The drain-current response to short (<1μs) gate pulses has been measured for a series of GaN HEMT wafers that have similar dc and small-signal characteristics. This response has been found to correlate well with the measured microwave power output. For example, for devices where the pulsed drain current is greater than 70% of the dc value, output power densities of up to 2.3 W/mm are attained. This is in contrast with 0.5 W/mm measured for devices with low pulse response (less than 20% of the dc value). These results, which can be explained by the presence of traps in the device structure, provide a convenient test which is predictive of power performance.