Update: The Huawei Watch 2 is now available for purchase in the US and UK, with prices starting at £329 / $299
Smartwatches need more features. At least that’s what Huawei told us at CES 2017, and it’s now made good on its word with the arrival of the Huawei Watch 2.
Huawei Watch 2 Full Specification, Features, Price, Release Date And Review
So can a smartwatch have too many features for its own good?
Huawei Watch 2 price and release date
- Non-4G: £329 ($299, around AU$450)
- 4G model: £379 (around $400, AU$520)
The Huawei Watch 2 was released on April 18 in the US and May 4 in the UK, while an exact date is yet to be confirmed for Australia.
Live in America? You can buy one online from Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, B&H Photo Video, Jet, Kohls, Target and Walmart.
In the UK? Then Amazon is the place you’ll want to head for now, with more retailers offering the Huawei Watch 2 from May 17.
Currently there aren’t any plans to launch the 4G variant in the US, but Huawei says it is talking to carriers to don’t totally rule out an arrival later this year.
That makes the Huawei Watch 2 one of the more expensive Android Wear watches from the smartphone manufacturers, although it is on a par with the 4G-enabled LG Watch Sport.
- Sporty, rugged and chunky design
- Two hardware buttons, but no rotating crown or bezel
- Comfortable and lightweight, but will be too big for some
The original Huawei Watch had a premium metal finish which looked smart on the wrist, but it’s all-change with the Huawei Watch 2.
Instead of premium appeal, Huawei has opted for a rugged, sporty finish on the Watch 2 with a chunky plastic body and sizable bezel surrounding the watch face.
It’s not particularly eye-catching, and it’s unlikely to win any style awards – but it is at least functional. The Huawei Watch 2 has a strong health and fitness angle, and its design means it will survive the rigors of a workout, training session or race.
While it uses a standard 20mm strap size, the design means you’ll be limited to Huawei Watch 2-specific straps if you fancy changing the look and material.
At 48.9 x 45 x 12.6mm the Watch 2 is a sizable presence on the wrist – it’s comfortably bigger than its predecessor even though it has a smaller display. Compare it to the LG Watch Sport, though, and the Huawei actually comes out on top with a slimmer frame.
While it may be big, at 57g the Huawei Watch 2 is surprisingly light considering the tech crammed inside. The flat rear to the watch case means it sits comfortably on the arm, with the built-in heart rate monitor almost flush to the metal cover.
You get two buttons on the right side of the watch, with the one at the 2 o’clock position your main navigation key for bringing up the app list and returning to the clock face. The second, at 4 o’clock, is a programmable key which you can assign to the app you want it to launch.
A missing feature we’re disappointed by is the lack of a rotating crown or bezel. With the Huawei Watch running Android Wear 2.0 – an OS which has been developed to play nicely with a rotating input – it feels like Huawei has missed a trick on its latest smartwatch.
Huawei is far from alone though, as Tag Heuer, Mont Blanc, Misfit and LG have also all chosen not to incorporate a spinning bezel or crown into their new Android Wear 2.0 watches as well. Take a look at the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear S3 though – neither of which run Android Wear – and you’ll find a rotating crown and spinning bezel respectively.
For those looking for something more professional-looking there’s always the Huawei Watch 2 Classic, but even though it has fewer features the Classic is the same size, heavier and more expensive.
- 1.2-inch, 390 x 390 display
- A little too small for some on-screen tasks
We’re disappointed by the display on the Huawei Watch 2. At 1.2 inches it’s small, and feels even smaller when you try to use the on-screen keyboard or some of the more complex apps.
The resolution, at 390 x 390, also isn’t the highest definition we’ve seen on smartwatches, and while it boasts a higher pixel density than the original Huawei Watch the latter was larger at 1.4 inches, giving you more space on screen.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.