I’ve spent sometime with the Huawei Watch 2 and so far I am impressed with the improvement over older generation smart watches, giving me hope that if progress in watches continue then those initial snags we had 3 years ago, will be long in the past. I know this isn’t the newest of smartwatches, but with slim pickings in Android Wear right now, it is still one of the best.
The watch itself is well made, has a very sturdy feel to it without weighing nearly as much as a normal watch of similar size. It is a bit bigger than what I’m used to in a watch, but once worn, it doesn’t feel stupidly big, just a bit on the chunky side, you’d expect from a sports watch. The bezel alone of probably responsible for that, it finishes that watch design off nicely but doesn’t have any functional use, other than to protect the screen and easily adds an extra 3mm of thickness that other manufacturers are trying to shave off.
As a watch
With a handful of watch faces to choose from out of the box, you can get as much or as little information as you want on the watch. Ambient display without the flat tire look, like on the Moto 360, is a nice touch. Good solid buttons on the side, one of which you can customize, the other gets you into the menu. Battery life so far is a solid 2 days, but Huawei also added a “Watch Mode” which will get you about 2 weeks with just watch and pedometer functions, along with always on screen disabled. This makes it great as an everyday watch if you go away and forget your charger.
As a sports tracker
This watch is claiming to be a sports watch, so what features does it have? Well there’s GPS and heart rate monitoring, default features these days on any sports smartwatch. Annoyingly it also has too many soprts apps. Google have added their uninstallable Fit app, Huawei have added their own Health apps, which constitute of a Daily Tracker and Workout apps. Then for an unknown reason, they have also installed Runtastic which replicates all the features Huawei had already given us. I would say its nice to have the choice of apps, but what annoys me is that I can’t uninstall any of them if I didn’t want to use them. The workout app is probably the best I’ve used in a smartwatch, giving plenty of info and smooth UI. Yet to get this info on my smartphone, I’d need to install the Health app from the Play Store. That’s fine, but in order to use the app I also need the Huawei companion app as well. As bad as that is, this app in turn will also not work unless you install the Huawei services app. Really Huawei? I need 3 apps on my phone with a worryingly long list of permission requests, just to sync my Health data from my watch. No thanks.
It’s also packing Google Pay for contactless payment (still feel like a tool paying with my watch). This requires the app to be opened on the watch before placing next to the payment machine. It is recommended you re-configure the side button to open Google Pay for quickness. Handy if you’re out for a jog without you phone, and remember you need some milk?
I’d be more interested to see if you could use the NFC chip to activate other things with a quick swipe of your watch. Smart home IFTT style?
Whats up with Huawei?
I’ve never really ventured into Huawei products much before, at least not consciously. Huawei make a lot of unbranded products for other companies such as mobile wifi routers, so chances are I have owned their devices in the past. They really are making a name for themselves in recent years, producing some impressive smartphones and tablets. They also grab the wrong kind of headlines too. Australia have apparently been in talks with Huawei to step into the 5G market, but America’s NSA have stepped in warning Australia to be cautious about signing deals with China’s mega manufacturer, with security concerns over its allegance with the Chinese government. Ironic statement coming from the NSA, with their reputation.
Now you understand my cautiousness of downloading too many Huawei apps on my phone? Regardless of that Watch 2 is a great sports tracker and everyday watch, with probably the best battery so far.