Huawei Watch: smart and pretty, BUT… [review]

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When I first laid my eyes on the Huawei Watch back in February, I was easily blown-away by the Chinese contender.  However, 8 months is a long time in the world of wearables and while the Huawei Watch is still a great looking Android Wear option with a cracking display, it’s no game changer.

Things would be much simpler if the price wasn’t so high; starting at $349 for the entry-level model with prices going all the way up to a gold-plated $799 version, it’s also going to be expensive, to everybody!

Alright we get it, Huawei wants to take on Apple in the Western world, but it won’t do so by charging new costumers such prices. This is a bit of a problem because although it’s arguably the best looking Android Wear smartwatch around, it doesn’t offer anything which rivals don’t when it comes to hardware or software.

Well I can’t wait to say it: After wearing and using this watch for a long time, even Huawei mobiles are not fully compatible with this watch! YES, you can monitor your mobile notifications through the watch round screen, you can use Google features to make your life easy, you can answer your calls by sliding the green light on the screen, BUT NO you can’t talk through it! Neither the speaker feature on mobile is turned on automatically! So how the hell are you going to take a call while using your Huawei watch if the call itself will still take place on your phone ?

Design and build

The Huawei Watch packs scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, and a cold-forged, stainless steel unibody design. It comes in gold, silver or black and there are both fine-grain leather and cold-forged 316L stainless steel strap options.

It is stylish and well-made, with a diameter of 42mm and a thickness of 11.3mm, it’s a touch more compact than the new 42mm Moto 360. The bezels are also just 0.6mm thick, so you get more display real-estate too – 1.4 inches compared to 1.37 on the littler Moto.

Display

Huawei’s effort is made all the more impressive thanks to a 10,000:1 contrast ratio. Colors are vibrant, text appears crisp and it even holds up pretty well under bright-lights.

The display is always-on, which is also another problem; it keeps glowing at night and battery will keep draining without any logical excuse.

There are almost 50 pre-loaded watch faces, not counting the hundreds officially on offer from Google Play. The supplied faces range from a little boring to quite vibrant, and certainly support the overall build quality.

Activity tracking

Obviously, this being an Android Wear watch, Google Fit is pre-loaded on the device and will do all the things it would do on another Google-powered smartwatch. However, Huawei has decided to have a crack at the fitness front itself, with the Watch pre-loaded with the Daily Tracking app.

Essentially, it does the same thing, but with slightly nicer graphics. Once you enter your personal metrics, it will keep score of your steps, calorie burn and the amount of times you stand up during a day. You can set all your own goals and Huawei also claims the Watch will know whether you are walking, running or climbing – I had mixed results on this front though.

Battery life

The IP67 water resistant Huawei Watch is powered by a 1.2GHz Qualcomm processor and 512MB of RAM and, like all Android Wear smartwatches, has 4GB of on board storage. That IP rating means dust shouldn’t be an issue and it will survive a dunk in up to 1m of water for half an hour.

Huawei quotes a battery life of 1.5 days, and you can actually use it for 2 days if your Wifi and Bluetooth are turned off.

The dock is a tad fiddly because you have to get the pins completely lined up before it will begin charging and it’s easy to think it’s connected when it’s not. Once connected though, it’s a quick charge  flat to full in just over an hour.

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