Huawei Watch Review

Huawei Watch: First Impressions

I’ve finally seen an Android Wear smartwatch that I wouldn’t mind wearing, and it’s come from an unlikely source – Huawei. Going head-to-head with the likes of the Moto 360, the Huawei Watch is a metal-bodied Android Wear with a round watch face.

Taking serious design pointers from traditional timepieces, the techy wearable combines stunning looks with advanced innards. To find out if the Huawei Watch could finally be an Android Wear watch worth living with, I went hands-on at MWC 2015.

Huawei Watch – Design

Android Wear watches have been getting gradually less garish since the boxy LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live launched the platform. Now we might have the best looking one yet, the Huawei Watch. Similar in style to the LG G Watch R, Huawei’s simply titled timepiece is what the smartwatch market has been calling for – a high-end device that more closely resembles a watch than a gadget.

Although a company more renowned for cut-price smartphones than top-flight accessories, Huawei has nailed the Watch’s design. With a 42mm body hewn from stainless steel, the Asus Zenwatch rival will be available in three colours when it launches this summer – silver, black and gold. It has even retained some classic watch features – namely a crown.

Echoing the upcoming Apple Watch, Huawei’s wearable makes use of the crown. The design feature doubles as a physical button to send you back to the home screen. It’s also been pushed from a 3 o’clock to a 2 o’clock position so as not to dig into your wrist.

Huawei Watch

While Huawei will have you believe this is a watch for both sexes, I have to disagree. Like any Android Wear watch, I found it quite large and bulky. This isn’t LG Watch Urbane LTE levels of chunky, but it’s not particularly svelte either.

Niggles aside, I would go as far as to say that with the right body and strap combination – silver on silver – this is the best looking smartwatch to date – Withings Activité aside.

Whether the Huawei Watch can hold its own against the Apple Watch on the aesthetics front remains to be seen. We will be sure to pit the two against each other when available later this year though.

Related: Apple Watch release date

Huawei Watch

Huawei Watch – Screen

It’s not just the watch’s overall design that looks good, its screen is pleasingly sharp and bright too. With a 400 x 400 pixel resolution and a 1.4-inch AMOLED panel, it packs in a reasonable 286 pixels-per-inch image density. This is the sharpest display to land on an Android Wear watch yet.

The results are stunning. UI graphics and contact images are suitably sharp and detailed. Thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, colours are also on point.

Unlike its rivals, Huawei has taken its smartwatch’s screen onto the next level by placing it behind Sapphire Crystal glass. This doesn’t do much to enhance its visual performance, but it’s virtually scratch resistant. It doesn’t affect the watch’s touch sensitivity either. I found the device to be suitably responsive to all touch-based controls.

Also Consider: Samsung Gear S Review

Huawei Watch
Huawei Watch – Features

Aesthetics aside, this is where the Huawei Watch loses some of its sheen. As the smartwatch runs Android Wear – the OS of choice for most Apple Watch challengers – customisation options are few and far between. Although there are more than 40 custom watch faces to choose from, elsewhere Android Wear is largely unchanged on the Huawei Watch as compared to any of its leading rivals.

Yes, this means that wrist-based text, email and call notifications are possible, but it also means you get the exactly same experience on any other device. Before picking up the watch I knew what to expect from its interface and this isn’t a positive. This is an already tired user experience in need of improved customisation options.

Again, mimicking the current breed of Android Wear watches, the Huawei Watch features a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor alongside 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM. On early use this provided a fluid device not troubled by jumping between apps. Bluetooth 4.1 is also present.

Huawei Watch

Activity tracking is the other key tick box for any wrist-based wearable. True to Android Wear form, the Huawei Watch is suitably covered on this front – but still limited compared to rivals.

A 6-axis motion sensor sits alongside a barometer sensor at the device’s core. This ensures your step count, distances covered and calorie burn are all tracked along with climbing height. Like the Moto 360, an optical heart rate sensor sits on the Huawei Watch’s back. Unfortunately, I was unable to test these features during my brief time with the device.

Another feature needing further analysis in our full Huawei Watch review is battery life. This is my biggest bugbear with existing smartwatches and I can’t see the Huawei Watch fairing much better than the current crop. Although the manufacturer has yet to reveal details on the watch’s staying power, daily charges are looking likely.

Also Consider: Pebble Watch Review

Huawei Watch

Early Verdict

Huawei has made the best looking Android Wear watch currently on the market. Sadly, this isn’t saying much. A visually appealing wearable, the Huawei Watch suffers from the same plight as any Android Wear device – beneath the surface they are all the same.

A stainless steel body and sapphire crystal glass screen have given this wearable the edge, but it will be interesting to see how much these added highlights have bumped up the Huawei Watch’s price tag.

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