Huawei Watch GT2 First Impressions

The Huawei Watch GT2 is a smartwatch that seems to have a lot going for it. I took delivery of mine earlier today, the 46mm model, so here’s my first impressions. This was a reduced-price full retail watch via The Insiders.

Packaging

The packaging is pretty smart: matte black cardboard with gold writing on the front/top and two tamper-evident seals. On the back/bottom is a label with the watch serial number and other information.

Removing the security seals (causing the word VOID to be left behind on the box) allows you to lift off the cover and reveal the interior, with the watch itself the only thing on view aside from a small gold Huawei logo.

Unpacking

First impressions at this point are that the watch face looks really nice. The 1.39 inch AMOLED glass display is dark and almost impossibly smooth. The metal – I chose the stainless steel “Pebble Brown” finish watch – is perfectly polished on the top but has a slightly more satin-type finish on the sides.

Remove the watch and lift open the flap with the gold USB plug and document symbols on to get to the first accessories compartment. This presents a nice surprise: A black silicone wrist strap. This is also where you’ll find the Quick Start Guide and Warranty Card booklets. Once those have all been removed you can open another flap to get to the second accessories compartment where you’ll find the charging base and a USB A to C cable. There’s no mains charger included, but who needs any more of those by now?

I was really pleased to see the USB C connector on the charging base as it means I don;t have to take any extra cables with me when I go away, all I need is the little charging base itself – my phone already uses USB C.

The black strap was unexpected and feels really nice. Sadly unlike the brown faux-leather one which looks and feels a bit cheap and lets the side down compared to the watch itself. I’m using the brown strap for the moment because I want to see how well it holds up in the swimming pool, but I may well swap it for the black one in the future, we’ll see.

Everything in the Huawei Watch GT2 box

There’s a nice bit of detail on both watch straps, the word HUAWEI etched into the buckle.

The charger base is pretty light and doesn’t have any kind of anti-skid rubber or foam on the bottom so tends to slide around a bit. That’s fairly easily fixed with a bit of Blu Tack or something though.

Powering up

After a quick read through effectively one page of practical information in the Quick Start Guide the first thing to do is to charge the watch. The guide doesn’t tell you to do this, but it does tell you how to do this, however I want to test the battery life so want to make sure I start with a 100% full battery.

Huawei Watch GT2 on the charging base

I plugged the charging base into the supplied cable and then plugged that into one of my existing USB chargers. The watch snaps onto the base via magnets in the base, and it seems to make good contact. The charging pins are both sprung and gold plated to reduce oxidisation so should keep making good contact for a while.

The GT2 screen lit up once I turned the charger on and showed that the battery had 62% charge and was now charging. The first thing you nitice is just how crisp and bright the AMOLED screen is. It’ll be interesting trying it outdoors in sunshine. I had a quick look through some of the screens whilst it was charging.

It only seemed to take about 15-20 minutes to charge to 100%. Apparently a full charge takes two hours. From the charging screen you see a language selection screen, and then you’re told to download the Huawei Health app on your phone and given the unique device name to use when pairing within the app.

Health app

When you install the app on Android it then prompts you to also install the Huawei Mobile Services app, which doesn’t seem to do anything by itself, but must provide background services to the Health app. The Huwawei Health app, once installed, shows in the app list as just Health.

You need to create a Huawei account and grant a load of permissions. I’m pretty wary of this generally but the app and watch do have pretty broad functionality so naturally require the permissions to enable all that. The app does say that it’ll store your data on servers in Europe (I’m in the UK) which is good for compliance with GDPR.

The pairing process itself is really simple and worked well for me, you just pick the model of watch you’re wanting to pair in the app, and then pick your watch from the list of discovered devices based on its unique ID as displayed on the watch.

The next thing I was prompted to do was a software update for the watch itself. This process worked with no problems though did take maybe five minutes or more to download and install.

During the software update you get a progress bar on the watch display. After this update I then found another smaller update (3.9MB vs 149 MB) via the Firmware Update section of the app.

On the wrist

Once the watch was updated I put it on my wrist and started to experiment with the features. It feels very comfortable and isn’t as bulky as some other smartwatches I’ve seen. I’ve had it on for a few hours now and I almost wouldn’t know it was there.

It has various “standard” features such as waking up the display when you twist your wrist, and vibrating for notifications from your phone – though not WhatsApp by default for some reason – although I believe I have found where to turn notifications from other apps on now.

There’s various watch faces available, but I think once I find the one that shows the right information for me I’m likely to stick with it. The one above is the default, and it seems to pack a fair amount of data onto the screen.

The top button (called the “Up” button in the manual in the Health app) does various things including turning the watch on and off, waking the display, and showing the list of apps on the watch. The bottom button (“Down”) by default takes you straight into the fitness tracker, thought this can be customised, and allows you to select which activity you’d like to start tracking.

Finishing up

That’s my initial overview of the Huawei Watch GT2, and so far it’s all pretty positive. Tomorrow I hope to go for a swim and will find out how good the tracking is as I walk around at work. It’ll also be interesting to see how good the sleep tracking is – it’s already much later than I normally go to bed when I’m working the next day so comparing tonight with subsequent nights should be fun.

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