Huawei Watch review: wonderfully premium, but is it the best?

Is Huawei's elegant and powerful Android Wear smartwatch a Moto 360 beater?

TODO alt text


  • Premium build and materials
  • Great screen
  • Android Wear is maturing


  • Expensive
  • Only one size option
  • So-so battery life

The Huawei Watch was a hotly anticipated Android Wear device, it has a fully circular screen, it's made from expensive materials, and the battery life is actually half decent.

With prices starting at around £299, it's one of the more expensive Android Wear watches to date, though it's soon to be overtaken by the luxury Tag Heuer Android Wear device.

Is the Huawei Watch worth the extra cash, or is your money better spent on a cheaper Android Wear device such as the near identical Moto 360?

Design, Build Quality and Screen

Let's start with the design, an area where Huawei have really excelled. It's a handsome device, with classic good looks.

We particularly like the silver stainless steel casing, with the black leather strap, it's sophisticated and understated. Other design options could be described as 'lacking taste'.

Everything feels solid, and the materials used are premium, especially the leather strap, which is really soft.

In terms of ergonomics the Huawei watch is fine, there's a button at 2 o'clock, which acts as a power and home button.

Your main interaction with the device will be through the 1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen.

This screen is one of the best we've seen on a smartwatch, it's sharp with a pixel density of 286ppi, and colours are really vivid.

We didn't have any problems viewing the watch in direct sunlight.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Huawei Watch is good for an Android Wear watch. It comes packing a 300mAh battery, which is capable of lasting around two days with Ambient Mode turned off, and 1.5 days with Ambient Mode turned on.

That's okay, but it's not a patch on the Pebble Time, a cheaper, less premium rival.

Charging the battery takes around an hour, and the charging dock is a small magnetic disc, similar to the Apple Watch.

Specs and Performance

The Huawei Watch comes with some high-powered internals, packing a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM. That might not sound like much, but it matches its similarly priced rivals.

The watch also has 4GB of storage on board for music and apps. I was no where close to filling it.

In terms of sensors, the Huawei Watch includes a 6-axis motion sensor, barometer, and heart rate sensor.

There's no GPS, so it's not going to serve as a proper running watch. But it's too posh, so you wouldn't want to take this running anyway.

The device will connect to you smartphone with Bluetooth 4.1 BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and also features Wi-Fi for remote notifications.

It's a top of the range device, with top of the range specs, so in terms of performance, it's one of the best out there. Navigating the UI is quick, with no lag, but opening power intensive apps can sometimes take a while.

Operating System, Apps and Compatibility

When Android Wear was first released it felt like beta software, not polished, clunky, and missing a lot of features. Thanks to frequent software updates, it now feels like a cohesive experience.

The Huawei Watch runs the most recent version of Android Wear, 5.1.1. This comes with important features such as iPhone compatibility, Wi-Fi, watch-to-watch messaging and gesture support.

The UI is a basic Google Now affair, with information cards which you can browse and expand.

It's an intuitive operating system, much less fiddly than the Apple Watch OS, but there's too much swiping and tapping on a small screen for my liking.

The platform is well established, with a huge number of apps available for device. Let's put it this way, if there's something you need to do on Android Wear, there's probably an app for it.

Android Wear is identical across all devices, as Google don't allow manufacturers to install custom skins. This has led to Android Wear watches feeling very samey.

Huawei has managed to stand out a tiny bit by including some pretty fitness apps, and some of the best pre-installed watch faces we've seen.

Naturally Android Wear devices are compatible with Android smartphones, but most recent devices are also compatible with iPhones. However, iPhone compatibility is limiting, with no apps, or voice control.

If you're an iPhone user and want a smart watch, it's probably best to stick with the Apple Watch for now.


The Huawei Watch is one of the best smartwatches available right now, but it should be, because it's also one of the most expensive.

It's a premium device, with high-quality materials, powerful specs, and one of the best screens we've seen on a smartwatch.

Android Wear has improved a lot recently, with slicker and more intuitive navigation, iPhone compatibility, and gesture controls.

If you're fully sold on the idea of getting a smartwatch, and want the best Android Wear watch around, you should get the Huawei Watch.

Not so sure? There are cheaper options out there, with near identical functionality.