Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: budget smartwatches do battle

Do you go sporty Huawei or Xiaomi smartwatch? Here's our take.
Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e
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If you're looking for an affordable sporty smartwatch, the Xiaomi Mi Watch and Huawei Watch GT 2e are two of the best options around right now.

While no means perfect, they still cram in a whole lot of features, offer great-looking designs and are two of the best options to look at if you don't want to spend a lot on a smartwatch.

We've lived with both so can give you a better sense how these well matched watches are and help you decide between the two.

Here's our take on how the Xiaomi Mi Watch compares to the Huawei Watch GT 2e.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: Price and availability

In terms of availability, you currently can't pick up the Huawei Watch GT 2e directly from Huawei's website in the US, but you can find it on retailers like Amazon – and at some incredible prices. It's a lot easier to get hold of in the UK and Europe.

Currently, the Xiaomi Mi Watch isn't available in the US directly or from retailers. If you're in the UK and Europe, then it is one you can pick from Xiaomi's own website right now. In terms of how much you can expect to pay, these are the current prices:

Xiaomi Mi Watch price: £119.99

Huawei Watch GT 2e price: $99.99

So you can pick up these watches for around the similar price, though if you have a good shop around, you can usually pick up the Watch GT 2e for less.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: Design

Xiaomi Mi Watch

Xiaomi Mi Watch

If you like round smartwatches, then you're in luck here. Both go with that circular looks and overally do a really good job of offering something that feels like it should probably cost more.

Dimensions-wise, the Huawei Watch GT 2e, which is billed as the sporty option in Huawei's GT 2 range, features a 46mm sized case made from metal and plastic that's available in black or stainless steel looks. It weighs 43g (without the strap) and measures in at 10.8mm thick.

Flipping over to the Mi Watch and that has a slightly smaller 45mm case that's all plastic and is lighter at 32g, but thicker at 11.8mm. It's available in black, red, green and white.

Both are undeniably sporty looking and the Huawei offers some extra detailing on its bezel while Xiaomi keeps things far simpler.

The Xiaomi does feel lighter to wear, but the GT 2e isn't something that weighs heavy or feels cumbersome to wear.

With the bands, the Huawei offers fluroelastomer or TPU straps that have clearly been inspired by Apple's sporty bands. Xiaomi keeps things basic, using a 22mm TPU band that is removable from a simple pin mechanism if you want to switch things up.

Huawei Watch GT 2e

Huawei Watch GT 2e

From a comfort and looks point of view, we'd say both Huawei and Xiaomi do a good job here. We'd slightly favour the lighter build of the Mi Watch, but you're well served here whichever option you go for.

Turning to the displays and you're getting top quality screens on both watches. The Mi Watch has a 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 AMOLED display that can be set to always-on. The Huawei also has a 1.39-inch, 454 x 454 AMOLED display, which also has an always-on mode. So you're getting largely the same experience here in terms of quality and viewing angles.

We'd say maybe the Huawei's screen is a little sharper and colors are more vibrant on the Xiaomi, but both offer great screens for the money.

Along with touchscreens, both offer physical buttons on one side of the case and they operate in a similar manner. One's to get you into the home screen and other is a shortcut to workout tracking.

They're matched for water resistance ratings with both offering the same 5ATM water resistance rating. That means you can take them swimming up to 50 metres depth.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: Health and fitness tracking

Huawei Watch GT 2e spo2

Huawei Watch GT 2e

Both of these watches are designed for exercise, so there's no shortage of features and sensors to make that possible.

With the Huawei Watch GT 2e, you're getting GPS, an optical heart rate monitor, and the typical motion sensors you'll find in sports watches and smartwatches to track indoor activities.

Those sensors enabled 24/7 activity tracking, sleep monitoring, stress monitoring, SpO2 monitoring. When it comes to sports tracking, you've got 85 workout modes including the likes of running, cycling, swimming (pool and open water), indoor rowing and treadmill running.

For runners, you're also getting guided running sessions, whether you're new to interval running or trying to do your first 5K. It also includes training effect, recovery and VO2 Max insights powered by heart beat analytics outfit Firstbeat.

The Mi Watch packs an optical heart rate monitor and wider satellite coverage with GPS, Glonass, Gallileo and BDS support for mapping outdoor activities. There's accelerometer and gyroscope motion sensors to track indoor activities along with a compass and air pressure sensor. It'll count steps, monitor sleep, heart rate and stress 24/7 and like the Huawei, will take blood oxygen measurements too.

Xiaomi Mi Watch workout modes

Xiaomi Mi Watch

It offers the same Firstbeat-powered insights and additionally offers an Energy feature that works in a similar fashion to Garmin's Body Battery Monitor that looks at sleep, activity and heart rate variability measurements to tell you how equipped you are for taking on your day.

For sports tracking, the Xiaomi promises 117 workout modes and 17 core workout modes to that offer richer, more activity-specific metrics. The GT 2e includes 90 sports modes with automatic exercise recognition for six of those modes.

As fitness trackers, we'd say they perform pretty similar. They keep it pretty basic on activity tracking and motivating you to keep moving while the Huawei impressed a little more on sleep tracking accuracy and the richer insights and reports on sleep. For continuous heart rate and stress monitoring and general health features, the data felt more accurate on the Huawei too.

For sports tracking, we'd say they are pretty similar on the accuracy front. We slightly favour Huawei's UI for reviewing stats and the running guides it offers. Heart rate tracking for high intensity exercise wasn't quite up to scratch for us on either watch and you can't pair up an external chest strap monitor to remedy that on either.

Ultimately, that makes those Firstbeat training and recovery features on both watches a little hard to trust when the heart rate monitors come up a little short on the accuracy front.

In terms of sharing data, the Mi Watch data stays put, while Huawei does let you share data to Google Fit and Apple Health. There might be more support on the way now that Huawei has opened up its platform to third party app developers too.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: Smartwatch features

Huawei Watch GT 2e smart features

Huawei Watch GT 2e

Both watches work with Android and iOS devices, though the GT 2e offers the most complete experience when paired with an Android phone. For the Xiaomi, it should be largely the same across both. If you're an iOS user we'd certainly lean towards the Xiaomi.

We'll start with the Huawei Watch GT 2e, which offers basic notifications, hundreds of watch faces, music playback controls, a remote smartphone camera shutter mode, a built-in music player (Android only) with around 4GB of storage and the ability to set alarms and view weather forecasts.

The Mi Watch does most of those things too, bar the music player and it additionally includes Amazon Alexa as a smart assistant that works when you're connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e

Xiaomi Mi Watch

Core features work similarly like notifications and music controls, while extras like Amazon Alexa on the Mi Watch is well integrated and the music player on the GT 2e is entirely dependent on having an Android phone and having a lot of your own music on your phone.

Off the watch, the apps offer somewhere to review health and fitness data and adjust watch settings. We'd say they're quite evenly matched in the sense that these apps aren't quite as polished as something you'll find on Fitbit, but it does offer plenty here to tinker with.

Xiaomi Mi Watch v Huawei Watch GT 2e: Battery life

The good news is, you won't have to charge either of these every day or every couple of days .

The Xiaomi Mi Watch hosts a 420mAh battery to deliver 16 days in typical usage mode, 22 days in long battery mode and 50 hours of GPS battery life. These modes depend on the features that are regularly in use that can have a notable impact on battery life. So things like heart rate and stress monitoring for instance.

One of the reasons Huawei dumped WearOS was to deliver better battery life performance and that's exactly what you can expect from the Watch GT 2e. It uses a 455mAh capacity battery packed inside and promises up to two weeks of battery life.

In our experience when putting these watches to the heavy usage test, the Huawei holds up better on battery front and under the weight of the features it looks to power. You can get close to those two weeks, while we found it was more of a solid week with the Mi Watch.

It's still a good showing from both, but if you want more, the Huawei is the one.

Verdict

It's fair to say the Huawei Watch GT 2 and the Xiaomi Mi Watch are two very impressive smartwatches available at very affordable prices, so where should you put that money?

They're two good-looking smartwatches in slightly different ways, have great screens and largely the same features set and sensors onboard. Things that might sway you towards the Xiaomi is the lighter design, some impressive GPS battery numbers and smartwatch features like Amazon Alexa, which you don't get on the Huawei.

For the GT 2e, you're getting an equally sporty look, great screen and plenty in the way of sports and health monitoring features. It offers a little more in the way of training and guides for beginners, which are a nice touch from Huawei. Smartwatch features are largely similar with the addition of a music player for Android phone users and there's that ability to share data with other apps that could grow with introduction of dedicated watch apps. You're also getting healthy battery numbers to keep you from the charger for a couple of weeks.

The Huawei Watch GT 2e slightly edges it for us, especially as you can find it for less, but that's not to disregard what is a very solid watch from Xiaomi with the Mi Watch.