineup, once again using its proprietary Lite OS.

But can the refreshed UI and updated hardware make up for some of its predecessor’s shortcomings? Find out more in our Huawei Watch GT 2 hands-on!

Huawei Watch GT 2 on wrist watch face on 2

A lifestyle smartwatch with fitness chops

Like the previous model, the Huawei Watch GT 2 is aimed at those who want the convenience and functionality of a smartwatch and fitness tracker, but don’t want to sacrifice style. It’s the kind of all-purpose watch you can wear to the office, then keep on for your gym routine afterwords. Huawei is also targeting this device at people who are into outdoor activities, whether it be rock climbing, hiking, and other such activities.

The watch features a huge amount of tracking capabilities, including GPS, active heart rate, and even air pressure. It’s clear Huawei is aiming to make this watch fitness-capable while still looking attractive. The box also comes with a silicone band in case you are planning on getting really sweaty.

Huawei Watch GT 2 on wrist casual 2

But the most impressive thing about the device is its battery life. You can expect a full two weeks from the larger 46mm version, and one week from the smaller version. Huawei achieves this thanks to the newly developed Kirin A1. The chip was designed specifically for wearables, and it’s the same chip found in the Huawei Freebuds 3 wireless headphones shown at IFA 2019.

An OLED display also helps the watch sip battery life. The screen is bright and punchy while it’s on, but it only needs to turn on the pixels it needs to use. This way there isn’t a constant backlight shining to illuminate the watch. The 46mm version uses a 454×454 display and the 42mm version has a resolution of 390×390. Both have a pixel density of 326 PPI.

Huawei Watch GT 2 on table at angle

Functionality away from your smartphone

The Huawei Kirin A1 chip also allows much better Bluetooth connectivity than we’ve seen in other smartwatches. Huawei says you can leave your phone charging in your bedroom while watching TV in your living room, and the watch will stay connected fine. We’ll have to test this ourselves to see if it holds up, but since Bluetooth has traditionally been pretty finicky, this is nice to see.

Both watches come with 4GB of onboard storage, meaning you can load up songs if you want to ditch your phone. You can connect Bluetooth headphones directly to your watch too. This combined with sensors like onboard GPS and a pedometer mean you should be able to run freely without the distraction of your phone. You can also listen to music through the watch’s speakers, which sound weirdly good for a smartwatch. Think mid-ranged Android phone. That’s pretty decent for the size.

Huawei Watch GT 2 contents spilled out of box

The speakers and microphone also mean you can take calls directly from your watch, though you’ll need your phone with you in order to do this. The Watch GT 2 has no built-in SIM card, so it requires a tether from your smartphone.

Huawei Watch GT 2 watch in box at angle

Huawei Watch GT 2 specs

Display 46mm: 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen
42mm: 1.2-in AMOLED touchscreen
Resolution 46mm: 454 x 454, 326 ppi
42mm: 390 x 390, 326 ppi
Memory/storage 46mm: 4 GB ROM, 32 MB RAM
42mm: 4 GB ROM, 16 MB RAM
Battery capacity 46mm: 455 mAh (2 weeks est.)
42mm: 215 mAh (7 days est.)
Sensors and components Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Magnetometer
Heart rate sensor (PPG)
Barometer
Ambient light sensor
Capacitive sensor
GPS
Bluetooth 5.1
Microphone (46mm only)
Speaker (46mm only)
Water resistance 5 ATM
Compatibility Android and iOS
Dimensions 46mm: 45.9mm x 45.0mm x 10.7mm
42mm: 41.8mm x 41.8mm x 9.4 mm
Material Body: metal and plastic
Strap: fluoroelastomer, leather, metal

While these specs are a decent upgrade from last year, we were surprised by the amount of RAM on each device, especially the mere 16 MB on the 42mm version. While other smartwatches are starting to ship with a full 1GB of RAM, Huawei’s Lite OS doesn’t need nearly as much RAM as Google WearOS. We did see a bit of stuttering during setup, but functionality seemed smooth afterward. I honestly thought 16 MB and 32 MB were typos on the spec sheet, but here we are.

We’re excited to put the watch through our review process because Huawei seems to have made something that truly rivals both WearOS and Tizen. We don’t currently know pricing or availability for the watch, but we will update this article as soon as that information is made available.

What do you think about the Huawei Watch GT 2? Is it interesting or will you pass?