Huawei Watch 2 is a sportier take on Android Wear


WhistleOut
06 March 2017

As part of its Mobile World Congress presser, Huawei announced the Huawei Watch 2, a successor to its popular Android Wear smartwatch. While there is a high-end leather version available, the Huawei Watch 2 is much sportier than the original wearable, boasting a new design and "active" colours like orange.

Powered by the latest version of Google's Android Wear software - Android Wear 2.0 - the Huawei Watch 2 offers a 1.2-inch display, 768MB of RAM, 4GB of storage that can be used for music, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and an optical heart-rate sensor. In addition, there's NFC which can be used for Android Pay, and GPS which can be used for fitness tracking and navigation. When used with a companion app, the Huawei Watch 2 is able to create personalised running plans, provide read-time coaching, and asses VO2 (a metric used to provide an overview of your cardio-fitness health).

The Huawei Watch 2 is rated IP68 for water-resistance, which will protect it from accidental dunks and rain, but isn't quite waterproof enough to taking swimming (a la the Apple Watch Series 2).

A 4G-enabled version is also on the cards, that allows you to make and receive phone calls and send and receive messages, even when the Watch 2 isn't paired with your phone.

In terms of battery, Huawei says you'll get seven hours of heart-rate monitoring and GPS tracking, two days of normal usage, and 21 days in "watch mode". When you switch on watch mode, the Watch 2 loses its smarts and simply displays the time and tracks your steps. While you wouldn't necessarily want to use this all of the time, it's a nice option to have for when you're running low on juice.

The Huawei Watch 2 will be available in three different configurations: Watch 2, Watch 2 with 4G, and Watch 2 Classic. The Watch 2 and Watch with 4G both make user of a sportier design, but the Watch 2 is Bluetooth only. The Watch 2 Classic has a more conventional design, with a leather band and black face. No 4G model of the Watch 2 Classic will be available at launch.

The Huawei Watch 2 will go on sale from March in some markets, starting at €329 for Watch 2, €379 for the 4G-enabled Watch 2, and €399 for the Watch 2 Classic. Local pricing and availability have yet to be confirmed, but these prices convert to $460 and $560 for the non-cellular Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic, respectively.

Precedent suggests the 4G-enabled version of the Watch 2 probably won't make it to Australia. The smaller cellular radios inside smartwatches don't support as many bands as those found inside smartphones, so a version compatible with Australian networks would quite likely need different hardware. The comparatively small size of the Australian market means there's a good chance this won't happen. Neither LG or Samsung have brought their cellular-connected smartwatches to Australia. 


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