Huawei Watch GT: A Few Trade-Offs Provide Amazing Battery Life and Sleep Tracking

The most painful thing about wearing a Wear OS smartwatch is that at best (and with few exceptions), you can expect maybe a day and a half of battery life. This means no sleep tracking unless you want to remove your watch at some point during the next day to charge it. The Huawei Watch GT offers a compromise.

The Huawei Watch GT represents a new category of smart wearables from Huawei based on LiteOS.

Named after grand tourers, a performance and luxury car capable of high-speed and long-distance driving, the HUAWEI WATCH GT uses an innovative dual-engine and smart power-saving architecture that enables it to switch between performance and efficiency modes depending on an individual’s activity to maximize battery life. HUAWEI WATCH GT features two-week battery life with typical use including: all day wear and heart rate function activated, scientific sleeping function activated at night, 90 minutes of exercise per week and message notification. Used without exercise tracking in a more traditional watch scenario, the HUAWEI WATCH GT can stay charged for up to 30 days. In a Marathon scenario with GPS, heart rate monitoring and running mode activated, the average battery life is up to 22 hours.

What do you have to give up to get this kind of battery life? Well, to start, your smartwatch won’t be running Wear OS. That means you’re going to be using the Huawei Health app on your Android or iOS device to access the deeper watch settings, and you’ll be giving up some of the Wear OS smartwatch traditional functions — like adding apps that you usually use from your phone, answering phone calls from your wrist, or replying to texts with your voice from your wrist. The watch doesn’t have its own 4G/LTE eSIM inside, and you can’t wake it by saying “Okay, Google.” You won’t get offline music playback, Android Pay, a built-in keyboard, or a need to lock the screen.

Now let’s talk about what you will get … starting with the hardware and what’s in the box.

The Huawei Watch GT package includes the watch, a Type-A to Type-C charging cable, a wireless charging cradle, a quick start guide, and a warranty card.

The Huawei Watch GT is available in two styles. The first has a black stainless steel case with a DLC (Diamond-like Carbon) coating and a black silicone strap; it retails for $199.99. The version I received has a stainless steel case with a saddle brown leather strap on the outside with a “skin-friendly elastomer silicone rubber material on the inside.” Both watches measure 46mm across and are 10.6mm thick; they have a 1.39” 454 x 454 (ppi 326) AMOLED high-resolution display, a beautiful ceramic bezel, and double crowns. The Huawei Watch GT is made to be comfortable, sweat-resistant, and breathable.

On the backside of the watch, you can see the optical heart rate sensor and the two charging magnets that match up with the charging cradle.

This is just another view to show you how the outer brown leather band is lined in a comfy black silicone rubber material on the inside. As nice as the watch looks, you don’t have to be worried about wearing it when you work out or shower (it’s 5 ATM water-resistant).

After charging the watch, you’ll want to download the Huawei Health app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll need to pair the watch to the app. Once that’s done, you’ll have a console that displays your steps, exercise records, sleep, weight, heart rate and a graphic of your last 30 days step records (I know — I’m failing).

The weight information has to be filled in manually, unfortunately, unless you own one of the two scales mentioned in the settings. I was hoping there might be a way where my Withings scale could speak to the Google Fit app, which would, in turn, speak with the Huawei Health app (since they’re connected), but alas. I’ll dig more into the app features shortly. Let’s get back to the watch.

With the watch connected to your phone and turned on, you’ll be looking at one of the 14 available watch faces. This is a larger watch, and while it fits my wrist perfectly (and I have enjoyed wearing it), the included watch faces are very masculine. I would like to have seen more options in this department (or the ability to download more of them), but in the meantime, I’ve been happy with the “Festival” watch face.

Bear in mind that these are extreme close-ups; the picture of the watch screen may appear a bit pixellated, but the watch screen does not look that way when you are looking at it.

Swiping down from the top of the watch display reveals a screen with options that allow you to silence notifications, switch between the watch showing the time for 5 minutes or the display turning itself off until your wrist is raised again (which saves battery life), a handy “find phone” feature (it makes your phone play a tune and announce “right here, right here!” in a cute voice); you can also lock the watch display (unlocking is done by pressing both crown buttons until the display says it’s unlocked), and a settings button. Under those options, you’ll see if Bluetooth is or isn’t connected, a battery life bar with percentage, and the month, date, and day.

Hitting the Settings button brings up a menu that includes Display, Do Not Disturb, System, and About. Hitting the Display button will allow you to pick a different watch face or adjust the watch face’s brightness.

Here are some of the 14 available watch faces; some give more information at a glance than others; some faces display everything from your total daily steps to the weather to your last measured heart rate.

Swiping left on the main watch face display pulls up the heart rate screen …

By analyzing the heart rate with scientific algorithms ensures individuals are exercising safely. The HUAWEI TruSeen 3.0 heart rate monitoring technology tracks active and resting heart rates. Combining innovative PPG optical and hardware design and AI algorithms, the solution can monitor the heart rate of users in real-time with high precision. In Sport mode, the HUAWEI WATCH GT can be set up to notify individuals to adjust the intensity of their workout based on a pre-set target heart rate interval. In rest mode, the smartwatch automatically monitors and records the resting heart rate of users.

Swiping left again pulls up the current weather screen.

And swiping left one more time pulls up a screen showing your activity. Yeah, I know — my step count is pretty bad right now. =/

I should mention that the top crown button will wake the watch’s display when pressed once, and it will take you to a dedicated workout section if pressed again. Pressing the Workouts button reveals Running Courses, which includes four pre-programmed workouts for fat-burning using walking and running. You can also select from an outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor walk, climbing, trail running, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, pool swimming (!!), open water swimming, and other.

The HUAWEI Watch GT supports a range of indoor and outdoor fitness activities including: indoor exercises, outdoor running, mountain climbing, cycling and open water swimming. Featuring three of the major satellite positioning systems – GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO – and a tracking algorithm, the HUAWEI WATCH GT provides comprehensive, precise positioning for distance tracking. It also comes with a fitness coach built-in with a scientific training system that includes introductory to advanced running courses and FirstBeat powered training effect analyses such as VO2max Fitness Level, Training Effect (Aerobic), Training Load, Training Status, Recovery Time Advisor, Personalized Plans (Running), Calories Burned, and Race Time Predictor.

Other apps loaded on the Watch GT include Workout records, workout status, heart rate, activity records, sleep, barometer, compass, weather, notifications, stopwatch, timer, alarm, flashlight, and find my phone.

Jumping back to the app again. You can really dig into the quality of sleep that you are getting by clicking the sleep section on the main page.

The HUAWEI WATCH GT can also track deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, awake, and naps with HUAWEI TruSleep™. Developed in collaboration with Harvard Medical School’s CDB Center, HUAWEI TruSleep™ helps identify the six most common sleep-related issues, and recommends potential solutions to help you sleep better.

Scrolling down reveals even more info on your sleep …

And you can also see data for the week, month, and year.

You can do the same thing with the heart rate information.

Clicking the upper right-hand corner of the main Huawei Health app screen opens up all of the settings for the watch itself …

You can set notifications to let you know when your favorite apps are pinging you …

And if you enable location services, the watch can give you weather reports.

One last thing: At the bottom of the main Huawei Health app screen, there are three choices: Home, Exercise, and Me. Exercise pulls up maps of your outdoor run (the Watch GT has GPS support) …

… and Me pulls up information regarding your goals (step and weight-wise, anyway), Your profile (gender, date of birth, height, weight), the status of your connected watch, the apps that you are data sharing with (I have Google Fit and MyFitnessPal enabled), and settings where you can set the apps notification panel to show your steps and let you know when a target is reached. You can also set the units to display metric or imperial.

So there you have it; it’s not as heavy on apps and voice features as a Wear OS watch would be, but the Huawei Watch GT is still plenty smart and full-featured. If you’re aggravated that your Wear OS smartwatch (or Apple Watch, for that matter) can’t stay alive long enough to track your sleep and daily activities, you’ll love the freedom from the charger that you get with the Huawei Watch GT.

Sure, I wish that there were more watch faces to choose from, but I can’t say that it’s a deal-breaker. The Huawei Watch GT is a great looking smartwatch that will give you notifications, the weather on your wrist, your steps, exercises, and heart rate as well as in-depth sleep tracking; it also tells the time. 😉

The pay-off of much better battery life makes the Watch GT a great choice for people who want to wear an attractive timepiece that can do more.

The Huawei Watch GT retails for $229.99 with the saddle brown strap and $199.99 for the black silicone strap; it is available from New Egg and Amazon [affiliate link].

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Excellent build quality; Comfortable to wear while awake and asleep; You can swim with it on; Battery can last up to 30 days (roughly 2 weeks battery life with heart rate monitoring on and 90 minutes of exercise per week), so yes — you can use it for accurate sleep tracking; Attractive watch design; You can swim (and track your swimming) with it on; Beautiful and bright touchscreen display

What Needs Improvement: There are only 14 available watch faces; Might be a bit large and thick for petite people; You’ll have to manually enter your weight in the app unless you have a Huawei or Honor scale

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.