Friday, October 23, 2020

This post was originally published on Pocketnow

Home Mobile HONOR Watch GS Pro review: the outdoor person’s best hiking companion

HONOR Watch GS Pro review: the outdoor person’s best hiking companion

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This post was originally published on Pocketnow

If you’ve always wanted a HUAWEI Watch GT 2 (and there are three of them: the original GT 2, the more affordable GT 2e, and the premium GT 2 Pro), but for whatever reason, you also wanted an even longer battery life, and a build that is more durable and can withstand the abuse, the HONOR Watch GS Pro is where your attention should be.

It should come as no surprise, given the fact that HONOR is a HUAWEI sub-brand, that the HONOR Watch GS Pro shares most, if not all of its features with the HUAWEI Watch GT 2. Internals aside, this watch is addressing a completely different target audience, one that is not training at the gym and wearing the same classy watch to work. This is a fully ruggedized smartwatch, that promises 25-day battery life and is also MIL-STD-810G certified for those outdoors enthusiasts among the active. 

We’ve been training with this beast for more than two weeks, and this is our verdict, in our HONOR Watch GS Pro review below.

HONOR Watch GS Pro design

The HONOR Watch GS Pro is the complete opposite of the HUAWEI Watch GT 2 Pro, which is subtle, elegant, and classy. The Watch GS Pro is chunky, but in a “masculine” way, not in a bad way. Sure, it retains the basics of the original design, with the two side buttons on the right, and the speaker in between, but it has a much thicker case and bezel in order to offer more protection.

Featuring almost double the battery capacity than the Watch GT 2 required HONOR to make the case of the Watch GS Pro thicker. That’s fine if you’re a fan (or just OK) with a chunky watch, but if you are absolutely terrified of wearing an almost 14mm thick watch on your wrist, you should probably look elsewhere.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

The stainless steel bezel nicely blends in with the reinforced polycarbonate body, to offer thermal resistance, shock resistance, as well as water resistance, in addition to 11 more military-grade certifications, for a total of 14. It’s available in Charcoal Black (our unit), Camo Blue, Camo Grey, and Marl White.

On the back, we spot the TruSeen 3.5 heart-rate and blood oxygen setup consisting of four LEDs, as well as the two pogo pins used for charging. The rubber strap is rather stiff, but it’s still comfortable on your wrist, and features a spring-loaded mechanism should you want to switch it out to another 22mm strap.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

HONOR Watch GS Pro specs

You shouldn’t be surprised if you already know these specs from the HUAWEI Watch GT 2-series. There’s a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with 454 x 454 resolution and 326PPI on the top, underneath which the Kirin A1 chip, paired with 32MB of RAM and 4GB of storage (2 available) are doing the heavy lifting.

Fueling everything is a massive 790mAh battery (with 25 days of advertised battery life), all crammed in a case measuring 48mm x 48mm x 13.6mm and about 50 grams.

While there’s no Wi-Fi and NFC, the Watch GS Pro features an accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, heart rate sensor, barometer, ambient light sensor, its own GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, and, of course, the microphone and the speaker.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

Software and experience

The HONOR Watch GS Pro features the same software as the HUAWEI line-up. Our unit is currently running LiteOS 10.1.1.22, and if you’re familiar with the software you should feel right at home. If you’re new to owning a recent HONOR (or HUAWEI, for that matter) smartwatch, it’s an easy learning curve, and getting used to it will be no problem.

There are six screens, including the home screen, you can swipe through in an endless loop. These are your main home screen, which is customizable with tons of watch faces, your heart-rate screen followed by your stress readouts, weather, music controls, and your summary circles (consisting of total steps, workout minutes, and active standing number of hours).

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

More than 100 workout modes are available on the watch (including hiking, skiing, and swimming), so you’ll probably find the one that suits you, except if you play basketball. I mention this every time I review a HUAWEI or HONOR watch, since there are so many sports included, but not a basketball option, and since I’m shooting baskets twice a week, I have to always go with another training mode. I’ll end my short rant here.

Relying on the GPS inside the watch, there’s a neat “Route Back” feature you can use should you get lost in the woods or mountains while hiking. The watch will guide you back to your starting point, which is really convenient for the outdoor lovers. GPS will also record your walks and runs, and other outdoor activities.

You still can’t act on notification, aside from scrolling through them and dismissing them, so forget about replying to a text message. And, while still on the topic, the watch still doesn’t support the display of emojis, so if you get a text or a WhatsApp message that only contains an emoji, like a 👍🏻, the notification will be empty.

We said the above paragraph with the occasion of our HUAWEI Watch GT 2 Pro review, and it’s just as applicable to the HONOR Watch GS Pro since it’s running the same software. It also comes with the same inconvenience. 

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

You still have no payment options available, but thanks to the speaker (which is really loud) and microphone, you can take calls on your wrist if you find it more convenient than searching for your smartphone inside the backpack.

The rest of the experience relies on the HUAWEI Health app, which is available to download on the AppGallery, as well as the Play Store. You can find more details on the HUAWEI Health App by checking out its section in our Watch GT 2 review.

Fitness and Health

My training routine is unchanged and includes ten cardio sessions per week, 5 CrossFit and weightlifting, and two sessions of shooting baskets. During our two weeks of training with the HONOR Watch GS Pro, I only charged it once. While not exactly a 25-day battery life, as advertised, it’s still double the battery life or the HUAWEI watches, considering the rather heavy use thanks to the high amount of training sessions, during our HONOR Watch GS Pro review period.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

During those aforementioned sessions, heart-rate monitoring and VO2Max readouts seemed pretty accurate and consistent with the readouts of other brand watches.

Sleep tracking was also in line with previously recorded results from another watch, and the Watch GS Pro does a good job at automatically recognizing bedtime and wake up time.

Nothing negative to mention in the Stress monitoring department. The watch takes readouts throughout the day so you have a better sense of how stressed you are, and maybe take a break or a breathing exercise.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

Of course, while you can check your exercise records and daily activity on the watch, it’s the HUAWEI Health app that collects all the data and nicely represents all of your fitness activities and health-related readouts.

With rather accurate blood oxygen level monitoring, you can always keep track of your SpO2 levels; the readings are not automatic, but on-demand, which is something HONOR could include during the night for an even better estimation of your sleep quality.

HONOR Watch GS Pro review

Pricing and availability

Priced at a rather steep €249.99 or ₤249.99, you can definitely grab it at a lower price as there are several discounts and bundles offered in various countries in the EU. If you’re in the US, you’ll most likely have to import it due to the ban on HUAWEI (and HONOR) products. 

Pros and cons

ProsCons
+ rugged design
+ beautiful display
+ insane battery life
+ accurate heart-rate tracking
+ always-on display
+ 100+ activity modes
– no NFC, Cellular, or Wi-Fi
– no payment options
– notification system needs more work
– iOS experience inferior to Android
– chunky design could not appeal to some

Conclusion

If you are the kind of person who enjoys outdoor activities more than the average person, the HONOR Watch GS Pro should definitely be on your shortlist for a companion.

Its rugged build is shock resistant and with 14 military-grade certifications, it will continue to perform in all extreme conditions. Not only that, but with extreme battery life, you can rest assured that it will not give up on you, and the “Route Back” feature will safely return you to your starting point.

Gallery

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