We tried Huawei’s new smart watch paired with the latest smartphone launched by the Chinese house in Italy, waiting for the Mate 40.
Huawei is traveling at two speeds and this test of the new Watch GT 2 Pro, paired with the P Smart 2021 smartphone, fully confirms this. On the one hand we have a smartwatch with an elegant but sporty line and with interesting features, first of all a long autonomy. On the other hand, an entry level smartphone that fails to hit the mark, simply because the characteristics with which it is endowed do not allow it.
Trump’s ban does not allow Huawei to express its full potential, and there is a lot of potential as we have seen in recent years, forcing it to use an outdated platform on the P smart 2021, to focus instead on the next Mate 40 , which instead can count on a next generation processor at 5 nm.
A real shame, because the two products work well together, leaving many regrets for what this P Smart 2021 could have been without the ban. In this sense, good news has arrived in the last hours, with a first opening of the United States that should allow Huawei to return to buying components made in the USA.
Huawei has taken care of the design and materials of the Watch GT 2 Pro very well, with the use of the sapphire crystal to protect the display and titanium for the case, resistant up to 5 ATM. Even the lower part, the one that houses the sensors in contact with the skin, is made of glass, a truly painstaking care, which also justifies the final cost of € 299. The design is a mix of sportiness and elegance, the Watch GT 2 Pro is at ease both during sports and in everyday life.
Charging is wireless, so there are no connectors on the body, an advantage from a visual point of view, and two physical buttons are available for controlling the device. The strap we tested is made of very good quality rubber, but there are also other materials, including leather.
The dimensions are quite generous, more suitable for the male audience that to the female one, the ergonomics are still good, despite a weight that is not the most contained.
Huawei P Smart 2021, on the other hand, aims at a clearly different price range. While the Watch sits in the upper-middle segment, P Smart 2021 aims to be there Huawei’s new entry level proposal in the smartphone field.
The materials used in this case are glass and plastic, with the backcover offering a slight mirror effect but very sensitive to fingerprints. The fingerprint reader is on the right side, under the power button, while on the back stands the photographic module, which protrudes slightly from the body.
The screen has a hole for the camera at the top, in the center, with a film applied directly from the factory. In contrast to the competition, here is the 3.5 mm jack. Weight and thickness are not the most contained, respectively of 206 grams and 9.3 mm, but the reason is mainly due to the battery, large and which allows a really high autonomy, which is then the main strength of this smartphone .
Looking at the technical specifications of the two products, you can see the effects of the ban that Huawei is undergoing at the moment. The Watch GT 2 Pro is powered by a Kirin A1 processor, already seen in other smartwatches from the Chinese house, equipped with Bluetooth 5.1 and GPS. We then find 4 GB of internal memory and all the sensors that are expected from a product of this type, from the one for the heartbeat up to SpO2 detection. The screen is a 1.39-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 454×454 pixels, with a good peak brightness, for optimal use in direct sunlight. There are also a microphone and a small speaker, with which to make calls directly from the smartwatch, as long as it is connected to the phone, but the NFC is missing, practically useless since there are no functions able to exploit it.
Turning instead to the P Smart 2021, right the data sheet is the main weakness of this smartphone, especially the processor. It is in fact a Kirin 710A, in a variant, however, at 14 nm, against the 12 nm used until a few months ago by this same SoC. Equipped with Mali G51 GPU, 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory, it offers less power than what you can get from the competition in the 200 euro price range (the P Smart costs 229 euro in the list).
There is also some lag and jamming during use, widely bearable, the more serious they are the absence of NFC and above all of Dual Band Wi-Fi, a standard that cannot really be missing at the gates of 2021. Present instead Bluetooth 5.1, in this case Huawei has managed to implement a more updated standard.
The screen is a 6.67-inch IPS with Full HD + resolution, a panel of decent quality but with shallow blacks, while the maximum brightness allows for use even outdoors without problems.
In all there are four cameras, the first 48 Megapixel with f / 1.8 aperture, the second 8 Megapixel with f / 2.4 aperture and finally two 2 Megapixel cams for macros and depth of field detection, while the cam front is 32 Megapixel. The photographic sector works well and is in line with that of other products in the same price range. Good definition during the day, at night the night mode is effective, after all it was Huawei that first brought it to levels of excellence, while generating visible noise in this case. The videos are quite stable, in general the photographic sector does not disappoint but does not stand out from the crowd.
The undisputed strength of this product is the battery, from 5000 mAh, which combined with a light operating system and the absence of Google Mobile Services offers a really high autonomy. Two days without recharging, with average use, are an achievable goal, while recharging the 22W mode is available, effective in giving hours of autonomy in the face of a few minutes of charging.
Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro uses the LiteOS operating system, which we recently met in the review of Honor’s Watch GS Pro, a smartwatch that incorporates practically all the features of the Watch GT 2 Pro but made with less valuable materials. On the smartphone, on the other hand, all functions are managed byHuawei Health application. Pairing between the two devices is very simple and immediate, after all they are part of the same product ecosystem. The app offers tons of data, from calorie consumption to daily distance traveled, through workouts, heart rate and sleep analysis. There is also no shortage of data on SpO2 and stress levels.
LiteOS is a closed operating system, which we have come to know over time, and offers everything you need without the possibility of installing new applications. In general, there is a need for greater fluidity in the passages from one screen to another, on the other hand, however, the Watch GT 2 Pro offers truly excellent autonomy, which quietly covers a week of use, but it all depends on how much GPS you use. Much attention is paid to monitoring sports activities, there are dozens of them and they cover a very high number of disciplines.
Huawei P Smart 2021 instead is based on Android 10 with HMS, therefore without Google services. We have already used several Huawei smartphones in the past (you can also consult our guide to HMS), it is possible to live with the absence of Google, especially if you have the skills to better manage the sources to draw from to find applications. In recent months, however, App Gallery, Huawei’s proprietary app store, has made great strides and several streaming applications have arrived, from Sky Go to DAZN, passing through Infinity, Chili, Rai Play and Mediaset Play (Amazon Prime Video can be downloaded directly from the Amazon app store), as well as various banking applications (Ubi Banca, My Carta BCC, Banca Sella, Hype, Mediolanum for example).
By spending a minimum of time it is possible to configure the phone to the best, net ofabsence of services like Google Classroom, widely used today for distance learning. In short, even if it is not yet an optimal situation, using HMS is not impossible at all and the integration between smartwatch and smartphone is really very good. The problem of the P Smart 2021 is not the software, but it is a hardware that is no longer in step with the times, unfortunately Huawei had no alternative in this sense.
The test of these two products shows a glimpse of the situation in which Huawei finds itself. On the one hand we have a Watch GT 2 Pro that proves to be an excellent smartwatch, with premium materials and long autonomy, a product that represents well what the Chinese company is able to do, which in recent years has been one of the major innovators in the Android field. On the other hand, the P Smart 2021 is the child of Huawei’s inability to create the smartphones it would like. The problem here is not the App Gallery or the HMSs, but hardware that, in that price range, falls short of the competition. In the coming weeks we will also try the Mate 40 Pro, a smartphone that makes its high specifications, and advanced cameras, real strengths that could make it stand out from the crowd. We are confident that this smartphone can really show what Huawei is capable of today, net of the limits imposed by the absence of Google. What is certain is that the P Smart 2021 does not represent the potential of a company that has driven the Android world in recent years, and that we hope one day it will be able to do it again.