Late last week, just after Heritage Day in fact, Huawei placed a new wearable up for pre-order on its local site – the Huawei Watch Fit. This latest device was one of six that the company revealed at its Developer Conference earlier in the month, and we were lucky enough to be sent one for review.

Said review is still in the offing, but seeing as how we received the device before its official launch locally, we thought we’d offer up our first impressions of the Huawei Watch Fit.

So here are our thoughts on the wearable after about 24 hours of use.

Design

Let’s start with design. Here we received the black model review. The silicon strap itself is black, but we’d place the frame of this smartwatch in the gunmetal grey category. Either way the combination is quite subtle, rather stealthy, and therefore right up our alley.

It should also be noted that the design of the Apple Watch is a clear inspiration here. Huawei would never admit as much, but it is the first thing we thought when the Watch Fit was revealed earlier in the year.

Not as square as the Apple Watch, this offering is a little taller at 46mm. It isn’t overly narrow though, so it straddles the line between smartwatch and smart band.

Either way it feels premium thanks to its metal body. The screen, which is 1.64″ AMOLED affair, also feels suitably premium. On the auto brightness setting (there are five different levels), content also looks crisp and clear on the Watch Fit.

Initially we thought the R2 999 asking price was a touch steep, but if we’re going off of the design alone, it feels well worth the tag.

Setup

So setup of this device was simple and straightforward. You’ll need to have the Huawei Health app installed on your device, which in our case was the P40 Pro 5G (running HMS). There’s an iOS compatible version if you’re wondering, although we can’t speak to the setup experience for that ecosystem.

As for the Android/HMS version though, a few simple taps to select and pair your device and you should be good to go. It should be noted though, that out of the box we needed a 95MB update to download first in order to complete the setup process. The download, transfer and install all took about 10 minutes to finish, and from there, the Watch Fit was useable.

What we have noted though, is that Huawei has kept the experience on this device rather refined and focused solely on the essentials. Perhaps it’s because there is less screen real estate than a circular Huawei Watch GT model, but outside of tracking activity, heart rate, stress levels and sending you phone notifications, that’s about it.

While this may seem like a criticism that you’re not getting a fully fledged smartwatch experience, all the essentials are there.

As such, it seems like the Watch Fit is aimed at those who want a good fitness tracker rather than an all out smartwatch.

Features

This brings us to some of the features mentioned above. The heart rate sensor is relatively accurate, with it being about one to two BPMs off of a dedicated heart rate monitor, which is an acceptable margin of error in our view.

We went with the standard Magnified watch face (pictured in the header), which places the live heart rate info in one of the four circles of the face design. This means you don’t need to swipe to access your basic heart rate info, which is something we like.

As with other smartwatches from Huawei, it looks like battery life is a big selling point with the Watch Fit. It can’t last two weeks, like the Watch GT models, but Huawei has it listed at up to 10 days.

Out of the box, the device had 65 percent battery life. We have not charged it over the first 24 hours, and at the time of writing, the battery percentage reads 56, so it looks like we may be able to push past the 10 days listed, but our full review will confirm this.

As for some of the other features, things like music player control works well. You can’t do a deep dive on Spotify for example, but can perform basic tasks like play/pause and skip tracks. That said, you’ll need to have your phone or media player close at hand if you to listen to music while working out with the Watch Fit.

First impression

While it is still the very early days in our review time with the Huawei Watch Fit, the first impressions have generally been positive.

The device appears to nestle somewhere between a fitness band and smartwatch, so it remains to be seen what kind of market there is for it, but it could be a worthwhile option for those less keen on investing in a fully fledged smartwatch.

The R2 999 asking price is R500 to R700 more than we were expecting to pay on this model though, but Huawei is sweetening the deal locally on its Store by bundling the Watch Fit with a Smart Scale, so that may be worth looking into.

You’ll be able to check in with us in about two weeks to see whether the positive first impressions have remained so.