The Huawei Watch is among the best Android Wear smartwatches, but the newly-announced Huawei Watch 2 looks to up the ante with more connectivity options, Android Wear 2.0 and a more sporty look than we saw in its predecessor.
Interestingly, the Huawei Watch 2 looks less like a true successor to the slick and trim original and more like an blend of the Samsung Gear S3 and the LG Watch Urbane. It by no means looks bad, but Huawei is definitely angling this one more toward the athletic type based on its design decisions and the sensors it has packed inside.
Those hoping for a slimmer version of last year’s wearable will be disappointed, but there appears to be much that has improved on the inside. For instance, the battery capacity has improved, as has the pixel density of its AMOLED display.
Despite its divisive looks, the Huawei Watch 2 appears to have improved just enough to make it an appealing upgrade for those in the market for a new smartwatch.
The Huawei Watch 2, unlike the more office-friendly Huawei Watch 2 Classic, takes a sharp left turn in terms of its design. Holding the old against the new, you really wouldn’t be able to draw a link between the two.
As the rumors and leaks indicated, the Huawei Watch 2 is indeed built with a sporting state of mind. From the slightly bulky chassis to the bright silicon straps, there’s no hiding this smartwatch’s enthusiasm to get out and run around with you.
The watch comes in a range of colors: orange, black, and grey speckled with white dots. No matter the option you choose, each is built out of thermoplastic polyurethane and layered on top with ceramic around the bezel to add some flair.
The design changes can’t go unnoticed, and neither can the Huawei Watch 2’s drastic reduction in weight. We don’t know the exact weight of the original, but the new model weighs just 57 grams and feels roughly half its weight.
Huawei’s second generation smartwatch measures up at 45 x 48.3 x 12.6mm, which makes it roughly a millimeter thicker and bit wider at every angle than its predecessor. I’ll reiterate that the drop in weight in here pretty much detracts the added visual bulk.
Like the original Huawei Watch, you can swap in whichever band strikes your fancy so long as it can fit in the 20mm lug. Although, it’s worth mentioning that getting the stock bands off is a bit of a struggle at first compared to other Android Wear smartwatches.
Following in the steps of the other current Android Wear smartwatches, the Huawei Watch 2 will feature a Snapdragon Wear 2100 to keep things running smoothly.
Backing up the chipset is a modest 512MB RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. Compared to Android Wear watches of old, Android Wear 2.0 takes greater advantage of the hardware inside. Native apps will test it harder and as a result, more work will be put on its battery.
Thankfully, Huawei boosted the battery capacity here. Instead of the 300mAh cell seen in the original, we’re treated here with 420mAh.
According to Huawei, the new battery will help the watch manage about two days with mixed use of its many features and sensors. If you’re someone who likes to track every last metric on a run, continuous use of the built-in GPS and heart rate sensor will cause its longevity to drop sharply to 10 hours.
If you’re someone who enjoys smartwatch features from time to time, but mostly just wants an attractive time piece that can track steps and tell the time, the Huawei Watch 2 can do just that with a feature called “watch mode”. It turns off basically ever feature aside from the aforementioned, but can last up to 25 days without a charge.
When you do eventually need to charge, it can charge from 0-100% in one hour.
Other noteworthy features include its IP68 protection against water and dust. If you’re someone who wants to pay for things without whipping out a phone or wallet, you’ll be happy to know that this watch has NFC and supports Android Pay.
The Huawei Watch 2 does something bold: it shakes up a winning formula for something that looks nothing like what made it popular and beloved in the first place.
But that’s certainly not all bad. For those who love to sport, this may be the best choice around. It’s got a full waterproofing and a suite of sensors that cover a swath of physical activities. So long as you can swallow the design, the Huawei Watch 2 could very well be the smartwatch you’ve been waiting for. But then again, maybe it’s not. We’ll see shortly in the full review.
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