If you own, or have owned the Huawei Watch GT 2, you’ll be right at home here. The Huawei Watch GT 2e is essentially the Watch GT 2 in a new body. There are a couple of differences, so it's not the same watch, but it's every similar on the inside.
This smartwatch is a bit more sporty-looking than its predecessor, while it retains that touch of class as well. It looks considerably different on the outside, but on the inside, it’s the Watch GT2 through-and-through, aside from the exclusion of the speaker, and the microphone. Huawei opted to remove those in order to be able to decrease the price tag on this watch, and not many people were using them either way.
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is a design refresh that the company opted to release about half a year after the arrival of the Watch GT 2. The Watch GT 2e got announced back in March this year, while the original Watch GT 2 arrived back in September last year, along with the Huawei Mate 30 series.
There is plenty to love when it comes to this watch, that’s for sure. The design is great, and so is performance. Battery life is on another level. There are some issues as well, as there are with every device out there. That is why we’re here, to give you as much information as possible, and make your purchasing decision easier. If you’re at all interested in purchasing the Huawei Watch GT 2e, read on.
It looks great, premium… though more sporty than the Watch GT 2
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is made out of stainless steel, same as its sibling, with some plastic added in. This smartwatch comes with a frame made out of stainless steel, and a silicone strap. There are a number of colorful straps to choose from, in fact, and they’re quite comfortable. We’ll talk more about them a bit later on.
The Watch GT 2e weighs 43 grams, without the strap. It’s not heavy at all, and yet it’s not too light either. If you do prefer heavier watches, this may feel a bit underwhelming for you. For me, personally, it’s just right in terms of heft. The watch offers a round display, which is surrounded by stainless steel.
This watch offers two buttons on the right side, just like the Watch GT 2. These buttons are considerably different, though. They do not protrude as much, and resemble more to the buttons on sporty digital watches. They are plenty clicky, though I personally prefer the longer travel, and also the design of the Watch GT 2 buttons. That’s a matter of preference, that is all.
The top button serves as a home button, and a menu button at the same time. The bottom one is customizable, you can set it up to be whatever you want. I set it up as a media player button, for example. On the bottom of this watch, you’ll notice a heart rate sensor. This watch does not have a speaker and a microphone like its predecessor, which is not necessarily a bad thing. That speaker was not all that great, and let’s be honest, most of you don’t make phone calls, or listen to music on your watch (without headphones).
This smartwatch has rather interesting connecting points for watch bands, and they both do and don’t play nice with third-party watch bands. You can, technically, attach any 22mm third-party watch band to this watch, but due to the design of the connecting points, most of them won’t look that great. The original silicone watch band that came attached to this watch has a rather specific shape, as it widens towards the top. That is why most third-party watch straps will look out of place on this smartwatch. Check out the image below to get a better idea of what’s going on here.
This AMOLED display offers vivid colors, and it really good overall
The display on this watch is great, actually. It’s the same display that Huawei used on the Watch GT 2, and that’s not a bad thing at all. We’re looking at a 1.39-inch 454 x 454 AMOLED panel here, a circular panel. It’s a touch-sensitive display, and it offers really nice colors. Blacks are quite deep, and colors vivid. The watch can get decently bright outdoors, and not many people will have issues with that aspect of it.
In most ways, this display is great, but… it could be more responsive. While I was using it, it felt like it was trying to catch up to my interaction. In other words, it doesn’t seem like touch sampling on this watch is all that great. You can use it just fine, but don’t expect touch responsiveness you’ve experienced on Samsung’s ‘Gear’ watches, or your smartphone, as that’s not something you’ll get here. It won’t bother many people, but it is worth noting none-the-less.
Great performance, though touch sampling could be better
The performance of the Huawei Watch GT 2e is great. The Kirin A1 on the inside is more than powerful to handle anything you throw at this watch, and hiccups are very rare. Smartwatches are not smartphones, and you won’t be playing games on them or anything of the sort. Still, it’s extremely important that they run smoothly all the time, and the Watch GT 2e offers that, and more.
We did talk about its display’s touch sampling in the display section, but it kind of applies here as well. I did feel like the watch is trying to catch up to my interaction with it. It’s a far cry from interaction with a smartphone, or anything of the sort. That’s not the indication of its power, though, but of its display’s touch sampling. The vast majority of people won’t be bothered by that, though, and it’s noticeable only when scrolling or something of the sort.
The software is good in general, but… there are some quirks
The software on the Huawei Watch GT 2e is good, but… it’s still not where it should be, and that especially goes for the notifications. I’ve noticed some of the same issues that I spotted on the Huawei Watch GT 2, in fact. Let’s talk about the good aspects first, shall we, as the software that runs here has a lot of good aspects. By the way, it’s Huawei’s proprietary software, in case you were wondering.
The UI layout is really good, and familiar. Just like on the Samsung Galaxy Gear series, you have a number of home pages to scroll through. You do have some options when it comes to their arrangement as well. A menu button on the side will show you all the features / options that the watch offers, and a customizable button is also quite useful.
If you swipe from the top, you’ll get access to battery percentage, quick toggles, date, and the Bluetooth connection status. If you do the opposite, and swipe from the bottom up, you’ll see your notifications. This software is quite snappy, and it’s going in the right direction, but… Huawei has a lot of work to do in order to fix some of its quirks. Speaking of which, let’s talk about those.
All the notification system issues from the Watch GT 2 are still present here
The notifications are not handled in the best manner here. First and foremost, the sync between the watch and the phone’s notifications list is not complete. You will get all the notifications that you choose on your watch, but once you remove them from your watch’s queue, they won’t disappear from your phone’s notification shade. The same goes if you remove them from your phone, they’ll still be on your watch. You also need to scroll all the way down to the end of your notifications list on the watch in order to remove them all.
You can remove them one by one, but not from the notifications list. You need to tap on every notification separately, and then swipe to the side to remove it. There is also no animation included here, the card will simply disappear. Not many people will appreciate that, as it’s not as seamless.
Grouping is yet another issue when it comes to notifications. The watch will not group your notifications from the same app. So, if you receive a ton of notifications from one app, you’ll get them all separately. That becomes quite an issue if you’re getting a lot of notifications, so it should be resolved.
Speaking of notifications, you cannot respond to any. You can read them, and dismiss them, that’s fine, but replies of any kind are not available here. You cannot even send an emoticon, or a predetermined response quickly. That’s the way Huawei decided to go with its software, though I hope that will change soon.
Some app icons are not represented properly. If you receive a message from Viber, for example, a default messaging icon will pop up on the watch. That is not an issue for Facebook Messenger or Gmail, for example. Also, if you receive an emoticon from any app, you won’t be able to see it on the watch, it will appear as a black message.
It is also worth noting that you won’t see an indicator for unread notifications on the watch. You can check out a notification when it arrives, but after a short while, it will just go to your queue. If you raise your wrist, and check out the watch, you won’t see any new notifications or anything of the sort, unless you swipe from the bottom up to access your queue.
I’ve also noticed a rather strange behavior with notifications if you have an active notification queued up. If you’re listening to a podcast, or music, you won’t be able to see new notifications after raising your wrist (when they arrive). That active notification on your phone will be at the top of the notifications queue on your watch at all times. In fact, it’s listed twice for some reason. Only after you swipe through those first two notification cards will you be able to see the latest notification that arrived. It’s really odd.
The rest of the software is really good. I did not notice any major issues, nor notable bugs. The whole notification situation should be addressed, though. After Huawei does that, the Huawei Watch GT 2e will be a much more compelling device from the software side of things. This way, it’s the watch's Achilles heel.
The battery life is amazing, to say the least
If you’re worried about battery life on this watch, don’t be. Battery life is one of the Huawei Watch GT 2e’s best aspects, in fact. This watch can serve you for about two weeks before you’ll need to top it off. That’s what the company claims, and it reflects on real-life usage. I was able to get around 14-15 days on a single charge with this watch. The heartbeat scanner was powered on the whole time.
Truth be said, I’m not big on fitness, so I did not use this watch for fitness at all times. I reckon that doing that will deplete the battery a bit faster, but you should still get above and beyond what most other smartwatches offer. The vast majority of smartwatches in the market offer a couple of days of battery life. Well, the Watch GT 2e is a complete opposite of that. If you’re annoyed by recharging your watch all the time, the Watch GT 2e is a great option.
Speaking of which, this watch comes with a charging dock. Do note that it does not support wireless charging, but it comes with a proprietary charging dock with pogo pins. That is not the most fortunate solution, but it works. The watch will magnetize itself once you align it with the charging dock, and the charging will commence. This works really well, just make sure to clean the pogo pins from time to time.
It's packed with fitness features & also water resistant
The Huawei Watch GT 2e is 5 ATM water resistant, in case you were wondering. This is a very welcomed certification for this watch, as it means you can go up to 50m beneath the surface with it. This watch can, of course, handle sweat without an issue while you're working out. As it looks more sporty than its sibling, many of you will probably get it because of its fitness features. Well, the watch does deliver in that regard. This is not a dedicated fitness watch, but it has quite a fitness features, and that will be enough for the vast majority of users.
First and foremost, you're getting a heart rate sensor here. It is located on the bottom of the watch, and it's the same unit as on the Huawei Watch GT 2. That heart rate sensor works perfectly fine, as it did one on the Watch GT 2. That being said, the watch comes with whopping 85 custom workout modes. So, basically no matter what you're doing at any given time, this watch can keep up with you. No matter if you're out on a walk, or a run… or you're skateboarding down the hill.
There are also 15 professional workout modes to choose from. Including climbing, outdoor walking, outdoor running, cycling, hiking, pool swimming, trail running, free training, and so on. We've tried a couple of them, and the watch worked fine through that. To be more specific, we've tried out cycling, outdoor running, and outdoor walking. It measured everything along the way without issues.
How is the Watch GT 2e different from the Watch GT 2?
Before we get down to the conclusion, some of you will probably wonder what exactly is different here, compared to the Watch GT 2. Well, other than the design, which is completely different, Huawei also cut a few corners here, in order to make the Watch GT 2e more affordable. This is essentially a more affordable, and more sporty-looking alternative to the Watch GT 2.
This watch does have one advantage over the GT 2, it offers the auto-detect feature for fitness. That is not something that was enabled / available on the GT 2 when I reviewed it. That being said, it also comes with blood saturation monitoring. The company did cut out two things from this watch, though, in comparison to the Watch GT 2. The Watch GT 2e does not include a loudspeaker, and a microphone. That will not make a huge difference to the watch majority of you, but if you do use your watch to talk to people, or something of the sort, it is worth noting.
All things considered, the Huawei Watch GT 2e is a great smartwatch
So, what’s the gist? Well, the Huawei Watch GT 2e is a great-looking smartwatch, which offers premium build. It offers amazing battery life as well, and the performance is top-notch. The touch sampling of its display could be a bit better though, while the notification system needs some serious improvements. The software is rather good in almost every other way, though. So, should you buy it? Well, if you don’t mind the minuses we’ve mentioned, and you don’t need a speaker and a microphone… then sure. This watch could serve you well for a long time, and battery degradation also shouldn’t be a problem for a long, long time, as it offers amazing battery life to begin with. I was particularly impressed with the build quality, and battery life. Those are the main two things that make this watch great, at least in my opinion.