The Android marketplace includes a rich range of handsets and tablets across all price points, from numerous manufacturers. Yet, while Google provides the Google Pixel range of handsets for that pure Android experience, there is no official Android watch.
Samsung, Withings, and some other vendors have gone some way to fill the gap with a limited set of offerings, but it’s Huawei who is coming out with feature-packed watch after feature-packed watch.
The latest of these, the Huawei Watch GT 3 series, launched two months ago and iTWire has been putting one through its paces. I’ve been looking at the Huawei Watch GT Runner, more formally known as model RUN-819, while colleague Alex Zaharov-Reutt has been testing out the Huawei Watch GT 3.
Both of these handsome new units are powered by HarmonyOS 2.1 and work with both Android and iOS to give the wearer a dynamic and convenient experience without compromising on functionality and intelligence.
Like Huawei's previous watches, the company has jam-packed the GT Runner full of features and full of smarts. It fits firmly into the Huawei Watch GT 3 family but is aimed at those truly seeking to maximise their health and fitness. It has been created with a high-strength polymer fibre body and ceramic ultra-light bezel., along with hollowed-out watch lugs. As such it’s comfortable and robust, yet also brings precise data monitoring and a professional running framework.
The last time I explored a Huawei smartwatch, the GT 2, I found it incredibly feature-packed. Its list of inclusions went on and on - long battery life, brilliant screen, and numerous sports modes.
Well, this time the GT 3 series features include the new Huawei TruSeen 5.0+ heart rate monitoring technology that provides higher accuracy with lower power consumption, all-day SpO2 monitoring providing level detection no matter what you are doing, support for multiple satellite systems, over 100 workout modes, AI running coach and healthy living health and fitness assistants, and weather alerts based on the built-in barometer. The GT Runner adds antennas in the lugs for improved GPS performance - the same hollowed-out lugs mentioned above that give it increased comfort and lightness for the dedicated athlete - and these provide enhanced tracking, route sharing, and other related features.
As Huawei always does, the GT 3 and GT Runner come with a slick watch body design, edge-to-edge HD display, always-on dials and literally thousands of watch face options from the Huawei Health App.
Ultimately, it's a powerful, comfortable, remarkable watch that continues Huawei's evolution. This is evident in its TrueSeen tech that measures heart rate, SpO2 detection and wear detection. In its first release, TrueSeen came with one photodetector and three LEDs, all the way to eight photodetectors and six LEDs all combining to deliver precise monitoring and detection - whether you are sleeping, working out, or simply living life normally. The heart rate algorithm is now in version 5.0 and will automatically increase monitoring while you are undertaking irregular activities such as high-impact interval training, interval sprint, or strength training.
With dual-band five system GNSS the watch can track your exact route during an outdoor workout for your own logging or sharing with others and includes a smart “route back” feature so you can find your way back again.
Now, it looks good, feels good, and gives you loads of data to help you manage your fitness. It also motivates and inspires too. The new AI running coach will customise running plans based on your own personal data and will set training targets. It doesn’t matter if you’re a super-fit runner or, like me, you end up walking most of the way on a 5km park run (but hey, I showed up) - the watch will give you a personalised training plan.
This is something I found really fascinating. Yes, other smartwatches and fitness trackers will record measurements and allow you to review data - but here, the GT Runner will give you an intelligent evaluation of your day, and will scientifically adjust training periods and training intensity to help you ramp up in a way that promotes success and keeps you encouraged and on-track. The plan can be dynamically adjusted.
This was a terrific feature, and the more I used the watch the more I found it gently increasing my activity and spurring me to stretch myself and put more work in. It became my judgement-free coach that firstly helped set some goals, and secondly, helped teach me the positive steps I should be taking myself.
Additionally, the GT Runer - in conjunction with the Huawei Health app - will give you suggestions to improve your overall health in areas like breathing, emotions, sleep, and mental well-being.
An interesting, druid-like capability, of the new GT Runner is the healthy living Shamrock. The Shamrock, like a wise-old guardian, reminds you when to get up, when to drink water, and when to exercise. It sets daily goals and provides reminders, leading you to a consistent sleep schedule and a lifestyle that starts your day with energy and maximises your potential.
At first, I found this tough - I was being reminded regularly to walk, drink water, or even smile - but as the days continued I found I genuinely was more energetic. I started the days with a bound - instead of fumbling for the snooze button - and felt good about myself.
There is a lot to love about the Huawei GT Runner. As always, we can quote specs - wireless charging, up to 14 days of battery life, Bluetooth support, includes six sensors, includes positioning systems, water-resistant - but it’s the kind of watch you have to see and try for yourself. It’s not simply a timepiece, and it’s not simply a fitness tracker. Instead, the GT Runner is a lifestyle device that strives to help you find the best you.
If you want a smartwatch that's more than a smartwatch - but gives you data to measure your health, that gives you peace of mind it’s watching your vital signs, and that doesn’t only collect data but puts it to use to gently coach, mentor and inspire, then this is the watch for you.
The Huawei GT Runner has an RRP of $599.
Check it out here: