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Huawei Watch W1 review: The Original Huawei wearable withstands the test of time

Katharine Byrne
13 Apr 2018
Huawei Watch
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
289
inc VAT (Leather Band model)

The Huawei Watch has an excellent two day battery life and top class design, but it comes at a price

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Specifications

Pedometer: Yes, Heart-rate monitor: Yes, Display size: 1.4in, Resolution: 400x400, OS support: Android 4.3+, iOS 8.2+, Battery life: 2 days

When Huawei originally announced its first smartwatch back in March, it was one of the few smartwatches at the time that had a truly circular display, making it one to watch (pardon the pun) over the then 1st Gen Moto 360. However, a lot's changed in eight months, as we now have the Samsung Gear S2 and the Pebble Time Round, leaving the Huawei Watch decidedly feeling less special now that it's finally available to buy.

However, there's no denying that the Huawei Watch is still one of the best looking smartwatches around, as its display is housed inside a cold-forged stainless steel bezel, giving it that premium look and design. The display is fully circular, unlike the 2nd Gen Moto 360 which has a section sliced out of the bottom, giving it a 'flat tyre' appearance. It's also the first Android Wear smartwatch to use sapphire crystal glass for its main watch face, making it highly resistant to accidental scratches. Huawei says it's also resistant to corrosion and has IP67 rated dust and waterproofing, so it won't break if you get caught in a rain shower.

Huawei Watch rear

At 11.3mm thick and 42mm wide, it's still quite sizable as far as smartwatches go, but it's no bigger than the 2nd Gen Moto 360, and it didn't get caught on my coat and cardigan sleeves nearly half as much as the Vector Luna I wore earlier in the year. However, despite Huawei professing that it's been designed with both men and women in mind, it's still a bit too bulky for my liking, and I think it's still clearly a smartwatch that's aimed at those with larger, more manly wrists than someone like me who has thin, tiny wrists.

My review sample came with the basic leather strap, which is very comfy to wear, but it did start to crinkle quite quickly after just a few days use. Those after something a bit more durable can pick from a metal link or mesh band instead. These start at £329 and are available with both a black and silver watch bezel, although the black models will cost you an extra £40 over their silver counterparts. Fortunately, you're not tied to the strap you buy out of the box, as you can swap it out for any strap you like that has a standard 18mm lug.

Whichever model you choose, the 1.4in, 400x400 AMOLED display looks great. With rich colours, excellent contrast and a pixel density of 286ppi, each watch face is beautifully detailed and Android Wear's app notification cards look lovely and sharp. That's largelt in line with the Gear S2's slight-higher pixel density of 302ppi, but it's miles in front of the 2nd Gen Moto 360 and LG G Watch R, which only have pixel densities of 205ppi and 247ppi respectively.

Huawei Watch face

The screen is also more than bright enough to view outside clearly, but if it's particularly sunny you can always enable the brightness boost setting by swiping left from the main drop down menu. The only slight problem I have with the screen is that there's no auto-brightness to match darker lighting conditions. I've had numerous notifications come through during the night, for example, and it's been shining on my desk like a glowing beacon.

Despite this, battery life is excellent, as I just about managed a full two days of use from it on a single charge, giving it more longevity than the 2nd Gen Moto 360. The Huawei Watch is quick to charge, too, taking roughly 75 minutes in total on its bundled wireless charging dock, making it easy to top up during the day if you need a bit more juice to get you home. You can also double-tap the crown button to put the watch into sleep mode to help improve battery life, as this won't turn the screen on every time you move your wrist. To wake the screen, all you need to do is press the button again.

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