In a world dominated by Apple and Galaxy Watches, it is often easy to forget that other manufacturers are making smartwatches that some would argue are beating the big two at their own game when it comes to features, design, and functionality. Two new releases from Huawei, the GT Runner, and GT 3 Pro are a testament to the company’s drive to beat the big players at their own game by creating two very different products, one that targets the fitness segment and another that tackles the smart device category.
The GT Runner is Huawei’s answer to those consumers that gravitate toward the Garmin fitness watches of the world. For those that are seeking advanced fitness tracking metrics, a more rugged design, and phenomenal (14-day) battery life; the GT Runner delivers. As the name would imply, this is a fitness first watch with smartwatch features and comes complete with a lightweight, waterproof design and accurate fitness tracking for a variety of exercises with a focus on running.
With a very clever and lighter polycarbonate design flanked by a two-button physical control system, touchscreen, and rotating crown, this is an impressive build for a fitness-focused device and offers a lot of versatility for navigating around the UI. There is also reassuring 5 ATM water resistance which means it is also perfect for those that love to swim. Finishing off the impressive design package is an energy-efficient 1.43-inch AMOLED display that is very vibrant and easy to see in all conditions, even under direct sun.
Powering the watch is Huawei’s Harmony OS with the ability to download some useful third-party apps from their proprietary and growing app store and quickly reply to messages and voice calls. Sadly, given the company’s woes with Google and the US government, some popular apps are just not available for use on this device, such as Google Pay and some streaming services like Spotify for offline listening. However, none of these matters when you consider the powerful array of sensors and fitness tracking features this device has.
The GT Runner features a Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Air Pressure sensor, and Huawei’s own TruSeen 5.0+ sensor that can very accurately track Sp02, and heart rate and even provide metrics on stress and sleep tracking better than most on the market. Lastly, with a dual-band five-system GNSS, the watch can successfully track and map your usual routes and collect data that measures your average stride, recovery heart rate, VO2 Max, and more, along with a bunch of pre-set running courses and plans for all levels. All this data is collated using the Huawei Health app which is all about showing users an overview of their holistic health and how to improve their overall well-being and it works quite well.
On the other side of the spectrum is the GT 3 Pro Ceramic Edition which is the most premium of their offerings and features a stunning ceramic build with a white ceramic bracelet flanking sapphire coated 43mm AMOLED watch face that put simply is quite striking to look at as the company targets a different type of audience.
While the use of ceramic is rare in smartwatches, it does bring the added benefit of being more resistant to scratches and scrapes compared to the plastic build of the GT Runner but does bring additional weight to the wrist which some may not like. Maybe, it’s the white ceramic or gold metal accents but we have never had so many compliments about a piece of smart tech than when we started to review this device.
The 3 Pro also builds on features also offered in the GT runner and offers 100+ sport modes and new free-dive tracking. In some markets (namely Huawei’s homeland of China) ECG functionality is also on the table (along with NFC), however, approval from local medical bodies is required for this feature to be enabled everywhere.
Usability and navigating through the OS are also similarly fluid and interaction via the touchscreen, rotating crown, and side buttons continued to impress in day-to-day usage. Also of note is the watches’ ability to auto-track workouts such as walking, running, rowing, and elliptical and the included always-on display is very welcome too as is the longevity of the battery which again is about 5x longer than your average Apple Watch.
To sum up, the GT 3 Pro brings all the fitness prowess of the GT Runner in a more premium, robust, and eye-catching aesthetic which some will appreciate if you keep the watch on your wrist for work or play. If we had our choice, we would stick with the Pro!
Get yours today at https://consumer.huawei.com/ca/wearables/