- Great screen and build
- Good running features
- Accurate HR data
- No apps and payments
- Health stats feel a tad stale
- More notification granularity could be useful
The Huawei Watch GT 4 concludes a busy year for Huawei – and it may have saved its mass-appeal smartwatch until last.
Just a couple of months after the Huawei Watch 4, the confusingly similarly named Watch GT 4 comes at a lower price, but doesn't hold back on core fitness and smart features.
There's a lack of bells and whistles here, with ECG, LTE, and other health features left to the Watch 4. But the GT 4's price tag and slim design make it suited for a lot of people.
Read on for our experiences with the Huawei Watch GT 4.
Price and competition
The Huawei Watch GT 4 starts at £229/€249 for the entry-level back with rubber strap. As ever, there's no official word on pricing for the US, as it won't formally be released there – but we're sure it will make its way to Amazon eventually.
Our favorite is the Rainforest Green GMT version with nylon strap which is £249/€269.
On test here is stainless steel, the most expensive, which costs £299/€349.
As ever, the Huawei Watch GT 4 brings 14 days battery (we got around a week), which is significantly more than the single-day battery life offered by Apple/Samsung.
Much like its predecessor, the Watch GT 3, the GT 4 boasts two sizes – with a 46mm variant and a significantly redesigned 41mm option for those seeking a more feminine design.
The 46mm tested here boasts an octagonal design to the bezel which does elevate the look, and the GT 4 embraces classic watch design aesthetics. It’s a lot less ‘sporty’ than previous GT watches – and better for it in our book.
I had the 46mm version with a silver metal case and a matching link bracelet. That needed downsizing for our slender wrist, but you can use standard straps with the clasp fitting, and I swapped out for an official Huawei rubber strap and didn’t look back.
In terms of weight, the 46mm GT 4 registers at 48g (excluding the strap), making it slightly heftier than its Watch GT 3 counterpart (42g).
But what impressed me was the thickness of just 10.9mm, and it felt slim and slender on my wrist. I feel that Huawei has got the balance right in terms of size, materials, and design.
When it comes to navigation, Huawei adheres to a familiar control scheme, featuring a rotating crown at the top and a flatter physical button just below it on the right side of the case.
The display is a 1.43-inch 466 x 466 AMOLED touchscreen, mirroring the screen size and resolution found on the GT 3. Although it lacks the newer LTPO display technology seen in the Watch 4 Pro, it delivers vibrant colors, excellent viewing angles, and an always-on capability.
The GT 4 boasts a 5ATM/IP68 rating that enables pool and open water activities. However, it falls short of the diving-proof credentials associated with the Watch 4 Pro and the Watch Ultimate.
Ecosystem and OS
The GT 4 runs on HarmonyOS 3, which has been improved to offer Wear OS-like features such as the ability to populate cards (like Tiles), with glanceable data, accessible by swiping to the right from the watch face. You can customize this with your most frequently used features and data screens, and it’s a nice improvement to the OS.
On a macro level, not a huge deal has changed from the GT 3 Pro. You can get notifications from paired iOS and Android devices, change watch faces, and expand your selection by downloading more from the Huawei Health app. The selection still isn’t great, but I did find one or two watch faces I liked.
There’s no eSIM option here, that’s saved for the more expensive Watch 4 pro.
However, the GT 4 allows for Bluetooth-based calls, up to 100 meters away from your smartphone.
Huawei's Celia smart assistant is on board if you like that kind of thing, with basic music playback controls, and a music player for Android users, the GT 4 caters to various preferences.
One of the biggest downsides of the Huawei Watch is the lack of an ecosystem, and the Huawei AppGallery store still isn’t much to shout about. Big-name apps just aren’t present, and that knocks onto things like Spotify or other music services, which is a big gap in the feature set compared to Apple, Google, and Samsung.
That said, Huawei has built integrations with Strava, Komoot, and Runtastic – and offers its mapping via Petal Maps.
Then there’s the lack of proper payment support (in Western territories) – and here you can see the downsides of the Huawei ecosystem.
Largely, the rest of the Huawei Watch GT 4 experience is excellent, it’s these areas of apps and payments that you need to sacrifice to jump on board.
That said, the notification system remains dependable, offering the ability to reply to messages, and core functions such as weather updates and the overall smoothness of HarmonyOS persist, the GT 4 doesn't feel like a substantial leap from its predecessor, the GT 3.
Huawei does allow a certain amount of granularity to its notifications, and I could turn on any (or all) calls, SMS/iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and (weirdly) Netflix.
Everything else, including Apple Mail, comes under ‘Other’. It’s better than having no control and having to drink from a firehose of notifications on the wrist, but it could be a little more granular.
Huawei’s health tracking has been a strong point of its ecosystem, and the Watch 4 impressed us with the breadth of metrics.
The GT 4 is a pared-back health-tracking experience, without ECG, and the Health Glance feature.
You will get the standard heart rate tracking metrics, this is delivered by the Huawei TruSeen 5.5+, which also tracks blood oxygen levels.
Huawei says that TruSeen 5.5+ improves performance in challenging environments, such as extreme cold.
You’ll find this all in the Huawei Health app, which over the years has matured into a solid health tracking platform.
We have no qualms about recommending accuracy here, and all resting heart rate data are checked out alongside our known baselines and comparative data on Whoop 4.0. You can see heart rate ranges and resting HR over day, week, month, and year, so it’s a good overview of underlying health.
The Health Clovers feature is also on offer here – which asks you to complete a bunch of daily wellness tasks such as consistent wake and sleep times, doing a breathing exercise, getting your 30 minutes of activity, and hitting your step goal.
SpO2 data also checked out and was in line with other devices.
Skin temperature is on board – but this isn’t calculated to personal baselines. The GT 4 simply displays a skin temperature figure, rather than a +/- percentage figure of your normal temperature, which we feel is more useful. You can still look for spikes, but there doesn’t seem to be any way of alerting you to sudden changes.
There are no data points for breathing rate, or metrics around readiness based on heart rate variability, which Garmin, Fitbit, Whoop, Oura, Ultrahuman and pretty much everyone has embraced. That feels like a bit of a hole in the Huawei Health offering right now.
Huawei has introduced a novel feature known as the "scientific calorie counter."
You can target weight loss goals and the GT 4 will tell you the required calorie deficit for each day to get there and suggest how many calories you should eat for each meal of the day (ignoring snacks). It will factor in workouts, but you’ll also need to tell it what you eat to track things properly – and that’s quite laborious.
However, if weight loss is a goal – this is a handy guide that offers some numbers to work towards, which is better than what most smartwatches offer.
Stress tracking is also on board but, as we’ve maintained for years on Wareable, it offers little meaningful insights. I experienced the single most stressful moment of my entire life while wearing the GT 4 and it didn’t even cause a blip on the so-called stress monitor.
Huawei sports tracking has been largely excellent for a few years now, and again, there’s an excellent offering here.
The 20 professional sports modes include running, which offers more in-depth details than simple time, heart rate, and calories burned, which is the basis of the other circa 100 workout profiles. Huawei has just added eSports as a workout profile, which demonstrates that the non-professional modes are pretty unserious.
Like most members of the Huawei smartwatch range, there are plenty of suggested workouts – and some coaching built into the app. These are all nice additions.
We took the GT 4 for several runs, and we were consistently happy with its tracking performance.
GPS distance data was spot on against a Garmin Forerunner 255 and used on known routes, so no complaints there – and a win for the new Inew Sunflower GPS.
Huawei has sought to improve the performance by adding what it calls Inew Sunflower GPS, which adjusts signals with satellite systems it's communicating with to match movement when in orbit to ultimately improve that dual-band GNSS support. It seems to have worked.
We also compared run data to a heart rate monitor and found steady runs were within a few bpm of a chest strap, and heart rate was well-tracked in the first five minutes of a session, which can be a sticking point.
The average bpm for the session was 157 bpm vs. 159 bpm on a chest strap, and we found the Huawei TruSeen 5.5+ just lagged a little behind the Garmin HRM-Pro.
Max HR for the session was 175bpm vs. 176bpm – so no statistical difference there, and a good bill of health. It’s a solid heart rate performance.
There are plenty of extra metrics for runners too. There’s a Garmin-style performance condition metric displayed around the first five minutes of a run, which was always in line with the Forerunner. And you can live readouts on form such as vertical oscillation as you go – so there's a lot for data-driven runners to enjoy.
You can also see data on Training Load and the Running Ability Index – and Huawei will also show estimated finishing times for a bunch of race distances, which felt mostly plausible.
The Lactate Threshold feature here hasn’t come across from the GT Runner so it doesn’t have a steer on personal effort levels – so some of the advanced data feels a little off, and there isn’t the ability to properly remedy it.
My heart rate gets quite high when I run, which is normal – everyone is different. So it was annoying to get feedback that a tempo run tracked by the GT 4 claimed I spent 4 mins in an “extreme” heart rate zone (around 170bpm). Garmin, which knows my physiology, records this as zone 3, which is simply an aerobic workout.
The VO2 Max estimate, which also crazily high. It estimated a VO2 Max of 56ml/kg/min, which is just so high. Garmin estimates around 48-49ml/kg/min, and given we’ve taken VO2 Max lab tests before and have a pretty good handle on current fitness levels, Huawei’s estimate doesn’t pass the smell test.
It all makes for fun data for those who like to run, but the GT 4 and Huawei Health are not a replacement for Garmin for aspirational or serious athletes.
Huawei has the unfortunate timing of the review period being through the early stages of my having a newborn, so the sleep tracking got a serious stress test.
We’ve historically found Huawei sleep tracking to overestimate compared to Whoop, and we did find that it generally under-tracked wake times in the night – leading to around 30-60 mins of extra sleep recorded on average.
There was also one night when the Huawei Watch GT 4 recorded an awake period way longer than it should have been. So our takeaway is that Huawei’s TruSleep algos are less sensitive than the likes of Whoop both in terms of registering wake-ups, but tracking when you've gone back to sleep.
But that’s stress testing what’s overall a solid sleep-tracking system.
There’s also a new feature that enables you to put your smartphone in listening mode to monitor for snoring and breathing issues, and can scan for issues such as sleep apnea – and that’s a powerful tool.
There’s plenty of useful data on your sleep patterns, which use a traffic light system to show anything that might need attention.
The Huawei TruSleep system is useful if you want to build positive sleep habits, but it's not the best sleep tracker we've used.
And we do feel it lags behind the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 sleep tracking that debuted in Wear OS 4. And there’s better on offer via Fitbit, Whoop, Oura, and even Ultrahuman in our opinion.
Huawei promises up to 14 days from the 46mm GT 4 – but I was some way shy of that in our testing.
I found a daily drop of around 15% – which equals around six days of battery life.
That’s with all health metrics turned on, the always-on display enabled, and three hours of workouts. We wore it to bed every night and tracked sleep, including blood oxygen data. We also had notifications enabled.
It’s still a good showing for the GT 4, but to get 14 days, you’ll need to drop that always-on display at least.
An hour run only knocked about 7% off the total, so there's plenty of juice here if you do want to take it on long jaunts, or have the GT 4 track your marathon training.
How we test