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Huawei's new runner-focused smartwatch has 2-week-long battery life
- Huawei’s latest smartwatch, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner, is aimed at serious runners.
- It boasts an upgraded heart rate sensor and advanced training features for athletes.
- It’ll launch this quarter for €299. It’s not expected to launch in the US.
HUAWEI is targeting professional runners with its new smartwatch, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner. It’s not technically a new smartwatch — it launched last December in Russia and in a few Asia Pacific countries — but now it’s making its way to global markets.
You can think of the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner as a runner-focused HUAWEI Watch GT 3. It has the same two-week-long battery life (eight days with heavy usage), support for 100+ workout modes, all-day SpO2 monitoring, and an AI-driven running coach.
The GT Runner is made of a lightweight composite fiber watch case and weighs just 38.5 grams. HUAWEI touts the GT Runner’s new suspended antenna design, which houses the positioning antenna in the case lugs. Because there’s no interference from the metal in the watch case, HUAWEI says the performance of the GPS antenna has been improved by 135% “compared to traditional [GPS antenna] designs.”
Speaking of which, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner boasts dual-band GNSS support. It’s compatible with all five major navigational systems — GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS — though it can’t connect to all of them at the same time like the Coros Vertix 2.
The new watch comes with HUAWEI’s TruSeen 5.0 Plus heart rate sensor, the same one found in the GT 3. When we tested the HUAWEI Watch GT 3’s heart rate sensor, we found it to be quite accurate compared to competitor watches, though it fell a bit short compared to the Apple Watch Series 6. We haven’t tested the specific sensor on the GT Runner, however, so we’ll save our verdict for our full review.
Also read: The best HUAWEI smartwatches you can buy
Before Garmin bought Firstbeat analytics in 2020, select HUAWEI smartwatches used Firstbeat’s algorithms to power its training features. That’s been replaced by HUAWEI’s own TruSport analytics in the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner.
The most interesting new feature powered by TruSport analytics is Running Ability Index (RAI). Based on historical heart rate, pace, distance, and other data, the HUAWEI Watch GT Runner will give you a Running Ability Index score to show you where you are in your training. You’ll get training suggestions based on your score, as well as other familiar training info like estimated recovery times, anaerobic/aerobic load, VO2 max, and race time predictions.
Huawei’s AI Running Coach makes a return on the GT Runner. You can create personalized training plans in the HUAWEI Health app, and the running coach will adjust your plan based on your running progress over time. It can also determine which training stage you’re in — basic, lifting, consolidation, or reduction — to help ensure you’re training at the correct pace.
HUAWEI also says the GT Runner can monitor for premature signs of AFib and sleep apnea. However, the company likely won’t seek out CE or FDA clearance for either of these functions, so it’s best not to treat the GT Runner as a medical device. We’ve reached out to HUAWEI for clarification.
This is a HUAWEI smartwatch, so you’ll likely recognize some of the other smart features available on the GT Runner. It comes with enough storage for around 500 songs, though it’s not compatible with any popular streaming services like Spotify or YouTube Music. It supports smartphone notifications and Bluetooth calling support thanks to the integrated speaker and microphone.
The HUAWEI Watch GT Runner is compatible with Android and iOS phones and has HUAWEI’s Celia voice assistant baked in. However, we’ve run into region-locked features with previous HUAWEI watches, so depending on your paired smartphone and where you’re located, your mileage may vary.
HUAWEI is remaining quiet on availability for its new watch. It will arrive at some point in Q1 2022 in various parts of Europe, LATAM, and North America (no US launch is planned). It’ll cost €299 in the UK, though we don’t have any other details on pricing at the moment. As more information is announced, we will continue to update this article.