Smartwatches in the Android space are — putting it bluntly — pretty hit and miss. There’s plenty to choose from, with some consistent issues across most of them, particularly in the WearOS space. Huawei has been in this space since the launch of their first Huawei Watch, a great device for the time. Now we’re looking at their $449.00 top of the line watch with great capabilities to fit in across various areas of your life. This broad capability and versatility go a long way to show: You can run your own OS on a watch (as Samsung does) and provide an excellent user experience.

Construction, look and feel

The Huawei Watch GT2 Pro has a number of areas that need to be looked at to fully appreciate it; technically, design wise and from a human interface perspective. Starting with the physical device and materials used.

On the front, there is a sapphire glass which achieves a couple of things. The first is that it gives a surface that’s resistant to scratches, bumps and breaks, with a wonderful texture for touch and is hugely durable. If you’re looking at the surface, you’ll see a lovely soft blue reflection. Having in the past spent significant money on watches and devices that scratch easily, it’s a very disappointing outcome, Huawei has gone that one step further to ensure a good experience and longevity of the device.

While there are other options, within Australia we’ll have access to the Nebula Gray with Gray Brown strap which really does look slick. The screen is a 1.39” AMOLED display which presents extremely well indoors, as well as out — although at times you may need to shade the screen in extreme sunlight to be able to read it easily — running 454 x 454 resolution and 326PPI which is really easy on the eyes.

Finally, the titanium body and ceramic rear of the device add to the premium look and feel. For the dimensions of the device, it’s a comfortable weight while maintaining a solid feel. The rear ceramic adds a smoothness to the rear and comfort you sometimes just can’t achieve, particularly with charging pins or less-smooth materials in contact with your skin. If I were regularly swimming I’d probably change the band to a rubberised or fully metallic one to avoid that wet leather feel, but that’s a personal choice.

The battery and charging

Huzzah! A watch battery that — even if you’re using the GPS a lot lasts more than a couple of days. I consistently got 8 days or so from the battery, even with regular uses of the GPS for tracking walks and rides, as well as gym sessions for cardio or time with my personal trainer. On paper, Huawei quote up to two weeks of battery life in “typical use” but I honestly cannot see that as realistic if you’re using the activity tracking. Even if you’re using the GPS daily you’re going to get a few good days from the GT2 Pro.

The charging options work really well for users on the move. There’s a wireless charging puck that works while plugged into any USB-C charging cable. The connection doesn’t require perfect placement, connection to pins or any of the other annoying traits of charging watches. You can simply point the back of the watch at the charging puck and let the magnets do the rest with roughly 1% per minute of chare being restored to the device.

But the charging puck isn’t the only option to charge your GT2 Pro. The second option is for wireless charging on any wireless charging pad. This works for reverse wireless charging too, having confirmed this with a couple of different devices.

The software: Installation, health and activity tracking

So this is where — for some users — complications may cause some concern. To get the app installed you either need to side-load the APK you can download, or install the Huawei App Gallery then the app from inside that. Once you have the Huawei Health app — like so many other devices now — connecting the watch is very simple, you just follow the bouncing ball.

Once installed there’s a lot of features and functions to explore. For users who have previously invested themselves (and their money) in other platforms, there’s no way — at this stage — to import your data into the Huawei platform. But if starting fresh, or happy to do so then this may well be the option for you.

It’s a really nice watch with good functionality

So before you even get into the whole exercise and fitness tracking realm, the GT2 Pro has a lot to offer just from general activity tracking perspective and as a watch. This goes for the presentation, notification capabilities (fully customisable by individual apps) and a general health perspective.

The body of the watch and provided band are really nicely presented, so much so that I wouldn’t hesitate to say that it well and truly belongs in a professional setting or casual. When you take a closer look at the number (over 200) of watch faces available, there’s one for just about any situation.

In daily use, one of the areas where some smart wearables can become frustrating is in notifications. Some devices only have a few “compatible apps” where others have an all or nothing approach. Huawei resolved this by giving users app by app notification options, with the capacity to prevent apps from delivering to your watch.

Health monitoring

The GT2 Pro is an excellent example of the tracking that is going to be hugely useful in general health monitoring. The features included are:

  • Heat Rate Monitoring 24/7
  • Bloody Oxygen monitoring
  • Sleep Monitoring
  • Stress Monitoring
  • Movement Reminders
  • Easy to read activity records

Activity and fitness monitoring

There are over 100 activities you can track with the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro. That’s a deliberate choice of words too because many of these aren’t sports per se, but rather an activity: Offerings like attending a driving range (with analysis of your swing), indoor and outdoor activity tracking for runners, swimmers and cyclists, trail running and skiing and more mainstream offerings.

The more unusual tracking options include Yoga, multiple martial arts, various dancing styles, laser tag, tug of war even bungee jumping or parachuting. The odds are: If you’re into an adventurous activity, you’ll have a way to track it here. Thankfully, tracking activities is easy to initiate: Simply press the top button, select your activity and go!

The tracking metrics are excellent offering GPS location, velocity, heart rate and estimated calories burned. Everything you need to know if you’re tracking your fitness progress. You can then quickly and easily share your activities through the Huawei Health app.

There’s no integration with popular platforms

If you’ve already spent a lot of time investing your data into another platform such as Garmin, Fitbit, Strava or Google Fit then there’s a glaring issue here. There just isn’t any integration for third party options, which is disappointing and a potentially huge barrier for some users.

If users aren’t aware of the fact they can’t log rides or runs to Strava, that could lead to some pretty significant buyers remorse. For the vast majority of users, that’s not an issue: But for anyone who holds importance to this data, that’s a deal breaker.

Should you buy one?

This is a beautiful piece of hardware with the reality being, it’s a really good watch before you get into the “smarts” of it. The feature set is huge, offering a great amount of daily activity tracking and general connectivity that it’s actually pretty hard to overlook.

The two potential drawbacks for buyers are simply the price and health tracking integration with other platforms. At $449.00 it’s not a cheap option, but as we’ve already detailed the feature set really does justify the cost. But for anyone who is already heavily invested in another platform like Garmin, Fitbit or even Google Fit, the lack of capability to link Huawei Health means you’re starting fresh.

Ultimately, I really like and have enjoyed the review period with the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro. It looks really slick, performs well, has a battery that actually lasts well and I’m not missing any features from my other watches. As a smartwatch or for someone on a health kick, $449 isn’t a huge price to pay for such an awesome piece of kit.

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Lack of integration with existing platforms, is what will do the most damage to the uptake of this smartwatch. The second thing, which will harm them in the Australian market, is what’s being offered is solely a men’s watch.