This year's IFA trade show in Berlin may be lacking the glamour... and the visitors of previous editions, but not the gadgets we've become accustomed to seeing unveiled ahead of commercial releases in time for the holiday season.
Not entirely, at least, with China-based Honor standing out as one of the mobile industry's biggest global names to remain faithful to the European exhibition during these very challenging times. Unfortunately, the Huawei offshoot, just like its controversial parent company, isn't exactly welcomed in the US, focusing instead primarily on the old continent for the impending availability of the freshly announced Honor Watch GS Pro and Honor Watch ES.
The Honor Watch GS Pro is pretty reasonably priced... for a Pro-labeled smartwatch, at €250, catering to "adventure lovers" passionate about exploring the "great outdoors." In other words, this is a rugged timepiece with a stellar battery life of up to 25 days that manages to significantly undercut similar options from Garmin, the heavyweight champion of European outdoor-friendly smartwatches.
Of course, that battery endurance rating drops to a maximum of 48 hours when the GS Pro's built-in GPS connectivity is actually enabled while going up to a more than respectable 100 hours in a dedicated "outdoor workout mode" aimed at balancing the smartwatch's power and energy efficiency. Speaking of, this thing apparently supports "more than 100" individual workout modes, tracking everything from mountain climbing to hiking, skiing, both indoor and outdoor running, and yes, even swimming thanks to a fully waterproof design.
In addition to your run-of-the-mill heart rate monitor, the muscular smartwatch also has in-depth sleek tracking, Huawei's proprietary TruRelax technology to monitor stress levels, as well as blood oxygen saturation tracking going for it in the health department. The device is pretty handsome too, with Charcoal Black, Marl White, and Camo Blue color options, a stainless-steel bezel ring and dial, as well as a sharp 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen in tow with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels.
Last but not least, the GS Pro is not particularly bulky either, tipping the scales at around 45 grams, although naturally, the lower-end and lower-cost Honor Watch ES is considerably lighter than that, at 21 grams.
At first glance, the Watch ES looks a lot like an oversized version of Fitbit or Garmin's budget-friendly activity trackers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not when this puppy is priced at a crazy low €99.9 with a huge 1.64-inch AMOLED color screen sporting a more than decent resolution of 456 x 280 pixels.
While the Honor Watch ES is not quite as impressive as Samsung's newly unveiled Galaxy Fit 2 in terms of battery life, its 10-day autonomy is still remarkable when considering the aforementioned display size.
The "fitness fashion smartwatch" also supports fast charging technology, which isn't exactly a standard feature in its price range, while monitoring everything from your heart rate to your sleep quality, blood oxygen saturation level, stress levels, and even your menstruation cycle and "fertile windows" (where applicable).
In a nutshell, this is basically the best of both the smartwatch and fitness tracker worlds, automatically detecting workouts, showing smartphone notifications on a big and bright display, and even controlling music playback. Standalone GPS connectivity is the only big thing missing here, and that says a lot when dealing with such an ultra-affordable device.
Both the Honor Watch ES and Honor Watch GS Pro are set to go up for pre-order on Monday, September 7, across major European markets including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.