The Huawei Watch is a surprising entry into the Android Wear game. Huawei went all out in creating one of the most beautiful smartwatches we’ve seen so far, and it has the specs to match. However, starting with a mid-range price point and going all the way to the super high-end, this watch isn’t particularly cheap.
1.4-inch round AMOLED 400×400 display coated in sapphire crystal
1.2GHz Snapdragon 400
Bluetooth 4.1 LE/WiFi
42mm diameter stainless steel body, 11.3mm thick
Where to buy: Get Huawei, Google Play Store
The hardware of the Huawei Watch is truly beautiful. It was designed to look like a regular, classic watch. The stainless steel body on this unit was polished to a mirror finish, including a metal back (no cracking!) and the sapphire-coated display is a fantastic touch. This sapphire crystal is far harder to scratch than glass, which is important in a watch. Also, the button being at the 2 o’clock area instead of 3 o’clock was a great decision, functionality-wise.
The strap on my unit is black leather with stitching. It’s thinner than the 22mm strap on my first gen Moto 360, measuring at 18mm, but it’s very high quality. The leather feels great and the strap is nice and pliable. A good feature Huawei uses is quick swappable bands. Each spring bar has a knob on it so you can swap bands without tools. I love this!
Inside are some really modern specs. With a Snapdragon 400 and 4GB of RAM, the watch is unbelievably smooth and fast. The 512MB of storage is lacking, but is par for the course when it comes to Android Wear watches.
The display on this watch is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a 1.4-inch 400×400 display, and the idea to use AMOLED was brilliant. The blacks are a deep black, making watch faces pop and look beautiful. It also has the perk of being pretty visible in direct sunlight.
The one thing lacking from the Huawei Watch is an ambient light sensor, something that Motorola has stuck with (and that causes the infamous flat tire). So the tradeoff for the fully round display is lack of auto brightness.
Without auto brightness, you’re stuck at a single brightness. This means setting it bright will blind you at night (leaving a well lit building and having it blind you in your car is no fun), and setting it dim means you won’t be able to see it well. Thankfully, you can triple tap the button to turn on brightness boost, so it’s better to leave it low. Changing brightness is not particularly quick on Android Wear, so you’ll stick with one brightness most of the time.
The charger is a mixed bag. It has a magnetic base with a few pins on it that have to line up with the contacts on the back of the watch. The magnet does a pretty good job of aligning everything, but there were a few times where it missed and my watch didn’t charge overnight. It doesn’t take up much space, especially compared to Motorola’s (far better) stationary Qi charger.
The software is exactly what you’d expect from an Android Wear device: stock Android Wear. And that’s a good thing, as I think OEM modifications would muddy the software, much like it does with Android smartphones. But Huawei did add its own touches in the form of tons of watch faces.
No, really, the amount of exclusive Huawei watch faces included is staggering. Each one is unique, and even though I don’t like nearly all of them, they’re all interesting. Many copy classic watches, making this watch look even more premium. Unfortunately, none of them seem to be customizable like Motorola’s custom offerings.
Another nice feature is the always-on watch face. Likely thanks to the AMOLED display, the watch is always displaying a watch face, making it look more like a real watch and not relying on gestures to show you the time. Saying that, the gesture for viewing the full watch face works great and very rarely fails.
Everything on this watch just flies due to the powerful hardware. Each transition is buttery smooth, actions are fast, and I had no issues with the software at all. It’s stock Android Wear and it feels so good.
The battery is a 300mAh unit, but thanks to the modern processor and AMOLED display, I had no issues with the battery dying. It lasted me two days each time, with more than 50% remaining by the time I went to bed on the first day. This is with ambient mode on and the watch face being always on. I’m able to easily get a consistent 2 days of battery life out of it.
With ambient mode off, you could probably eek 3-4 days out of the watch. It’s not at the point of weekly charging — I still charge it nightly — but it has a very competent battery to keep it running when you need it.
At $349 for the stainless steel base model with a leather band, it’s a pricey offering in the Android Wear world. And it just goes up from there.
The stainless steel model with link band is $399.
The stainless steel model with steel mesh band is $399 as well.
The black stainless steel with black steel link band is $449, a 22 karat rose gold-plated stainless steel model with coin-edge ring and alligator-style leather strap is $699, and a rose gold-plated model with rose gold-plated steel link band is $799. That’s pricey.
But the Huawei Watch is damn near perfect, so I can’t help but say it’s worth every penny. It’s beautiful, quick, smooth, and features many little details that just prove its worth. Everything from the quick swap bands to the selection of watch faces, Huawei knocked it out of the park.
The lack of ambient light sensor is kind of a bummer, because after using the Moto 360 for so long, I found not having auto brightness to be quite annoying. But I quickly grew used to it, so I’m sure you will too.
If you’re in the market for a smartwatch and want something very premium, the Huawei Watch might be it. The sapphire display sets it ahead of the Moto 360 in terms of premium construction, but the Moto 360 is better in its own ways (including a lower price). If you choose the Huawei Watch, but you won’t be disappointed.