Friday, February 23, 2024

The Huawei Watch GT Runner’s lugs hide a GPS antenna


Huawei plans a global release for the Watch GT Runner, the first smartwatch to feature a hidden external GPS antenna. The global launch follows its announcement for China and several other markets at the beginning of 2022. It has been priced at 299 euros, or around $337. The GT Runner is a new version of the Huawei Watch GT 3 with an interesting hardware alteration and several software features to make it more attractive to runners, walkers, and hikers.


The major hardware alteration takes the GPS antenna from inside the case and into the redesigned lugs, which Huawei claims means more accurate positioning and that the system will be less prone to interference. As mentioned, this is the first smartwatch to feature an external GPS antenna. It’s hard to tell visually that there’s anything different about the lugs compared to any other smartwatch, as proportions have been kept in check and the key alterations are treated like design elements.

It’s lighter than the normal Watch GT 3 at just over 38 grams due to a polymer fiber case, plus the bezel is made from ceramic to minimize the chance of scratches, and the crown is made from titanium. Huawei has also tweaked the shape of the sensor array on the case back, giving it a greater curve for better connection to your skin. It also added a new LED light array to improve heart rate tracking accuracy.


On the software side, the Watch GT Runner uses Huawei’s own HarmonyOS 2.1 operating system, which connects to Android and iOS devices, along with the TruSport system for activity tracking. This includes in-depth running data including training load and recovery time, a running coach program that adapts plans according to your progress, and plenty more on your performance and training status.

Most of the software features are already available on the Watch GT 3, and the remaining hardware is the same too. This means a 1.43-inch OLED screen, wireless charging, up to 14 days battery life, and a digital crown to control the operating system. The Watch GT Runner is only available with a 46mm case size.

Huawei developed the Watch GT Runner in an extensive new facility at its Songshan Lake headquarters in Dongguan, China. The Health Lab has multiple areas dedicated to different activities, where Huawei researchers monitor sportspeople to ensure its wearable software and features are as accurate and helpful as possible. There’s everything from a 3D motion capture booth for tennis and golf, to a rock climbing wall, to a pool with paddle wheels that operates like a treadmill for swimmers. There’s even an open space with 80 cameras for motion capture.

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