Huawei Watch 2 review: Hands on with Huawei’s new sporty smartwatch
Huawei took to the stage on Sunday 26 February 2017 to announce not only its flagship for 2017, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus, but also its’ second generation smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 2. However, while the original Huawei Watch was for the fashion conscious, the Huawei Watch 2 has more of a focus on exercise and fitness. Here’s our hands-on review of the Huawei Watch 2. Read next: Best smartwatch of 2017
Huawei Watch 2 review: UK pricing and release date
While Huawei announced the €329 (or €379 if you opt for 4G) Huawei Watch 2 during its event at MWC 2017, we’re still awaiting confirmation on a specific UK launch. While it has been confirmed that the Watch 2 will be headed to the UK, Huawei doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to release dates – when it announced the Mate S in September 2015 with an October 2015 release date, the phone didn’t appear until many months later.
It’s a similar story with a UK price, as that is also yet to be announced by Huawei. We expect it to fall in line with the £289 first generation Watch, although we’ll update this section once we get confirmation from Huawei.
Huawei Watch 2 review: Design and build
In terms of design, the Sport variant of the Huawei Watch 2 is quite a step away from the fashion focused first-generation Huawei Watch. Gone is the thick metal body of a traditional watch, as the Huawei Watch 2 boasts a rather generic sporty smartwatch design, complete with vibrant interchangeable wrist straps and an aluminium body featuring a double chrome design.
Those that yearn after the classic watch look can opt for the Huawei Watch 2 Classic, although it doesn’t boast the connectivity that the Sport variant does – we’ll come to that in more detail below.
In terms of dimensions, the circular display of the Watch 2 is fairly large at 45mm with only one size available, meaning it may look a little bulky and awkward on smaller wrists. In fact, the display was fairly disappointing, lacking any real brightness or vibrancy, and we don’t think it could stand up to the display of the Apple Watch Series 2.
Overall though, the build quality of the Huawei Watch 2 was great and the metal body of the Watch gives it a more premium feel than other fitness-focused smartwatches, although we’ll have to see whether this has an irritating effect on sweaty skin.
Read next: What to expect at MWC 2017
Huawei Watch 2 review: Features and spec
So, what can the Huawei Watch 2 offer that the original didn’t? It of course has a heavy focus on fitness, and aims to be your fitness companion, offering helpful stats and professional fitness advice. While the Watch 2 features preset exercises (cardio, fat burn, etc) that you can select on-the-fly, you can also use the Huawei Wear app to create your own custom workout plans based on your goals. It’ll coach you during your exercise, giving you stage guidance (warm up, high intensity, low intensity, etc), speed guidance, lap reminders and of course, goal process reminders and more.
The Watch 2 features a heart rate monitor that provides a real-time heart rate zone to keep your heart rate in check while exercising, as, contrary to popular belief, having a high heart rate can have a negative effect on your workout. If your heart rate is too high during your workout, the Watch 2 will let you know.
It doesn’t stop there though, as it also offers in-depth stats following your workout, available on your smartphone. It’ll break your workout into different areas, offer post-workout reports for VO2Max, training effect evaluations (for long term comparison) and recovery time advice depending on how hard you’ve pushed yourself.
Read next: Best fitness tracker deals
The best part? The Huawei Watch 2 features not only a built-in heart rate monitor, but also GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 4G connectivity, allowing for standalone use. This means that you can use the Watch for exercise and even to make and receive calls without your smartphone being in range. It’s worth mentioning that the 4G connectivity is exclusive to the Sport variant, and isn’t available as part of the Classic range.
As part of the standalone nature, the Watch 2 features 2GB of storage that can be used to store music. Alternatively, the Watch 2 comes with Google Play Music support, and even offers users a two-month free trial to the service when they buy the Watch, allowing users to browse and download music to the Watch on the go.
In terms of battery life, Huawei claims that the 4G-connected Watch 2 will last for two days on a single charge, while the non-4G variant will last an extra day with a three-day battery life with average use. If everything is in use constantly (GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G connectivity) like when using it to track workouts, the Watch 2 will reportedly last 11 hours.
Read next: Best fitness trackers of 2017
Huawei Watch 2 review: Software
In terms of software, the Huawei Watch 2 boasts the latest version of Android Wear, aka Android Wear 2.0. Due to the standalone capabilities offered by the new version of Android Wear, it also features its own built-in app store for users to browse and download apps directly to the Watch without the need for a paired smartphone.
Of course, it also includes Google Assistant support, with users able to long press one of the two buttons on the Watch 2 to activate it. Interestingly, there’s also talk of offering Amazon Alexa support like the US variant of the Mate 9, although this is yet to be confirmed for Europe.
For more information on what Android Wear 2.0 offers, take a look at our explainer: Android Wear 2.0 release date, features and more
While the Huawei Watch 2 seems to be a huge improvement over the first-generation smartwatch, we’re withholding our verdict until we get one back to PC Advisor towers to properly put it through its paces.