Huawei’s first Android Wear smartwatch, the aptly titled Huawei Watch, was a smashing hit. It essentially hit all of the marks, bringing slick looks and fast performance together in harmony.
Now that the Huawei Watch 2 is official, how does it stack up? Let’s break the newly-announced wearable (as well as the Huawei Watch 2 Classic) apart to see if it’s a valid upgrade option for smartwatch fans, or something that you can let pass by.
Huawei Watch 2 release dateLanding sometime in April
Early rumors pointed to a Mobile World Congress 2017 announcement for the Huawei Watch 2 and that’s exactly what went down.
Now official, the sporty Huawei Watch 2 and the office-friendly Huawei Watch 2 Classic will be launching soon, hitting US, UK and Australian stores in April.
Both smartwatches will be powered by Android Wear 2.0, bringing with them all of the benefits included with the new software, like native apps, a completely refreshed user interface and greater compatibility with iOS, among others.
However, only the Huawei Watch 2 will sport the optional 4G LTE connectivity that allows you to leave your phone at home and take full advantage of these features on-the-go.
Unfortunately, this particular model will not see release in the United States. If you live there or paying for an extra SIM isn’t what you want, each model is available in Wi-Fi-only models.
Huawei Watch 2 screenCompact 1.2-inch circular screenSharp at 326 pixels per inch
While rumors suggested that the Huawei Watch 2 would have a 1.4-inch screen like its predecessor, the new models actually have a 1.2-inch rounded AMOLED display that measures 42mm in diameter.
Digging into specifics, the screen is rather pixel dense at 326 pixels per inch (ppi) and the AMOLED drives vibrant visuals. It may be smaller than what’s seen in its predecessor, but it looks to be a small improvement over one of the best smartwatch screens we’ve seen.
The original Huawei Watch used strong sapphire crystal glass for the screen, but the Huawei Watch 2 is clad in Gorilla Glass 3.
Huawei Watch 2 designOne sporty model, the other classyIP68 certified dust and water resistant
Huawei teased us with an image that shows an athlete, meaning that its next wearable would likely be suited to active types. And the Huawei Watch 2 seems to be built to weather the elements and whatever else you throw at it with its IP68 rating. In fact, both models are equally water-resistant.
Compared to the Huawei Watch, its successor looks almost completely different. The silicon straps attach to the 20mm lugs that jut out from the watch’s body. Speaking of which, it’s definitely less streamlined than before in favor of a more ruggedized look and the inclusion of a number-laden bezel.
If you were a fan of the more office-friendly design of the original smartwatch, we think that you’re more likely to be drawn to the Huawei Watch 2 Classic. It features 22mm lugs and leather straps, lined with a rubber coating that can repel the sweat and light moisture that’s bound to come in contact with something you wear on your wrist.
There are a few more differences visually between the two models. The sporty version features a ceramic bezel and thermoplastic polyurethane body and thus, looks more like a proper sporting watch. On the other hand, the Huawei Watch 2 Classic features an all-metal look. It’s a much less divisive design and looks much like something you’d commonly find at the jewelry shop.
Around the watch, you’ll notice that each model features an additional button. While neither of the two buttons offers the same twist action seen in the LG Watch Style or LG Watch Sport, Android Wear 2.0 at least allows you to create a custom shortcut for the button.
Huawei Watch 2 power and batteryBig 420mAh batteryNew Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset
The Huawei Watch was fairly capable, only limited by the constraints of Android Wear 1.5. But in the Huawei Watch 2, its Snapdragon Wear 2100 and Android Wear 2.0 will help it run much faster than many of today’s wearables.
Also helping the watch tick is 768MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage, which is better utilized this time around thanks to the native app capability.
In terms of battery life, Huawei is talking big about its latest wearable. Its 420mAh battery is definitely on the larger side, barely ousted by the much larger LG Watch Sport.
If you want to utilize its built-in GPS sensor, continuous heart rate monitoring and the rest of the usual bells and whistles, the Huawei Watch 2 is said to last 10 hours.
However, with GPS turned off and used under more relaxed circumstances, Huawei states that it can last about two days. Given that the wearables market has had a bit of time to mature, it’s still a shame that it can’t last longer. Though, Huawei is obviously not the only offender.
Huawei also introduced a new feature called watch mode. It basically turns off every feature other than displaying the time and steps taken on a monochrome screen that only switches on with a flick of the wrist. In this mode, the Huawei Watch 2 can last 25 days.
Whenever the battery does empty out, Huawei has stated that it can fill from 0-100% in one hour.
Huawei Watch 2 other featuresBoth watches sport GPS and NFCHeart rate monitor also includedAn LTE model will also be available
Rumors suggested the Huawei Watch 2 will launch with an LTE version and those turned out to be true.
This particular model won’t be available in the United States, but other regions will be able to use cellular data without your phone nearby, as well as being able to make and receive calls, all of which should be especially useful for anyone who wants to leave their phone at home when running or cycling.
It’s also worth noting that both models feature built-in GPS, a suite of sensors, like a continuous heart rate monitor, NFC capability for Android Pay support, and a barometer that measures altitude.
Huawei Watch 2 price
Huawei’s debut smartwatch wasn’t exactly the most affordable wearable, especially since it was angled as a premium offering. The same rings true for the Huawei Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic, which start at 329 Euros (around $350/£280/AU$450), though exact pricing in these regions hasn’t been confirmed.
This price point makes it pricier than the LG Watch Style, but it also offers more in the way of features.
These new Huawei smartwatches will definitely appeal to some, while its more bulky design will turn away those looking for sleeker options, such as those seen in our list of the best Android Wear smartwatches.
Stay tuned for our full reviews of each smartwatch soon.
MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicatedMWC 2017 hubto see all the new releases, along with TechRadar’s world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.
Before the Huawei Watch 2 was announced, and even before rumors started rolling in about it, we had a wish list for what we wanted to see. Check it out below.
1. Several days of life
Like most smartwatches, the Huawei Watch doesn’t have the longevity we’d like, topping out at around two days of life.
While that’s comparable to most smartphones it falls far short of what we’re used to getting from wrist-worn devices of old, or even modern fitness trackers.
With the Huawei Watch 2 we want that life extended to at least three days, so we ideally won’t have to charge it more than twice a week.
2. Multiple sizes
The Huawei Watch is only available in one size, with even the pricy Watch Jewel and Watch Elegant sporting a similarly chunky design, despite being built for women.
What we want from the Huawei Watch 2 is multiple sizes, so it won’t look out of place on slender wrists. What we don’t want is for the smaller versions to be marked out as being specifically for women, as doing that will put men off buying them (even if they want a smaller watch), and may put women off buying the larger version.
3. Better value
At launch our single biggest issue with the Huawei Watch was its price, given that pretty as it is there’s not much it can do that far cheaper smartwatches can’t.
So for the Huawei Watch 2 we want better value. That can be achieved either by lowering the price, or by packing in better specs and more features, to help the watch stand out.
4. A sharper screen
As sharp as the screen on the Huawei Watch is by smartwatch standards, it’s still not as crystal-clear as a QHD smartphone screen, let alone an analog watch.
We want our smartwatches to look less like tech and more like fashion, and for that it’s not just a premium design that’s needed, but also a screen that looks like a real analog watch face, with no pixelation. So we’d like that for the Huawei Watch 2, which could mean packing in a lot more pixels.
GPS is one key feature that the original Huawei Watch lacks, and one which keeps it from being a good wearable for runners or other sporty folk.
We’re hearing that the Huawei Watch 2 will have a sportier focus though, so the inclusion of GPS seems likely.
If we get that, ideally with an optionally sportier design, and without losing the heart rate monitor and water resistance of the original model, then the Huawei Watch 2 could be a strong option for the athletically inclined. Especially if it also comes in an LTE version, as has been rumored.
It will have a hard time topping the LG Watch Sport