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Huawei Watch GT 2e review: it's sportier, but is it superior?

Huawei Watch GT 2e review: it's sportier, but is it superior?

Just six months after the launch of the Watch GT 2, Huawei has followed it up with the introduction of the Watch GT 2e to coincide with the P40 Lite, P40, and P40 Pro launch. The new smartwatch is sportier than its predecessor, but is it superior? I've been wearing it to find out.

Rating

Good

  • Battery life
  • Competitive price
  • Good Huawei Health app
  • Tracks loads of sports

Bad

  • Quite heavy
  • Setup complexity
  • No 4G/LTE

Huawei Watch GT 2e release date and price

The Huawei Watch GT 2e costs €199/£179 in Europe, marking a €50 reduction from the launch price of the Watch GT 2 (€249). Naturally, the price of the GT 2 is now down to under €200 as well. For consumers, the choice between the GT 2 and GT 2e comes down to how sporty you want to go with your smartwatch, rather than what your budget is.

The new wearable comes in four colors: Icy White, Lava Red, Mint Green, and the Graphite Black version I tested. You can already order the Watch GT 2e from Amazon and selected retailers in Europe.

 

Sportier design

Compared to the classic design of the Huawei Watch GT 2, the GT 2e has received a sporty makeover. The round dials have been reworked into slimmer buttons, and are now more streamlined into the bracelet. The stainless steel case encloses the flat crown, whilst the bracelet is made of soft, skin-friendly fluoro rubber and the two-tone TPU material to match the unibody design. Huawei says this makes the Watch GT 2e particularly breathable and sweat resistant.

I found the Watch GT 2e comfortable to wear when exercising. Naturally, you get a build-up of sweat under the watch, but that is only normal. It is water-resistant up to 5 ATM though, so there is no worry about damage. It is heavier than I would like for a sports watch, however. The Watch GT 2e weighs 43 grams without the strap, and you can certainly feel it once you get your arms swinging on a run.

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The buttons are slimmer and sportier on the GT 2e compared to the regular GT 2 / © AndroidPIT

The 1.39-inch OLED touch display is sharp and bright, and offers a good resolution. It is easy to read, even in bright outdoor sunlight. There are plenty of dial designs to download from the Huawei Health app, for added customization. I am not a huge fan of the default digital reproductions of watch hands and always go for a clean digital clock on any smartwatch I am testing. The photographs for this review were taken before I'd had the chance to customize the watch face - that's the only way we can work in a lockdown.

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Sportier, sure, but still weighty for an active smartwatch / © AndroidPIT

Lite OS, Huawei Health, and some complications

Huawei's own Lite OS is still the preferred operating system for Huawei smartwatches , so those who are looking for a true Wear OS experience will be disappointed. Everything on the GT 2e is managed by the Huawei Health app. That's where I ran into a few problems.

When setting up the Watch GT 2e with the OnePlus 8, I ran into an interesting HMS reverse problem. To use the Huawei Health app, I needed version 4.0 of Huawei Mobile Service or later. The Google Play Store version stops at v3.3, so I had to sideload the Huawei App Gallery in order to get the latest HMS Core. Only then was I able to pair the Watch GT2e to the brand new smartphone I was testing alongside the new smartwatch. It's a workable solution, but not one that every consumer would necessarily know how to do without looking up a guide online. The whole process took me around 15 minutes, but I test these things for a living. It's a barrier to entry for customers that were hoping to get an out-of-the-box ready wearable device.

Other than that, the Huawei Health app is still a successful fitness tracking tool. There are 15 professional workout modes baked into the watch, including triathlons, pool swimming, and cycling. Despite the current limitations for getting out and about, I was permitted to take a short run with the Huawei Watch GT 2e, and the GPS was accurate on a route a know well and run frequently. The heart rate monitor was also accurate. I ran the course with the Watch GT 2e on my left wrist and my usual running watch on my right wrist to check the accuracy.

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The GPS and heartrate monitor were accurate on my test run in Berlin / © AndroidPIT

The smartwatch can also measure your VO2Max levels, although this can only be measured during running workout sessions. Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels are also recorded here, although I am always a little skeptical at the magic of these systems on any fitness tracking tech device. Nice to have a rough guide, but I wouldn't trust the data 100 percent.

Same Kirin A1 chip, more RAM

In terms of performance, you still get Huawei's Kirin A1 chip in the Watch GT 2e . However, the RAM has now been doubled on the GT2e, up to 4GB from the 2GB on the GT 2. Performance is snappy as a result, and navigating the menus is as fun as it can be on a tiny 1.39-inch display. There is still no 4G/LTE version of this smartwatch, however.

For more information on what the Kirin A1 chips can do, I refer you to the performance section if out Huawei Watch GT 2 review.

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Navigating the menus of the Watch GT 2e is a breeze / © AndroidPIT

Same great battery life

Battery life was one of the main strengths of last year's Huawei Watch GT 2, and the capacity remains unchanged on the GT 2e. It's the same 455 mAh cell which Huawei says will deliver 14 days of battery life. I would shave a couple of days off of that number if you are using the watch to its full potential. GPS tracking when exercising, for example, is one of the quickest ways to deplete the battery, but it's also the main function I use on a sports tracker or smartwatch.

During my testing period, I was able to get somewhere between eight and nine days of battery life out of the GT 2e, but I admit that during the review process I am often pushing the device harder than I would do in normal daily life.

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You can disconnect the USB-C cable from the charging base easily / © AndroidPIT

Charging is done via the included charging pad, which grips the back of the smartwatch magnetically. Unlike a lot of smartwatch charging bases, this one features a disconnectable USB-C port so you can carry just the small white disc around with you and use your smartphone charger for both your Watch GT 2e and your smartphone. It's a small touch, but a smart one in my opinion.

Final verdict

Huawei continues to deliver sturdy smartwatches that can compete with the very best on battery life and features. The choice between the GT 2 and GT 2e comes down the personal preference, but I do prefer the sportier look and feel of the new version and you do get more RAM.

The Huawei Health app remains a good, feature-rich fitness assistant, especially for those who own a Huawei or Honor smartphone. The complications with HMS Core and the App Gallery, however, make the GT 2e far-from a simple setup option for those just starting out with a fully-fledged smartwatch.

If you are looking for a sports smartwatch that can track your activities accurately, and is both slim and light, I would recommend looking at the Huami Amazfit range. You have to pass on some of the regular smartwatch features such as notifications from your smartphone, but I am a fan of the products for their simplicity and affordability.

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