Lifestyle

How the Huawei Watch GT made me believe in smartwatches

Even though it’s not that smart

Photos by: Patty Medina

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I have a confession to make: I’m not really into smartwatches. As much as I enjoy taking the hottest phones and laptops with me everywhere I go, I prefer wearing a traditional watch around my wrist, or at most, a hybrid smartwatch.

Full-fledged smartwatches are more cumbersome than convenient for me. Not only would I have to charge it daily, but I’d also need to set it up like an actual smartphone. I already have multiple devices to take care of at any given time.

That’s where Huawei’s latest smartwatch comes in. While it isn’t the usual hybrid I’d gladly pair with my phone, it does offer some compromise — ones that make me forget I’m even wearing a smarter-than-average watch.

Honestly, the main reason I even considered accepting the Huawei Watch GT and reviewing it is because of its battery life. With a promise of two-week endurance on a single charge and greater focus on daily health, I took the plunge.

Yes, the battery endurance is legit. Charging it to full, which takes a little over one and a half hours using its portable dock, is enough to make it last for 15 whole days, and that’s with the heart rate sensor always on!

This has to be the Watch GT’s greatest strength; it’ll tell you your heart rate any time you look at its face, and the simple interface is easier to understand than your typical Android. Huawei has done a good job of optimizing its proprietary operating system for common folk’s use.

And yet, that’s also one of the device’s initial weaknesses. You have to learn something new all over again. It’s not like jumping from one Wear OS to another or an older Apple Watch to a newer one. The interface is simple, but totally different.

Fortunately, there are only two physical buttons to worry about: The top enters the options menu and acts as an alternate back/wake-up switch, while the other offers the selection of available exercises.

We have modes for running, climbing, hiking, cycling, and swimming. Some of these require the watch’s GPS to be turned on, which consumes more battery power. If none of these fit the workout you’re about to embark on, there’s an option for “Other.” I used this while playing basketball and lifting weights at the gym.

Aside from those two, I tried outdoor running and open swimming, both of which needed GPS. Once I start the workout, the watch provides vital info such as pace and distance, on top of the usual heart rate and total time. Once you check your connected phone, it’ll show a more comprehensive summary complete with the mapping of your every location.

I must say, the tracking is quite accurate. I get a graph of my heart rate and speed for every minute of the routine, plus a precise map of what I covered. The Huawei Health app is what keeps all the records, and divides the intensities into warm-up, fat-burning, aerobic, anaerobic, and extreme.

All this data gets synced with every pairing between the Watch GT and Health app. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to save the data online and view it on other devices. I managed to integrate Google Fit with Huawei Health, but could never transfer any fitness info.

I doubt this would be a problem for most users, but for techies like myself who go from one device to another, it would be perfect to have cloud access. The watch does hold some data so I can at least look back at some previous workouts after moving to another phone.

While on the topic of downsides, I also experienced several annoyances like sudden disconnections to my phone and the raise-to-wake function not always working, but a couple of software patches solved these issues to an extent. I also don’t like how notifications show up twice or not at all; this prevents the Watch GT from being a reliable assistant.

But, in essence, it seems to serve a different purpose altogether — not simply as a virtual companion. Because it’s so light, it acts like a fitness band while working out. And when you’re done exercising and need to head to a meeting or night out, it remains classy enough to pair with any casual or even semi-formal attire.

Like other smartwatches, you may change the watch face any time to match your outfit. Same applies to the watchband — no proprietary standards here, so swap to your heart’s content. This flexibility may be the primary reason why anyone would consider the Huawei Watch GT in the first place.

At the same time, it’s not that intelligent, feeling more like a fitness watch than a smartwatch most of the time. I was thoroughly impressed by the feature set when I first wore it, and yet, it left me wanting more as time went on.

For one, I’d love to be able to install more apps. Customization would make it, well, smarter. In addition, this wearable would benefit greatly from Qi wireless charging. Imagine charging on any compatible charger at home or in a cafe, or better yet, on your Mate 20 Pro’s back! Huawei missed a golden opportunity here.

These setbacks keep a good smartwatch from being great, especially when the market has reached a point wherein there are so many awesome choices now.

An alternative would be the Galaxy Watch of Samsung. It also has its own interface and focuses more on being a business-fitness watch. The differences are in the shorter battery life — limited to a couple of days depending on use — and ability to install additional apps from Samsung’s own app store.

Of course, you could also consider the Apple Watch Series 4. However, even though it targets health tracking and looks way better than previous generations, it’s really best for those who already use an iPhone. That Apple ecosystem in unmatched in the tech realm.

If you’ve made it this far and are still interested, the Huawei Watch GT starts at EUR 199 for the Sport version and costs EUR 249 for the Classic, which is the model you see here. In this case, style definitely comes at a price.

Entertainment

Selena Gomez’s new music video was shot on an iPhone 11 Pro

This might just be the best smartphone camera to date

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We’ve all heard the pitch — smartphones can be used to grace a cover shoot for a magazine or film an entire music video. Some people find it hard to believe that smartphones are now as powerful as ever.

However, acclaimed director Sophie Muller shocked the world when she directed Selena Gomez’s latest music video which was shot entirely on the new iPhone 11 Pro.

“Lose You To Love Me” by Selena Gomez

Singer-songwriter Selena Gomez dropped her much anticipated single. Entitled “Lose You To Love Me,” the song tackles the road to self-discovery and promoting self-love. Gomez says, “This song was inspired by many things that have happened in my life since releasing my last album.”

Gomez promoted the music video in a tweet with the hashtag #ShotOniPhone.

Promoted by Apple

The music video was originally meant for Selenators and other pop culture connoisseur. To garner even more attention, Apple uploaded a one-minute clip on its YouTube channel promoting the music video as shot on its latest iPhone.

 

This isn’t the first time that a video was taken using an iPhone. To date, iPhones are being regarded for their highly capable cameras favored by photographers and videographers alike. This recent promotion is only a testament to how the iPhone 11 Pro might just be the best smartphone camera you can ever buy this year. If you want to see its capability, watch Selena Gomez’s full music video.

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No NBA on Free TV? Facebook to the rescue

Big deal for the basketball-crazy Philippines

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Image from FB.com/NBAPhilippines

Local television networks in the Philippines failed to reach an agreement with the NBA to air full games on free TV in the country. Fear not though as the NBA still sees the Philippines as a huge market and will live stream games on the official Facebook and Twitter pages of NBA Philippines.

There will be a live game on opening week which is from October 23 to 29. Starting October 31, live stream of games will be every Mondays and Thursdays.

“The Philippines is one of the world’s leaders in social media penetration and usage with over 17 million followers of the league’s social media accounts, making it an ideal platform to livestream NBA content. With NBA games on Facebook Watch and Twitter, we are empowering the digital lifestyle of our fans with the ability to enjoy the NBA anytime, anywhere,” says NBA Philippines Managing Director Carlo Singson on a report from ESPN5.

Here are the games that will be broadcast live during tip-off week:

Oct. 23, 10:30 AM — Los Angeles Lakers @ LA Clippers

Oct. 24, 7:30 AM — Boston Celtics @ Philadelphia 76ers

Oct. 25, 8:00 AM — Milwaukee Bucks @ Houston Rockets

Oct. 26, 10:30 AM — Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers

Oct. 27, 8:00 AM — New Orleans Pelicans @ Houston Rockets

Oct. 28, 7:00 AM — Portland Trail Blazers @ Dallas Mavericks

Oct. 29, 8:00 AM — Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets

Got a favorite team? There’s always NBA League Pass

If that’s not enough for you, there’s always NBA League Pass where you have the option to follow just one team or if you’re a hoop junkie, get a subscription that gives you access to all of the games. Simply download the NBA App on the App store or Google Play and choose your preferred subscription.

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Entertainment

TWICE, BLACKPINK part of Just Dance 2020 lineup

Dance to Fancy and Kill This Love!

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To celebrate 10 years of making gamers move, Just Dance 2020 is adding some popular asian music to their lineup. In particular, hit songs from two of the most popular K-Pop girl groups today made the lineup — TWICE’s Fancy and BLACKPINK’s Kill This Love.

Joining those two tracks are these other chart toppers:

God Is a Woman — Ariana Grande
Skibidi — Little Big
Vodovorot — XS Project
Bangarang — Skrillex Ft. Sirah
Con Calma — Daddy Yankee Ft. Snow
Bad Boy – Riton & Kah-Lo
High Hopes — Panic! At The Disco
Sushi — Merk & Kremont
I Like It — Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
Policeman — Eva Simons Ft. Konshens
Rain Over Me — Pitbull Ft. Marc Anthony
365 — Zedd & Katy Perry
Con Altura — ROSALÍA & J Balvin Ft. El Guincho
Fit But You Know It — The Streets
I Am The Best (내가 제일 잘 나가) — 2NE1
Old Town Road (Remix) — Lil Nas X Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Só Depois Do Carnaval — Lexa
Taki Taki — DJ Snake Ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B
The Time (Dirty Bit) — Black Eyed Peas
Just An Illusion — Equinox Stars
Baby Shark — Pinkfong
Bassa Sababa — Netta
My New Swag (我的新衣) — VAVA Ft. Ty. & Nina Wang
Tel Aviv — Omer Adam Ft. Arisa
Ugly Beauty (怪美的) — Jolin Tsai

New and returning game modes

The new mode recently announced is the All-Stars Mode. This will allow the players to rediscover and progress through 10 iconic songs from 10 years of Just Dance, to unlock an exclusive song at the end.

Making a return is the Co-op mode which will let players to team-up to combine their scores. There’s also an enhanced recommendation system enables players to choose among a personalized offering of their most loved Just Dance content. In addition, players can create their own playlists to customize their Just Dance parties.

The other modes are as follows:

Sweat Mode: Players can exercise while having fun with the Sweat Mode! They can track their calories burned, time spent dancing, and keep themselves motivated with their dedicated sweat playlists.

Kids Mode: The dedicated Kids Mode allows the youngest players to enjoy it in full with 8 new kid-friendly curated songs, accompanying a fun dance experience tailored to kids’ needs.

Just Dance Unlimited: The Dance-on-demand subscription streaming service gives access to 500+ songs and more! Every copy of the game comes with one month’s access.

To make the game more accessible, there’s also the Just Dance Controller app. Players can use their smartphone to navigate in game, track and score their moves. Up to six players can play with their phones simultaneously. The application is available for free on iOS and Android.

If you’ve been looking for a game that you can play with friends and family this holidays, look no further than Just Dance 2020. The game will be available on PS4 Pro, PSR and the Xbox One family of devices on November 5, 2019.

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