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    June 21, 2016

    Huawei Watch Review: Style and substance

    Does this stylish alternative offer something unique in Android Wear? We find out in our in-depth Huawei Watch review!

    Better late than never, right? While the Huawei Watch launched in the last quarter of 2015 in other markets, it has been quite a wait for us in South Africa. That being said, there is one advantage of receiving it months later ““ when we switched it on we immediately received an Android Wear update. In our Huawei Watch review we aim to see what impact it has had on the experience.

    Therefore, while it still has the same stylish looks, it is essentially a very different device from the one initially launched. It is also very different from the one we first previewed in late 2015.

    Read: Hands-on preview: Huawei Watch ““ the fairest of them all?

    With that in mind, is the Huawei Watch still relevant in today‘s wearable market? Is it something you should still look at if thinking of buying into the wearables market? In short“¦ yes, but let‘s see in our Huawei Watch review how good this device actually is.

    Huawei Watch review (8 of 8)

    Design and Comfort

    Without a doubt, the Huawei Watch is meant to make an impression. It absolutely succeeds, even before you open the case. Instead of a bland cylinder or bespoke earbud case, you have a box that is meant to evoke the emotions of buying an expensive pocket watch.

    Upon opening the fancy box, you‘re greeted by the beautifully presented Huawei Watch. It is clear that more smartwatch manufacturers are leaning towards the fashion statement than the all-out geek factor.

    Sparing no expense in the materials used, Huawei crafted a modern, refined timepiece, but also gave the owners the ability to customise it as they want, thanks to the changeable 18mm bands.

    Huawei Watch review (3 of 8)

    We got our hands on both the base stitched leather band version, as well as the glorious stainless steel band version, both of which have the 316L cold-formed stainless steel casing. From the blended lugs to the brushed steel finish, the Huawei Watch exudes luxury and is definitively beautiful. It‘s rated to IP67 for water and dust resistance, but it‘s such a great-looking device you‘ll probably find yourself taking it off before you get near either of those.

    While both versions sit very comfortably on the wrist, we only have one minor design complaint. The watch is a bit beefier than others on the market, although you immediately forget about that when you switch on the display.

    Huawei Watch review (4 of 8)

    Display

    The Huawei Watch features a fully circular AMOLED display measuring 1.4-inches in diameter. The extra pixels really stand out when putting the Huawei Watch next to other circular Android Wear watches ““ it‘s visibly a lot sharper and thus clearer as a result.

    We also prefer the fact that it has a circular display over something like the Apple Watch or Sony Smartwatch 3. It is more aesthetically pleasing and closer resembles a traditional analogue watch. One advantage of having a completely circular screen (as opposed to the Moto 360, with its flat tyre), is the ability to use white watch faces without ruining the design.

    Throughout our time using this device we could find no issues with the display, and even in direct sunlight it is the most usable smartwatch display on the market today. The colours are extremely vibrant and a joy to glace at throughout the day. It also has an always on, ambient mode. After several seconds of inactivity the screen will dim, but the time will still be displayed with a reduced interface.

    All in all, the best smartwatch display available on any device today.

    Huawei Watch review (7 of 8)

    Battery Life

    The Huawei Watch features a 300-mAh battery and is supposed to last up to two days. While that is possible with moderate used, we found that you would struggle to get through the second day if you send many app notifications through the watch.

    Also, when using a lot of the fitness features and continually measure your heart rate you won‘t get through the full two days either. That being said, the battery life is still a significant improvement over some other devices on the market.

    Huawei-Watch-Review-Software

    Software and Performance

    If you‘ve ever used Android Wear, you will obviously be very familiar with the software experience here. That being said, Android Wear has received some software enhancements over the last 6 months which are worth discussing here. When we started with the Huawei Watch review period, it immediately got these updates.

    The latest update to Android Wear has made the experience markedly more intuitive and fluid to use. Yes, there aren‘t any major overhauls in functionality, but everything you knew from before just works a little better. Also, some minor UI improvements mean that using the software is easier than ever before.

    Of course, Google gives manufacturers precious little room for improvisation or expansion with Android Wear, so software will never be a distinguishing factor when buying an Android Wear watch. The aforementioned design is what sets this device apart.

    Huawei were given the opportunity to add some minor software flares here and there, though, most notably in the fitness suite. The Daily Tracking app is a straightforward way to keep track of your step count and calories burned, and Huawei says its heart-rate readings are more accurate than the competition due to its use of two optical sensors instead of one.

    Huawei Watch review (6 of 8)

    While it was very accurate, we couldn‘t conclusively test the claim that it is any better than other readers. It did seem to perform quicker than other heart rate monitors, though. It improves the experience just as much as the supposedly more accurate performance.

    There are many custom watch faces included in the software as well, and they run consistently throughout. The standard hardware loadout of a Snapdragon 400 processor with 512MB of RAM serves it well, making for very fluid interactions whether you‘re swiping, tapping, gesture-scrolling, or giving it voice commands via its dual microphones.

    Huawei Watch review (2 of 8)

    Conclusion

    Without a doubt, the Huawei Watch is the best looking smartwatch you can buy right now. It is a bit more expensive than the competition, but then again, you get what you pay for. Huawei does an excellent job with the design of their watch.

    Android Wear has improved a lot recently, but it’s identical on all devices, so the additional price isn’t really buying you any more functionality.

    If you‘ve already bought into the idea of Android Wear, this could be the device for you. We would say the additional price for the base model is definitely worth the investment as a result of the superior design. The full metal strap might be a bit too pricy for most, though.

    Do you agree with our Huawei Watch Review? Let us know in the comments below.

    Follow Theunis on Twitter: @Theunis_BWB

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