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Honor Magic Watch 2 review

Magical – if you’re a fitness buff

Honor Magic Watch 2
Honor Magic Watch 2
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Honor Magic Watch 2 is a fantastic device for fitness buffs, with a range of new and returning health features like stress monitoring and exercise pace tracking. However, as with other wearables from Honor and parent company Huawei, its lifestyle tools are rather limited, so it might not suit someone who doesn’t exercise much.

For

  • Sleek design
  • Strong suite of fitness features
  • Great battery life

Against

  • Attracts dust
  • Limited non-fitness features
  • Music handling is buggy

The Honor Magic Watch 2 is the successor to the Honor Watch Magic – note the inexplicable semantic change there – and the latest step in Honor’s push into wearables, alongside the Honor Band series. 

It’s a fitness-centric smartwatch that builds on its predecessor with some new exercise-racking features, as well as taking design elements from the Huawei Watch GT 2 and putting them in a watch aimed at a younger audience.

After the Huawei ban put the future of phones from Huawei, and by extension Honor, as its sub-brand, in jeopardy, we’ve seen the company push harder into the wearables space than before. Honor’s wearables have never run Google’s software, instead using various own-brand equivalents, so the company still has carte blanche to create decent affordable devices with some great features.

This is Honor’s first smartwatch since the Huawei ban, and a glimpse into what is set to come from the company, which has plans to expand into a range of other tech categories.

Honor Magic Watch 2 release date and price

(Image credit: Future)

The Honor Magic Watch 2 price has only been confirmed for the larger 46mm version, which is set to cost £159.99 in the UK (roughly $210, AU$305). That’s a pretty affordable price for a smartwatch, given that some comparable options can cost up to twice that. 

The Apple Watch 5 cost a whopping $399 / £399 / AU$649 when it launched three months before Honor’s watch, and while it’s certainly more advanced in a number of ways, people who just want a decent running watch likely won’t need all the extra features Apple offers.

We don’t know how much the 42mm model will cost, but it’ll likely be a fair bit lower, since it has fewer features (we’ll get to the differences later). The price of both models is lower than that of the original Honor smartwatch, so it looks like you’re getting a good deal here whichever size you buy.

The larger Honor Magic Watch 2 was released on December 20, 2019, but Honor hasn’t provided a release date for the 42mm watch yet, other than ‘early 2020’.

Design

The Honor Magic Watch 2 consists of a main body with removable straps, which is pretty standard for a smartwatch. As mentioned there are two size variants, 42mm and 46mm, and we tested the larger device. 

The 46mm version has a few size-related perks, including a bigger screen with a higher resolution, a battery life that’s claimed to be about twice as long as the original model’s, long-range Bluetooth connection to your phone, and a built-in speaker and microphone for calling as well as for loudspeaker workout motivation.

If you’re considering buying the 42mm version, know that you’re missing out on these features as a result, although you will be saving a bit of money.

(Image credit: Future)

The watch strap options are black fluoroelastomer (which feels a lot like silicone on the wrist), brown leather or rose gold Milanese Loop depending on which option you go for – our review model had the former. 

As for body colors, the 46mm version is available in black (the color we tested) or light brown, and the 42mm model in black or gold.

The exact dimensions of the 46mm body are 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7mm, while the 42mm version measures 41.8 x 41.8 x 9.3mm. The more pronounced difference between the two is in weight, with the 29g 42mm version quite a bit lighter than the 41g 46mm body. In addition to the fact that the 46mm version is physically larger, this weight difference is likely due to the bigger battery, and the included speaker and microphone; this model still felt pretty lightweight on the wrist, though.

Overall, the Honor Magic Watch 2 is a pretty sleek device, more so than the original thanks to the fact the case of the watch doesn’t rise above the screen at all. This gives it a less ‘traditional’ but more streamlined feel, and in general we’re fans of this change. There’s less bezel here too, so the screen takes up more of the watch face.

The back of the watch, which houses the charging pins and the heart rate sensor, is made of a hard plastic that feels pretty comfortable on the skin, more so than metal, which can feels quite cold when you first strap a watch on. 

There are two crowns on the smartwatch: one brings up lifestyle features when pressed, and the other summons the workout menu. These don’t stick out too far, so they don’t add much to the size of the device on your wrist.

(Image credit: Future)

So how does the watch feel to wear? It’s pretty comfortable, generally, although we can imagine that on smaller wrists the watches might feel a bit big. The strap has plenty of holes for precise adjustment – in fact, it has so many holes that this thing could fit snug on anything from the daintiest of wrists to that of a bodybuilder. There are also holes on the same strap as the buckle, which we imagine is for breathability rather than actual strapping.

If you’ve seen the Huawei Watch GT 2, this description probably sounds very familiar. The two devices are virtually indistinguishable, with only tiny differences, such as a red stripe on one of the crowns on the Honor device.

One issue we had with the watch body was that it seemed to get dirty pretty quickly – dust often built up under the buckle, around the body and in the lugs, and the crevices around the body filled up with fluff and dirt. We found ourselves cleaning the watch daily, and without regular cleaning we can imagine the device becoming rather unhygienic quite quickly, especially for those who exercise and sweat a lot.

Display

The Honor Magic Watch 2 screens – 1.2 inches and 1.39 inches across for the 42mm and 46mm versions respectively – are AMOLED displays that reach a respectable 800 NITs in brightness. 

(Image credit: Future)

Colors are displayed well, which is useful when some of the watch faces you can choose are particularly vibrant, although there are limited use cases for a good-looking screen on a device that’ll predominantly be showing you numbers and text.

Honor told us that users have the option to set their own photos as the watch wallpaper via the Huawei Health app – this option wasn’t present when we were testing the Magic Watch 2, although it’s possible that this will be added via a future update. 

There’s an always-on display here, so you can check the time without waking the device. We found it a little dim, but in most situations we could see it well enough to tell the time.