Fitness trackers and smartwatches are very good business, especially in recent years. The ability to accurately track your activity is paramount for the athlete, but many watches are quite chunky and don’t transition well to an everyday aesthetic. The HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch raises the stakes for accuracy and looks good while doing it.
At 38.5 grams, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch is so incredibly light that I barely feel it on my wrist compared to my previous watch. Its sleek design also makes it look like a proper watch. While that isn’t altogether rare for smartwatches anymore, there are still a lot of blocky squares on people’s wrists out there. It is also a much more breathable smartwatch than I am used to. I had to consistently take my old watch off due to the sweat, whereas I pretty much only take this one off to charge.
The watch face, while customizable, can offer a massive amount of data on a single screen. On the default screen, you can see stats like your training load, Running Ability Index, Elevation and weather while also being able to control music from your HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch. Other screens offer different stats like step count, daily goals, heart rate and calories burned, or you can give yourself a classy-looking traditional watch face for when you’re out on the town. You can always track your stats on your phone.
“At 38.5 grams, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch is so incredibly light that I barely feel it on my wrist compared to my previous watch.”
Battery life, a sticking point with many smartwatches, has absolutely astounded me with the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner. My first eight days with the watch, where one typically drains the battery a lot faster by playing with all the features and trying things, never required me to charge the watch. Four days after my most recent charge and I am currently at 75% battery life. Charge time is fast, and I simply love the magnetic charger that is so easy to mount the watch on and charges quickly.
HUAWEI’s updated design for their heart monitor contains two light sources in a curved glass lens for added comfort and their AI can filter out noise signals to better detect the heart rate. Their new Truseen 5.0+ hardware allows the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch to measure your heart rate with a similar accuracy to a chest strap.
The watch has a floating antenna design built within the lug of the watch to provide a faster and more accurate GPS, making for better route mapping when running, walking or biking. The watch is compatible with the five major global satellite navigation systems and is capable of connecting to multiple SATS concurrently. Satellite searching is faster than ever with their technology, and it has led to a great GPS experience.
“Battery life, a sticking point with many smartwatches, has absolutely astounded me with the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner.”
Beyond just tracking a run, it tracks HOW you run. The HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch measures training intensity and volume, recovery time and an evaluation of the runner’s fitness to provide personalized suggestions for a user-specific running program. A major metric that they measure is what they call the Running Ability Index.
This index is an overall score that lets you know where you stand against other runners. An example, based on a chart they provided, shows that a runner who could complete a marathon in four hours would have an R.A.I. of 40.7, whereas the runner with the world record marathon of 2:01:39 would have an R.A.I. of 85.3. One can only assume that the scale goes to 100, but they have left room for some superhumans to overtake the marathon champion.
All of these running stats are great for a person to realize their own potential, but the watch and HUAWEI Health App combine to become a full-fledged running coach, showing you where you can improve not just by hoping you can read the stats, but by putting them in context for you so that you can actually understand them.
They don’t limit their AI coaching to just exercise, but also for sleep and even stress. Every morning, you wake up to a sleep report and score, letting you know how your sleep was before you’re even awake. The score factors in how much you sleep, whether you are going to bed and waking at normal times, how often you wake up through the night and how much time you spend in light, deep and REM sleep. Stress levels can also be measured, and they offer a large menu of suggestions for how to manage it, from increasing step counts to regular breathing exercises and will even set reminders for you to do them.
Additional tools allow you to control music and calls from your watch, even hearing the audio through your watch. Safety features for the outdoorsy people include a compass, warnings about upcoming weather with a barometer and sunrise/sunset times.
Other than the touch screen, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner smartwatch can also be controlled via the knob on the top-right of the watch and the button on the bottom-right. The knob can be pressed in to select settings, but can also be turned to scroll through your options. The button can be used to control the stopwatch on the watch, but also bring up the sport menu to set your activity tracker to a specific activity.
The price of $398 CAD is comparable to watches from most fitness tracker brands with similar features, but HUAWEI comes in considerably cheaper than Samsung or Apple’s latest generation of smartwatches.