Huawei Watch 2 review

A well-equipped smartwatch with too many features

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The Huawei Watch 2 comes packed full of features, and for that we give it a hearty round of applause. Huawei has done a fine job cramming a lot of tech into a device which doesn't look out of place on your wrist.

It's not the most eye-catching design, but it also doesn't look like you've got a crude computing device slapped on your forearm.

But while the feature set is impressive, the delivery is less so. The small screen makes it difficult to navigate the more complex applications, while the sub-par performance becomes irksome after a while – especially if you're trying to quickly pay for your morning coffee with the watch and it takes longer to load Android Pay than it would take you to grab your card from your bag or pocket.

The 4G compatibility is a nice addition for those who want maximum connectivity, but for those who are rarely without their smartphone it's a needless additional cost, with more money required up front and a second SIM contract to pay for to keep it online.

Huawei has tried to cover all possible use-cases with the Huawei Watch 2, and while it does hit most of them it doesn't do so in a way that's overly user-friendly. 

If anything, it strengthens the case for specialized smartwatches targeted at particular customer bases, rather than a one-device-fits-all approach.

Who’s it for?

The Huawei Watch 2 is aimed at the fitness crowd, and specifically those who want to stay connected when they’re away from their handset. 

It’s a smaller market than the original Huawei Watch appealed to, and those wanting to dip their toes in the smartwatch waters for the first time are better off looking elsewhere.

It’ll also appeal to those looking for a feature-packed smartwatch – and few can match the Huawei Watch 2 when it comes to a straight spec-sheet blowout.

Should I buy it?

If you’re a fan of the Huawei Watch 2’s rugged looks, and the wide array of features and fitness options it packs into its modest frame, then it won’t let you down – assuming you have the money lying around not doing anything else.

Smartwatches are, for most of us, a luxury rather than a necessity, and if you’re questioning whether or not you really want to spend this much on a device which does less than the phone you carry around every day then you’ll probably want to steer clear of the Huawei Watch 2.

The competition

There are a number of competitors for the Huawei Watch 2 to contend with, and we’ve pulled together three of them below to show you what it’s up against.

LG Watch Sport

The biggest rival to the Huawei Watch 2 is the LG Watch Sport. In terms of design, feature set and price the two are very, very similar.

The Watch Sport also boasts a SIM card slot, heart rate monitor and NFC, as well as all the other features you’d expect, along with Android Wear 2.0.

On screen there’s little to choose between the two, and your decision will likely come down to which design you like the best. 

The LG Watch Sport does have one advantage though – a rotating crown which makes scrolling through menus much easier.

Samsung Gear S3

Samsung's response to the wearable revolution isn't to follow other Android phone manufacturers down the Android Wear route, but rather to use its own operating system on its smartwatches.

The result? The Samsung Gear S3, a fine-looking smartwatch with a decent spec sheet to match.

The issue here is the lack of apps, with developers required to code for Samsung's own operating system separately to Apple's watchOS and Google's Android Wear; the number is growing, but there's still some way to go.

Apple Watch 3

Apple has upped the competition since the Huawei Watch 2 landed, as it’s launched the Apple Watch 3, which is currently sitting at the top of our best smartwatches list.

Its starting price of £329/$329/AU$459 is similar to the Huawei Watch 2’s launch price, though the latter can now be found for much less.

If you have an iPhone though then the Apple Watch 3 could be worth the extra, as it sports decent fitness tracking with GPS, a heart rate monitor and water resistance, good battery life (by smartwatch standards), smooth performance and a premium design.

Like the Huawei Watch 2 it also comes in an LTE flavor if you need phone-free connectivity.

First reviewed: April 2017

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.