Huawei Watch 2 UK Review: The 4G-enabled Android Wear 2 smartwatch

Huawei Watch 2 UK Review: The 4G-enabled Android Wear 2 smartwatch

On 26 February 2017, Huawei announced the P10, P10 Plus, the all new Watch 2 that comes in a fitness orientated 'Sport' version and a stylish 'Classic' variant.

Both watches have the same features, where they’re distinguishable by their straps, the use of stainless steel in the Classic and where 4G support is only available on the Sport variant.

This allows the Watch 2 Sport to be used on its own, thanks to 4G LTE support that uses an eSIM/SIM to make and receive calls directly from your watch.

Both Watch 2 variants have built-in GPS; IP68 water resistance; 4GB of internal storage for music; a quoted two days of battery life; NFC; a heart-rate sensor; Android Wear 2; and will start at £280-340 depending on the version you get.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Watch 2 and my initial impressions of the Watch 2 Sport.

Huawei Watch 2 review: Key specifications and release date

The headline feature is the Watch 2 Sports’ ability to work independently, without the need of a smartphone. Due to having an eSIM/SIM slot, the Watch 2 Sport operates on a 4G network, where you can use your existing number to directly make and receive calls. There is also a non-4G, Wi-Fi only variant of the Watch 2 Sport that is cheaper, and the Classic that doesn’t offer 4G connectivity.

Thanks to its built-in microphone, speaker, eSIM/SIM, Bluetooth 4.1, 4GB internal storage and 2.4GHz 802.11bgn Wi-Fi capabilities, you won’t feel the need to take your phone out with you – a fully capable Watch 2 Sport will allow you to keep up with all your daily tasks.

 

If you’re into physical activities and want to track your progress, the Watch 2 Sport and Classic offer built-in GPS, a heart-rate monitor and dedicated fitness apps that will accurately track your progress. I was impressed by the ease of use and accessibility of these apps through the watch’s interface. Even if it’s your first time owning an Android Wear watch, you'll find its menus intuitive and easy to understand.

The Watch 2 Sport and Classic come with Android Wear 2, meaning you’ll be able to download standalone apps directly on the watch. This means you won't have to rely on a smartphone, and will also be welcome for iOS users who don’t own an Android device. Both the watches are powered by a 1.1GHz Qualcomm MSM8909W processor and have 768MB of RAM, which is plenty for a smartwatch. With my hands on experience of the Sport, I felt the watch was responsive and worked extremely quickly.

Its 4GB internal storage allows you to store music on the watch so that you can listen to your songs on the go. With its Bluetooth 4.1 capabilities, you can also transmit your songs over to your wireless Bluetooth headphones. I had no problems connecting to my phone via Bluetooth or to my earphones.

READ NEXT: Best Bluetooth headphones and earphones – our pick of the best of 2017

Fitness is always important for smartwatch owners, and I’m glad to see Huawei addressing this by including built-in GPS, dedicated Huawei fitness apps and a heart-rate monitor. I found the heart rate to be accurate, although if you’re serious about fitness tracking, I’d buy a dedicated heart-rate monitor for your chest for better readings.

Combining these features with the sports band, you’ll be able to take the Watch 2 Sport on runs. It’s also IP68-certified, where it’ wil survive a splash and rain drops, but make sure you don’t submerge it as it isn’t waterproof.


Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth 4G Sport Smartwatch for Android & IOS - Black at Amazon £379

 

Huawei Watch 2 specs at a glance

  • L: 48.9; W: 45; H: 12.6mm
  • 1.2in circular AMOLED display 
  • 390 x 390 pixels with a pixel density of 326ppi
  • The Sport is approx 40g and the Classic 47g (excluding watch straps)
  • 4GB storage
  • 1.1GHz Qualcomm MSM8909W processor with 768MB of RAM
  • 4G, GPS, Bluetooth 4.1, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, NFC, eSIM/SIM, IP68, heart-rate sensor
  • 420mAh battery
  • £280 (non-4G Sport) / £325 (4G Sport) / £340 (Classic)
  • March/April 2017
  • Android Wear 2

Huawei Watch 2 review: Design, key features and first impressions

The Watch 2 Classic and Sport have a slightly bulky design, and I find it odd that Huawei hasn’t included a rotating bezel or crown; you’ll be trying to rotate the Watch 2’s face to no avail. This is a slightly odd design choice by the Chinese manufacturer since the Android Wear 2 interface is designed to work well with this type of hardware.

Ignoring its lack of rotating bezel/crown, the Watch 2 is attractive to look at. The Watch 2 Classic also has a stainless-steel construction, which makes it look a little more elegant. Two buttons on the right-hand side allow you to interact with the watch's interface and its touchscreen display is responsive, allowing you to swipe away your notifications.

I do find the Watch 2 a little bulky, where a lady’s petite wrists will make the watch look like a gigantic piece of tech. Despite being lightweight at only 40/47g (without straps), it has dimensions of 48.9 x 45 x 12.6mm – it looks bulky on my wrists. Granted, I don’t have the largest wrists a man could have, but I still think it's chunky.

The Watch 2 comes with several strap options, which also determines if the watch has 4G support. The Sport comes in Dynamic Orange (4G), Carbon Black (4G and non-4G), Concrete Grey (non-4G), while the Classic is Titanium Grey (non-4G). The colour choices on offer are pleasant; I had the Carbon Black variant, and it looked nice on my wrist.

Another surprising design choice by Huawei was to reduce the visible screen size from 1.4in down to 1.2in in the Watch 2. It’s a small difference, but noticeable if you compare the two versions together.


Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth 4G Sport Smartwatch for Android & IOS - Black at Amazon £379

 

On the plus side, Huawei has increased the battery from 300mAh in the original Watch to 420mAh in the Watch 2. The extra 120mAh should be able to cope with all the extra connectivity features. Huawei claims a 2-3 day battery life, and when used with 4G, the heart-rate monitor and GPS all activated, expect an 11-hour battery life.

An ultra-power-saving mode turns off all functionalities and gives the Watch 2 an impressive 26 days quoted battery life. I’ll look to see how it does in our real-world tests soon.

Huawei Watch 2 review: Early verdict

My first impressions are positive, although I am surprised by some of Huawei's design choices. Inexplicably, the Huawei Watch 2 manages to be both bulkier than its predecessor and have a smaller screen. Given that Android Wear 2 has added onscreen keyboards into the mix, this seems like a retrograde step.

If you ignore these design changes, or simply don’t care about them, the Huawei Watch 2 does offer a lot of features. It has many connectivity options, and the Watch 2 Sport can truly run independently from your phone. This is ideal for those who want to go for a run and not have to worry about carrying around a smartphone to track their fitness or listen to music. Stay tuned for a full review of the Watch 2 Sport.

The Watch 2 will be available in select European countries in March 2017, coming to the UK and select countries around the world in April 2017. Prices start from €329 (~£280) for the non-4G Sport version, €379 (~£325) with 4G support on the Sport, and the Classic will cost €399 (~£340). UK pricing hasn’t been announced, but I’d expect it to come close to the European release prices.


Huawei Watch 2 Bluetooth 4G Sport Smartwatch for Android & IOS - Black at Amazon £379

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