Funky Watch

The Huawei Watch 2 is a nifty com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fit­ness gadget.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Technology - By SHARMILA NAIR bytz@thes­tar.com.my

BE­ING a se­cret agent is my dream, so for about two weeks while wear­ing the Huawei Watch 2, I pre­tended to be lit­tle Penny from In­spec­tor Gadget, keep­ing an eye out for cases to solve.

Okay, so my sleuthing stan­dards are low, but what­ever, I got to talk into my watch like a real spy, and that’s cool.

The Watch 2 is one of the three smart­watches un­veiled by the Chi­nese tech gi­ant ear­lier this year – the others are Watch 2 Clas­sic and the swanky Porsche De­sign. How­ever, only the Watch 2 is avail­able in Malaysia for now.

Stay con­nected

The re­view unit is a Watch 2 with 4G LTE con­nec­tiv­ity, and comes with a nano SIM card slot hid­den un­der one of the straps. Ide­ally, users should be us­ing a one-num­ber-multi-SIM service, so they can have the same num­ber on the phone as well as Watch 2. Cur­rently only Maxis pro­vides this service, hence Huawei’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the telco.

The one-num­ber-multi-SIM service al­lows you to leave your phone at home and never miss a call or mes­sage when on the go. The smart­watch helps you with that. You can also use Google Maps and Uber with­out re­ly­ing on your phone.

But since I don’t have a sec­ond nano SIM card, I just used the one from my phone to test the smart­watch, made calls in­de­pen­dently and it worked.

As much as talk­ing into your watch is convenient, re­mem­ber that peo­ple near you are able to lis­ten to your pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions, so just keep an eye out for eaves­drop­pers.

You can also re­ceive and make phone (or should I say watch?) calls with­out a SIM card, pro­vided that the Watch 2 is con­nected to your smart­phone via Blue­tooth, at a dis­tance of about 10m or less.

Screen time

The Watch 2 has a 1.2in Amoled dis­play that is pro­tected by Corn­ing Go­rilla Glass 3. It is smaller com­pared to the 1.4in screen sported by the orig­i­nal Watch.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Watch 2 doesn’t have a ro­tat­ing bezel or crown, so you have to get used to in­ter­ac­tion us­ing just that tiny screen.

Users are now able to type their mes­sages us­ing a vir­tual key­board, but trust me, it is eas­ier to just dic­tate or tap on the sug­gested replies on screen. It saves much more time and keeps you sane longer.

Swip­ing to the left gives you the op­tion to se­lect watch faces, and you can even in­stall apps that pro­vide ad­di­tional choices. You can also choose to set the watch face to stay al­ways on, though this drains the bat­tery life faster.

You can ad­just the bright­ness of the dis­play, and the screen is quite re­spon­sive to the touch, but do be warned that the chances of tap­ping on the wrong icons are quite high.

Look and feel

For a watch that looks bulky, the Watch 2 is sur­pris­ingly light at 42g. Made from mixed plas­tics with sporty sil­i­cone straps – only Car­bon Black is avail­able for now in Malaysia – the Watch 2 may not com­ple­ment ev­ery­one’s daily look.

The straps are sweat-proof, and don’t cut into your wrist but you do have to wear it slightly tight for the heart rate mon­i­tor, lo­cated in the back of the watch, to do its read­ings.

There are two but­tons on the right, with the top one work­ing as the main nav­i­ga­tion key to launch the list of apps, while the bot­tom one can be pro­grammed to open your favourite app.

It’s a shame that th­ese but­tons don’t ro­tate to give users ad­di­tional ways to ma­noeu­vre the

apps.

Time to move

Okay, I swear that I was mo­ti­vated to go for a run and test out the watch’s ac­tiv­ity tracker but it just didn’t hap­pen. The weather was ei­ther way too hot or it was pour­ing cats and dogs, and to be hon­est, mov­ing isn’t really my thing. But, I did set a goal to take 10,000 steps a day, and the one time I achieved the tar­get, the watch vi­brated as a mark of cel­e­bra­tion. I could also check my heart-rate and calo­ries burned for the day but I didn’t do that of­ten be­cause why re­mind my­self about the work­out I didn’t do or the fat­ten­ing food I had daily?

The bot­tom but­ton, by de­fault, launches the Work­out app, and you can se­lect the type of ac­tiv­ity you want to do, namely run, car­dio, walk, or cy­cle. But there is a va­ri­ety of in­de­pen­dent work­out apps that you can in­stall on the watch to keep track of your fit­ness.

The per­for­mance

The Watch 2 is pow­ered by a Qual­comm Snap­dragon Wear 2100 1.1GHz pro­ces­sor and runs on An­droid Wear 2.0 op­er­at­ing sys­tem. It can be paired with both An­droid (ver­sion 4.3 and above) and iOS (8.2 and later) smart­phones.

It has 768MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board stor­age (with ap­prox­i­mately 2.3GB for user stor­age), and you can down­load apps di­rectly from the Google Play Store on the watch.

The smart­watch has a 420mAh bat­tery and can last up to eight hours in train­ing mode (when us­ing 4G LTE, GPS and real-time heart rate mon­i­tor­ing). Huawei claims that with­out a SIM card, the bat­tery can last up to two days, but hon­estly, I had to charge it al­most ev­ery day.

When the bat­tery is very low, the Watch Mode kicks in and the screen only dis­plays an ana­logue watch face and your step counter. Charg­ing is done via a mag­netic charg­ing dock (still no wire­less op­tion) which holds the watch se­curely, though it doesn’t prop it up for a quick glance or use.

Con­clu­sion

The Watch 2 is a user-friendly smart­watch that does what it is meant to do – track your fit­ness level and let you make calls and send mes­sages with­out a smart­phone.

The only way to get your hands on them is by sign­ing up for Max­isOne 158 or 188 plan, and get a Huawei P10 or Mate 9 to­gether with the Watch 2.

Un­der Max­isOne 158, users have to pay an ad­di­tional RM93 for P10, or RM148 for Mate 9; while un­der Max­isOne 188 users need to pay an ad­di­tional RM78 for P10 or RM133 for Mate 9.

There are plans to make the Watch 2 avail­able on Vmall, Huawei’s of­fi­cial on­line store, though no of­fi­cial date has been an­nounced.

— Huawei Malaysia

The Watch 2 has a 1.2in Amoled dis­play that is pro­tected by Corn­ing Go­rilla Glass 3.

Swip­ing to the left gives you the op­tion to se­lect watch faces, and you can even in­stall apps that pro­vide ad­di­tional choices. You can also choose to set the watch face to stay al­ways on, though this drains the bat­tery life faster.

The Watch 2 has 4G LTE con­nec­tiv­ity, and comes with a nano SIM card slot hid­den un­der one of the straps. — Pho­tos: SAM ONG/The Star

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