The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro, Honor Watch GS Pro, and Honor Watch ES are the best of LiteOS yet
I’ve been a rather open critic of LiteOS in the past, and I think from even my most recent coverage of the Huawei Watch GT 2e, it’s clear that a lot of its issues haven’t really been rectified in my eyes. Having said that, it’s not that LiteOS isn’t feature-packed, but rather that the features it packs aren’t really the kind that I value in a smartwatch. Huawei and Honor both launched their own wearables in the past month — Huawei launched the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro at HDC 2020, while Honor launched both the Honor Watch GS Pro and the Honor Watch ES at this year’s rather scaled-back IFA 2020. We’ve gotten to use all three, and I must say, I’m a fan.
|Specifications||Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro||Honor Watch GS Pro||Honor Watch ES|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|OS||Huawei LiteOS||Huawei LiteOS||Huawei LiteOS|
About this article: The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro was received for review for my own website, IrishTech.ie, while the Honor Watch GS Pro and the Honor Watch ES were received for review at XDA-Developers. Neither Huawei nor Honor had any input in the contents of this review.
Design and Comfort
Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro
The Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro features the most premium design of these three smartwatches, offering a traditional watch look and a sapphire glass front. The top is entirely flat, with ceramic glass underneath and a comfortable, fluoroelastomer strap. This is a comfortable watch to wear and looks the most stylish as well. I keep an always-on display enabled for the traditional watch look which adds to the experience, though you’ll take a battery hit by doing so. This one does get uncomfortable sometimes, but I can generally wear it with ease for hours on end.
Honor Watch GS Pro
The Honor Watch GS Pro also features a regular watch-like design. However, it’s incredibly bulky and uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time. It’s heavy as well. This is not the smartwatch to wear if you want something fashionable, though it’s clearly built to last and certainly doesn’t look bad. However, this will definitely not be everyone’s favorite design. I don’t know why, as it’s lighter than the Watch GT 2 Pro, but this watch feels uncomfortable and heavy on the wrist after only a few hours. I think it’s as a result of its bulk that I found myself taking it off rather frequently for a few minutes at a time. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s something to keep in mind and is to be expected from a bulky smartwatch.
Honor Watch ES
The Honor Watch ES has a rather unique design, taking the shape of a small, slightly curved, lightweight rectangle on the wrist. The overall OS and watchfaces have been adjusted to fit, and it’s definitely the most one of my favourites of the trio, While I prefer the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro for its traditional watch-like design, the Honor Watch ES is the runner-up for its premium and unique look. The Honor Watch ES is the most comfortable of the three – light and small, you can entirely forget that it’s even there. I was able to wear it for days on end.
Software Features: LiteOS
Pretty much all three of these smartwatches offer the same features in different form-factors. The only real difference between all three is that the Honor Watch ES lacks GPS support. Even then, it can connect to your smartphone and use the GPS data from that, and if I’m honest, I don’t really ever just take my smartwatch with me somewhere. I understand that there are people who do, but I imagine that’s a rather niche use-case. All three of these devices can automatically detect workout activity and will offer to start tracking it for you.
Lack of GPS aside, all three of these smartwatches offer the bare minimum that a smartwatch should. Heart-rate tracking, accurate sleep tracking, and SpO2 monitoring for blood oxygen levels are the three mainstays of any LiteOS smartwatch, and none of them have been left out. There’s menstrual cycle tracking on all three devices too, alongside other choice-features such as a compass, alarms, a timer, and a weather report.
You can also enable notifications in the Huawei Health app too. The Huawei Health app is a must-have on your smartphone to set-up and configure all of these devices, and it also allows you to view your information. The latest version of the Huawei Health app can be downloaded from the Huawei AppGallery. You can no longer download newer versions from the Google Play Store, and a newer version is required to set these devices up.
The screenshots above show the Huawei Health app in action and the data that it provides. You can view in-depth data from your walks, about your sleep, and more. I still maintain that the stress monitor is absolutely useless, but the rest of the features are fun and incredibly useful. I make use of the sleep tracker a lot to try (and admittedly fail) to maintain a sleeping pattern.
The walk that I went on was a rather slow walk, but I could see that the GPS on the Huwaei Watch GT 2 Pro was extremely accurate. This wasn’t too surprising, but it’s good to know that you can rely on it for accurate tracking. By the way, the Watch GT 2e review also goes a lot more in-depth about LiteOS if you want to check it out. The Honor Watch GS Pro was just as accurate, and I can easily recommend either of them for GPS tracking. In the case of the Honor Watch ES, that will just use your smartphone for tracking.
To summarise LiteOS — it has some nice ideas and works pretty well, however, the lack of apps is a killer. I understand that LiteOS smartwatches are not meant to be anything more than basic trackers, but they’re quite expensive despite that.
Unique Hardware Features
The unique hardware features of all three of these devices are where they truly stand out from each other. They all offer the same basic experience, but they are undoubtedly for three different types of people.
Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro
I’ll start with the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro. This is the most premium of the three (with a premium price tag of €299), and it offers the most comprehensive experience. It has wireless charging for a start (rather than pin connectors), and there is both a speaker and an ambient light sensor too. I make use of the wireless charging capabilities quite frequently, which is nice and much easier than using a dedicated pin charger. It’s much easier to just take it off while I’m working at my desk. Given how infrequently I have to charge it, it always bothered me that for convenience, I needed to have a pin charger plugged in at all times, taking up a charging port, just to be used a couple of times a month.
As for the speaker, it’s not the best speaker in the world, but I was actually impressed that the audio was listenable considering how poor the speaker was on the Watch GT 2e. I still wouldn’t recommend using it all really (a talking watch will get you a few stares out in public) but it’s nice to have the hardware if you want to use it, I guess. It also features a sapphire glass front and Bluetooth v5.1, for all that that really matters.
Honor Watch GS Pro
The Honor Watch GS Pro went through 14 different MIL-STD-810G tests, including temperature-humidity-altitude resistance, salt spray, sand resistance, and humidity resistance. In other words, if durability is what you’re after, the Honor Watch GS Pro is definitely built like a tank. Because of that though, it can get uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time, which leads to me taking it off every now and again for a bit. I’m also a bit confused as to why it uses regular glass for the front rather than sapphire glass as well, given that it’s built to be rugged. Nevertheless, this watch is a fantastic choice for anyone who goes against the elements often. What’s more, this watch lasts 25 days on a single charge. You’ll get 48-hours of straight GPS usage out of it. This is a little bit cheaper than the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro, coming in at €249.
Honor Watch ES
The Honor Watch ES doesn’t really offer much by way of unique features, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s a relatively inexpensive alternative to the other two smartwatches on offer, yet provides the basic experience of the other two for the everyday user. I don’t really care about a lot of the extra features of the other smartwatches, and for style points, the Honor Watch ES is my favorite of the three. It comes in at €99, much cheaper than the competition.
All of these smartwatches have their own merits, and I can recommend them all for different reasons. Want something a little bit on the lighter (and cheaper) side? The Honor Watch ES would be my go-to here. Want to go hiking? The Honor Watch GS Pro is the best. Finally, if you want the best of the best for everyday usage, you can’t go wrong with the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro. It’s still LiteOS which can lack at times, however, these watches are the best of LiteOS yet.