All in all, we can't say that we were fans of the Huawei Watch GT Classic. While we have rated and scored previous Huawei watches quite well, the Watch GT Classic is their first smartwatch foray with their own operating system, Lite OS, forgoing Wear OS or Android Wear. Some people may find this very simple OS refreshing with its minimal set of features, we found it to be woefully inadequate. It has exceptionally limited smart functions, all while being priced comparable to the top-tier watches, making it very hard to recommend.
Huawei Watch GT Classic Review
Pros: Exceptional battery life
Cons: Not the easiest to use, limited smart functions, expensive
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Our Analysis and Test Results
To pick out which smartwatches topped them all, we bought all the most promising smart timepieces on the market, then rated and compared their performance head-to-head. We scored each watch on its performance in five weighted testing metrics, with the Watch GT Classic's performance outlined below.
Ease of Use
Our first testing metric, which is responsible for 30% of its overall score, is based on the interface of the watch, the responsiveness of the touch screen, its water resistance, ease of swapping wristbands, and the charging method, as well as if you can take a screenshot of the content on the watch's screen. The GT Classic delivered an overall mediocre set of results, earning it a 5 out of 10.
This watch doesn't have a rotating bezel or crown scroll, so you are forced to use the touchscreen as the only way to navigate menus. The screen is fairly responsive to commands though and usually wakes in less than a second from sleep mode when you raise your wrist to look at the display.
The GT is water resistant to 5 ATM — more than enough to wear in the shower or for a swim in the pool. Finally, the charging connector does attach to the watch fairly securely — enough to withstand minor to moderate bumps or jostles — but you do need to line up the pins correctly to attach it.
Unfortunately, we weren't overall a fan of the layout of the menu with the new OS. The app order seems a bit random and it doesn't keep a quick link to recently used apps. You also can't take a screenshot of the display. However, it is relatively easy to swap wristbands, with the GT Classic relying on the standard watch mechanism with a tiny lever release.
Next, we moved on to ranking and scoring all the smart features and functions that make the GT Classic a smartwatch, which constitutes 20% of its final score. For this rating metric, we looked at each watch's compatibility with popular apps, if it has a standalone GPS, mobile payment capability, controls for your music, and if you can answer calls right on the watch. The Watch GT Classic delivered a rather abysmal performance, earning a 2 out of 10.
The GT's ability to add third-party apps is essentially eliminated with the move to Lite OS from Wear OS, so you are stuck with the preloaded apps. However, this does include things like find my phone, stopwatch, weather, fitness and sleep apps, barometer, and compass.
Regrettably, this watch does not have any way to control your music or answer a call. It also doesn't have mobile payment (NFC) abilities or standalone WiFi or LTE but does have an integrated GPS module.
Our next metric focused on the quality and ease of reading the display of each watch, which constitutes one-fifth of the GT Classic's overall score. To determine points, we compared and scored the screen quality and ease of reading in bright light, as well as the different brightness modes. The GT Classic does have a very high-quality screen but we weren't overly enamored with its performance in the other tests, earning it a 6 out of 10.
The GT has a 1.39" 454x454 AMOLED that is particularly nice, matching the quality of the top-tier models. The display does have the option to automatically adjust the brightness of the backlight but it still can be a bit hard to read in bright daylight, even on its brightest setting.
However, it is plenty bright enough to read at night or in dim conditions. It also lacks an always-on mode.
Next, we rated and scored the different fitness and workout tracking capabilities each watch has. In particular, we were paying close attention to the different types of workouts that you can track, the accuracy of the step counter and heart rate monitor, and if it counts the number of stairs climbed throughout the day. Overall, these account for 15% of the GT Classic's total score, with it earning a 6 out of 10 for its fairly strong set of results.
The GT Classic has one of the more accurate step counters we have seen, usually only deviating from a true manual count of our steps on a mile-long walk by 10 or fewer steps. It also matched up very well with our chest strap heart rate monitor with resting heart rates, usually within 5 bpm.
However, it did quite poorly at measuring our heart rate while it was elevated during a workout, usually off by 20-30 bpm compared to the chest strap.
It has a handful of different workouts that you can track with the Health app, such as running, walking, trail run, climb, cycling, swimming, and other. The watch provides a decent amount of data, logging the duration, average heart rate, estimated calories, distances, and some speeds. Unfortunately, it doesn't monitor the number of stairs climbed throughout the day.
The Huawei GT finished with an excellent showing in our battery life test, earning a 10 out of 10. This accounts for the leftover 15% of the total score and is based on the battery life of the watch with normal usage and how quickly it recharges.
We could reliably go 1.5 to 2 weeks between recharging this watch — most likely due to the fact that its functions are overall a bit limited in scope. This smartwatch also charges exceptionally quickly, taking about 30 minutes to recharge a totally dead battery to 50% and 87 minutes to completely charge.
The GT Classic does have one of the lower list prices of the group but it still seems a bit high considering its bare-bones features, making it a hard sell as a value buy.
On the whole, we weren't very impressed with Huawei's shift from Wear OS to Lite OS, finding the GT Classic to be disappointingly sparse in terms of features, though it is quite sleek and stylish.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer