Huawei Watch 2: Full, in-depth review

Huawei Watch 2
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Solid performance

Cons

  • Display too small
  • 4G connectivity isn't elegant
  • No waterproofing

Bottom Line

The Huawei Watch is a slick, second-generation device that irons out the kinks of the past, emerging from the chrysalis of iteration as the fully-fledged smartwatch it always could have been, given patience.

Would you buy this?

Design

In terms of the design, the Huawei Watch 2 is nothing if not modern. The control scheme here is rounded out nicely by a pair of silver nubs along the edges of the circular watch face. While it’s not as slim as something like an Apple Watch, it’s nowhere near as bulky as most others. Overall, it’s generally a pretty inconspicuous weight for a watch and comfortable to wear throughout the day. The design of the Huawei Watch 2 disguises both the location of the SIM-card and the changeability of the watch-band, making it look and feel like a slick, seamless package.

While the “Carbon Black” aesthetic means the Huawei Watch 2 is versatile enough to work as an aesthetic piece and rugged enough to wear during fitness activities, there are a few caveats. Specifically, it’s more splash-proof than waterproof. Huawei told us It'd be fine to wear in the show but don’t expect to swim with it anytime soon. Aside from that, it’s got all the durability perks you’d expect out of a $599.

Performance

It doesn’t feel like hyperbole to say that the Huawei Watch 2 offers what must be the smoothest and best performance available in a Android Wear-powered smartwatch. At least, this side of the ultra-premium fashion brands.

Huawei make their pedigree from the smartphone world known here. In action, the Watch 2’s screen is bright and responsive to use. Apps load fast and the interface is pretty-straightforward to use. It’s not without the inescapable clumsiness that you’ll find in all wearable interfaces with screen sizes this small. However, the snappy feel of Android Wear 2.0 helps alleviate this somewhat and differentiate it from its predecessor in a meaningful way.

It’s also more customizable than the first Huawei Watch was. In fact, it’s maybe even a little too easy to customize. Sometimes, all it takes is a swipe right.  I often accidentally swapped out my watchface of choice without intending to - and sometimes without even realising it.

Watchfaces can now also be buffered up with custom-set “complications, which are like little widgets for easy access to things like the your calendar or alarm apps.

When it comes to the cellular connectivity, the Huawei Watch 2 works pretty much as intended. However, it does come with a catch. Unlike the much vaunted eSIM found in the new Apple Watch. The Huawei Watch 2 relies on you using a second SIM in tandem with call-forwarding. The cons of this are pretty clear: it’s a little bit more convoluted and has a lot more failure points.

However, the pros are still pretty effervescent. With the addition of true mobility to the package, the independence of Android Wear 2.0 gets the chance to shine. Some (but not all) apps now no longer require a nearby smartphone to work and you can download new apps on the go as you need them.

Then, there’s the fitness tracking features on the watch. Like Apple and Samsung, Huawei have pivoted towards the fitness crowd with their latest wearable. Unfortunately, despite the technical prowess involved, this aspect of the phone doesn’t always land. While the software powering the fitness-tracking side of the equation is surprisingly robust, the 1.2-inch display feels often a little cramped to rely on for stretches longer than a minute.

The last thing to touch on here is the support for contactless payments via NFC. This feature pretty much as you’d expect. It’s only Android Pay for now, however, which means your bank might not support it.

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Read more on these topics: Huawei, Huawei Watch, Huawei Watch 2
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