I’m pleased to review the Huawei smartwatch that I personally paid for at their retail price of $193. HUAWEI Watch GT 2 is the base model that comes with the leather strap.

There are other variations, with metal bands and different colors straight from the Huawei websites. Now, when comparing to the competition, the Huawei smartwatchis slightly higher in price. But after reading this article, we’ll see if it’s worth the extra expense.

The experience of opening a beautiful box, the ivory color, and the unveiling of a shiny new time piece of really provides a unique experience. It’s far different for me unboxing Bluetooth speakers.

And if you’re buying this, have fun. And enjoy opening this Huawei smartwatch because they really did put a lot of effort into this aspect, but going over the smartwatch now, while we went with the recessed in display, it looks a bit more modern, I think a bit higher end in general, but you can be the judge on that. The body’s made of stainless steel, which surprisingly has shown some minor fine scratches.

More so than the Moto 360 despite wearing both watches for the same amount of time. Fine scratches were also evident on the polished crown parts which makes me question a little bit in how the finish will hold up wearing Huawei smartwatch long term but overall from far away and not scrutinizing the watch style still looks amazing.

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Physical Build of Huawei Smartwatch

Huawei smartwatch

Regarding to leather band supply although this is the base model, the quality on Huawei smartwatch is one of the best.  Soft and subtle leather less wear than I’ve seen on other smartwatches with leather bands.

And the little details of the stitching on the sides brings this all together. But more broadly, Huawei smartwatch has been very comfortable to wear, although in photos the watch does look huge but the Huawei watch itself is surprisingly light.

Huawei smartwatch is not heavy at all. The Huawei smartwatch doesn’t look big where it looks unnatural when you see this in person. I have small risks but the watch isn’t up nauseous in size.

Of course, I would recommend you trying Huawei smartwatch on yourself.  Going around the Huawei like most smartwatches, the action buttons located at the natural feeling two o’clock position, this button manually activates the screen or puts it back into ambient mode.

Read: Evergreen Garmin Forerunner 35 Sports and Hiking Watch

Holding it down brings up all the apps to use, which I’ll get into details shortly, and one more press here with the same button usually brings you back to your clock display. Rotating to the back, more smartwatches are now including a heart rate sensor, which I’ll test and demonstrate later in the fitness portion of this article.

But while on the back, the Huawei smartwatch features quick release pins allowing you to use first and third party bands that are 18 mm in width. And for those who are curious, the factor of band width is the same as the Moto 360 2nd generation at 20 mm. However, you can see where the pins are located.

They’re shortened just a bit so just a heads up on that. But taking the band off and putting it back on Huawei smartwatch has been very simple. In addition, keep in mind the leather steps are not meant to get wet from sweating while running or being caught in the rain, but the watch face itself is IP 67 water and dust resistance.

And for those who don’t know what, that means that this can sit in one meter or basically 3.3 feet of water up to a half an hour. I wouldn’t swim with Huawei smartwatch GT 2 but washing your hands and showering with this would be fine. Last, regarding its physical build, the front has a 1.4 inch Sapphire crystal glass display featuring a resolution of 400 by 400 resulting in a 286 pixel density.

The screen is technically visibly sharper than the Moto 360 2nd generation but being honest in having them literally side by side. It’s not easy to tell comparing to other competitors on a spec basis. The Apple watch, the Samsung gear S2 both feature pixel densities a little over 300 but in the end, the Huawei smartwatch is still a pleasure to look at.

The differences are minute. Huawei smartwatch like most other smartwatches features AMOLED display providing deeper blacks and more contrast in colors through the eyes than those without an AMOLED screen. There’s only one drawback, at least with the watch that I noticed the display isn’t as white as the Moto 360.

Well, sometimes you have this effect with AMOLED displays as evidenced in smartphones, but bring this outdoors in bright sunlight, the screen is still visible in person. Now, one thing to be aware, there isn’t an ambient light sensor, so the screen can adjust brightness automatically in different environments.

I left brightness at four out of five so walking outdoors screen wouldn’t need to be adjusted. Does this effect battery life? Discuss that towards the end of the review.

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User Experience of Huawei GT 2

Huawei smartwatch

Android Wear OS is the operating systems standard on all Android smartwatches.

Starting with the main screen, holding the screen down offers an impressive $42 from the factory. However, I did notice, unlike these Samsung gear S2 or the new Moto 360, there’s maybe two from the factory that you can actually customize the watch face. Where you basically select your favorite templates, change the background colors and the clock hands.

Now, although limited in that aspect, one of the biggest benefits Android wear does offer a very good amount of paid and better yet free watch face dials to download and use. Now, if you’re into the more complicated, sleek and modern looks or looking for something simple and clean to even something funky, you’ll most likely find Huawei smartwatch.

Huawei smartwatch

More smartwatches are now offering an always on display. When the smart watches tell it away from your face or the watch hasn’t been in use though Huawei smartwatch displays a black and white tone down version of the clock to conserve battery. Gently moving the wrists as if you’re intending on looking down at your watch does automatically turn the display on.

Read: Which is the Best GPS Golf Watch?

And for my testing, this works very well. And at times when it doesn’t, the always on display, or sometimes I call it the ambient display, simply helps. But besides the customization of different dials and watch faces, the smart features are one of the biggest reasons why anyone would even consider buying this over a traditional watch.

You do receive push notifications from third party apps, and you can receive notifications from your everyday services like Gmail, Hangouts, text notifications, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Whenever one of these things pops up, they do take about a quarter of your screen here and you swipe up and read your message or swipe right for the message to expand.

Or sometimes the watch may review additional options such as opening this on your phone or deleting a message. For example, swiping from the left to the right side gets rid of that notification altogether. Now, one of the unique features of Huawei smartwatch is voice recognition. Only when the screen is on, not an ambient mode saying the phrase, Google allows the options to verbally open up an app or better yet respond to a text message.

Google has worked very well and it’s time to use the speech to text option for the most part, in comparing to other voice recognition watches. The Huawei smartwatch from my experiences is considered as very good.

Moving on to the mainstream swiping right, just like holding that physical side button. Your most recent apps are up top and scrolling down reveals of the apps you have installed. Besides having the benefits of notifications, you have media controls. When you use apps like iHeartRadio or Pandora, allow you to pause, play, and skip your music.

There is also 4 GB of internal storage to sync some of your music from your phone to your Huawei GT 2 watch.

And if you have Bluetooth earphones, you can listen to music right from the Huawei smartwatch. Now going back to the app screen, swiping right one more time, allows you to select your most recent contacts to send a text or initiate the phone call from your phone, swiping right one less time, allows you to manually use Okay Google or moving down.

There are other random shortcuts that you can initiate from there.

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Health Aspects of Huawei GT 2 Smartwatch

Huawei smartwatch

Huawei smartwatch does track or steps through your entire day. Google fit is pre-installed and you can utilize that to track your daily progress. Huawei does have pre-installed fitness apps simply labeled as daily tracking or fitness tracking and in which you can set up your step goals and see your general daily progress.

If you’re going for a run initiating the finished tracking portion will segment that activity. Knowing Google fit or the Huawei apps are just okay for you. There’s always Runkeeper, Strava and other similar apps where you can see there are time lapsed, step counts, and some other apps includes your pace, distance and calories burned.

Those familiar with those apps on their phone will find the app experience isn’t as robust or as detailed when viewed on the watch. Although Runkeeper does have the ability to use heart rate sensors but Runkeeper doesn’t utilize the heart rate sensor and the Huawei band.

Read: Best Garmin Kids Watch With Fitness Tracker

Same with Google fit. You can initiate a running activity. Google fit on the watch will tell your phone to acquire GPS.

Since there’s no GPS on the Huawei smartwatch itself, but once you start, there’s no heart rate data being displayed in real time. The only time you have heart rate readings is when you manually ask the band for it. It is not continuous.

There’s no heart rate zone training. There’s just not much being done with that HR sensor on the back, at least for my testing here at the accuracy of the HR sensor, is very similar to my chest strep and my pulse ox meter indicating that the accuracy is really damn good.

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Personal features on Huawei Smartwatch

Huawei smartwatch

There is a silent vibrating alarm that you can set up to go off once or you can set up individual days when you need help waking up without disturbing others. Testing this, the vibration is on the light side and deep sleepers will most likely not feel this waking them up.

So stock from the factory, and this really goes for Android wear in general. Huawei smartwatch will work fine as an all-day activity tracker. For counting your steps, there was a stopwatch if you need that, and if you do intend on carrying your phone, the pace and distance can be displayed, which is highly beneficial during your runs.

Read: Apple Watch VS Garmin: Which is Better Smartwatch?

But features we see on dedicated activity bands like insights of stairs climbed, the heart rate tracking, real time sleeping analysis. They’re just not on Huawei smartwatch. At the end of day, it’s still predominantly a smartwatch and the fitness side of things still has a ways to go if you’re more fitness focused.

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Battery Life of Huawei Watch GT 2

I’m aware of several websites states battery life isn’t as good as some of the other bands on the market but from my personal experience leaving that ambient display on and brightness at four out of five, it wasn’t bad at all. Taking this off the charger at 7:43 in the morning, then ending the day right at 10 o’clock at night, I still had 37% battery remaining.

Now, if I left the Huawei smartwatch uncharged overnight the following morning, I’m surprised. I found that the watch still had 25% battery left but eventually the watch died later that afternoon at 1:00 PM. Of course, the battery life does vary from time to time but I usually got an entire day and a half worth of life and worst case scenario, I needed to recharge the watch that very night.

Read: Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch: Analog and Digital Watches Combo

But regarding recharging in general, I was shocked of Huawei came with this pin type docking station rather than inductive charging, like some of the other cheaper watches out there. Putting out on dock, although magnetized once in a while, it would not 100% connect or 100% align. I would have to wiggle it at just a bit.

Other watches allows for it to face you while charging as it displays the time and perfect nightstand clock replacement. But the while we obviously stepped on a table facing the ceiling instead, and recharging from a dead better to full takes about an hour and a half.

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Is Huawei Smartwatch Worthy?

Huawei smartwatch

My answer for that is yes, the watch performs ever so slightly smoother and faster than some of the other smartwatches out there, and definitely a little bit faster than the moto 360 2nd generation. A  screen is sharp enough for my taste and be styling.

I do personally prefer Huawei smartwatch. I feel it is the best, overall, smartwatch experience despite its own shortcomings.

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