Huawei Watch Fit review: Halfway house

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(Pocket-lint) – If Huawei itself can’t quite decide whether the Watch Fit is a smartwatch or a fitness tracker, you’d be forgiven for getting a little confused too. It’s been positioned as a smartwatch that boasts good fitness tracking, but the truth is closer to the opposite.

Taken as a fitness tracker with a few smartwatch features, the Watch Fit is a creditable little tracker that looks great and is dead easy to use, all for an extremely reasonable price. If you go in expecting a fully-fledged smartwatch, though, you might find it wanting. 

Design & Display

  • 1.64-inch AMOLED display, 456 x 280 resolution
  • Dimensions: 46 x 30 x 10.7mm / Weight: 21-27g
  • Editions: Active (21g) / Elegant (27g)
  • Size options: 46mm only
  • Single function button

The Huawei Watch Fit has a design that’s immediately closer to a fitness tracker than a smartwatch thanks to its portrait orientation display – a 1.64-inch one that’s crisp and gets good brightness even under proper sunlight. It’s AMOLED technology, so the blacks look really dark, which makes its smooth, curved bezels easier to ignore as you use it.

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There are sharper still display options out there, but you’d be paying a pretty penny more to secure such a device. Besides, the Huawei’s screen is definitely sharp enough for what it needs to display, and at this price we’re suitably impressed by how it looks when the screen’s on. 

There’s a single function button to one side of the watch, which can wake the display, call up a menu, or return you to the main watchface. It’s got a fairly satisfying click quality, too. That said, another button or something similar to Apple Watch’s ‘Digital Crown’, would obviously have given the Watch Fit a few more options when it comes to controls.

The Watch Fit is dainty enough to make for comfortable wearing, including overnight if you want to track your sleep. The band itself, meanwhile, is silicone in your choice of colour – the orange we’ve got is nice and jazzy. Paired with a bronzed version of the watch, it’s hardly the quietest look going, though. 

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Huawei sells the Watch in Active Edition and Elegant Edition models. The latter is available in white or black only. The former has a wider range of colours, including pink, green, and black.

There are plenty of watch-faces to pick from both on the device and through the paired Huawei Health app on your smartphone. It’s easy to swap them, too, although you don’t get the level of granular control over their designs that some smartwatches offer. 

Fitness Features

  • Built-in GPS and workout modes
  • SpO2 blood oxygen
  • Heart-rate tracking
  • Sleep tracking

The heart of the Watch Fit is its tracking. There’s a couple of sensors designed to get pressed up against your wrist to monitor heart rate and blood oxygen, and plenty more features from the built-in accelerometer, letting you keep track of a number of metrics.

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The underlying heart rate tracking can be checked at any time by swiping along through the home screen. We’ve found this readout to be middling though – compared to other trackers from Apple and Withings, the Watch Fit hasn’t always kept up at key moments. Its calculation of our resting heart rate, for example, seemed consistently higher than other trackers. 

There’s also an SpO2 monitor on board, which is normally the preserve of more expensive watches and trackers, and it works fairly quickly to give you info about your blood oxygenation. We’re as yet still unconvinced by why most people would need this information, but there’s no downside to it being here at this price.

Similarly, if you want an indication of your sleep quality the Watch Fit can give it to you if you wear it overnight, and this data has largely matched up with our dedicated Withings Sleep Analyzer as a control device. 

More basic options like step-counting are on board the Huawei as well, so there are plenty of ways to track your activity throughout the day. Much like an Apple Watch, it’ll buzz you periodically if you’re sitting down, urging you to do some stretches (although the workouts it suggests to loosen up are far more involved than what most people will fancy at their desks).

Pocket-lintHuawei software photo 1

When you want to step it up and actually work out, there are a variety of tracking modes you can use, from running to rowing and swimming, as well as 13 running courses you can embark on and 12 fitness workouts that offer tiny animations to walk you through some routines. They’re neatly packaged and solid options for those who want built-in guidance, although there’s obviously a limit to the variety on offer. 

Built-in GPS is very welcome, though, and means you can still get route-tracking even if you leave your phone behind, which makes all the difference. The Huawei Health app acts as a hub for all this data and it’s fairly clearly laid out, with trends pretty straightforward to set out, with graphs that let you check out your recent data and scroll back to specific points if you’re particularly interested. 

Smartwatch Options

  • Notifications and music control
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 10-day battery life

Another area where the Huawei Watch Fit does very well is in the battery department. It’s rated at up to 10 days before you need to charge it, which we found to be slightly generous from our testing, but you can still make it through a full week with a few workouts peppered in before you need to recharge. That’s great, simply put, and will make it easier to stick to habits without needing to constantly take the band on and off. 

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Part of this battery life bonus might be down to the relatively limited standalone smart features that the Watch Fit packs in. Compared to a fully-featured smartwatch – like a high-end Garmin or an Apple Watch – you’re somewhat limited in what you can do.

On the one hand, you can indeed control your phone’s music playback from your wrist, and you’ll get push notifications when someone messages you or gives you a call (if you set them up to be allowed, but it’s pretty limited stuff). There’s no NFC here for payments, and internet connectivity is reliant on your phone’s pass-through – but that’s quite typical at this price point. 

That’s the main factor behind our description of the Watch Fit’s name as a bit of a misleading one – this isn’t a fully-fledged smartwatch, and that’s important to know going in. 

Verdict

That the Watch Fit is not really a true smartwatch isn’t a real issue. As a smarter-than-average fitness tracker, this Huawei might not blow you away with what it offers, but it packs in a heck of a lot of features, some of them pretty premium, for an extremely reasonable price. 

It’s well-made and comfortable to wear, with very solid battery life and a good screen. However, you’ll find more accurate tracking from some competing options, and more impressive smartwatch features on others, so your mileage is likely to vary.

Overall, if you want a fitness tracker with a bit more oomph than your average, the Huawei Watch Fit is a serious option. Just don’t call it a smartwatch.

Also consider

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Fitbit Charge 4

If you want something that’s even less of a smartwatch, Fitbit’s Charge tracker is a really impressive wearable that’s a little less expensive than Huawei’s offering. The design is a bit divisive, but the tracking and data it offers is exemplary – and it’s an easy device to wear for long stretches without even thinking about it. 

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Garmin Vivosport

Similarly, Garmin’s tracking is some of the very best in the business, so the Vivosport is just a little bit more reliable than what Huawei can muster at this point. It’s far from a new device, so you could shop around and find some great prices, and it’s ideal for anyone who wants a minimal amount of screen-space on their wrist. 

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Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Mike Lowe.





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