I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of smart watches. At this stage in the game, they’ve seemed like solutions looking for a problem. One month with the Huawei Watch is starting to change my mind, though.
The first thing about the Huawei Watch that grabs on is the appearance. I’m not a watch guy, but I loved it. As did several watch aficionados who checked it out. Nothing against some of the other Android Wear phones out there (or the Apple Watch), but the designs all lack a certain “zing.” The Huawei, however, has a more high-end design.
Available with a choice of watch bands, my review loaner was the black stainless steel with a link band seen above, The Sapphire glass is great and protects from scratches, and while the larger size may daunt some, it feels a bit more like a luxury watch. In fact, it’s roughly the same size as my Omega. What was not so awesome was the link band. I had to take it to a jeweler to get resized, and then lost weight over the month that I had it. This caused the fit to be “off,” making it hard to get an accurate heart rate. If you do go for this one, get a leather band instead or get is resized more carefully than I did.
Android Wear as a service is basically the same across devices. I paired the watch with my iPhone 6 and with my Nexus 7 at various points. There’s a lot more functionality on Android than iOS, obviously. For example, under iOS I was not able to enable the wireless network controls. Under Android, I could. This let me walk out of Bluetooth range of my Nexus yet still get all my alerts. Still, basic features like music control and monitoring notifications worked. I had a little trouble with Google Now hearing me, but an update was just pushed out to address this.
Let’s talk battery life for a second. Smart watches are still kind of infamous for sucking down juice. The Huawei Watch’s “always on” screen feature seemed like a good way to do just that. So imagine my shock at how long a full charge lasted. After charging up, I was able to wear it all day Sunday (with the exception of when I bathed my son), actively using it from 7AM to 11PM. I then set it at my bedside table. The battery then kept going for my entire work day; by 3:15 PM I was down to 12%, but that’s still a darned impressive battery life.
It’s possible that this may be due to the fact that at the time I was using it with an iPhone and not an Android device, where the phone would have done more. It’s also possible that my not using the watch’s Wi-Fi was a factor (although even with an Android phone, it disables if not connected for a while). Still, I can safely call the claim that the Huawei Watch not only meets the quoted 1.5 days worth of power, but can exceed it in some circumstances.
Huawei is also offering a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale on the Watch via Best Buy (online and in-store), Amazon, Target (online and in-store), and Google Play. This is good, because they are not cheap. My review unit sells for $449 normally, and even the base model is $349.
Even the base model at $50 off is still $300, which is not cheap. But as we note above, this is not a cheap watch. It’s also, however, not the most expensive smart watch out there; the Tag Heuer/HP watch for $1,500 comes to mind.
At the end of the day, I’m not sure if I would recommend the Huawei Watch. I personally loved it, and am going to hate sending it back–but I did not have to pay for it. Firstly, I can’t recommend investing this amount of money on it if you’re on iOS. I would say of the Android Wear watches I’ve played with, I prefer it over Motorola’s and it’s about even with LG’s Urbane. Although I have not had a month with those, so YMMV. The battery watch is the tipping point that leads me to lean towards a qualified “yes.”
If you are going to buy an Android Wear device as a long-term investment, and if fashion and style are important to you, then I suggest you keep your eye on the Huawei. If you can get a good deal, snag it.