With the release of the Watch GT Runner, its "first professional running watch", Huawei takes another step in the right direction to woo serious runners to use Huawei watches for training. One could say Huawei is hot on the heels of companies such as Garmin, Fitbit, Polar and the rest of the running watch world and is catching up fast.
THIS JUST IN: Read our full Huawei Watch GT Runner review now
The new Huawei Watch GT Runner is essentially the running watch-ified version of the Huawei Watch GT 3, a smartwatch that introduced the AI Running Coach feature only a month ago. Back then, the only thing that prevented me from adding the Watch GT 3 to the best running watch guide was that despite its excellent running watch qualities, the Watch GT 3 is still mainly a smartwatch.
Not the Watch GT Runner, though, as this is a full-blown running watch designed from the ground up for people who use their legs to get from Point A to Point B fast. After familiarising myself with the specs of the new watch, I noted three things I really liked about it, as presented below. Considering that I was already a big fan of the Watch GT 3, it's not hard to imagine how excited I'm to test out the Huawei Watch GT Runner soon.
Huawei Watch GT Runner: Price and availanility
The Huawei Watch GT Runner was released on 26 January 2022 and is available now in Black Durable Polymer Fibre or Grey Durable Polymer Fibre for €299 in the EU.
The watch is coming to the UK in April 2022. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed.
For more info, visit Huawei today.
US and AUS availability and prices TBC.
The Huawei Watch GT Runner is a dedicated running watch
While my love for the best Garmin watches will never subside, I appreciate the effort smaller running watch companies make to really cater for the diehard running community. Coros is an excellent example as it's been on a mission in recent years to provide runners with reasonably-priced yet excellent watches such as the fan-favourite Coros Pace 2.
The Huawei Watch GT Runner reminds me of the Pace 2 lot, in a good sense. It's a light running watch – the Watch GT Runner weighs 38.5 grams without the strap and 52 with it – and although it has more than one sports mode (over 100, actually), it focuses on measuring and tracking running ability.
Speaking of running ability: Like the Watch GT 3, the Watch GT Runner can provide you with a running ability index and tells you just how much better you are than your peers. It measures readiness (just like the Whoop 4.0 and the Fitbit Charge 5), training load, training index, recovery time, VO2 max, race time predictions and more.
Of course, the Watch GT Runner is chock-full of health, fitness and smart features, including all-day SpO2 monitoring, sleep and stress monitoring, and Healthy Living reminders like drinking water, deep breathing, early bedtime and even a daily smile (for real) through the Huawei Health app feature.
The Watch GT Runner has a built-in altitude barometer (supporting the compass feature), provides music playback with earphones or speakers and comes with ample storage space that can store up to 500 songs.
AMOLED watch with long battery life
Thanks to significant improvements in battery technology in recent years, most multisport watch manufacturers started using AMOLED screens on their watches without compromising battery life too much. The Garmin epix (Gen 2) is a good example, but many other watches follow a similar pattern.
The Huawei Watch GT Runner inherits the powerful battery life of the Watch GT 3 that delivers 14-day battery life in smartwatch mode (GPS off) and 8-days in "heavy usage" scenarios, a.k.a. when the watch is used for training. This is not bad, although Huawei should start stating the GPS battery life of its performance watches soon so people can compare these with other watches on the market.
Nevertheless, I don't think you'll need to charge the Watch GT Runner more than once every other week unless you're out for an hour-long run every day. Pretty decent if you ask me!
Heart rate and GPS accuracy
I saved the best for last. I was already impressed with the GPS and heart rate performance of the Watch GT 3, but the Huawei Watch GT Runner ups the ante even more. It has a built-in Dual-Band Five-System GNSS positioning chip with a suspended hidden antenna that hides the positioning antenna in the lugs made of polymer fibre material.
This, in theory, reduces the interference of positioning signals caused by metal material. This design is said to improve the performance of the GPS antenna by 135% compared with the traditional design, which solves the pain points of balancing positioning accuracy and compact design, and further realises marathon track-level precise positioning without trajectory drift. I can't wait to test this out in a real-world scenario!
As for heart rate accuracy, the Watch GT Runner supports the Huawei TruSeenTM 5.0+ sensor, which is said to be even more accurate than before (it was already spot-on). The Huawei TruSeenTM 5.0+ brings a newly upgraded heart rate module, 8 PDs in a circular arrangement, enhanced dynamic heart rate monitoring, more signal input, and an overall improved heart rate monitoring accuracy.
Some more deets on the design from Huawei: "the watch adopts an ergonomically designed 2.5D rear watch case, with carefully polished curved glass, which fits the characteristics of the wrist bone. The design is not only comfortable to wear, but also not easy to shake, effectively reducing the interference of external light and improving the quality of the heart rate signal."
It goes on: "Between the PD, LED, and the bottom glass, is a shield of Fresnel film, which not only improves the aesthetics but also provides a better condensing effect, so that more light will enter the dermis and obtain signals from the capillaries during the process, reducing the interference of light signals in the superficial layers of the epidermis. Huawei designed a new multi-channel signal selection and fusion enhancement algorithm, enhancing the deep AI learning noise reduction algorithm. When the user is in motion, the HUAWEI WATCH GT Runner can better obtain the optimal signal from the multi-channel of signals."