Huawei Watch Review: A Premium Android Wear Timepiece

Hardware: Design, Comfort, and Battery Life

Huawei obviously designed its Watch as a timepiece first. It's not a fitness band masquerading as a timepiece, and it's not an awkwardly-shaped wearable that just so happens to tell time. One obvious sign that the Huawei Watch was designed to be a fashionable timepiece is the weight. We tested the mid-range black stainless steel option, which retails for $450, and it's a hefty piece of hardware. It's dense, sturdy, and rugged, but one thing it is not is lightweight. Despite Huawei's claims of it having a world-class heart rate sensor, we wouldn't recommend wearing this to the gym, even with a lighter band installed. And, in truth, the PPG "green light" sensor is cut from the same cloth as every other smartwatch on the market, which is to say that its a fair judge of heart rate for basic exercise, but it's not accurate enough for athletes looking to accurately track their vitals throughout the day.

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At first blush, you may not even nothing that this is a smartwatch. For starters, the metallics used in construction are top-shelf, and they're exactly the kind the material you'd expect to find in a quality wristwatch. To boot, the lugs and band connections are standard, enabling you to swap in any band you'd like. It's also worth noting that the 11.3mm thickness feels just about right when paired with a 42mm face. It's thick, but not laughably so. (Also, if you're curious, it's only available in a 42mm face size.)

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The other reason why it's difficult to tell this is a smartwatch at first glance is the display. You'll notice that Huawei touts a 1.4-inch circular display on a 42mm face, whereas Moto's second-generation Moto 360 offers a 1.37-inch display on its 42mm face. Why the 0.3-inch difference? Huawei's AMOLED panel is perfectly round, with no black "flat tire" on the bottom or anywhere else. It's all display, all the time.

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To boot, it has a robust 400 x 400 resolution, which makes everything look crisp and sharp. Sitting beside the Moto 360, the display looks significantly better. The higher resolution goes a long way in adding to the product's premium feel. It is probably the nicest smartwatch display we've seen to date on a shipping product.

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As for wearability, the watch is perfectly comfortable. The 2 o'clock position of the external nub is a real plus (it won't accidentally depress when your wrist bends), and the ability to swap in virtually any band that feels great around your wrist is appreciated. The 300mAh battery is a bit small, but fairly standard. Indeed, the 42mm Moto 360 has the same size battery within. In our testing, we could squeeze about a day of heavy use from the watch, which brings us the same conclusion that we've come to with every other smartwatch to date: don't forget to charge it each and every night, otherwise it'll exhaust itself at some point during the second day of use.

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One final note on the hardware: the charging connector leaves much to be desired. The general premise is the same as with the Apple Watch. There's a circular disc that you affix to the watch's underside for charging. The only problem is that Huawei's charging disc requires you to align four tiny pins, or else no charging takes place. (With the Apple Watch, you just slap the magnetic disc to the watch's bottom in any direction and it charges.) It may sound like a minor gripe, but it's really quite annoying to have to hold your watch up and look for pin alignment each time you connect it to the charger, especially if you're aware of other, more elegant solutions.

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