When it comes to the smartwatch, there’s two ways to look at the form factor. You can either see a content device mounted on the wrist that delivers notifications, uses apps, and more. Oh, and it tells the time too. On the other hand, you can look at it as a watch that just happens to also deliver notifications and use apps and all of that. Personally, I view smartwatches as the latter. If you’re aim is to view Instagram on your watch, go for it, but that’s not for me. In this regard, there’s actually a lot of people like me. Smartwatches don’t need to be ugly or obvious, they can blend in. With the Huawei Watch, this is obvious and then some. It’s pretty clear this is a very beautiful watch, but is it worth getting? Let’s take a look.
- 1.4″ AMOLED Display – 400×400 resolution
- Snapdragon 400 Processor
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Storage
- Android Wear
- 300mAh battery
Hardware and Design
Right off the bat, the Huawei Watch is quite the looker. With a solid stainless steel body and a drop dead gorgeous circular design, there’s no denying that this is a very good looking watch. It’s size is not huge, rather it’s quite small and feels so on the wrist. Personally I’m accustomed to my LG G Watch R which has a larger bezel. While that size is my preference, the Huawei Watch was by no means uncomfortable on the wrist. The cool feeling of the metal as the winter months come feels great and overall I’m very happy with the hardware.
The black unit I tested is made out of the same stainless steel as other models, but this one has a black coating which Huawei took a lot of time to perfect and ensure durability. During the 2 months I spent with this watch, it never endured a single scratch to the black coating which I found quite impressive.
The Huawei Watch is available in many different styles with leather and metal bands interchangeably. During my time with the watch I was able to test out the black metal variant which also came with a stainless steel metal band in the same black color.
Full disclosure, I’m not a fan of metal bands. That said, I didn’t mind using the metal band on the Huawei Watch. It was comfortable for the most part and it fit well once resized. The clasp which Huawei uses on this watch is also very nice and easy to use. The band also have a quick release mechanism which works, however it’s not super easy to use. You’ll need to pinch the two clasps inward to release the band from the watch. It works, but it’s not for those with larger fingers.
If the included band doesn’t suit your fancy, the Huawei Watch is easily compatible with any 18mm watch band, so a new band shouldn’t be an issue. Just keep in mind that you will likely need new pins along with the other band.
The Huawei Watch packs a 1.4” AMOLED display with a resolution of 400×400. The display itself is pleasing to look at and brightness and viewing angles are all acceptable, however’s it’s the resolution that really sets this watch apart. That 400×400 resolution affects the software to where much more information can fit on the screen and the elements of Android Wear don’t feel as cramped as they do on other smartwatches. The pixel density of 281ppi doesn’t hurt matters either.
Software & Performance
As previously mentioned, the Huawei Watch runs Android Wear based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. The software performs here just as it does on any other Android Wear device. Everything is easy to navigate and thanks to that added screen resolution you don’t feel as cramped on the display.
Powering the Huawei Watch is the same processing package we’ve seen on most Android Wear smartwatches, a Snapdragon 400 processor, 512mb of RAM, and 4GB of storage. For the most part, the watch performs just fine, however at times things can be a bit strange. Sometimes the watch will crash and from time to time you’ll see things flicker on screen, but all of that can be fixed with software updates as time goes on.
The first time I saw the spec sheet for the Huawei Watch, the thing that scared me the most was the small 300mAh battery. That small capacity was unseen for a while, replaced by watches hovering around 400mAh. Thankfully my concerns were not needed. The Huawei Watch has pretty decent battery life all things considered. Generally with ambient mode off I could get through a day, maybe two if I didn’t get too many notifications. One thing worth noting however were the battery “glitches” as I’ll call them. To this day I’m unsure of the cause, but I would randomly have days where the watch would be completely dead or on the brink of doing so by 4-5pm. My day usually starts off by taking the watch off the charger at 7:30am, so these days were nothing short of disappointing. In speaking with fellow Huawei Watch users from GadgtSpot and MobileCupOfJoe I found that they never had the same issues, so this may have simply been an issue with my unit.
Last but not least, let’s talk charging. Each smartwatch has it’s own charging method, some good, and some bad, however the one found on the Huawei Watch is nothing short of infuriating. the watch uses a magnetic puck and pins to charge, but the issue lies in lining up those pins.
At least 6 times out of 10, I would get those misaligned and would wake up the next morning to a dead smartwatch. This happened numerous times and really frustrated me as a user. My personal smartwatch, the G Watch R, users a similar setup with a magnetic cradle and pins, however that cradle is designed to guarantee a 99% success rate in getting the watch to charge. Charging was easily the biggest sore point on this watch. The charging method needs some serious work as right now, this is the worst charging method I’ve tested since that of the Samsung Gear Live.
Overall, the Huawei Watch is a great device. Rather than looking to create a piece of technology, Huawei has made a true timepiece. Did they make the perfect smartwatch? No, not at all. However as of right now, this is easily one of the best options on the market. Starting at $349, the Huawei Watch aims for those looking for style, not a low price.