Huawei Watch review

It's either Huawei or the highway

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

The Huawei Watch is not perfect, but it is a looker and edges closer to earning the "smartwatch I'd actually wear" title.

For

  • Premium build and materials
  • Sharp and fully-circular screen
  • Android and iOS compatible

Against

  • Expensive
  • Dodgy customisation
  • Only comes in one size
  • So-so battery life

The Huawei Watch was a hotly anticipated premium Android Wear device, it has a fully circular screen, it's made from expensive materials, and the battery life is actually half decent.

Released after the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch is part of the third generation of Android Wear devices. It's got a few new tricks that have been picked up from its Apple counterpart, but in truth Google's wearable OS has plenty up its sleeve and is, in many ways, more powerful than Apple's watchOS 2.

With prices starting at around £299 (US$349.99, around AU$549), it's one of the most expensive Android Wear watches to date, though it's soon to be overtaken by the luxury Tag Heuer Android Wear device. Is the Huawei Watch worth the extra cash, or is your money better spent on a cheaper Android Wear device such as the uncannily similar looking Motorola Moto 360?

Google doesn't let device manufacturers customise its wearable UI, so in terms of functionality it's identical to most other Android Wear smartwatches.

Huawei Watch on wrist

As with all Android Wear devices, the Huawei Watch will work with any Android handset running Android 4.3 or above - and it'll work with iOS devices running iOS 8.2 or higher. iPhone compatibility is currently limited to a select number of devices, including the LG Watch Urbane, Moto 360, and Asus Zenwatch 2.

In terms of specifications, the Huawei Watch is well equipped with a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 300mAh battery. That's on par with the most recent Android Wear smartwatches.

Display

The Huawei Watch features a fully circular AMOLED display measuring 1.4-inches in diameter. That makes it slightly larger than the LG G Watch Urbane, larger than the 42mm Moto 360, but smaller than the 46mm Moto 360.

The device really impresses with a high resolution of 400x400 pixels. That gives a pixel density of 286ppi, which is on par with the Apple Watch's retina display (290ppi or 302ppi for the 42mm watch).

The extra pixels really stand out when putting the Huawei Watch next to other circular Android Wear watches (including the new Moto 360 and LG G Watch Urbane). It's visibly much sharper, and clearer as a result.

Huawei Watch Screen

It's our opinion that circular displays are more aesthetically appealing than the square displays of the Apple Watch and Sony Smartwatch 3. It looks more like a traditional, analogue watch, but we understand some people prefer square watches.

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.

During my time with the watch I had the brightness setting on level 3 (out of 5), I never had an issue with the screen in direct sunlight, but the brightness can be boosted temporarily with 'Brightness Boost' if you are having problems.

The colours are vibrant, and really pop from the screen.

With ambient mode on, after several seconds of inactivity the screen will dim, however, the time will still be displayed with a reduced interface. It's a useful feature that allows you to view the time without needing to raise your arm and flick your wrist to wake the screen (like with the Apple Watch).