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Huawei Watch GT assessment: A health band in diguise

Huawei Watch GT

The smartwatch market is a tricky place to compete. Because it’s developed, it is grow to be extra targeted on health monitoring than blowing up your wrist with notifications. That is comprehensible given our growing have to disconnect from our digital obligations.

So if the Huawei Watch 2 was the corporate’s full-featured, app-running, LTE-connecting smartwatch then the Watch GT is a wearable with a distinct set of priorities. The thought is to focus on a lower cost level with a watch that solely does what you really need it to. So fully-fledged apps are out, primary notification mirroring and well being monitoring is in. As is epic battery life, by means of a pared-back OS that is much more restricted than Google’s Put on OS.

However pretty much as good as the concept could also be, the execution, at current, is fatally flawed. Huawei’s Lite OS fumbles the smartwatch fundamentals, with buggy, jumbled notifications, unhealthy watch faces and lacking table-stakes options like music controls.

Sporty, not sensible

Huawei Watch GT

A health band with restricted smartwatch options

The Huawei Watch GT is ok for fitness-tracking duties, and its lengthy battery life is a large power in comparison with different wearables. However its restricted smartwatch options are disappointing, and if you would like sturdy messaging and music management options, then you definately’ll wish to look elsewhere.

The Good

Glorious battery life
Pleasing design
Respectable loadout of workout-tracking options

The Unhealthy

Laggy, buggy software program
Poor message/notification administration
Annoying charging puck
Lacking different options corresponding to music controls

Huawei Watch GT and design

On the skin, the Huawei Watch GT is a fairly handsome light-weight wearable. Like many fully-fledged smartwatches, it lacks the heft of a conventional timepiece, nonetheless that is not a nasty factor given the health-tracking focus of the gadget. I have been utilizing the plain stainless-steel model, which has a satisfying polished end, and comes with a leather-coated silicone strap. If you happen to’re after a extra fashion-forward look, you may swap it out for a steel band of some type. (As soon as once more, since it is a health-focused wearable, chances are high you will not wish to.)

The GT lacks the heft of a conventional wristwatch, however nonetheless appears to be like respectable.

The underside of the watch is the place it exhibits its true focus. The black plastic physique homes a heart-rate sensor, whereas the again of the strap may be very clearly an all-rubber affair.

The general match is comfy, feeling like a light-weight sports activities watch versus a heftier trend wearable. Within the silver shade I have been utilizing, reflective lugs distinction pleasingly with the entrance face, which exhibits off etched minute markers towards a black bezel. Each the physique and two facet buttons are stainless-steel including a contact of aptitude past the fundamental plastic shell of the Huawei Watch 2.

Huawei Watch GT

Huawei Watch GT

It is not the fashion of what I would often go for, however I can recognize its aesthetics. In that space, for my part, it is a step up from the Watch 2, however nonetheless cannot match the elegant simplicity of the unique 2015 Huawei Watch. (To say nothing of more moderen choices just like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Skagen Falster 2.)

Battery life is nothing wanting epic: as much as two weeks per cost

Design-wise, I am much less of a fan of the Watch GT’s charger, nonetheless. It fees via pins on the again panel, and is meant to be held in place with magnets… solely these magnets do a remarkably horrible job of holding the watch in place, very similar to the unique Huawei Watch’s round charging puck. The watch struggles to remain in place, resulting in cases the place you’d suppose the gadget is charging, however actually it is not. (What’s stranger is that this challenge was fastened within the Huawei Watch 2 by way of plastic grips on the perimeters of that watch’s charger.)

Irritating as that’s, I can overlook it simply based mostly on the monumental battery lifetime of the Huawei Watch GT. That is by far the gadget’s most excellent function. Whereas most smartwatches can solely handle a day or two — or possibly three for those who’re fortunate — the Watch GT routinely lasted me as much as two weeks per cost. And after I did have to prime it off — assuming the charger held i place — I might refill sufficient for a number of days of use in a matter of minutes.

All which means that over the course of a yr utilizing the Huawei Watch GT, you may cost it as little as a pair dozen occasions.

Huawei Watch GT

Huawei Watch GT

Huawei Watch GT software program and options

However this legendary longevity comes at a value. Huawei’s Lite OS affords a way more restricted function set in comparison with a regular smartwatch, and there are extra trade-offs within the efficiency of the stuff it could do.

The Watch GT’s UI is, at first look, a fairly correct recreation of Google’s wearable platform: Swipe down for fast settings, up for notifications, and horizontally to scroll between health and climate playing cards. The highest button launches your apps checklist — although you are restricted to built-in apps solely, since no third-party choices can be found — whereas the underside button helps you to begin a exercise.

There is not any always-on show possibility, unsurprisingly for a watch targeted on battery life. However, it is disappointing to see that principally all the built-in watch faces look fairly clunky and unattractive, with a lot of them clashing with the outward look of the gadget’s .

Lite OS manages well being monitoring properly, however falls flat as a smartwatch platform.

What’s extra, your entire UI is pervaded by a bizarre frame-rate lag that makes even the less-than-silky Put on OS appear performant by comparability. The watch’s notification help can also be underdeveloped, with out the flexibility to see which apps messages are coming from. (As an illustration, an e mail from Gmail and a WhatsApp message will look confusingly comparable.) And a bug within the firmware on the time of writing ends in duplicate notifications exhibiting up for textual content messages. Plus it is inconceivable to open messages totally or act upon them like you possibly can inside Put on OS. The rationale for this is not clear — Android’s notification listener APIs permit any wearable platform to work together correctly with notifications, simply as Put on OS and Samsung’s Tizen watches do. Lastly, apps which use a persistent notification, like Uber, appear to confuse the watch. When ready for an Uber to reach, the watch would buzz each second or in order the ETA modified.

After which there’s the truth that music controls aren’t supported in any respect within the present firmware. That is not a function I take advantage of very day after I’m on Put on OS or a Samsung watch, however it’s an possibility I miss having.

Between all these bugs, and omissions, Lite OS’s usefulness as a smartwatch platform is fairly restricted.

As a health band, the Watch GT’s affords a extra fleshed-out function set. As talked about, the underside key helps you to begin a exercise at any time, with choices starting from runs in numerous circumstances to climbing, biking and swimming. For runs particularly, the Watch GT might help you choose a course relying in your well being targets (for instance, fats burning). Throughout different kinds of train, the Watch GT tracks your well being stats utilizing the center fee sensor, and distance traveled through GPS.

Sleep recording can also be supported, although the comparatively giant dimension of the Watch GT might make it unwieldy to put on in mattress relying on the dimensions of your wrists. The Huawei Well being app, which you may want to make use of to pair the watch to your cellphone, retains observe of all of your train information, and from there it can be sync’d to third-party platforms like Google Match (though I discovered coronary heart fee information particularly would sync unpredictably, generally not exhibiting up in Google’s app for a number of days.)

out of 5

Finally, the Huawei Watch GT is a good, low cost health band dressed up as a smartwatch — and never a very good smartwatch. If you happen to’re searching for a wearable that can assist you see notifications and juggle music playlists, this isn’t it. As an alternative, the Watch GT is geared toward a really particular goal shopper who needs a give attention to well being monitoring in a reasonable wearable with lengthy battery life. That is considerably at odds with the “watch” a part of this wearable although, and so for a lot of potential consumers, the Huawei Watch GT might be a tool to go on.

£159 at Amazon UK

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