review

Huawei Watch GT Sports Edition FTN-B19

Monday, December 23, 2019

Most smartwatches these days are, essentially, a miniature smartphone version for the wrist and, while very functional, do you really want to play movies, music or browse the web on a tiny screen?
If you are looking for a wearable with a traditional watch style that can track basic fitness metrics, you will find this in the Huawei Watch GT Sports Edition.
The Huawei Watch GT can measure key fitness data, including heart rate and, it can even tell weather and measure your stress level.
Most importantly though, the Huawei Watch GT has unrivaled battery performance compared to any Wear OS smartwatch. You won't have to charge the Huawei Watch GT every two days, thanks to its operating system - LiteOS- which is Huawei's own version of Google's WearOS.

Huawei currently uses LiteOS on their fitness talkbands
LiteOS allows the Watch GT to bypass the WearOS battery limitations and last up to 30 days without needing to use a massive battery, which would make the watch significantly bulky.
removable 46mm strap size
The Huawei Watch GT is the complete opposite to bulky. It is slimline (10.6mm thick) with a snappy user interface thanks to the big.LITTLE-like architecture of the Watch GT Cortex-M4 dual-chipset.
While it's only a dual chip, the Huawei Watch GT Cortex-M4 performs better (no lag) than the quad-core Cortex A7 integrated in the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset of many Wear OS smartwatches.
Huawei Watch GT Model FTN-B19
Key features that you get with the Huawei Watch GT Sports edition include digital compass, which is user calibrated. The compass shows latitudes only though; hence no GPS coordinates.
There is also an air barometer sensor built-in to the Huawei Watch GT and, just like mercury and water barometers, it measures air pressure or changes in the atmosphere to help forecast the weather.
As far as its accuracy, the Huawei Watch GT air barometer sensor automatically uses the barometric pressure of your location so, you don't have to manually adjust it.
Atmospheric pressure is charted in "hectopascals" (hPa) with a range between 300hPa and 1100hPa. The barometer screen also shows highest/lowest values, as well as a graph, showing the hPa pressure for the 12 to 24 hours ahead. Falling hPa indicates likelihood of rain, while rising hPa indicates the opposite.
Health features that you get with the Huawei Watch GT include classic stopwatch and breathing exercises (inhale/exhale), which you can set the duration (time) and intensity (rythm) of. There is also a stress test you can take regularly to determine your level of mental pressure.
From the Huawei Watch GT, you can restart, power off, control brightness, lock the screen, add alarms and set the time and day to be alarmed.
When the alarm is triggered, the alarm time appears on the display along with a cancel button and snooze button. There is no audible sound other than vibration.
You can set "time" targets and "calorie" targets so, you won't overdo workouts and also get basic exercise data metrics (including VO2 max) over a seven-day period, as well as training suggestions and suggestions on recovery time, according to your personal historic exercise data.
Fitness data is viewed via the companion app - Huawei Health App - which also lets you update the firmware and enable/disable settings of the Watch GT, including "continuous heart rate monitoring",phone notifications, activity reminder and sleep tracking.
pairs to a smartphone via bluetooth connection
Speaking of the Huawei Health App, it requires also the download of another app - Huawei Mobile Services - as well as creating a Huawei ID via email or phone registration.
The Health App is a useful addition to the Watch GT though, as it allows you to track battery and fitness data such as steps, calories and distance, as well as "watch faces".
Speaking of calories, you can track your exercise route, thanks to the integration of Google maps in the Huawei Health App.
A couple of other key factors that help extend the battery life of the Huawei Watch GT are the 1.39-inch AMOLED screen and auto screen turn off. With AMOLED screens, the whole screen doesn't light up, creating a "dark theme", which saves some battery.
The Watch GT will also automatically turn off the screen after 2 seconds, which may feel as an inconvenience at first if you are used to"always on display" screens.
That said, you quickly get used to it as the screen can be easily woken up via a short twist of the wrist, which is very convenient during a workout as you don't have to press any buttons to wake the screen.
As far as charging, the Huawei Watch GT recharges via a small circular magnetic charging dock (included) that slots perfectly on the back of the Watch GT.
The charging dock features two metal prong contacts and and a USB-C port on the side. A USB-C charging cable is also included. Charging the Watch GT takes two hours.
A few smartwatch features that you may expect on the Huawei Watch GT but won't find include Bluetooth music, map navigation and NFC, which means, you won't be able to play music or use NFC-based banking services such a Google Pay. That said, the Huawei Watch GT does support QR code-banking payment services such as AliPay.
Consuming very little power, you can get anywhere from 2 weeks (with heart rate monitoring only) to 1 week of battery life with mix usage (heart rate monitoring and GPS). To make the Watch GT battery last up to 30 days, GPS and heart rate need to be turned off.
Bluetooth cannot be manually turned off and it's always on. There is no bluetooth specification but, given the superb battery performance it's safe to assume the Watch GT uses Bluetooth Low Energy.
If you have heart rate and GPS turned on constantly, you can expect up to 24 hours of battery life. The PPG heart rate sensor is located on the back of the watch where you find two green LED lights and two light-sensitive photodiodes designed to detect the blood flow through the ulnar artery running through the wrist and forearm.
The Huawei Watch GT has a water resistance rating of 5 ATM under ISO standard 22810:2010, which means the Watch GT can be submerged 50 meters under non-moving (static pressure) water conditions.
This, basically, means that the Huawei Watch GT is safe for swimming and shallow scuba diving but, it's not suitable for fast-moving water activities like water skiing and cliff jumping, which could potentially breach the seal gasket of the watch due to the water pressure on impact.
Ultimately, the Huawei Watch GT Sports edition is not intended to replace a smartphone like most smartwatches are designed to do.
Instead, with the Watch GT you get a classic watch with the functionality of a fitness band that does the basics (Sleep and real-time monitoring tracking) very well via the integration of AI algorithms that you won't find in any WearOS smartwatch.

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