The Honor Magic Watch 2 was launched just a few months ago before 2019 ended, almost as if it wanted to be part of the smartwatch market with the latest tech as soon as possible. It is a big market after all, and there's obvious demand for a really good smartwatch to accompany our most necessity tech - a smartphone.
After testing out many smartwatches, I've come to have an expectation on them; whether they can truly assist me in getting work done, be a great fitness tracker, while also matching my look as a whole. While the Honor Magic Watch 2 has some heavy competition, it does come with some level of impressive features, though they do come with some downsides.
Design: Suit your looks
We reviewed the 46mm Flax Brown version that costs a little more than the Black version that was sold earlier. In terms of looks alone, I can't say I'm a big fan of the bigger version personally, but if you like the bigger screen and its round shape (to which I have had comments from people comparing it to the Samsung Watch), then this is definitely a looker.
Despite my initial qualms with the straps as well, it turned out to be a lot more sturdy than I expected. I'm still not a fan of the standard watch straps as they never fit correctly on my wrist, but in this case I was happy to find the brown leather straps quite comfortable, and there were no bad or ugly creases. I would definitely prefer another colour (of which we can expect a pink as well as black and gold version), but if the quality of the straps are anything like this one, then you can expect the quality of the straps from others to be pretty impressive. If anything, you can also change the leather straps to silicone straps as well, something to consider especially if you work out a lot.
The AMOLED screen is the star of the show here, and with it being at 46mm it's the biggest screen you can get from the Honor Magic Watch 2. With a bigger screen, maneuvering the touch screen is a lot easier, and the swiping motions are smooth as well. The colours on the screen are especially vibrant, and if you like to customise the face watch, this is one of the best there is so far.
Features: Useful yet basic
The smartwatch does great in the notifications and call aspect, but other than the apps that are already available on the watch, don’t expect a lot out of it. Even if it has a music section on the watch, it doesn’t support streaming so Spotify is a no-go here, and even if you do get notifications you cannot do anything and have to refer to your phone instead. This is fine if you prefer to use your smartphone anyways, with the smartwatch being mainly a notification center. But it may seem unproductive for others.
You can monitor your stress and heart rate levels, and you will also get the occasional notification to get up though it doesn’t tell you if you successfully hit your hourly moves.
Speaking of which, it has the same Activity Tracker that you can find on the Apple Watch Series 3 and 5 which is definitely great! Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell you if you hit those milestones the way the Apple Watch does and if you fail to check, you can’t find out if you did if you miss it the next day. Ah well.
Fitness: So much potential
Fitness tracking is where this smartwatch is definitely the shining factor for the device. I mainly used it for my HIIT and Strength class. With my Strength class, with it being a slow and steady type of workout, I was impressed by the amount of information I was getting at a glance of the watch as I did my workout.
You will also get a better breakdown of your workout on the Health app, but it's still great to see your progress as you're working out.
The heart rate tracker came with levels to let you know if you've reached the optimum 'fat-burning zone', and nudged me if I dropped down a level. This is especially useful for those of you who need to be in the right heart rate zone for your goals, whether it’s for fat burning or aerobic, etc. I knew it was necessary during HIIT as I need to know my heart rate level to know how effective the workout is on me, which I know is good based on my other tests with other smartwatches.
Unfortunately it failed to monitor my heart rate correctly and the results came out lower than the average heart rate I would normally get from my workouts. It could be due to incorrect wearing, or even the fact that leather straps do not make a great workout partner, but regardless I was a little disappointed.
The biggest problem I have is the loud awkward announcements the watch makes to announce how long you have worked out and even your state every 10 minutes. It's loud, and putting your smartwatch on silent can't turn it off. It's definitely best if you have bluetooth headphones on, but you can't exactly do that during HIIT class.
If you use wireless headphones, you can also opt for the specially curated workouts available on the watch, and its GPS system remains one of the best out there so I definitely recommend this watch for runners.
Battery: So so good
When launched, the Honor Magic Watch 2 was lauded for its long battery life, and this is especially so for the 46mm versions which come with a 14-day battery life compared to the 7-day battery life on the 42mm versions.
This smartwatch did not disappoint; throughout my entire use in one week, I didn’t need to charge it up and even then, I only decided to charge it up when it reached around 20%, out of the need to make charging a habit lest I forget.
I read elsewhere that even if the battery ran out, the watch would still be able to show the time, though access to anything else is not possible. Still impressive if you ask me.
The Honor Magic Watch 2 has the right base to what could be a powerful smartwatch but still has a few hiccups here and there to truly make it stand out against the Samsung Watch Active and Apple Smart Watch series.
The lack of proper notifications, heart tracking, and being unable to use streaming services is a big no for me unfortunately, but it has some of the best customisations available in the smartwatch market. I can tell that its fitness tracking is on track to be one of the best out there, but it’s still lacking in a lot of areas for me to consider it comprehensive enough.
I believe that in the future the Honor Magic Watch series is one to truly look out for, but at the moment it still isn’t quite there yet.