Price (RRP): $Free bonus with Huawei Mate 20 Pro (valued at $399)
Want the Huawei Watch GT? We’re told that if you’re in Australia, the only way to get it (officially) is as a free bonus with the magnificent Huawei Mate 20 Pro phone. When we reviewed the phone we gave it 5.0 out of 5.0! Does a free smartwatch push it to 5.5/5.0? That offer is available until 28 February 2019.
What is the Huawei Watch GT?
First, the Huawei Watch GT is not merely a subtle variation on the current Huawei Watch 2. But like the Watch 2, the Huawei Watch GT does not use the Android Wear operating system. Indeed, there does not seem to be an app store. The apps on the watch are those built into the OS.
This model is styled as a sports watch. It’s available with a silicone rubber wrist band or, like the review model, with a silicone-backed brown leather band. The body and is stainless steel. The bezel is ceramic. Huawei says that the watch is only 10.6mm thick. Both my digital callipers and my Vernier callipers say 11.9mm. Whatever. I’m not fussed about 1.3mm and they may be measuring somewhere different. (Plus, I’m always reluctant to tighten the callipers too much, lest I cause damage.)
The overall diameter of the body is 46.6mm. Weight: 62.6 grams. The bezel is etched with zero to 60 markings around its edge. Since the bezel is fixed, these would seem to be decorative rather than useful.
On the right-hand side at around two pm and four pm are control buttons. You can exercise additional control using the touch screen. Huawei doesn’t mention the material used across the screen. Since the bezel is raised by around half a millimetre, it is to some extent protected when placed face down on a flat surface.
Huawei says that the watch is water resistant to five atmospheres. Indeed, two of the exercises the watch can track involve swimming.
On the inside
The active display area of the face is 1.39 inches in diameter (I measured 35.7mm, which works out to 1.4 inches). The display is AMOLED and has a 454- by 454-pixel resolution (square equivalent). That works out to 326ppi. In practice, the only way I could make out the dot structure was by employing a loupe.
The watch packs plenty of awareness:
- GPS (all three systems supported)
- Optical heart rate sensor
- Ambient light sensor
It connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It does not have NFC, so there’s no tap-to-pay capability.
There’s only a modest amount of storage inside by modern standards. Huawei quotes it as “Internal ROM 128 MB, internal RAM 16 MB”. I’m going to read this as 16MB of working memory for the CPU and 128MB of storage (even though “ROM” means “Read-Only Memory”).
As is the way of these things, the watch really relies on connection to an app on your phone. The Huawei Health app requires iOS 9.0 or later, or Android 4.4 or later (with 2GB of RAM).
One thing that sets this watch apart is battery life. It is rated at “14 days for typical use”. Battery life is a weakness of smart watches. I could see getting in the habit of a weekend charge instead of a nightly one. A small white puck is included in the box, along with a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable. You plug the Type-A end into any old phone charger and the Type-C end into the edge of the puck. It snaps onto the back of the phone magnetically. Charging takes up to two hours.
The Huawei Watch GT comes with a slim, multilanguage “Quick Start” manual. The English page – there’s just one page – shows you, what the two buttons do and how to charge up the watch. And then it says, essentially, “install the Huawei Health app on your phone and it’ll take it from here.” Which is what I did of course.
The app installation went smoothly – I used a Google Pixel 2 XL phone, so I went to the Play Store. The app performs a number of functions. It gathers the data provided by the phone on heartrate, steps, path travelled, and other movements (so it can deduce things about your sleep). Later it presents all this stuff in a useful way. It also provides instructions on using the watch. And it sets up the connection to the watch.
When I tapped the button to add a device, I was momentarily perplexed because there were three devices shown, and none of them was the Huawei Watch GT. But there was an update button. A tap on that, followed by granting permission for the app to hit its home servers for information, downloaded some more devices. One was this watch. A tap on that and the app searched (via Bluetooth) for it, and quite quickly found and connected to the watch.