NetGuide NZ - Hands-on review: Huawei Watch

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Hands-on review: Huawei Watch

Huawei’s edition to the Android Wear line-up is good-looking with a stunning circular screen. But does the Huawei Watch raise the bar for other Android wear devices?

Look and feel

First generation Android Wear watches looked like something you’d wear whilst under house arrest. Huawei's watch, on the other hand, is an attractive device that resembles a traditional timepiece.

A considerable amount of effort has gone into its build. This translates into a scratch proof sapphire crystal display and cold forged stainless steel body. These materials might command a premium, but they also mean the watch is both good-looking and durable.

Like Apple, Huawei offer several different designs. These give you the choice of three finishes: gold, silver, and black.

The gold watch body comes with a brown leather band while the steel watch body comes with a steel watchband. The black model I reviewed came with a black leather band.

Huawei have also opted for a standard watchband setup. This should allow users to swap out existing bands for any standard 18mm strap.

The different designs are all available in the one 42mm (W) x 11.3mm (D) size.

On the wrist the Huawei watch feels pretty much like wearing an old school timepiece. It didn’t catch on sleeves or cufflinks, nor did its body get in the way of other day-to-day activities.

Its 42mm diameter size means that it shouldn’t look out of place on the wrists of most men. Some women, especially those with slender wrists, may feel it is a tad chunky.

This said, it felt light and comfy to wear. Huawei managed to strike a balance between the watch being solid, yet not too heavy like a wrist-mounted anvil.

No matter the colour and finish, the Huawei Watch feels solid, and it’s design looks like a million bucks.

In use

As with other Android wear devices, Google keeps a tight reign over Android Wear’s UI. This means the user interface on the Huawei Watch is identical to that of other Android Wear watches.

Anyone who has used other Android Wear watches will find the Huawei wearable familiar. For newbie’s, the learning curve isn't too steep.

The Huawei Watch will also work with smartphones running Android 4.3 or later. It'll also play nice with iPhones running iOS8.2 or higher.

As with other Android Wear devices, the Huawei watch listens out for the 'OK Google' command. Over the last 12 months Google have improved the usability of Google voice commands, and in use I’ve found it to be accurate, even in noisy environments.

Dictating a quick text message or setting a timer works and is handy when my hands are full. This said, I have attracted some odd stares when talking to my wrist on the bus.

Specs

The most noticeable feature of the Huawei Watch is its circular 1.4” AMOLED display. Being an AMOLED panel, the display is both bright and vivid - it’s 400x400 resolution made watch faces look crisp and sharp. A pixel density of 286ppi also helped the screen along. Readability outdoors is excellent.

Behind the display, the Huawei Watch is specc’d out like most other Android wear devices. Packing a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 CPU, 512MB of RAM plus 4GB of internal storage it also has a 300mAh battery.

Circular watch displays are what most Android Wear fans desire. The Huawei watch display is completely circular, and lacks the flat tire of the Moto 360. This means the bottom of the screen won't blot out that new watch face you just purchased.

The Huawei watch is rated IP67. In non-geek speak, this means it's able to cope with dust and will function for up to half an hour in one metre of water. This said, I’d still not wear it swimming, but would be okay with it on while doing the dishes.

The 300mAh battery seems small but Huawei claims it’ll deliver up two days use. This did prove to be the case, although battery life varied depending on how much I used it throughout the day.

Charging the battery takes an hour and the charging dock has a magnetic plate with four connectors - the magnets help align the charging connectors. It’s a hassle free process.

Huawei earns points for bundling some of the best custom watch faces bundled I’ve seen. They're eye-catching and showcase the stunning screen. 

Although it lacks GPS, which limits it as a running watch, it accurately tracked my steps and heart rate, sending data to Google Fit.

Verdict

There’s a lot to like about the Huawei Watch. It’s one of the best Android wear devices available at the moment. While it may command a premium price, you get a premium build and a super crisp screen.

A well executed yet understated design combines with solid battery life, and it'll also play nice with IOS and Android phones. These plus a solid ecosystem of apps make the Huawei watch my pick of the Android Wear bunch.

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