Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. If you have been following me, you know I just finished up the Moto 360 2nd generation review, but I wouldn’t have gotten a good idea on how that performed without testing one of it’s main competitors. I’m pleased to show you guys the Huawei smartwatch that I personally paid for at retail price of $349. This is base model that comes with the leather strap and there’s other variations with metal bands and different colors from their website. When comparing to the competition, the base model is slightly higher in price, but after watching this video, we’ll see if it’s worth the extra expense. I’ll also place some Amazon links in the video description so you can check on what the updated prices are today.
So without further ado, my Channel is here is help YOU, make a purchase decision. Welcome everyone, to JimsReviewRoom.
Before starting, and I never do this, I have to briefly mention, this has to be the most exquisite unboxing of any product I’ve done. The experience of opening a beautful box, the ivory color, and the unveiling of a shiny new time-piece really provides a unique experience. It’s far different from me unboxing bluetooth speakers on my channel. If you’re buying this, have fun and enjoy opening, because they really did put effort into this aspect.
But going over the smartwatch now, Huawei went with a recessed in display. Looks a bit more modern and I think a bit more high-end in general, you can be the judge. The body is made of stainless steel which surprisingly has shown some minor fine-scratches, more-so than the Moto360 despite wearing both watches for the same amount of time. Fine scratches were also evident on the polished chrome parts which makes me question how the finish will hold up wearing this long-term. But overall from far away and not scrutinizing, the watch style still looks amazing. Regarding the leather band supplied, although this is the base model, the quality on this is one of the best. Soft and supple leather, less wear than I’ve seen on other smartwatches with leather bands, and the little details of the stitching on the sides brings it all-together. But more importantly, this has been very comfortable to wear. Although in photos and in videos, this watch does look huge, the watch itself is surprisingly light, not heavy at all, and the Huawei doesn’t look big where it looks unnatural. As you can see in the video, I have small wrists but the watch isn’t obnoxious in size. Of course, I would recommend you trying one on yourself to be sure.
Going around the Huawei, like most smartwatches, the action button is located at the natural feeling 2 o’clock position. This button manually activates the screen or puts it back into ambient mode. Holding it down brings up all of your apps to use, which I’ll go into detail shortly. And one press on this same button usually brings you back to your clock display.
Rotating to the back, more smartwatches are now including a heart rate sensor, which I’ll test and demonstrate later in the fitness portion of this video. But while in the back, the Huawei features quick-release pins, allowing you to use 1st and 3rd party bands that are 18mm in width. And for those who are curious, the factory band width is the same as the Moto360 at 20mm, however, you can see where the pins are located, there shortened just a bit so just a heads up on that. But taking the band off and putting it back on has been very simple.
In addition, keep in mind, the leather straps are not meant to get wet from sweating while running or being caught in the rain, but the watch face itself is IP67 water and dust resistant. The IP67 rating means that the product will maintain its operability even if it is gently submerged in a tank of still tap water at room temperature for about 30 minutes, up to a depth of 1 meter.
)and for those who don’t know, that means this can sit in 1 meter (or 3.3 feet of water) upto a half an hour. I wouldn’t swim with this, but washing hands and showering is fine.
Last regarding its physical build, the front has a 1.4inch sapphire crystal glass display featuring a resolution of 400×400, resulting in a 286 pixel density. The screen is technically, visibly sharper than the Moto 360, but being honest and having them literally side by side, it’s not easy to tell. Comparing to other competitors, on a spec basis, the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear S2 both feature pixel densities a little over 300, but in the end, the Huawei is still a pleasure to look at, the differences are minute. Huawei, like most other smartwatches features an AMOLED display providing deep blacks and more contrasting colors to the eyes than those without an AMOLED screen. Only one drawback, at least with the watch that I bought here, I noticed the display isn’t as white as the Moto 360. Sometimes you have this effect with Amoled displays as evident in smartphones. But bringing this outdoors in bright sunlight, and I know my camera is not doing justice here, but the screen is still visible in person. One thing to be aware, there isn’t an ambient light sensor so the screen can’t adjust brightness automatically in different enviroments. For me, I left brightness at 4 out of 5 so walking outdoors, the screen wouldn’t need to be adjusted. Does this affect battery life, I’ll discuss that towards the end of the review.
Now moving onto the user experience. Android Wear is the operating system, standard on all Android Smart Watches. Starting with the main screen, holding the screen down offers an impressive 42 dials from the factory. However, I did notice, unlike the Samsung Gear S2 or the newest Moto 360, there’s maybe two from the factory that you can customize the watch face, where you select your favorite template, change the background colors and the clock hands. Although limited in that aspect, one of the biggest benefits, Android Wear does offer a good amount of paid and better yet, free watch face dials to download and use. If you’re into the more complicated sleek and modern looks, or looking for something simple and clean, to even something funky, you’ll most likely find it.
Still on the display, more smartwatches are now offering an Always On display. When the smartwatch is tilted away from the face or the watch hasn’t been in use, the Huawei displays a black and white toned down version of the clock to conserve battery. Gently moving the wrist as if you’re intending on looking down at your watch does automatically turn the display on and from my testing, this works very well and at times when it doesn’t, the Always On display, or sometimes I call the Ambient display simply helps.
But besides the customization of different dials and watch faces, the Smart features are one of the biggest reasons why anyone would even consider buying this over a traditional watch. You do receive Push notifications from your 3rd party apps, and you receive notifications from your everyday services like Gmail, Hangouts, text notifications, facebook, instagram, etc. Whenever one of these things pops up, they do take about a quarter of the screen. You swipe up and read the message or swipe right for the message to expand, or the watch may reveal additional options such as opening this on your phone or deleting a message. Swiping from the Left to the Right gets rid of the notification altogether. One of other unique features is voice recognition. Only when the screen is on, not in ambient mode, saying the phrase “Ok Google” allows the options to verbally open up an app or better yet respond to a text message. The voice recognition from saying “ok Google” has worked very well, and the times I used the speech to text option, for the most part and comparing to other voice recognition watches, the Huawei from my experiences is considered as very good.
Moving onto the main screen, swiping right, just like holding that physical side button, your most recent apps are up top and scrolling down reveals all the apps you have installed. Besides having the benefits of notifications, you have media controls when you use apps like iHeartRadio or Pandora, allowing you to pause, play and skip your music. There’s also 4gigs of internal storage to sync some of your music from your phone to your watch, and if you have Bluetooth earphones, you can listen to music right from the Huawei.
Going back to the apps screen, swiping right one more time allows you to select your most recent contact to send a text or initiate the phone call on your phone. Swiping right one last time allows you to manually use OK Google, or moving down, there’s other random shortcuts that you can initiate from here.
Getting into the health aspect, the Huawei does track your Steps through your entire day. Google Fit is pre-installed and you can utilize that to track your daily progress. Huawei does have pre-installed their own fitness apps, simply labeled as Daily Tracking and Fitness Tracking in which you can setup your step goals and see your general daily progress, or if you’re going for a run, initiating the Fitness tracking will segment that activity. If Google Fit or the Huawei apps are just ok for you, there’s always Runkeeper, Strava and other similar apps where you can see the time elapsed, step count, and some apps include your pace, distance and calories burned. But those familiar with those apps on their phone will find the app experience isn’t as robust or as detailed when viewed on the watch. One major example, although Runkeeper does have the ability to use heart-rate sensors, Runkeeper doesn’t utilize the HR sensor on the Huawei band. Same with Google Fit, you can initiate a running activity, Google Fit on the watch will tell your phone to acquire GPS, since there’s no GPS on the watch itself, but once you start, there’s no heart rate data being displayed in real-time. The only time you have heart-rate readings, is when you manually ask the band. It’s not continuous, there’s no heart-rate zone training, there’s just not much being done with that HR sensor on the back. At least from my testing, the accuracy on the HR sensor is very similar to my chest strap and oximeter. Last on the health or personal features, there is a silent vibrating alarm that can be setup to go off once, or you can select individual days when you need help waking up without disturbing others. Testing this, the vibration is on the light side and deep sleepers will most likely not feel this waking them up.
So stock coming from the factory, and this really goes for Android Wear in general, this will work fine as an all day activity tracker counting your steps, there’s a stop-watch if you need that, and if you do intend on carrying your phone, pace and distance can be displayed which is highly beneficial, but features we see on dedicated activity bands, like flights of stairs climbed, again, the heart-rate tracking in real-time, sleeping analysis, they’re just not here. At the end of the day it’s still predominantly a Smartwatch, and the fitness side of things still has a ways to go if you’re more fitness focused.
Last regarding battery life, I’m aware several websites states the battery life isn’t as good as some of the other bands on the market, but from my personal experience, again, leaving that ambient display on and brightness at 4 out of 5, it wasn’t bad at all. Taking this off the charger at 7:43 in the morning, then ending the the day right at 10 o-clock at night, I still had 37% battery remaining. If I left the watch uncharged overnight, the following morning I surprisingly found the watch to still have 25% battery left. Eventually the watch died later that afternoon at 1pm. Of course the battery life does vary from time to time, but I usually got an entire day and a half worth of life. Worst case, I needed to recharge that very night. But regarding re-charging, I was shocked the Huawei came with this pin-type charging dock, rather than inductive charging like some of the cheaper smartwatches out there. Putting it on the dock, although magnatized, once in awhile it would 100% connect and I just have to wiggle it a bit to align. Second, other watches allows for it to face you while charging as it displays the time, a perfect night-stand clock replacement, but the Huawei obviously sits on the table, facing the ceiling instead. Recharding from a 1% battery to full takes about a half an hour.
From my experience, the Moto360 does last about a day and a half, about 36hrs total, and the worst performance I’ve had is just a little over 24hrs, which is still suitable for today’s smartwatches. Recharging the device, Motorola does offer a wireless charging cradle which I really liked. Just slide this in, doesn’t matter which side, and the watch goes into landscape mode displaying the time on your nightstand. Recharging for me had taken about 2hrs to complete from a 1% battery remaining.
So overall, is this watch worth the extra $50 over other $300 smartwatches, and my answer for this is yes. The watch performs ever so slightly smoother and faster than the Moto 360 2nd generation, the screen is sharp enough for my tastes, and the styling I personally prefer. So far, the Huawei I feel is the best overall smartwatch experience, despite it’s own shortcomings. However, that’s until the new LG Urbane 2nd generation gets re-released.
So that’s it. Remember to view my other smart watch videos here on JimsReviewRoom. Subscribe, like the video and be sure to add me onto Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. As always, my channel is here to help YOU make a purchase decision. I’m jimmy with JimsReviewRoom. I’ll see you guys on the next one, you guys take care. bye.