Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

Squaring up the two sporty smartwatches
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Samsung and Huawei have been in the smartwatch game from the very start. Both have had contrasting fortunes, but in the Huawei Watch GT and Samsung Galaxy Watch, we have two of the best we've had the pleasure of using.

Both use their own operating systems. The Watch GT comes with Huawei's Lite OS that is designed to improve battery life in comparison to Huawei's Wear OS watches. The Galaxy Watch comes with Tizen, which embraces Samsung's signature rotating bezel design feature.

So which of these great smartwatches is the best for your wrist? That's a difficult question to answer. That's why we've compared the specs and features to help you decide.

Any questions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Design and features

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

This is where these two smartwatches match up the most. At their core, both have similar-style bezels, circular bodies and look like sports watches.

Essential reading: Samsung Galaxy Watch v Gear S3

The Huawei Watch GT comes in two editions, a more rugged Sport and a Classic (which is the version we're pitting against the Galaxy Watch). The Galaxy Watch comes in either 42mm or 46mm sizes.

Both of these watches also have 5ATM waterproofing, a heart rate sensor and GPS. The Samsung does come with NFC for Samsung Pay though, while the Watch GT does not – which is a disappointing omission.

On the specs front, the Watch GT comes out on top in the display department. It sports a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454 x 454. That's in contrast to the Galaxy Watch's 1.3-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 x 360. The Watch GT is easily one of the best displays we've played with, but that's not to say Samsung's display is by any means shoddy. This is still one of the best smartwatch screens out there.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

Both of these watches are comfortable to wear despite being a little on the hulking side, though the Galaxy Watch's smaller 42mm option is welcome and is a better fit for those with slimmer wrists. The Galaxy Watch's other big advantage in hardware is that rotating bezel. You've heard us say it before, and we'll say it again: that rotating bezel is one of our favourite things in smartwatches. It makes using the interface a breeze and is well integrated into Samsung's Tizen OS.T

Bottom line, these are two pretty decent looking watches and there's not a lot to separate them. If you want more size options though, Samsung's model is the one for you.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Features

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

The approaches to software and smartwatch features could not be more different here. Huawei has taken Lite OS, which powers its fitness trackers, and blown it up to fit on a smartwatch. The resulting experience is something that's very streamlined.

Huawei has really pared things back here. There are no apps, there's no music storage and there's no anything else. Well, there are notifications, but that's about it. The Watch GT is built around four screens: the weather, your activity, heart rate and your watch face, of which there are 12.

It's extremely simple, and we've found it refreshing in a world where every smartwatch wants to be a standalone jack of all trades. The Galaxy Watch on the hand wants to do a whole lot more. Its Tizen OS is a platform unto itself, and it acts like one. There's an app store here that you can use to download apps, allowing you to use a number of third-party apps including Uber and Spotify. There's also an LTE version of the Galaxy Watch, so it can deliver features like music streaming and fitness data syncing without needing your smartphone.

While the Watch GT is extremely simple, the Galaxy Watch is comparatively complex. There are a lot of apps and services you can use with the Galaxy Watch, and when you download a lot of them the rotating menu can become a bit cumbersome.

If you're looking for a simpler smartwatch experience, the Watch GT is going to win out here. If you're looking for a full-on smartwatch with all the bells and whistles you may or may not need, the Galaxy Watch is enough to fill you with glee.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Fitness

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

When it comes to fitness, both of these smartwatches have interesting stories to tell. The Galaxy Watch is all about options. Not only do you get the power of third-party apps like Strava, but you also get a big number of workout modes.

Read this: Apple Watch v Samsung Galaxy Watch

You can track things like lat pulldowns on the Galaxy Watch. There are a wild number of modes. For perspective, Samsung added 21 new workout modes this year alone. That's in addition to the basics, like swimming, running and cycling.

The Huawei Watch GT has got plenty of bases covered, from outdoor hiking to cycling to swimming and running. On the running front, it also offers Running Course, which gives you training sessions to get the most out of your time.

The Galaxy Watch is going to give you some reliable tracking information. The only caveat here is, like most other smartwatches, things tend to get unreliable at high heart rate intensities. Meanwhile, we found that the Watch GT did either overreport or underreport our heart rate in certain scenarios.

As far as other kinds of tracking go, both of these watches do sleep tracking. However, Huawei wins the day here. While Huawei's sleep tracking isn't the most accurate in the world, it does offer a wealth of data and insights that are genuinely useful. Samsung's tracking is fine, but it's also a lot more basic – giving you restless, light and motionless metrics.

The Watch GT dishes out things like REM and wake-up regularity plus naps and breathing quality. We do question some of its accuracy, as it didn't match up to our Fitbit readings – the gold quality of wrist-based sleep tracking – but it's a good amount of data.

The big knock against the Watch GT, however, is that you're stuck using Huawei Health. It's by no means a bad platform and it has massively improved over recent years. But it would certainly make the GT more appealing if it played nice with more third-party apps.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Battery life

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Wear OS alternatives compared

Chalk this up as a win for the Watch GT. The Galaxy Watch doesn't have bad battery life. You can regularly get two days with it, and if you have some light days you might even make it to a third day.

However, the Watch GT gets two full weeks of battery life. That's fitness tracker territory, and it lets you do things like get full sleep tracking without having to top up that battery for half a month. The Galaxy Watch can't measure up to that.

Of course, you're making a lot of sacrifices to get that two weeks of battery life. The Galaxy Watch gives you a lot, and it delivers great battery life for that. If you're looking for efficiency, then maybe the Galaxy Watch wins out here. But if you want pure, unbridled, delicious, long-lasting, don't-worry-about-a-thing battery life, there's no contest.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Price

The Watch GT comes across as a bargain, with a price of £199. The Galaxy Watch is more expensive, and comes in a larger price range due to the number of options.

The 42mm Galaxy Watch is for just Bluetooth and when you go with the LTE version. If you opt for the larger 46mm Galaxy Watch, you'll be paying for Bluetooth and for LTE.

However, if you're in the US it's going to be difficult for you to buy a Watch GT. They'll be available on Amazon for third party sellers eventually, but due to a bit of a spat between Chinese and US governments, Huawei products aren't the easiest to get in America at the moment.

Huawei Watch GT v Samsung Galaxy Watch: Verdict

The Watch GT and Galaxy Watch are both good smartwatches that would make a lot of people happy, but in the end they are aimed at different people. They're smartwatches that don't have too much in common other than the way they look.

The Watch GT has more in common with a fitness tracker, offering a simple experienced that's hyper-focused on a few things. It's also much more affordable, though it's harder to get in some territories.

The Galaxy Watch is the complete opposite. It's a full-on smartwatch with its own platform and app store, and it's got features aplenty. It's also more expensive, and you could debate which version of the Galaxy Watch you should get till you're blue in the face.

In the end, there are two main factors that should determine your choice. If you care about sleep tracking and battery life, the Watch GT is better. If you care more about an ecosystem, and having apps like Strava and Spotify or features like NFC, the Galaxy Watch is the one you want.

TAGGED Smartwatches

How we test

Husain Sumra


Husain joined Wareable in 2017 as a member of our San Fransisco based team. Husain is a movies expert, and runs his own blog, and contributes to MacRumors.

He has spent hours in the world of virtual reality, getting eyes on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR. 

At Wareable, Husain's role is to investigate, report and write features and news about the wearable industry – from smartwatches and fitness trackers to health devices, virtual reality, augmented reality and more.

He writes buyers guides, how-to content, hardware reviews and more.

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