Huawei Watch review: Classy, comfortable Android Wear smartwatch looks great with a suit

  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $199.99

Pros

  • Gorgeous full round display
  • Beautiful included watch face options
  • Charges quickly
  • Elegant, classy design

Cons

  • Must use included dock to charge
  • No auto-brightness capability
  • Heart rate is take only on demand

I posted my initial hands-on with the Huawei Watch and since then have been able to also test one out with the stainless steel mesh band. Huawei's first Android Wear smartwatch is a winner, if Android Wear meets your needs.

At first I vacillated between the new Moto 360 and the Huawei Watch, but after using both for a couple more weeks I've grown to prefer the Huawei Watch for a few reasons. These include the full round display, higher resolution, standing and elevation tracking, and overall fit and finish.

For another opinion on the Huawei Watch, check out the CNET review.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2 GHz
  • Display: 1.4 inch 400 x 400 pixels resolution AMOLED, 286 ppi
  • Operating system: Android Wear 1.3, based on Android 5.1.1
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Storage: 4GB internal
  • Materials: 316L stainless steel and sapphire crystal glass
  • Radios: Bluetooth 4.1 BLE and 802.11 b/g WiFi
  • Sensors: 6-axis motion, heart rate, barometer, vibration motor
  • Battery: 300 mAh battery
  • Watch band width: 18mm
  • Dimensions: 42 x 11.3 mm and 55 grams

The specs of most current Android Wear devices are similar with the only real differentiation being in the display resolution and materials used for the product.

Hardware

The Huawei Watch ships in sturdy, dark brown box reminiscient of what you would expect when buying a high end standard watch. Lift off the top and then flip the lid with the stiff hinge to reveal the Huawei Watch sitting in a compartment of leather.

Underneath the Huawei Watch is a folder with some basic instructions and below that is the wireless charging dock and USB charger. The charging dock is similar to the Apple Watch dock, but requires that the four gold pins on the back exactly line up to the connection points on the back of the Huawei Watch.

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The dock will help you achieve 80 percent of your charge in 45 minutes and a full charge in about an hour and 15 minutes. You must use the chargind dock to charge the Huawei Watch so you may want to consider a second if you travel a lot.

The Huawei Watch is one of those Android Wear models that looks almost like a standard watch at first glance. Many people may not even know you have a smartwatch on your wrist when you wear the Huawei Watch, which was the case for many people at my office.

It has a full round design that is still a bit thick. Then again, it is thinner and lighter than my Citizen Ecodrive and smaller than many nice watches I see mounted on wrists today. It has 18mm wide lugs that are tapered well on each side.

The sapphire crystal display, commonly found in standard high end watches, is set down from the bezel about a mm or so. There's a button at the 2 o'clock position. It is used to toggle the display on or off while also serving to shut off the watch if you press and hold for several seconds.

The genuine leather black band is extremely comfortable with a lightweight glossy silver clasp. The leather is soft inside and the stitching appears to be very well done.

The stainless steel mesh band is adjustable through a range of lengths and has a stainless steel mechanism that pinces down on the mesh to hold it in place. It is not too heavy on your wrist, but it is quite slick so be prepared to catch it when you release the clasp. It is $50 more for the mesh metal band and while it looks fantastic, I prefer to wear the leather one on a daily basis.

There is no GPS receiver on the Huawei Watch, but this is not a smartwatch ever intended to accompany you to the gym or out on a run so I don't consider that a con.

Software

The Huawei Watch runs the most current version of Android Wear while working with both Android and iOS devices. The iOS experience is very limited and if you own an iPhone then the only real reason to pick up the Huawei Watch is for the design. You will not get the level of functionality found on the Apple Watch when you pair it to an iPhone.

Android Wear is simple to use with a swipe down to access quick settings and a swipe from right to left to access apps, contacts, or voice controls. You can also just lift your wrist and speak your command.

Android Wear includes an agenda, Google search, alarm, find my phone, Google Fit, Hangouts, Google Maps, Play Music, Translate, Weather, and more.

Huawei includes a very functional Daily Tracking app that tracks your steps, calories, burned, how many times you stand up in a day, activity level, and how many stairs you climb. It's a nice way to measure your active hours in the day. I don't wear a watch to bed most of the time so tracking sleep is not a priority or an included function.

I still don't feel a smartwatch is essential and only use them since I like to write about them here. Honestly, most of the Google Now cards that appear get swiped out of the way as extra info I really don't care too much about or need to see on my watch.

A smartwatch can be helpful for performing triage of information, but you can pick up a Pebble Time and have a watch that lasts longer and provides the information a bit more efficiently at about half the price.

Pricing and competition

The leather band, lowest price Huawei Watch is priced at $349.99 with the stainless steel bands bumping that up $50. You can also find a black one for $449.99 and I understand there will eventually also be gold-plated ones for $699 and $799.

Pricing is similar to the Moto 360 and Sport edition Apple Watches. However, you can buy a more elegant Huawei Watch and band for less than the Apple Watch Edition with a leather or metal band.

Daily usage experiences and conclusion

The Huawei Watch looks fantastic and will appeal to those looking for a smartwatch that looks like a regular watch. I've come to love seeing the always-on display providing time on my wrist and using the Huawei Watch made my Apple Watch feel a bit inadequate.

I was able to go a full day on a single charge with the Huawei Watch, but couldn't get close to the two days that is advertised. It charges up fairly fast, but you must use the included charging cradle so don't forget it when you hit the road for a business trip.

The Huawei Watch is the best Android Wear device currently available and if Android Wear meets your needs then you should consider it. Android Wear still isn't essential for my daily routine so the Huawei Watch is too expensive for me to justify at this time.

Specifications

Miscellaneous
Sensors accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, heart rate
Vibrating Alert Yes
Color Category Black
Body Material stainless steel
Protection IP67 water resistant, dustproof
Preloaded Software Google Now
Communications
Wireless Interface Bluetooth 4.1, IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Battery
Run Time (Up To) 1.5 day(s)
Capacity 300 mAh
Style
Product type Smartwatch
Header
Brand Huawei
Product Line Huawei Watch Classic
Packaged Quantity 1
Software
Type Google Now
General
Size 1.4 inch
Wearing Style watch style
Tracking Data activity, calories burned, distance, heart rate, speed, steps taken, time
CE Input Device
Type touch sensitive screen
Band
Size fits wrists 145-200 mm
Name strap
Fits Wrist Size 5.71 in - 7.87 in
Features
Sensors accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, heart rate
Dimensions & Weight
Width 1.7 in
Depth 11.3 mm
OS Provided
Type Android Wear
System Requirements
Supported Host Device OS Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) or later, iOS 8.2 or later
Supported Host Device Platform Android, iOS
Case
Case Details stainless steel
CPU
Manufacturer QUALCOMM
Connectivity
Wireless Interface IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1

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Where To Buy

Huawei Watch (42mm case with black leather strap)

Part Number: 55020533