It was one of the surprises of this Mobile World Congress. Huawei showed its first Android Wear watch and that immediately made a big impression. That is mainly due to the design; it looks a lot like a normal watch. That is something more manufacturers are trying, but few have been able to do well so far. With its Huawei Watch, Huawei comes closest to a classic watch.
The Watch has a case of gold, silver or black and is made of stainless steel type 316L in the SAE numbering; watchmakers use it more often. As a result, the housing must remain reasonably scratch-free.
That housing is quite simple; there is little visible detailing in the design. It is noticeable that the housing for a watch is quite thick and that is the only thing that differs from the design of a classic watch. The watch is simply a lot thicker than a regular clock and you notice that when you put it on your arm. It sits comfortably on the wrist, although it’s not easy to slide under a shirt. The size is fine, especially for a man’s wrist.
There will be straps made of leather and stainless steel, both of which look nice. At the back are the pins for charging and a heart rate monitor, in a circular circular area. Tastes differ, but we think this is the most beautiful Android Wear watch we’ve seen yet.
Hardware and software
Like so many smartwatches, the Watch runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, a quad-core with a maximum clock speed of 1.2GHz. Until Qualcomm has a soc ready specifically for wearables, it has pushed this chip forward. The advantage is that it offers more than enough computing power, while it is also reasonably economical.
For smartwatch concepts, the soc must control quite a few pixels. The Watch has a screen of 400×400 pixels. At the diagonal of 1.4 “, this yields around 285 pixels per inch, making it a sharp screen for a watch. Those who look very closely can still distinguish pixels, but this is not the case at normal operating distance.
It is also an OLED and looks nice. The screen can be quite bright, which is nice on sunny days. The contrast is, because it is an OLED, of course high. In addition to the heart rate monitor, there are a gyroscope and an accelerometer in the watch to track movement.
The watch runs on Android Wear, Google’s platform for smartwatches that is now on many watches. Huawei had set up a demo, so we could not get to know Huawei’s watchfaces or any added functions in detail.
Aside from the looks, there’s not much special about the Huawei Watch. It is a smartwatch as they have been appearing regularly since the summer of last year, with Android Wear, a Snapdragon 400 and a number of sensors.
However, that appearance allows Huawei to stand out from the crowd. If you want a smartwatch that looks like a classic watch, Huawei is probably the best choice so far. There is one problem; it will only be released in three months and will not be in the shops. That will probably happen later this year, but the manufacturer is not releasing anything about that. The price is also unknown. An earlier rumor spoke of 199 euros, but given the announced prices of other wearables from Huawei, that is unlikely. The price is therefore likely to be higher.