Huawei’s new Watch Fit features a rounded rectangular face with a large 1.64 AMOLED display. The Watch Fit encourages users to get into new forms of exercise through a variety of animated fitness courses, workout modes and health tracking features that can be viewed in more detail via the Huawei Health app.
Unboxing and Setup
Despite all the issues between the USA and China, Huawei has managed to keep their Huawei Health app in the Google Play and Apple app store so you don’t need to sideload it.
Interestingly during setup Huawei shows the health app is stored by a Irish subsidiary (presumably protected by European GDPR rules). You have to setup a Huawei ID, you can use your mobile number to login if you don’t want to use your email.
The setup process didn’t ask for height, weight or gender which is odd because these have an impact on exercise stats and step length. Other fitness apps ask for them. Did ask for birthday to use for determining your heart rate zones based on age.
- Display: 1.64 inch AMOLED 456 x 280 HD
- Interface: Side button and AMOLED touchscreen supports slide and touch gestures
- GPS: Yes
- Sensors: 6-axis IMU sensor (Accelerometer sensor, Gyroscope sensor), Optical heart rate sensor, Capacitive sensor, Ambient light sensor
- OS: Huawei Lite OS
- Connectivity: 2.4 GHz, BT 5.0, BLE
- Water: 5 ATM water-resistant. Water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010. May be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean. Should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or other activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth.
- Works with: Android 5.0 or later, iOS 9.0 or later
- Dimensions: 46 x 30 x 10.7 mm
- Wrist coverage range: 13 ~ 21 cm (Standard Model), 11 ~ 19 cm (Sakura Pink Model)
- Weight: 21g (without the strap), 34g with strap
- Charging: Magnetic charging thimble
What it’s good at
While it does step counting, sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, GPS path tracking, latest weather forecasts and displays these well the software highlight is the animated fitness courses workouts that are built-in to the watch and act like your own personal trainer on demand. These are aimed at normal people trying to improve their health not the types of workouts a gym junkie would do.
The hardware highlight is the long battery life despite the colour screen.
Claimed battery life with typical usage is:
10 days – HUAWEI TruSleep™ is enabled, heart rate monitoring is enabled. Screen is checked briefly 200 times per day, 50 messages, 3 calls and 3 alarms reminding in 24 hours, and workout for 30 minutes per week.
7 days – Heavy usage. HUAWEI TruSleep™ is enabled, heart rate monitoring is enabled. Screen is checked briefly 500 times per day, 50 messages, 3 calls and 3 alarms reminding in 24 hours, and workout for 60 minutes per week.
12 hours – continuous GPS tracking mode.
Note choosing a Standby watch face rather than black screen and raise to wake cuts battery life in half from the promised 10 days.
In real life it lasted me a solid 8.75 days which is as promised. I charged it fully by 9pm on 1st October and it was flat at 5pm October 10.
Recharging was easy via the magnetic clamp cable that stuck to the back of the watch and plugged into a USB charger. Recharge began at 623pm, 44% by 635pm, 73% by 644pm, 89% by 655pm. You could easily top up recharge the watch while brushing your teeth or showering every day or just recharge properly once or twice a week.
There are lots of watch faces to choose from on the watch and even more 100+ via the app.
If you don’t keep your phone on you you’ll see notifications on the watch for incoming SMS, calls notifications etc.
While tracking a fast walk the GPS signal was locked on quickly and not lost at any point. There are good insights as you do a workout in the forms of reminders via buzz and message on screen to keep heart rate between target range for your age and useful stats on the watch face.
What needs to be better
Workouts need to be manually started and stopped as the auto detection doesn’t work that well, at least not for my main exercise of fast walking.
For example I’m walking while voice dictating this, the watch prompted me are you doing a walking workout about a kilometre after I had started. I said yes and it had only been counting the walk starting 400m ago.
If I hadn’t said yes it would’ve counted the steps but not recorded the specific walk as a workout. So if you want it to track a workout make sure you manually start the tracking when you begin.
You can see SMS, calender events etc but can’t reply directly from the watch and there’s no microphone for voice replies or ability to link to Alexa or Google for smart assistant commands. So if you want a fully fledged smart watch this is not for you.
The sensitivity of the SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen levels needs to be finessed as it often gave me a Zero readout and I’m pretty sure I’m not dead 🙂 It worked better if the watch strap was quite tight but I found that uncomfortable.
The app has an option to connect to Google Fit which I did successfully. Unfortunately Google Fit didn’t show any exercise data from the watch even after a few days of syncing. I’m not sure if the problem is Huawei or Google Fit which has a reputation for being a bit flaky with data connectivity.
One thing the USA versus Huawei fight has managed to do is stop data sharing with 3rd parties so the health and fitness data logged by the Watch Fit cannot be accessed by popular 3rd party apps via API.
The Watch Fit is an interesting device kind of between a fitness band and a fully fledged watch. It’s not a circle or a square but a rectangular shape that I like as much as the squircle shape used by Apple, Fitbit Versa/Sense and OPPO.
Some people may feel the Watch Fit gives them an unfairly low step count compared to Fitbit and Garmin. From my use of all 3 brands my hunch is that Fitbit and Garmin tend to count all the little steps you take around the house eg: get up from sofa to get a glass of water, whereas Huawei discounts some of these as they aren’t really exercise. The difference most days is Huawei under counts about 10% compared to Huawei and Garmin.
This is Huawei’s first smartwatch to support an animated personal trainer covering 12 workout courses, including 44 posture demonstrations. The individually animated fitness courses provide users with free one-on-one personal training without the need for a smartphone or any other device.
The Watch Fit doesn’t have the super detailed sensor data you get from a Fitbit but I found during the review process that the ability to do a variety of workouts without needing my phone guided directly by the watch was very useful.
You can even jump straight into some good stretches and blood flow increasing activities straight from watch reminder to move if you’ve been sitting most of an hour. Fitbit and other smart health watches should copy this and the animated workouts.
The animated workouts are perfect for someone who has spent much of 2020 working from home and needs gentle nudging to help get more fit and flexible.
At this $250 price point if you need 3rd party connectivity like Strava, NFC payments or really detailed sleep data opt for a Fitbit Charge 4 but if you’d rather a more fashionable looking colour screen, lots of well designed watch faces and animated personal trainer-like workouts built-in to the watch the Huawei Watch Fit is a great choice for an active person who isn’t an athlete.
The Huawei Watch Fit is available for $AU249 in Mint Green, Graphite Black or Sakura Pink from Huawei’s Sydney stores in Chatswood and World Square as well as from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Amazon, Mobileciti and Kogan and the Huawei Authorised Experience Store.