By no means an achievement, but I never thought I’d be reviewing a smart fitness tracker with a fraction of the physical activity that I once did on a daily basis. At this moment, I just hope that the current status quo changes and the lockdown lifts so I can get this watch (and myself) back to the gym and update our HUAWEI Watch GT 2e review with more fitness data.
Following up on the HUAWEI Watch GT2, the company announced a more affordable version with slight tweaks which may appeal to a different set of potential customers. It retained many, if not most of the features we lauded in our Watch GT2 review, but it’s cutting some corners in order to cut the price tag down to £159.99/€199.
Hardware and Design
The Watch GT 2e has an overall more sporty design than its predecessor, with three main key differences: the side buttons have been redesigned to be flatter (hence making it more difficult to accidentally press them when you’re bending your wrist during activities); the bezel is somewhat larger around the display and is now lacking the numerals; the wristband/strap attaches seamlessly to the watch case as the attachment part (the lugs) has been redesigned.
The color selection is also suggesting a more sporty approach, with Icy White (our unit), Lava Red, and Mint Green being the choices. New straps are also available in perforated designs to allow the skin to breathe.
Weighing around 50 grams and measuring 53 x 46.8 x 10.8 mm, it is a large watch with a 47mm case that not only looks, but it actually is larger than it should be in order to appeal to all potential customers. For those looking for a smaller form factor, there’s a 42mm version of the predecessor, the Watch GT2.
Specs-wise, HUAWEI retained most of the specs of the predecessor, including the Kirin A1 chip, and that gorgeous 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454×454 pixels. With 4GB of memory and a generous 455mAh battery, you don’t need to worry about it failing during your workout.
HUAWEI however removed the speaker from the Watch GT 2e, so, unlike with its predecessor, you won’t be able to take calls on your wrist. Bluetooth and GPS, as well as all the sensors are retained. These are: accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic, optical heart rate, ambient light, air pressure, and capacitive sensor.
It charges using a magnetic charging dock you can directly connect via USB Type C to a charger, and it will give you an up to two-week battery life on a full charge. Activating the always-on display will slightly reduce this time frame. So will continuous heart rate monitoring and stress level monitoring.
Fitness and health tracking
At the time of our HUAWEI Watch GT 2e review, the device is running software version 1.02.18, which is the latest available now.
The Watch GT 2e was the first one to introduce blood oxygen saturation monitoring (SpO2) as an official feature, but the Watch GT2 also gained this functionality via a software update.
It basically tries to predict/measure the level of oxygen in your blood, by having you stand still and holding/resting your wrist horizontally. Our measurements varied between 96% and 100%, and we sure hope it’s accurate. With the latest update to the HUAWEI Health app, these readouts are now available in the app itself, so you can have a historic look at your saturation levels over the course of a day, week, and month.
100 workout modes
The Watch GT 2e also has more workout modes than its predecessor. 100, to be specific, ranging from more traditional sports and activities to more specific exercises, like HIIT, yoga, pilates, karate, and even belly dancing.
These workout modes are split into two major categories: 15 professional workout modes, and 85 customized ones.
The 15 include eight outdoor activities (walking, running, mountain climbing, trail running, cycling, hiking, open water swimming, and triathlon), and seven indoor activities (walking, running, cycling, pool swimming, free training, elliptical machine, rower).
The watch is also able to automatically recognize 6 professional workout modes.
The 85 customized workout modes cover six major sport sub-categories: extreme, leisure, fitness, aquatics, ball games and winter sports.
With the built-in GPS, you can take it for a workout without having to take your smartphone with you. The watch will automatically track your routes and sync them to the HUAWEI Health app, where you will get a visual representation of where exactly was it that you’ve burned all those calories.
For more details on the HUAWEI Health app, make sure to check out our Watch GT2 review.
When it comes to heart-rate monitoring, we found the Watch GT 2e to be extremely accurate under ideal conditions. By ideal, we mean a snug fit on a dry wrist. If the fit isn’t ideal, or water/sweat gets in between your skin and the sensor, it could easily throw the reading off, resulting in either late reads of your pulse, or inaccurate ones.
Sleep tracking is rather accurate as well, but we didn’t manage to find out whether the watch/app uses any saturation data to further fine tune sleep tracking results. We believe only motion and heart-rate is being tracked to generate sleep reports, though we wish saturation was taken into consideration as well for the overall quality of sleep (and health).
There’s a controversy when it comes to heart-rate, activity, and sleep monitoring, when using two devices from different manufacturers. There will certainly be differences, but if you stick to just one device, even if it’s off (compared to the real numbers), it will always be off by the same margin, giving you a rather “accurate” readout of your progress. It’s the same with scales which, inaccurate as they might be, they always report inaccurately by the same margin, but your progress is still visible.
Another health feature of the Watch GT 2e is Stress level monitoring, introduced on the GT2 predecessor. It will, by using heart rate data, give you a daily readout of your stress levels (variation in your resting pulse) hour by hour, so you can look back at trends inside the app.
This is where the Watch GT 2e, like the GT2, falls a little short. Sure, you get weather data from your phone, but the notification system is still something we believe HUAWEI can (and should improve on). You can’t act on notifications, aside from dismissing them, and when they appear, they’re truncated. You can select, within the app, what kind of notifications you’re receiving, and when you do, you get information related to the app that’s sending said notification, as well as a couple of lines of content (no emojis or images though).
You also get no contactless payment options, regardless if we’re talking about Google or HUAWEI Pay.
Pros and Cons
|– sporty design
– beautiful display
– insane battery life
– accurate heard-rate tracking
– always-on display
– 100 activity modes
|– no NFC
– no third party applications
– no payment options
– notification system needs more work
– iOS experience inferior to Android
You can rely on the Watch GT 2e to be more of a solid workout and activity companion, rather than an all-around smartwatch, which is really what it aims to be. It delivers on the promises and does the job with consistency and an extremely long battery life. With 100 workout modes, accurate heart-rate and blood oxygen level readouts, as well as long-lasting battery, we believe the Watch GT 2e is worthy of being our Best Choice recommendation for a fitness smartwatch on Android smartphones, all at an attractive price.