The Huawei Watch Ultimate emerges to take on the mighty Apple Ultra
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as they say, then Apple ought to be positively embarrassed by the launch of the Huawei Watch Ultimate.
I say that, not because the latest flagship-sized addition to the Chinese smartwatch range looks a bit like the Apple Watch Ultra. It’s very different in look and feel and the materials it uses are, if anything, more exotic.
But the decision to double down on scuba diving features is not a coincidence. Huawei is clearly trying to one-up Apple with the Watch Ultimate and, on paper, it looks pretty impressive.
The Huawei Watch Ultimate is the company’s self-professed attempt to “redesign the ultra-flagship smartwatch” and, as such, it’s crammed with premium features. The case is crafted from a new type of material the company is calling “liquid metal”, which is not only claimed to be stronger and more corrosion resistant than titanium but harder as well – Huawei says it’s rated at 480HV on the Vickers hardness scale versus 190HV for titanium.
The bezel doesn’t rotate but it comes complete with neatly engraved compass markings and is finished with scratch resistant “nano-tech ceramic”, while the watch crystal is made from similarly tough sapphire crystal that’s 2.35mm thick.
Unlike Huawei’s previous high-end smartwatches, the Huawei Watch Ultimate comes with three buttons surrounding the watch case’s edges: one rotating, clickable crown in the top right, plus a customisable shortcut button at the bottom right and an Action button for accessing the more advanced options in the top left.
Two models will be available at launch. The Expedition Black model comes with a black bezel, a gunmetal grey case and a black rubber nitrile strap (Huawei says this is tougher and lighter than the more prevalent fluoroelastomer). The Voyage Blue model, meanwhile, comes adorned with a blue bezel, a lighter silver case and a titanium bracelet.
Whichever model you opt for, however, you get the same level of specification for the watch itself. The display beneath that sapphire crystal is a 1.5in LTPO AMOLED part with a resolution of 466 x 466 pixels and brightness that runs to 1,000 nits. Battery life stretches to a claimed 14 days – a lot longer than the Apple Watch Ultra – with charging taking an hour from empty.
There’s Bluetooth calling and sleep tracking, plus 24-hour heart rate recording, ECG and blood oxygen monitoring courtesy of Huawei’s TruSeen 5.0+ optical sensor. You get 100-plus sports tracking modes, including training plans for specific running events like the 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon.
The GPS system looks completely up to scratch, too, with five system GNSS capabilities and dual-frequency support. And, of course, just like the Apple Watch, the Huawei Watch Ultimate comes with a number of specialised more extreme sports features, including a technical scuba-dive tracking mode and 10ATM (100M) water proofing.
In fact, the Watch ultimate is rated to the ISO 22810 water resistance standard and the dive-specific EN 13319 standard, and can cope with being submerged for 24 hours at a depth of 110 metres. There’s even a free dive mode for those mad enough to take part in that particular sport.
The Huawei Watch Ultimate will be available in the UK and Europe from 3 April. We’ll have a full review for you just as soon as we’re able to test it.