Huawei Watch GT 2e Review: Big Time Health Kick

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The battle lines when it comes to smartwatches is fairly clear at this stage – luxury and fitness. While it can be argued that Apple has dominated the former, the latter is still looking for a market leader and the latest offering from Huawei, the Watch GT 2e, is aiming for that crown.

The device in question launched locally recently for R3 499 as part of a bundled offer, and is likely set to go up against the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

It may also have to prove why it’s a better choice than its predecessor, the Watch GT 2, which impressed us in November of last year when we reviewed it thanks to nearly two weeks worth of battery life.

So how has Huawei improved upon an already impressive wearable less than 12 months down the line, and should you be spending your money on this new offering?

A handful of changes

Let’s deal with the first part of those questions. While the Watch GT 2 launched in a few different flavours to target specific types of users, the 2e clearly takes inspiration from the Sport Edition of its predecessor.

The 2e is slightly larger though, with a watch face that measures 46.8mm wide compared to the previous model’s 45.9mm. The portion of the smartwatch that connects the strap to the body has only been redesigned to look more seamless, and as such provides a more sleek profile.

Other design changes see the rounded chronograph-esque buttons on the Watch GT 2 replaced with rectangular shaped ones. Whether this is more advantageous from a design perspective is hard to tell, but they do feel a tad “plasticy” and less premium than before.

Our review model is the grey stainless steel body and mint green (a little dull if we’re honest) strap combination. Personally our preference leans towards the all black option, but for the purposes of our review, colour does not make a difference.

For the actual display of the watch face, things start to feel very familiar. A 1.39″ AMOLED screen is present on both this model and the previous iteration, with a 454×454 resolution being served up. Detail on the watch looks crisp and clear, with brightness settings even at the lowest level proving more than adequate even in peak sunlight.

As with most round smartwatches though, depending on the application or feature in question, only so much information can be shown. For text messages and emails then, you’re still going to want to switch to your smartphone if it is particularly lengthy or a reply is required.

Familiar features

Thankfully navigation is fairly easy and responsive, with swipes and presses registering quickly. This was much the same on the previous model too, so it looks like they’re going stride for stride at this stage.

This is evidenced by the same onboard sensors featuring on both flavours of Watch GT 2’s – an accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, optical heart rate sensor, ambient light sensor, air pressure sensor and capacitive sensor. As such the 2e is as well equipped as its older brethren.

The same goes for the built-in GPS and GLONASS to aid with more accurate tracking for runs and the like. As is the case with most devices that feature this, battery life takes a big hit as a result, dropping to approximately 90 minutes before a recharge is needed.

A specific audience

Which most of the components are the same, Huawei has brought some new features to the fore on the Watch GT 2e. This comes in the form of 85 custom workout modes for niche activities like rock climbing, skateboarding and surfing, along with 15 professional modes for more traditional workouts like cycling swimming and running.

Added to this is a nifty tool for measuring the blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), which is clearly aimed at professional athletes rather than casual fitness enthusiasts. It is a rather specialised feature, but points to who Huawei is targeting with this latest addition to the Watch GT lineup.

Whether it is enough to get those who already purchased last year’s offering to upgrade, remains to be seen, but we’d venture to say no. This as the Watch GT 2 was already a handy piece of kit that sports similar features.

Final verdict

The Huawei Watch GT 2e does not feel like a game changing wearable. Perhaps that’s a result of the predecessor being released not too long ago and there not being enough time between iterations, but there simply is not enough to distinguish the two at this stage.

The addition of specialised monitoring is nice, but again may only appeal to a small set of consumers.

All that having been said, the Watch GT 2e is still an impressive smartwatch, and for consumers looking to get a fitness-focused one, it is well worth considering. If you got one that is similarly specced recently though, the reasons to upgrade aren’t there.

As such it boils down to when you’ve gotten into the fitness smartwatch game, or how long ago you bought your current one.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.