Huawei GT runner watch review: Gargantuan battery life with a crisp display to match
What can you do in two weeks? To go on holiday. Strip, sand and repaint all the doors of the house. Prepare kimchi.
It’s an absolute age, in other words. But that’s how long Huawei promises its fitness tracker and GT runner smartwatch will run and work on a single charge. That’s one hell of a promise, and one that sets the wearable apart from the masses of fitness tracker-smartwatch hybrids out there.
Along with the usual stuff – answering calls, seeing your phone push notifications, tracking your heart rate – it promises sleep tracking, an AI-assisted running coach, multiple workout modes, fitness tracking blood oxygen saturation (otherwise known as Sp02) and a positioning system that can guide you through running routes.
There is, of course, something else to consider here. Huawei is in a bit of an odd position, as it has been tainted by US sanctions and tainted by the UK government’s decision to ban the company from participating in the rollout of the UK’s next 5G network after pressure from states -United. All of its 5G equipment that had been installed is to be removed by 2027.
But whether or not the tech skirmishes continue, Huawei’s smartwatches have yet to be dragged into them. We took a deep dive into its GT racing tracker to see if its impressive features really measure up.
How we tested
Over eight days of constant wear, we tested the GT Runner’s primary function as a fitness tracker using it for as many different types of workouts as possible. That meant wearing it while swimming, jogging, rowing, biking and hiking. We also tested its ancillary features, including running route mapping and the AI running trainer, attaching trainers and setting off for multiple runs around London.
Huawei GT Runner Watch
Buy now £259.99, Amazon
- Dimensions: 210mm x 22mm x 11mm
- Mass: 38.5g
- Filter: 36.3mm AMOLED
- Waterproof index: 5ATM
- Battery life: 14 days regular use, 7 days intensive use
The GT racer comes in black or gray, and paired with the bright yellow lightning bolts on the Poppy AMOLED, it all looks pleasantly Hacienda-inspired. (There are dozens of other face designs on the Huawei Health app; a few of the Smurfs brand were particularly memorable).
Retailers such as Amazon and Argos currently offer the smartwatch with a pair of Huawei’s Freebuds 4i earbuds for the same price as the watch alone, and while we haven’t tested the earbuds ourselves, choosing that option seems be obvious.
The GT racer’s screen is also remarkable. It stays crisp and bright without draining battery life, and its touchscreen is responsive even when you tap it in the pool and is large enough to navigate properly without becoming bulky. We had to do a bit of exaggerated rocking towards our face to get the watch face to automatically turn on, but that’s a minor issue.
The ceramic finish, titanium crown and polymer fiber case give the watch face a sturdy and luxurious feel while remaining remarkably lightweight. In fact, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing it sometimes. Everything is controlled via a home button which also rotates to select menu options, and a secondary button which acts as a shortcut to the workout selection screen. Everything is put together simply and satisfyingly, and the little buzz that comes when you scroll through menu options is neat.
Smartest of all, wear it to swim like we did and you’ll find that once you’re out of the water the GT racer quietly vomits up any excess that may have accumulated around the case with its emptying function.
The soft plastic strap is of course handy – it’s a watch that’s going to get sweaty, sticky and chlorine-infused, after all – but it knocks the sharpness of the whole thing down a few pegs.
Software and Features
One thing to know is that because Huawei isn’t on Google Play or the App Store, you’ll have to sift through a bunch of QR codes and downloads in your phone’s browser to connect the GT runner to the Huawei. Health app and get moving.
But once you’ve done that, the wide variety of workouts and training plans at your disposal is impressive: there are walking and running trackers, sure, but there are also workout modes. rowing, swimming, jumping rope, hiking, trail running, skiing, snowboarding and triathlon, each with their own dashboards recording your heart rate, calorie burn and breathing as well as count of lengths, strokes, steps or whatever you have achieved.
Then head to the Huawei Health app and you’ll enjoy even more detail on everything, not just your splits: there’s breakdowns of your heart rate, cadence and time spent in different ‘zones’. of effort, of warming up to the slightly frightening “extreme” sound.
The GT runner is, as the name suggests, primarily a runner’s watch and the real USP here is the AI-assisted running trainer. If you give the Huaewei Health app your coordinates and recent times and distances, it will set up a training program to take you to the next level. It’s a useful way to stay accountable, though probably a bit basic for advanced runners.
If you have Huawei running buddies, you can share running routes with them. But that’s where the GT Runner breaks down a bit – you can’t connect to a running app like Strava like you would with an Apple Watch or one of Samsung’s fitness watches. As impressive as your numbers are, they will probably only be seen by you.
There’s one other thing worth mentioning that surprised us: while a practice session is in progress, an oddly accented American male voice hisses from the GT racer, giving readouts of your stats. While it’s clearly useful for anyone with low vision, it can, thankfully, be turned off.
First and foremost: that battery life claim. After a week of constant wear, including overnight, and a workout every day, the GT racer still had 52% of its battery life left. It’s quite remarkable.
What it definitely isn’t is fast. The GT racer will take an hour and a half to regain full power, which is less than ideal if you’re heading to the gym.
That said, claims about accurate positioning systems have been backed up by our testing, the built-in trackers are accurate, and data is available to dig into, even on the sleep tracker. There’s a range of handy features that seem suited for long-distance runners too: a compass, barometer and weather forecast should help you avoid accidentally sprinting off the edge of a cliff on your next trail run.
Other little bits like timers, stopwatches, a torch, and alarms are fairly standard issues, but they’re all well-made and save you from having to walk around wondering where to put your phone.
The verdict: Huawei GT racer
At this price, there are options that can cover many – if not all – areas the GT racer does. However, they are unlikely to cover them in such a convenient and user-friendly way, and that gargantuan battery life takes away one of the main headaches of owning a smartwatch that you have intend to settle on energy-intensive tasks most of the time. The excellent screen also elevates it above most of its competitors.
It drops a bit for not being able to connect to popular fitness and messaging apps, but if you’re happy to dig into a standalone fitness tracker that also takes care of almost any small job it’s more convenient to to delegate. your phone to a watch, then the GT racer will do it in style.
Buy now £259.99, Amazon
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