Huawei’s original Watch was the first truly desirable slice of Android Wear, but it wasn’t quite the long-term keeper our wrists were hoping for.
The main problem was that it cost RM1799. For that price tag, it needed to be better than the Apple Watch, and with no GPS, slightly laggy performance and what was then Android Wear 1.0 software, it wasn’t.
The fact you can still buy one almost two years on shows that Huawei did also get a lot right, particularly with the smart stainless steel design.
That’s why we’re excited about the now confirmed Huawei Watch 2. If it combines the best bits of Android Wear 2.0 (Android Pay, Google Assistant, better battery life) with an even more refined design, it could be something for the Apple Watch to worry about.
So how’s it shaping up? Here’s what the leaks have told us so far:
What we know
>>>It’ll be launched on 26 February 2017
Huawei’s CEO recently confirmed on Weibo (China’s answer to Twitter) that the Watch 2 will launch at Mobile World Congress. That means we can expect a joint announcement with the new flagship Huawei P10 smartphone on 26 February. We’ll be over at MWC, so if you’re after a fancy new Android Wear watch or dual-camera smartphone, make sure you’re back here for Huawei’s double hit of news.
>>> It'll probably be a family of three
Leaked images show that the Huaweu Watch 2 will apparently come in three variants, rather than the rumoured two. All seem to have the same design with different straps, so it's possible that the images are merely showing the variety of straps available. We will find out at the launch on 26 February.
>>>It’s going to be sportier
Smartwatches are embracing fitness because it’s the main thing they can do better than your phone (see: the Apple Watch Series 2). Huawei’s Watch 2 will be no different, with sources close to the company apparently revealing that it will indeed be "sportier". Whether that means full waterproofing or a luminous paint job, we’re not sure. But it seems likely that Huawei will veer more towards the LG Watch Sport rather than Apple Watch Nike+. In short, still refined but with subtle sporty powers like built-in GPS and a heart-rate sensor.
>>>There’ll be two versions, one with a cellular radio
Given that it’s not yet clear if anyone wants to get another SIM card for their smartwatch, it seems sensible for smartwatches to make cellular radios an optional extra. And that’s exactly what rumours are strongly pointing towards for the Huawei Watch 2, with two versions (one with LTE, and one with just Wi-Fi). There’s also expected to be a range of rubber and metal straps for both, which would help it do quick Clark Kent switches from gym bunny to dinner party-friendly.
>>>It’ll be strangely familiar (on the inside)
So far the rumours have pointed towards almost identical specs to original Huawei Watch, with 512MB RAM, 4GB storage and a 1.4in screen with 400x400 display. We’d expect it to upgrade the Snapdragon chipset and boost the 300mAh battery too, though the battery life boost from running Android Wear 2.0 and attempts to keep the price down to a less wallet-busting level might see it stay the same.
>>>It’ll still cost a pretty penny
The original Huawei Watch cost RM1799, which seemed pricey at the time for a fairly limited Android Wear 1.0 watch. But with Google setting the price bar quite high with the £349 (RM1950) LG Watch Sport, and the Watch 2 likely to pack extra sensors like GPS, we expect its tag to stay up around the £300 (RM1680) mark.
All the latest news
>>>February 24 2017
Leaked images from Evan Blass at VentureBeat show that the Huawei Watch 2 will come in three colours, with a sportier design and a nanoSIM card slot.
>>>January 26 2017
Sources apparently revealed to Mobile Choice that the Huawei Watch 2 will definitely be coming to the UK and will go on sale in April or May 2017.
>>>January 24 2017
GSM Arena has picked up a post on Weibo by Huawei’s CEO confirming that the Watch 2 will arrive at Mobile World Congress at the end of February. His post included a picture of an athlete wearing the watch, seemingly confirming earlier rumours that it would be sportier than its predecessor.
>>>January 24 2017
A person ‘familiar with the company’s plans’ told Evan Blass says the Huawei Watch 2 will have a ‘sportier’ look than its predecessor, and that it will also add optional cellular radio.