Huawei Watch 2 review

A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features

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  • Heart rate monitor and GPS included
  • Hourly reminders to move if you sit still too long
  • Workout app pre-installed

One of the key draws of the Huawei Watch 2 is its fitness capabilities. The wealth of features, such as GPS, Bluetooth, 4G and a heart rate monitor, means it’s able to track a range of activities and workouts.

The fact that the programmable button on the side of the Watch 2 is set to launch the Workout app by default is indicative of Huawei’s ambition, and coupled with a rugged, sweat-proof design there’s no confusion as to what’s going on here.

Fire up the Workout app and you can then select which activity you’re about to do: run, fat burn, cardio, walk, cycle, treadmill or ‘other’. 

Start a workout and the Huawei Watch 2 will monitor your heart rate, workout intensity, duration, distance, steps, calories burned and location – depending on the type of exercise you’re doing.

At the end of your workout you get a run-down of stats, giving you a clear, concise overview of your session. You can also view all your previous sessions in the Workout app, making it easy to keep on top of your training plans.

There aren’t any advanced features, coaching tips or deep statistical analysis, which means serious athletes will want to seek out a more detailed wearable – the Garmin Forerunner 920XT is a good place to start. 

You don't have to use Huawei's Workout app though, with a number of fitness applications available on the Play Store including Google Fit, Runtastic and RunKeeper.

For those looking for a more casual workout, the Huawei Watch 2 can monitor your steps and set a daily goal to give you some motivation to get up and move. 

It will also vibrate on your wrist if it detects that you’ve been sitting still for an hour, offering up a stretch on screen to get your muscles moving and blood pumping.

It’s a simple, low-effort workout, but it did prompt us to get up and move about more, rather than staying planted in front of our computer all day. 

Battery life

  • Maximum of two-day battery life without a SIM
  • Just over a day of life with SIM card
  • Clunky cradle makes charging more of a hassle than it should be

Without a SIM card, the Huawei Watch 2 can last two days on a single charge. Pop a SIM card in, however, and its thirst for a mobile connection cuts that usage to just over a day, which means nightly charges are a must.

The Huawei Watch 2 comes with a slightly fiddly charging cradle, which needs to be lined up with the pogo pins on the rear of the watch – it’s not as slick as the wireless Moto 360 dock or the magnetic Apple Watch charger.

It also means that if you forget your charger it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to borrow one from someone else, as you would if your phone needed a top-up – unless of course you’re in the company of a fellow Watch 2 wearer.

You can download games on the Huawei Watch 2, but given its small screen we say it’s not worth bothering – and gaming will also run the battery down quicker, with an evening top up required if you push things too hard.

If you really want to extend the battery life you can put the Huawei Watch 2 into ‘watch mode’, which can give you up to 18 days from a single charge – although, as the name suggests, it’ll function only as a watch.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.