Battery life and usability
Most smartwatches need to be charged with the same frequency as your cell phone and the Huawei watch is no exception. The company claims to give you 1.5 days of use on a single charge, which is about right.
You will need to pick a time of day and remember to put it on charge that time. I usually charge it in the mornings while I get ready for work. Just over an hour gives you about 100% of the battery charge back.
Shockingly, Android Wear still doesn’t have automatic sleep tracking. Even if you download any apps from the app store, you need to manually tell the watch when you are going to sleep and when you wake up.
There is also the challenge of accidentally turning the display on at night. So you can choose not to wear it at night and just leave it on charge.
I have no love for the way it needs to be charged either. The charging dock is a magnetic clasp that is (ideally) supposed to snap the watch in place so the connector pins on the watch and the dock align. While the magnet is good enough to keep them together, aligning the connector pins always takes deliberate effort. I had to always wait to see if it had started charging, before I walked away. Or I’d have to try snapping it back on a few times.
The usability of the watch is greatly enhanced by the fact that it is IP67 water resistant. So you can take a dip in the pool or the beach, without having to leave it behind.
If you are a fitness enthusiast, Huawei have dropped a bummer. They’ve left out the GPS so you can’t use the watch to track your running, unless you carry your phone with you. For this price range, they really should have added this feature.
However, it does have a 6-axis motion sensor (gyroscope + accelerometer), barometer, and a heart rate sensor so you can use Google Fit to track your basic physical activity and exercises. The readings, including the heart rate, aren’t necessarily the most inaccurate. But they are at least consistent. So you get a fair idea of how active you are on a given day as compared to others.
Where the Huawei Watch really shines is in handling notifications. It becomes an extension of your smartphone. When you swipe away news headline updates from your watch, they vanishes from your phone as well.
If you want to put your phone on silent when you are entering a meeting or a movie hall, you don’t even need to take it out of your pocket, you control that directly from the watch.
Even your Android tablet and phone don’t synchronize this well. If you use both, you are left dealing with the same notifications on two devices.
Android Wear has another neat feature called Cinema mode. Usually, your Android Wear watch face will light up when you lift your wrist to take a look at the time. But when it is on cinema mode, the watch face goes completely dark and doesn’t light up if you flail your arm around. The screen can be activated back again on the press of the crown.