Smartwatches.. they seem so interesting, and are going through so many rapid revisions lately. Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei, and a ton of other brands all make them. But are they actually worth it? Do I really need to have a tiny digital computer on my wrist? Do I really really really need to be able to see every notification at all times? Do I want to have to worry about the battery life of my watch? Will being able to granularly track my every metric, notification, and piece of data really benefit me? I don’t know – but luckily Huawei is right there for me, providing the opportunity to try out the new Huawei Watch 2 smartwatch for a bit.
The Huawei Watch 2 is Huawei’s newest smartwatch, and packs just about everything you could want in a modern smartwatch, at least in terms of technical specs, into its relatively slim case. This includes LTE, Wifi, and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as water resistance, GPS, Android Pay, and customizable watch faces. However, for what it has in tech specs, it leaves a lot on the table in the realm of style and heritage. After a week of daily wear, it really is just a computer on your wrist, ripe to be replaced by the next best thing as soon as a new one is released.
After fishing the Watch2 out of it’s relatively small and slick box, I was initally struck by how slim it is. This is not some huge hulking piece of plastic on your wrist – what it is is a modest sized piece of plastic on your wrist, and one that is actually not that obtrusive to wear. After putting it on and fiddling around for a bit, I quickly forgot I was wearing it – which is a pretty good sign for a tiny wrist computer. I was also immediately confused by the 0-60 markers around the polished bezel – since this is a smartwatch with interchangeable faces, there are very few times that a marked bezel would actually be necessary, or advised. I also noted the initial setup of Android Wear – I downloaded an app on my iPhoneX, paired it with the watch, and from there the initial setup went relatively smoothly.
Fit and Finish
As far as hardware goes for a plastic watch, the finish is just fine – there aren’t any sharp edges, and the DLC-like polish on the bezel is a nice touch. The buttons seem clicky and responsive. The rubber strap is flexible, but not overly stretch. The color – grey with white flecks and yellow buttons – is downright ugly. Looking at this thing on my wrist, I feel like I’m wearing the rubber floor my my gym.. on my wrist.
Android wear, the OS this watch runs, is relatively simple and easy to navigate around. It packs a lot of functionality into a small package, and on that small screen, that’s a lot to manage. So, despite all of the features of the watch, I don’t think I really got around to trying them all out.. most likely because there was just no reason. Clicking around on that super small screen just doesn’t appeal to me, and the Android Wear iOS app provides only the most basic of configurability for the watch.
On the Wrist
On the wrist, the Watch 2 is lightweight and slim for a smartwatch, with no real big comfort drawbacks. The only note on comfort is that plastic patch on the back that houses the heartrate sensor – it gets a bit sticky on the wrist, causing the watch to bind a bit. I usually wear my watches a little loose and like them moving with me throughout the day – so the feeling of this thing sticking to my wrist was a bit weird.
The big issue with wearing the Watch 2 is its style – there’s virtually none. It looks like I’m wearing the rubber flooring of my gym on my wrist. The markings on the bezel and inexplicable, and the yellow plastic buttons stick out and scream “cheap!”. I suppose as a sports watch it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. But for an every day wearing watch that I’d want to wear all day every day to track my movement and activity levels and deliver all the day-to-day notifications and reminders smartwatch wearers think they need, this thing sets me back to middle school style levels.
Seriously, what is the purpose of the numbers on the bezel, and what kind of audience does the grey/white/yellow color scheme appeal to?!
Should You Buy It?
Looking for a full featured smart watch that’s slim and sleep, packs lots of features, and doesn’t look like a luxury watch? Then yes this could be for you. Looking for a true sports watch to track training and workouts? A stylish watch to give you a little techy boost throughout the day at the office? Look somewhere else.
Using the Watch2 for a week was an interesting experience. I ran with Strava, tracked my movement and steps, initiatied calls, received notifications, and tried Android Pay. All of the features worked, and it was fine. Google Assistant dutifully set timers for y my cooking (albeit slowly and with no feedback), and and my text messages and emails popped up as they should. The battery life lasted about a day and a half with moderate use, and the watch’s time-only mode was a nice feature for keeping you at least running on time when the battery was low. But do I really care? I don’t think so. Smartwatches are a cool idea – but I think a solution that pares down features and instead delivers a few key features – say motion tracking, heartrate, and basic notifications – in a better looking, more versatile and stylish package might be the way to go here. That said, I’m not every person. I like simplicity on my wrist, and have a thing for old school mechanical watches, simple faces (my go-to every day watch is a single-handed Meistersinger Salthora Meta X), and quick glanceability at the time. For everything else, I have my iPhoneX and my Macbook Pro, which are both great at their jobs.
- Brand & Model: Huawei Watch 2
- Price: USD$249.00
- Who we think it might be for: Techies, and people who don’t care that much about looks or heritage, but want a tiny computer on their wrist, and usually carry an android phone, who aren’t too concerned with workout functions.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Remove the stupid numbers from around the bezel – they are useless and somewhat confusing.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: For a smartwatch with lots of interesting features, it’s not as big as I thought it would be, and relatively comfortable to wear.
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- Length (excluding watch crown)48.9 mm
- Width 45 mm
- Height 12.6 mm (from bottom to screen)
- Weight Approx. 40 g (excluding watch strap)
- Case Material Plastic
- Strap – Sport Strap – Strap is replaceable with a lug width of 20 mm and suitable for a wrist size of 140–210 mm.
- Display – 1.2-inch circular AMOLED display- 390 x 390 pixels with a PPI of 326- Corning Gorilla Glass
- CPU- Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100- Android Wear 2.0
- Memory – 4 GB Flash + 768 MB RAM*
- Connectivity – Bluetooth: 2.4 GHz Bluetooth 4.1 BLE + BR / EDR WiFi: 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n
- Sensors . 6-axis A + G sensor, 3-axis Compass, Heart Rate Sensor (PPG), Barometer, Capacitive Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor
- Battery – 420 mAh
- Water Resistance – IP68