Huawei Watch 2

£TBC (€329) • huawei.com/uk

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Huawei took to the stage at MWC to an­nounce its sec­ond gen­er­a­tion smart­watch, the Watch 2. How­ever, while the orig­i­nal model was for the fash­ion con­scious this has more of a fo­cus on ex­er­cise and fit­ness.

Price

While Huawei an­nounced the €329 (or €379 if you opt for 4G) Huawei Watch 2 dur­ing its event at MWC 2017, we’re still await­ing con­fir­ma­tion on a spe­cific UK launch. While it has been con­firmed that the Watch 2 will be headed to the UK, Huawei

doesn’t have the great­est track record when it comes to re­lease dates – when it an­nounced the Mate S in Septem­ber 2015 with an Oc­to­ber 2015 re­lease date, the phone didn’t ap­pear un­til many months later.

It’s a sim­i­lar story with a UK price, as that is also yet to be an­nounced by Huawei. We ex­pect it to fall in line with the £289 first gen­er­a­tion Watch.

De­sign

In terms of de­sign, the Sport vari­ant of the Huawei Watch 2 is quite a step away from the fash­ion fo­cused first-gen­er­a­tion Huawei Watch. Gone is the thick metal body of a tra­di­tional watch, as the Huawei Watch 2 boasts a rather generic sporty smart­watch de­sign, com­plete with vi­brant in­ter­change­able wrist straps and an alu­minium body fea­tur­ing a dou­ble chrome de­sign.

Those that yearn af­ter the clas­sic watch look can opt for the Huawei Watch 2 Clas­sic, al­though it doesn’t boast the con­nec­tiv­ity that the Sport vari­ant does – we’ll come to that in more de­tail be­low.

In terms of di­men­sions, the cir­cu­lar dis­play of the Watch 2 is fairly large at 45mm with only one size avail­able, mean­ing it may look a lit­tle bulky and awk­ward on smaller wrists. In fact, the dis­play was fairly dis­ap­point­ing, lack­ing any real bright­ness or vi­brancy, and we don’t think it could stand up to the dis­play of the Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2.

Over­all though, the build qual­ity of the Huawei Watch 2 was great and the metal body of the Watch gives it a more premium feel than other fit­ness-fo­cused smart­watches, al­though we’ll have to see whether this has an ir­ri­tat­ing ef­fect on sweaty skin.

Hard­ware

So, what can the Huawei Watch 2 of­fer that the orig­i­nal didn’t? It of course has a heavy fo­cus on fit­ness, and aims to be your fit­ness com­pan­ion, of­fer­ing help­ful stats and pro­fes­sional fit­ness ad­vice. While the Watch 2 fea­tures pre­set ex­er­cises (car­dio, fat burn, and so on) that you can se­lect on-the-fly, you can also use the Huawei Wear app to cre­ate your own cus­tom work­out plans based on your goals. It’ll coach you dur­ing your ex­er­cise, giv­ing you stage guid­ance (warm up, high in­ten­sity, and so on), speed guid­ance, lap re­minders and of course, goal process re­minders and more.

The Watch 2 has a heart-rate mon­i­tor that pro­vides a real-time heart rate zone to keep your heart rate in check while ex­er­cis­ing, as, con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief, hav­ing a high heart rate can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on your work­out. If it is too high dur­ing your work­out, the Watch 2 will let you know.

It doesn’t stop there though, as it also of­fers in-depth stats fol­low­ing your work­out, avail­able on your smart­phone. It’ll break your work­out into dif­fer­ent ar­eas, of­fer post-work­out re­ports for VO2Max, train­ing ef­fect eval­u­a­tions (for long-term com­par­i­son) and re­cov­ery time ad­vice de­pend­ing on how hard you’ve pushed your­self.

The best part? The Huawei Watch 2 fea­tures not only a built-in heart rate mon­i­tor, but also GPS, Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth and 4G con­nec­tiv­ity, al­low­ing for stand­alone use. This means that you can use the Watch for ex­er­cise and even to make and re­ceive calls without your smart­phone be­ing in range. It’s worth men­tion­ing that the 4G con­nec­tiv­ity is ex­clu­sive to the Sport vari­ant, and isn’t avail­able as part of the Clas­sic range.

As part of the stand­alone na­ture, the Watch 2 fea­tures 2GB of stor­age that can be used to store mu­sic. Al­ter­na­tively, the Watch 2 comes with

Google Play Mu­sic sup­port, and even of­fers users a two-month free trial to the ser­vice when they buy the Watch, al­low­ing users to browse and down­load mu­sic to the Watch on the go.

In terms of bat­tery life, Huawei claims that the 4G-con­nected Watch 2 will last for two days on a sin­gle charge, while the non-4G vari­ant will last an ex­tra day with a three-day bat­tery life with av­er­age use. If ev­ery­thing is in use con­stantly (GPS, Wi-Fi, Blue­tooth, 4G con­nec­tiv­ity) like when us­ing it to track work­outs, the Watch 2 will re­port­edly last 11 hours.

Soft­ware

In terms of soft­ware, the Huawei Watch 2 comes with the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid Wear, 2.0. Due to the stand­alone ca­pa­bil­i­ties of­fered by the new ver­sion of An­droid Wear, it also fea­tures its own built-in app store for users to browse and down­load apps di­rectly to the Watch without the need for a paired smart­phone.

Of course, it also in­cludes Google As­sis­tant sup­port, with users able to long press one of the two but­tons on the Watch 2 to ac­ti­vate it. In­ter­est­ingly, there’s also talk of of­fer­ing Ama­zon Alexa sup­port like the US vari­ant of the Mate 9, al­though this is yet to be con­firmed for Europe.

Ver­dict

While the Huawei Watch 2 seems to be a huge im­prove­ment over the first-gen­er­a­tion smart­watch, we’re with­hold­ing our ver­dict un­til we get one back to the of­fice to prop­erly put it through its paces. Chris Martin

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