Huawei launched the lovely P10 and P10 Plus phones at MWC, but we’re equally excited about its two new smartwatches.
The original Huawei Watch was one of the best-looking Android Wear devices out of the gate, and the Huawei Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic look to continue the trend. The Watch 2 Classic will appeal to anyone who was a fan of the classy first-gen model, while the Watch 2 boasts a sportier design to appeal to the fitness-focused crowd. We got a chance to check both watches out at the show.
From a glance, it’s pretty clear the Watch 2 is geared toward sports and fitness, while the Watch 2 Classic is meant for the boardroom. Both watches measure 1.8 by 1.9 by 0.5 inches (HWD), but the design similarities end there.
The Watch 2 is made of a mix of ceramic, plastic, and stainless steel, and comes with a rubber strap. It weighs two ounces (strap included), and has a 0.8-inch-wide lug. The Watch 2 Classic drops the plastic, and comes with a hybrid strap that has leather on the outside for a classy look, and rubber on the inside to help reduce sweating. It’s a bit heavier, at 2.1 ounces, and has a slightly larger lug at 0.9 inches.
The watches use standard 22mm watch straps with quick-release pins to make them easy to swap out. The Watch 2 has several color variants, including speckled gray with yellow accents, orange, and black. The Watch 2 Classic has stainless steel and black leather hybrid straps. Both are rated IP68, so they can be submerged in up to five feet of water for up to 30 minutes, but you probably don’t want to get that leather band on the Classic model wet.
I was able to try them on, and both watches fit well on my svelte wrist, though they’re a bit bulkier than my trusty old (and soon-to-be- obsolete ) Pebble Time. The straps are comfortable, with the rubber on the inside making for a nice, breathable fit.
A pair of buttons on the right side of the watch case let you control what’s on screen, though there’s no rotating dial control like on the Samsung Gear S3 or the LG Watch Sport and Style. That said, you can always use the touch screen itself.
Both watches feature the same circular 1.2-inch AMOLED display. With a resolution of 390 by 390, it works out to a sharp 326 pixels per inch (ppi), a bit sharper than the original (286ppi). Text and icons look crisp, and the panel is bright and easy to read, benefitting from the inky blacks AMOLED is able to produce. I didn’t get to wear them outdoors, but they were easily visible under the demo room’s bright lighting. The one disappointment is that screens are protected by Gorilla Glass 3 instead of sapphire this time around, which isn’t as durable.
Sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, heart rate monitor, light sensor, and magnetic sensor. Connectivity protocols include Bluetooth and NFC for mobile payments. An LTE variant will be available internationally, but won’t be sold in the US. Huawei didn’t provide details on the processor or RAM.
There’s a 420mAh battery, which should allow for 10 hours of continuous use with GPS or LTE on. A Smartwatch mode turns GPS and LTE off, but leaves everything else on, and should extended battery life to two days. Watch mode turns off most features, aside from step tracking, extending battery life to an impressive 25 days. A fast-charging adapter is included, letting you reach a full charge in an hour.
Both watches run the new Android Wear 2.0, which will also be rolling out to the original Huawei Watch in an update. The new UI gets rid of the “cards” interface to make navigation more intuitive, and allows for standalone apps, an app store, app menu, and independent tabs. Huawei has also preinstalled a special app for runners with a customized training program. The app keeps track of your activities and sets goals for you to achieve at a steady pace. Depending on how well it works, it could potentially make the watches a good substitute for a dedicated fitness tracker.
Huawei hasn’t announced availability or pricing yet, but we’ll update this story as soon as it does. Check back for more details, and look for reviews when the watches come out.