Outdoor watches have seen some major advances in recent months, but the majority of the big players still pack a steep price tag. Enter Honor's GS Pro: a rugged adventure watch aims to deliver a similar experience at a significantly lower price.
As well as complying with 14 types of MIL-STD-810G/GJB 150A tests covering everything from high temperatures and humidity to salt fog and solar radiation, it serves a number of features that allow you to take control when you're out in the wilderness.
- Essential reading: The best outdoor watches
There's also everything you'd expect from a comprehensive fitness watch, including detailed tracking and analytics, an SpO2 sensor, stress monitoring and over 100 workout modes.
We've been putting the Honor GS Pro through its reasonably priced paces to see how it compares to the growing range of outdoor options available.
Honor GS Pro: Key features
Price: Â£249.99 | Weight: 45.5g (without strap) | 1.39-inch AMOLED round screen | Full-screen touchscreen | 454 x 454 pixels at 326 PPI | 24/7 Heart Rate monitor | SpO2 Monitor | Sleep Monitor | Remote photo shooting | Over 100 workout modes | Battery: 25 days in normal mode/48 hours in GPS mode/100 hours in outdoor workout mode
As is the case with most outdoor watch designs, the GS Pro veers towards the chunkier side of wearable tech. Underneath the prominent and aesthetically pleasing stainless steel bezel is an operating system that utilises a combination of two large buttons that sit on the right side of the face and a touch screen. Those buttons are housed in a reinforced polycarbonate body.
The removal watch strap is made from a tough silicon-style material that's comfortable enough. We've been wearing it for a couple of weeks now and it fits securely on the arm without any major issues save for some inevitable sweating during a run. It also has quick release straps, which hopefully forecasts the release of other strap options from Honor in the future.
The display is perhaps the most pleasing element of the design. Its a 1.39-inch AMOLED round screen made up of 454 x 454 pixels at 326 PPI, the result is crystal clear display. As soon as you see the Honor logo pop up on startup the vibrant colours become immediately clear.
The interface works through a combination of the two side buttons and the full touchscreen. As with all smartwatch controls, there's a learning curve when utilising the buttons effectively. The bulk of the features found in the watch are, however, managed via the touch screen, so getting to grips with the operating system is relatively painless.
Those two buttons are preset with the top one launching the full menu of features and the lower one taking you straight to the various workout options available. Each of those workouts tends to come with a selection of associated settings which are accessed via a button on the touch screen. Very clean, very simple and great if you want to start training straight away.
One issue we did find with the interface and touchscreen was a slight lag or the need to perform more than one tap, especially when finishing a workout. It's not a major problem, and it is something that we've seen across other devices, but it can be quite frustrating when you quickly want to pause or stop and activity.
The GS Pro is a watch designed to cover a heap of outdoor activities, that includes over 100 sport profiles ranging from the obvious to things like hula hooping, tug of war and darts (none of which we've tested, sorry). Some of the more widely used modes, like running or hiking, also incorporate additional features. Running is by far the most advanced of these, including manual split customisation and a training AI that offers updates based on your pace target.
For runners, there's also a set selection of running course â 13 that exist in the watch at the time of writing â these offer a series of pre-built training formats including visual and audio queues for simple training formats like run/walk to more advanced interval running options.
Interestingly, alongside running, the activity that sees the most in terms of insight and features is skiing. The advanced skiing coach functionality comes with a heap of data points to trawl through during and after you've hit the slopes, covering everything from trail time and maximum speed to steepness and vertical ascent.
The data displayed on screen is clear and includes a selection of screens accessed via a swipe up and down during your activity. When running, this covers general information like pace, time and heart rate to more intricate information like aerobic/anaerobic training effect and a visually impressive AI screen where you can view your position against an avatar running at a set pace.
Swiping horizontally during a workout will take you to the music screen as well as the GPS navigation. This displays a breadcrumb route tracker of the route you have taken during your activity.
As you'd expect from an outdoor watch, the GS Pro includes navigation, although it's fairly limited when compared to more premium options out there.
The primary navigational function utilises the watch's GPS to record a breadcrumb trail of the route you've just taken. At any point, you can view the breadcrumb trail and press the Route Back button on the touch screen. From there the watch will direct you back via the exact route you've just covered, guiding you safely to the start of your activity.
Considering the price point, the feature is a welcome addition to the watch that elevates it from a multi-sport product to a bona fide piece of kit for the great outdoors. It may not offer the ability to preload routes or navigate using a visual map, but it's a nice use of the GPS that solves one of the biggest needs of the outdoor adventurer: getting home safely.
Overall, it's a base level functionality where navigation is concerned and there are similar priced options out there, like the Garmin Instinct, that offer a more comprehensive range of features. The GS Pro does, however, deliver a far greater experience when it comes to screen quality and interface.
When it comes to health features the GS Pro boasts a vast array of options, catering for a wide range of users. These cover everything from more common functions like steps, 24/7 heart rating, sleep tracking and built in breathing exercises to those more prevalent in higher end devices. That includes stress analysis, Sp02 monitoring blood oxygen level measurements, and air pressure calculations.
The bulk of these work best when used with the Huawei Health app, which gives greater visibility around each function as well as the ability to access historical information. It's a simple but well put together app which offers clear and useful information, especially when it comes to long term health tracking. The best feature for us is the sleep tracking analytics, displaying detailed information around your sleep patterns alongside easy to understand information on what it means.
The watch still lacks some of the more detailed performance analytics that are found in devices like the Polar Grit X and the Garmin Fenix, but for the price, it offers a more than adequate range of health features.
We noticed that the GPS tracking delivered slightly short in all cases when compared with that of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. This includes a measured 10k running event where the GS Pro fell short by around 50 metres. Not a massive drop but one we consistently experienced when testing out on daily runs.
Heart rate tracking suffered from fluctuations and did take a while to pick up at the start of performing an exercise. Although this is a common with optical sensors, especially those found in bulkier watches and we found similar results when testing against the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
Sleep tracking delivered very well and the overall tracking for hours slept appeared consistent across a full week, falling in line with how long we perceived the sleep to be.
Battery life is by far one of the most impressive elements of the GS Pro, offering up to 25 days in normal usage, up to 100 hours in outdoor mode and 48 hours with continual GPS usage.
In testing, we've found it delivers well on those numbers. In 11 days of use, including daily running and workouts, the battery has fallen to around 30%. So although 25 days may be the best case scenario, it delivers an impressive staying power for the price.
One of our favourite additions to the GS Pro is the inclusion of music storage on the watch itself, allowing up to 500 songs to be accessed via a Bluetooth headset. It's simple to transfer tracks from the app and means you can head out for a run without the need to carry your phone on you, although you will need to own MP3 music to do this.
There's also a built in microphone and speaker that can be used to take calls by speaking directly into the device without the need for headphones. Very useful if your phone is stuffed at the bottom of your bag and you're halfway through a trail run.
As well as GPS you'll also find a barometric altimeter and a compass, as well as a heap of outdoor information including sunrise and sunset times, moon and tidal phases, and bad weather alerts.
The Honor GS Pro is an impressive outdoor watch that offers a comprehensive range of features at a surprisingly low price point. Aesthetically it's a great looking piece of kit with one of the nicest displays we've seen on watch, even when compared to those that come at a much higher cost.
Perhaps most importantly, that clear interface and operating system doesn't offset the battery power, something we've seen in many other wearables that straddle the world of outdoor features and smartwatch functions. It's well worth a look if you're after a mid-range adventure option that dabbles in some of the more premium features out there.