Huawei Watch 2 Review
Interface and Functionality
Android Wear 2.0 is a welcome upgrade for Google's smartwatch OS.
I think we can all agree that Google's wearable OS lagged behind Tizen and watchOS significantly. But then came the 2.0 update, and this is when Android Wear became a more up-to-date experience.
Therefore, the Huawei Watch 2 is a worthy contender when it comes to interface and functionality. The experience with the device is mostly intuitive and easy to comprehend. Using Android Wear 2.0 means you'll have to do a lot of scrolling, though, and Huawei did not prepare the Watch 2 for that. All the interaction with the watch happens via touchscreen, while it would have benefited greatly from a rotating crown or bezel, in order to keep the display clean for more than five seconds of menu navigation.
The interface and features are pretty streamlined. For example, the watch will monitor your heart rate at regular intervals, no matter if you ask it to or not. This allows you to access historical data on your heart beat for the past six hours. Mine concluded that my heart rate reached 150 bpm the moment I set foot in the office.
Another cool aspect of Android Wear 2.0 is the vast collection of customizable watch faces. Most of them feature at least two complications, which you can set to display the weather, your daily steps, your next alarm, calendar agenda and what not.
What surprised me the first time I used the Huawei Watch 2 was that the device was doing its best to keep me from my bad habit of not taking enough breaks. If you remain inactive for an hour, Google Fit will prompt you to get up from the chair and do some basic stretches. These prompts can, of course, be ignored or disabled altogether.
In terms of the long-awaited Google Assistant, it's doing okay on the smartwatch, but it's greatly hindered by the somewhat dodgy connection of the Android Wear phone app with the watch itself. The app would lose connection at random times and reconnecting the two devices is the only way to fix it. If you use the Huawei Watch 2 as a standalone wearable, or via Wi-Fi, said problematic connection won't cause any issues for Google's AI, but it's still an inconvenience if you rely on your phone's data for Internet connection.
The Huawei Watch 2 also comes with NFC, GPS and all the bells and whistles, when it comes to sensors.
Processor and Memory
State-of-the-art hardware makes for a state-of-the-art experience.
When we lift the hood, we see that the Huawei Watch 2 flaunts some pretty good hardware. The device comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 chipset, which is the only processor by Qualcomm built specifically for wearables. It features a 32-bit quad-core 1.1 GHz CPU, which is more than enough power for a smartwatch. It also comes with its own LTE modem, so your smartwatch can operate independently from your phone.
The watch also packs 4 GB of storage, but only 2.3 GB will be available to users for storing music or software. Still, that's pretty much the standard for smartwatches right now and we see no reason why you'd need more. Additionally, the Huawei Watch 2 features 768 MB of RAM, which is plenty for any tasks you might require from the device.
All that powerful hardware makes for a pretty smooth user experience with no noticeable stutter or lag.
Leaving your phone at home is not a problem in the slightest.
The Huawei Watch 2 is so well connected, that it could be a mafia boss. The device comes with standalone LTE modem and a SIM slot, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, NFC and all other connectivity modules we know and love from our smartphones. That being said, the Classic version lacks LTE capabilities for reasons we're not familiar with.
However, it's highly unlikely for the watch to replace your smartphone just yet. For example, the call quality with the Huawei Watch 2 is somewhat poor, compared to that of any phone out there. Not to mention that Android Wear 2.0 is still severely limited in terms of IM apps. As a Viber power-user, I am seriously bummed out that I don't have a full app on the watch for that, and I can't start conversations via the Messenger app.