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.

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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.

Lifestyle

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry made up and Twitter is not calm

Peace at last

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Pop queen and LGBT ally Taylor Swift just dropped the music video for You Need to Calm Down and unsurprisingly, the fans cannot calm down. The star-studded video features queer icons like Laverne Cox, Ellen de Generes, Adam Rippon, Queer Eye’s Fab Five who are living their fabulous lives despite the anti-gay protests in front of them.

The surprise we did not expect however, but many eagle-eyed fans speculated last week, is a Katy Perry cameo.


In case you’ve been living under a rock, the two pop stars had a years-long public feud that eventually ended when Katy extended an olive branch last year, by sending Taylor an actual olive branch.

The music video is their first public reunion, and Katycats and Swifties all over are having a Twitter party:

We’ll tell all our grandchildren one day.

Bless.

Can’t calm down.

Anyone having an awful year so far can relate.

Took the words out of my mouth.

Same.

War is over, if you want it.

*orders McDonald’s*

Give us what we need!

There are many important moments in the whole video but this one featuring drag queens as this era’s pop queens is for everyone who take pleasure in pitting women against each other.

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Automotive

A Father’s Day drive up north

Story time!

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We recently got the Ranger Raptor for the second time to use at this year’s STV ARCC and represent Ford Philippines. And since we had a free day before the event itself happened, I decided to use it and take out my dad along with my brother for a road trip. Good thing Mom had an errand to do that day!

Dad wanted to visit a certain theme park restaurant north of Metro Manila so I agreed and went for it. We already brought the Raptor to a 4×4 route for some off-road action, so now we go for long, paved roads with hungry stomachs.


That’s Dad, my brother Kiefer, and me on the road

After four hours of driving from the south, past the traffic metro, and all the way up north, we reached our destination. The place is called Isdaan Floating Restaurant and it’s at the municipality of Talavera in Nueva Ecija in the Philippines. “Isdaan,” when translated, means “fishery” so it already paints you a picture of what to expect. The restaurant is hard to miss as it has a wide, inviting facade fronted with sculptures.

The staff greeted us with a warm welcome and led us to our private floating nipa hut with koi fish swimming around and under us. Looking at the menu, there were lots of choices from appetizers, meat, seafood obviously, and even specialties that you don’t usually see in city restaurants.

“Guarding” the floating nipa huts

We got Bicol Express (spicy stew), Sinigang na Liempo (pork belly soup), and Binukadkad na Plapla (butterflied fish) from the menu. One of their signatures is a Boat Special. Basically, they offer select dishes in a long sizzling plate mounted on a wooden counter-top that resembles a boat. This was how Bicol Express was served which greatly added to the presentation value.

Food was really great especially the soup. While the service wasn’t too snappy and could definitely be improved, the food compensated for it. It has that home-cooked taste that hits the spot after a long drive.

After eating, we decided to walk around the area and check out the theme park side of the place. There were giant statues everywhere — from the Charging Bull similar to New York’s, Big Buddha of Phuket, and even prehistoric dinosaurs. It does make for great photo opportunities as you’ll see in the following photos.

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Apart from the gigantic and humorous characters, another attraction to find here is a corner to vent out all your pent-up emotions. For a reasonable price, you can choose objects like those plates or coffee mugs that you can smash onto the wall. If you ask me, I feel it’s a bit out of place in this family-friendly restaurant but it still does make the place unique.

Those are all fun but what usually entices people to visit this place is the fact that you can dip your feet in this shallow pond and have large koi fish swimming in between your legs. It might sound weird and it’s probably not for everyone, but the novelty of being able to do it was actually fun.

These koi quickly gather around you as you go near the water

Caught this little guy trying to nibble on his watch

Can’t leave the place without this obligatory shot!

After all the photos were taken and a few minor mishaps (one of us slipping trying to get in with the fish, not telling who), we were ready to go back home. It was another four hours inside the Raptor and we ended up exchanging stories and laughing our way through the expressways while the truck was mostly on cruise control. It was definitely a trip to remember.

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Her GadgetMatch

5 coolest Airbnb places you can rent in Tagaytay

For when you want to escape Manila’s heat

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Image credit: Airbnb

Tagaytay is one destination you can visit when you’re looking for a weekend getaway. It’s popular for its cold weather, picture-worthy cafes, and an overlooking view of Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano. In addition, it’s just a two-hour drive away from Manila.

If you’re planning to stay in this city for a couple of days, here are our top five Airbnb rentals:


Dalton’s Lakeview Point

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Dalton’s Lakeview Point is a stylish, modern-themed Airbnb. It’s spacious enough to fit groups up to six people, and its artistic interior design gives you that cozy and calming feeling. Stay here when you want a refreshing view of Taal Lake.

Book it here.

Nordic Jewel

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Couples might enjoy staying at Nordic Jewel, a Scandinavian-inspired Airbnb located in Tagaytay Prime Residences. Despite being small, every corner is Instagrammable. If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell you this: Small spaces make you closer with a person. Now go and have a good time with the love of your life!

Book it here.

Unit 217, Tower 1, Wind Residences

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Even though it looks like a hotel room, Unit 217 in Tower 1, Wind Residences exudes an elegant, contemporary vibe. Its yellow accents give life in this Airbnb’s dominantly black and white design, and its patio invites you to relax and take a peek outside. This is perfect for those who want to feel that hotel vibe with a touch of the usual bed and breakfast.

Book it here.

Chalet de Tagaytay

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If you want to retreat from the hustle-bustle of life, Chalet de Tagaytay is a rustic Airbnb that oozes privacy. Perched on a mountainside, it has the perfect view of Taal Lake for when you want to contemplate about life. Take the time to forget the world and your problems, and just relax during your stay.

Book it here.

Windsor Vacation House

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Windsor Vacation House is the perfect place for get-togethers. It’s spacious enough to let everyone have their own space, and every corner is definitely picture-worthy. Next time you have an occasion to celebrate, bring your families and friends here for a wonderful experience. It can comfortably fit people up to 12 people, and it’s guaranteed you’ll make new memories with a beautiful Airbnb like this!

Book it here.

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