The Huawei Watch 2 is perhaps the most watch-like of the smart watches. In the most extreme of its battery saving modes it can continue telling the time for up to two weeks on a single charge – a lifespan that amounts to nothing short of witchcraft in the smartwatch arena.
It also runs Android Wear 2.0 and has its own dedicated GPS built-in, meaning it doesn’t need to be tethered to your phone in order to function. What’s more, an optional 4G model (£379) comes with a SIM card and lets you make and receive calls and text messages and use standalone apps entirely without the help of a phone.
Huawei has even managed to cram NFC, wi-fi and Bluetooth into this thing, which begins to account for the watch’s girthy form.
This feature-packed little chunkster is 12.6mm thick, making it an initially ungainly wearable – it is, however, very light for size, and soon felt comfortable on even my own dainty, twig-like wrist. The thick bezel that surrounds the screen is pure decoration and doesn’t rotate, which is disappointing considering how well Google’s new operating system makes use of that mode of input. That bezel ends up crowding the 390x390 Amoled touchscreen too, taking up a significant area of the watch face.
Fitness is the primary focus here for Huawei, and that’s reflected in the watch’s sporty style, heartrate monitor and slew of included health apps. It will nudge you to get up and jump around if you’ve been idle for too long, as well as counting your steps and calories burnt, and tracking your exercise routines.
You can pay for things using your wrist through the Android Pay app, though as it requires you to unlock the watch with a pattern passkey it’s much less useful than you’d hope.
An admirable and mostly successful attempt to cram a raft of features into a single device, the Huawei Watch 2 pays the price for its functionality by sacrificing aesthetics.
It’s the clown car of smart watches. There are slimmer, cheaper, more stylish and specialised alternatives, but none so feature rich.