The newer model, called Huawei Watch, looks more like an analogue watch. It’s bigger than most watches and is round. It looks conventional and comes with a conventional watch strap. There are metal and leather straps to choose from as well as a range of frames.
You can also choose from a range of digital watch faces. These are not Huawei styles, you’ll find the same ones on other Android Wear devices. Some are futuristic, but most make more than a nod to classic watch styles.
A big watch
Huawei Watch is big. It’s a shade over 40mm in diameter. That’s almost too big for my skinny wrist. I suspect many women and smaller men might find it too big for comfort. Despite the size, it’s not heavy and is comfortable to wear.
Big means readable. I found the Huawei display is easier to read than the Apple Watch display. In particular, the text is easier to read. Even after cranking up the size on the Apple Watch and choosing the bold option, I still found it hard going.
Battery life is important with wearables. Huawei claims two days. That squares with my experience. I could almost get through three days. Charging the battery is easy enough and quick. It takes an hour, which for me means I can charge in the morning between waking and leaving the house.
For my money the Huawei Watch looks and feels better than the Apple Watch. Unlike the Apple Watch I didn’t find I had any allergy problems with it. However to be fair to Apple, I didn’t wear the Huawei Watch for more than a few days.
Overall I prefer the look and feel of the Huawei Watch to the Apple Watch. The basic software, that is time-keeping, fitness and weather, is as good as or better than the equivalent software on Apple’s device.
Figuring out the weather beyond temperature and a single icon is not easy on the Apple Watch. The Huawei has a better weather app. A lack of time with the Watch meant I didn’t look at anything beyond the basic supplied apps.
The Huawei Watch is an Android Wear device. So if you have a phone you can use it to answer phone calls, read messages and so on. As you’d expect it works with Android phones. It also works with iPhone.
I don’t see the point of these call and message functions on either the Huawei or Apple Watch. Dealing with incoming calls and messages is always easier on a phone and you have to have a phone to do them with a watch.
Much the same goes for notifications. I want notifications out of my life, not more of them.
Having wrist alerts is a distraction. Sure there are some cases where it might be useful when, say, travelling, but not for most of the time.
In theory you can command the Watch by voice, but this barely worked for me. I’m not sure I ever got it to complete any voice task. I struggle with voice on the Apple Watch, this is worse. Of course this may work for you.
Android Wear looks promising at first sight. It’s pretty enough. Yet it has an unfinished, beta software. Things don’t always work as you might expect. As a consequence, Android Wear often feels confusing and messy. It lets the phone down. Hopefully Google will update the software. It is still a generation away from being ready for everyday users.
Huawei Watch verdict
Huawei Watch prices start at NZ$650. You need to have a suitable phone as well. That means a recent Android or iPhone.
If you need to work hands free most of the day it could be the right choice for you. if you like the idea of constant notifications throughout the day, then you’ll love this.
It looks great but Huawei asks a lot of money for not much functionality. To be fair the same applies to all smartwatches, for now, they are little more than jewellery.