Hands on: Huawei Watch 2 Classic review

A more basic version of the Huawei Watch 2

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic is a stylish wearable, and a tempting option if you want to get Android Wear 2.0 on your wrist, prefer a more formal look than the Watch 2 and aren’t looking for extensive fitness features.

For

  • Android Wear 2.0
  • Attractive design

Against

  • No LTE option
  • Strange lack of crown

Update: We've updated this hands on review with some more images of the Huawei Watch 2 Classic.

The Huawei Watch was one of the best of the original batch of Android Wear watches, despite being one of the more expensive options, and now the company is back with two new wearables at MWC 2017 in Barcelona.

There’s the Huawei Watch 2 as the headline device with LTE baked in, while the Huawei Watch 2 Classic is the junior, and presumably cheaper device.

Along with the Watch 2 the Watch 2 Classic is one of the first Android Wear 2.0 devices on the market, making it a tempting option for your wrist.

(Just as it did with its Mate 9 smartphone, Huawei has announced it will also be releasing a Porsche version of the Watch 2, which could well offer a slick edge to the more athletic design of the standard edition.)

Huawei Watch 2 Classic price and release date 

The only price we have for the Huawei Watch 2 Classic right now is €399, which comes out as roughly $420 / £340 / AU$550.

The information we have from Huawei suggests the Classic will arrive in the US, UK and Australia in April alongside the Huawei Watch 2.

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Huawei Watch 2 Classic design 

The design of the Huawei Watch 2 Classic is similar to the original Huawei Watch and the Huawei Watch 2, but there are a few key differences.

It's slightly thinner than both those smartwatches, which is appreciated considering the thickness of Android Wear watches in general. This still isn't a ultra-thin device though, so if you have a smaller wrist the Watch 2 Classic may not appeal.

The left edge of the device is emblazoned with the Huawei logo, which looks smart on the side of the wearable and reflects more traditional watches. On the right edge there are two large buttons, at the 2 o'clock and 4 o'clock positions, to help you navigate around the device.

The button at the top will take you back to the home screen, while the other button is programmed to take you to the fitness features of the device.

If you're not big into fitness you can reprogram this button for a number of other functions within Android Wear 2.0. Regularly use messaging on your watch? You can set the button to open up that app right away, so you won't need to scroll through the UI to find it.

The strangest choice here is that Huawei has employed a design that doesn’t include a crown or a rotating bezel.

A crown or a rotating bezel is how you navigate on devices such as the Samsung Gear S3 or the Apple Watch 2, but here you'll just be using the screen.

It doesn't feel as intuitive as using a bezel or crown, and it's a downside of the Watch 2 Classic. In our time using the device we often caught ourselves trying to turn the bezel of the device to interact with it.

The Watch 2 Classic is IP68 water resistant though, so you’ll be able to get this a little wet without having to worry about it. It's not fully waterproof, though so you won't want to go wearing it in the pool.

The strap that comes with the Watch 2 Classic is leather on the top, but has a coating underneath that means it won't absorb your sweat so, you'll be able to wear it on a run.

It's a very comfortable fit, and will suit you well whether you're working out or working in the office.

Huawei Watch 2 Classic display

There’s a 1.2-inch AMOLED display on the Watch 2 Classic that offers a resolution of 390 x 390. That equals 326 pixels per inch, and it looks great to the eye and makes it easy to navigate around the various screens.

Huawei Watch 2 Classic specs

Inside the Huawei Watch 2 Classic is a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, but Huawei has yet to share whether it's the latest Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor. Regardless, in our limited time with the device everything seemed to load quickly and work as snappily as we’ve seen on other Android Wear devices.

There’s 2GB of storage for your music when you’re out and about, which isn't really all that much considering the LG Watch Style has 4GB on board – and we thought that was limited for music.

You’ll be able to store a few albums on your Classic, but it’s not all that impressive.

Huawei reckons the Huawei Watch 2 Classic will last for two days on a charge – there’s a 420mAh cell inside, so that would make sense – while fast-charging tech means it can go from empty to full in less than an hour.

For fitness the Watch 2 Classic offers GPS and a heart rate monitor, but there's no LTE option here, so you'll need to take your phone out on a run with you.

Huawei Watch 2 Classic software

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic is one of the first watches we've seen running Android Wear 2.0, so you’ll get all the latest features that come with the update to Google's wearables OS, including Google Assistant.

We were unable to try this on the devices we tested, but Huawei has assured us the devices will be ready to run Google Assistant, and answer your queries at the press of a button, upon launch.

Android Pay is also baked into the device and uses the NFC chip, so you can easily make payments by tapping your Classic against a compatible contactless reader in stores.

Early verdict

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic doesn't feel like a major upgrade on the brand's original wearable, and is limited in functionality compared to the Huawei Watch 2. That said, not everyone wants to be able to take their wearable out without their phone, if so they won't miss the LTE feature.

If you’re a smartwatch lover, the Huawei Watch 2 Classic could be a tempting upgrade if you’re looking for a stylish device, Android Wear 2.0 and you’re not as focused on the fitness features available on the Watch 2.

That said, if the original Huawei Watch goes down in price, it may be worth your while picking that up instead.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Check out all our MWC 2017 coverage here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.