Review: Huawei Watch honours the classic timepiece
For such a beloved item with a long history of tradition, smartwatch manufacturers have an uphill struggle to convince mechanical watch owners to make the switch. However, there's a strong argument to be made that Huawei's debut watch is the first to pay true homage to decades of classic timepieces and it could be enough to entice a few more wrists over to a new digital lifestyle.
Buyers of high-end watches like Rolex or Cartier will know the premium experience starts with the packaging. Most smartwatches we've seen thus far have been chucked in a plastic box which often feels like it's been shipped for as cheap as possible and does not provide the degree of class you expect from a high-end watch.
"Timeless design. Smart within."
The box which contains the Huawei Watch is contained within its own packaging, which helps to keep the presentation box free of the usual scuffs if you wish to continue using it. Huawei bucks the industry trend here of cheap packaging with a robust, fabric-lined box similar to what you would find with expensive jewelry.
When you lift the lid you are greeted with the first hint at how much thought the company has put into paying homage to classic timepieces with the inscription "Timeless design. Smart within."
Proudly located below this elegant writing is the watch itself, presented without any sign of the usual cables, accessories, and guides you receive with a new gadget. Between the band of the watch is a soft pillow which holds the smartwatch open, not the plastic or cardboard you get with other devices, and shows how it will look on the wrist.
As much as I could obsess over the packaging alone, it's the watch you will be wearing day-to-day. It's difficult to advise someone on style because everyone has individual tastes, some people will prefer a smartwatch to look a little more futuristic like the Gear S2, while others prefer their watch to blend-in with a classic design like we find with the Huawei Watch.
Most people, however, do prefer a traditional round clock face. Huawei's watch features a full 360-degree display which doesn't feature the controversial "flat tyre" of its closest rival, the Moto 360. Adorning the side of the watch, at the 2 o'clock position, is a button for toggling its energy-saving mode and providing a quick method of returning to the home screen within applications.
Thickness and size are often a natural concern with smartwatches as manufacturers attempt to fit a mini computer in the smallest case possible, and still find space for the battery.
Motorola, with their aforementioned Moto 360, are now in their second generation and have released both a large and small version of their watch to accommodate different-sized wrists. As you can see in my unboxing video at the bottom of this article, the first thing I did was strap the watch to my wrist and was surprised at its comfortable fit after hearing negative reports. Better still, it feels the most balanced of the current smartwatches, with the weight distributed well across the wrist.
Despite the packaging doing a great job in concealing the accessories required to keep this device ticking, a charging dock and guide are both found in the base of the box. Since there are few modifications to Android Wear that Google will allow manufacturers to make, if you've used the OS in the past, most people could just ignore the provided guide.
The charging dock which comes with the Huawei Watch is a sleek little unit that uses a standard USB connector. It's magnetic, which holds the device securely in place, but you have to ensure the watch is the correct orientation to align with the contacts.
A problem with magnetic docks, especially of this size, is that it requires two hands to remove the unit. This isn't a major issue, but a QI charger like the Moto 360's would have been the preferable solution.
Huawei's debut smartwatch ticks all the right boxes when it comes to design – it's traditional, comfortable, and looks great. The strap which comes with the device feels secure, and the large round AMOLED screen with thin bezels helps to bring Android Wear to life.
This is the first smartwatch you could flaunt around people with their high-end timepieces. Huawei couldn't have picked a better tagline for its smartwatch, it truly is the culmination of "Timeless design. Smart within."
We'll have an in-depth look at its features and how the device handles day-to-day usage within the next week as we put it through its paces as our daily smartwatch.
Are you impressed with the design of the Huawei Watch? Let us know in the comments.
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