Hands-on: You probably can't afford the best-looking Huawei Watch

We’ve seen a ton of Android Wear smartwatches hit the scene, but none have been as stylish or as accommodating as the Huawei Watch.

When we went hands-on with it in Barcelona earlier this year, it was one of the best looking Android Wear devices we had ever tried on—and frankly, it still is. Now, Huawei has announced that it’s finally ready to sell its watch, and has expanded the lineup to include a few new styles, and pricing that mirrors the Apple Watch’s. 

Thus far, it’s been pretty frustrating being an Android Wear-wearing woman. The available watches either completely overpower my tiny wrist with their size or hardly match anything I have in my closet. I don’t imagine I’ll have that issue with the Huawei Watch.

Huawei has announced six different watch styles for the Watch, starting at $350 and topping out at $800. But despite the variety, they’re all very much designed to match the style of what’s en vogue in the regular watch world.

The six models include: a black leather band, a stainless steel chain link band, or a stainless steel milanese loop band with a stainless steel watch; a black ion-plated band with a black ion-plated watch; and a brown leather band or a rose gold-plated chain link band with a rose gold-plated watch. All six of the watch models are customizable and each band can be easily removed with a built-in clasp, so there’s no need for watch tools. 

Naturally, I loved the priciest watch of the bunch—I found the $800 rose-gold-on-rose-gold to be the most stylish. I loved the way it paired with my blazer, and it looks more professional and polished than, say, the rose gold LG Watch Urbane with its brown leather band. But I’d probably have to opt for the cheaper, black leather band with a stainless steel watch, as that’s the one that fits my budget.

And that’s the bummer of the Huawei Watch: I can’t justify the $800 expense for something I’d use as mere jewelry for less than two years. The pricier versions of the Huawei Watch are the nicest to look at, but they’re expensive enough to alienate some diehard Android users who want something fashionable but can’t easily afford it.

When I first heard the details of the Huawei Watch, I thought it sounded just like every other Android Wear watch out there. It runs on a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and 512MB of RAM, comes with 4GB of storage so you can load up your own music on a run (or a brisk walk, because who wants to run with such an expensive accessory on their wrists), and features a 300mAh battery pack, which Huawei says comes with “patented battery saving technology” that will last you up to two days. I’m interested to see if the Huawei Watch can outlast the other Android Wear watches that have also promised us a longer battery life.

One of the best features of the Huawei Watch isn’t even a feature they’ve added themselves. Google announced iOS compatibility with its Android Wear devices earlier this week and the Huawei Watch is on the list (in fact, it’s the featured product). If your iPhone-using friend is running iOS 8.2 and up, they can pair it with one of Huawei’s six watch models to sync messages, notifications, and calendar events.

The Huawei Watch is so much more watch-looking than the Apple Watch. This might bode well for Huawei in the end, since Apple users are used to dropping gobs of money on product.

Huawei wants Android Wear users to see the Huawei Watch as “a timeless piece…a fashion statement.” It’s succeeded. I wear the Urbane from time to time, but the Huawei Watch feels like something worth donning every day. The only bummer is that it’s not an expense that I can justify. 

The first four Huawei Watch styles are all for pre-order today and will start shipping on September 17, while the rose-gold variants—which you might as well start saving up for now—will be available later this year.


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