The Pro version of Huawei’s excellent Watch GT 2 brings a few new features to keep it up to date and able to compete.
- This is an update of the excellent Watch GT 2 reviewed back in 2019. Read that review first for even more detail, then check back to see what has been updated.
The new GT 2 Pro has a more premium design, with sapphire glass and a titanium build. The display is slightly bigger at 46.7mm and the AMOLED display has a resolution of 454×454 pixels.
In the box comes the watch and two straps; a grey brown leather strap and a black fluroelastomer strap – easily changed with the quick release strap system (you can of course buy third-party straps if you prefer, such as metal ones).
The watch weighs in at 52g without a strap, and is powered by Huawei’s highly efficient Kirin A1 chip that powered the original GT 2. It is also water resistance to a depth of 50 metres.
There are two buttons on the side, allowing easy access to the menu and other functions, and a shortcut button that can be customised. The display is also touch sensitive to allow you to select functions and swipe for more information (in a paged format controlled using different swipe gestures).
With a more solid construction, the GT 2 Pro is a nice progression on what was already a solid foundation in the form of the original watch. It feels substantial, and will make you feel like you’ve got something special for your money over and above many of the sub-£150 watches now on the market.
While the original GT 2 came with a magnetic dock that you had to line up to meet the contact pins on the back of the original, the Pro now has wireless charging and comes with a dock that requires no lining up at all.
It can also be charged with any Qi wireless charger, including the rear of any phone that has reverse wireless charging – as offered on many high-end Huawei and Samsung phones.
Without a doubt, the best feature of the GT 2 was the battery life, and it’s equally impressive here. It can offer up to two weeks in ideal circumstances, dropping quite a bit for heavy usage but still around the week mark.
Even with the always-on display enabled, you’ll get four or five days before needing to top up.
The watch is quick to show the time when you lift the wrist, and you can also select the amount of time you’d like the main watch face to remain on (with an obvious battery life hit if you start to extend the time, increase the brightness etc).
The extended display can be done on a one-off basis, if for example you need to keep to second-by-second accuracy (none of the always-on faces show seconds) for something.
There are now a sizeable number of watch faces you can download via the Health app, and you can even use NFC to transfer images to the watch and use as a background. NFC is still not usable for mobile payments, but without Google Pay this was never to be expected.
Over the original GT 2, the watch now has a number of new tracking modes (there are so many, you’re advised to check the Huawei website for the full list), and can also now install and run apps.
A new golf driving range mode can analyse your swing posture to improve your speed and efficiency on the range, to help improve your golfing skill.
The watch keeps a Bluetooth connection with your phone, allowing you to make and receive calls (the watch has both a speaker and microphone), act as a remote shutter button for your phone camera, and control the music player on your phone.
If you’re without your phone, you can store music locally on the device to play over the speaker (there’s 4GB of internal storage), or via wireless headphones. The watch will also talk to you during workouts and let you know when you reach certain milestones.
The heart rate monitor, blood oxygen meter and sleep tracking have all been upgraded for accuracy too. The sleep recording is recorded in great detail, including any subsequent naps you might take during the same day.
Everything is handled through Huawei’s Health app, which also manages the other functions of the watch (like what notifications you’d like to receive, firmware updates and so on).
Another new feature is the Route Back mode that, as the name suggests, lets the watch guide you back to where you started your walk or run. It doesn’t give detailed turn directions, but rather uses the compass to guide you in the general direction of your original walk. If you’ve been out hiking across country, you probably don’t want or need to go the exact same way you came, so can simply elect for a straight line and you make the necessary adjustments as required.
I found that charging the watch on the back of the Mate 40 Pro was good for about five minutes before it moved slightly out of position and stopped charging. I only noticed this after an hour or so, making me realise this is probably not the most practical way to charge – but if caught short without the charging cradle or another wireless charging pad, it’s a useful ‘plan b’.
I also found it took a little too long to find my GPS position when I wanted to start an outdoor walk. It says to stand in an open space, but for some reason it still couldn’t get a fix when standing in a field for a few minutes, yet when trying over and over, eventually it would get a fix in a matter of seconds. Go figure.
You can elect to start tracking without the use of GPS, and if you’re not worried about viewing your route on a map later, or using the Route Back feature, you can skip using GPS entirely – which in turn saves a bit of power consumption.
In days gone by, I remember when you needed to download the location of satellites in orbit to aid a faster fix. Those days are over, but it does seem like the watch could do with some assistance to speed things up. Or maybe I was just unlucky.
While Qualcomm continues to drag its heels with its wearable chipset, and manufacturers seem even slower to release new wearables using them, Huawei’s power sipping Kirin A1 chip has once again helped the company produce a smartwatch packed to the rafters with functionality, but still managing to go days between charges.
Whatever issues Huawei might be suffering on the smartphone side of the business, when it comes to wearables the company is still leading the way and showing everyone else what is possible. Of course, it’s more expensive than some of the other smartwatches I’ve reviewed of late (and all of those have their own merits) but if you’re looking for something with class and functionality, the updated GT 2 Pro remains a great choice.
Pricing & Availability
The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro is on sale at Huawei’s own website, as well as selected retailers, for £249.99. At the time of writing, the watch is bundled with a free pair of FreeBuds 3i wireless earbuds worth £89.99.
For an extra £19.99, the watch can also be purchased with a Huawei Smart Scale.
- This watch was provided for review by Huawei, but all opinions are my own. Huawei has no editorial control over the content of this review.