Last month, at its annual Developer Conference, Huawei showcased six new devices under its wearables and IoT banner. One of the first of those six devices to launch locally was the Huawei Watch Fit.
Billed as a cheaper, but no less feature-rich alternative to the impressive Huawei Watch GT series, the Fit is designed for consumers who are new to fitness wearables, or simply want a smartwatch that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Priced at R2 999 (depending on the retailer), it seems to have hit the mark as far as cost goes, but can it smartwatch?
We spent the past couple of weeks with the Huawei Watch Fit in order to find out.
By modern smartwatch standards, the Watch Fit is rather sleek and discreet. Weighing in at 21g sans strap, after an hour or so of wear, you’ll forget that it’s even there. That said, now that the review unit we were sent has been given back, our wrist does feel a little naked.
If that sounds bad, it’s not, and ultimately shows that the Watch Fit was a wearable that helped instead of hindered.
Shifting back to design, when the device was first revealed, our immediate thought was that Huawei had cloned the Apple Watch. Upon closer inspection, however, the body of the Fit is longer and more rectangular than the square form factor of the Apple offering.
Along with helping to distinguish the Watch Fit from the Watch GT, the rectangular shape makes viewing content and fitness data on the device far better than on the more expensive circular device.
Huawei has also done a great job of ensuring the Watch Fit delivers a crisp and clear visual experience thanks to the 1.64″ AMOLED HD (456×280) screen onboard. Brightness is also handily taken care of, and the auto setting proves more than adequate out in the broad daylight.
There’s also a simple and straightforward silicon strap to secure the smartwatch to your wrist, as well as an easy mechanism for removing them when needed. Curiously though, it looks like Huawei has skimped on providing an additional strap in the box (like a larger sized one), which we would have liked to see included.
Nevertheless, there isn’t much to fault the Huawei Watch Fit on when it comes to design.
Setup was rather quick and painless too, with the Huawei Health app (available for Android and iOS) used to sync up the Watch Fit via Bluetooth.
It is worth noting though that an update needed to download before setup was completed, and another one was ported before our review was published, so you may want to make sure that some data or WiFi is on hand before cracking the seal on this one.
As for what the Watch Fit was designed for, tracking, here Huawei has fitted it with only the essential sensors. To that end a 6-axis IMU, optical heart rate, capacitive touch and ambient light sensors are present.
These four sensors take care of step tracking and real-time heart rate monitoring as the most important readings you’ll find on the different watch face designs available, along with battery life, which we’ll touch on later.
Luckily, the Watch Fit is no limited to those functions alone, with sleep monitoring, calories burned, SpO2 (newly added from the Watch GT 2e) and more capable of being captured. The blood oxygen saturation is a rather niche feature, and while it is interesting to see what levels you’re registering, only professional athletes will be able to make the most of that data.
There’s also things like messages, alarms, calendar events and notifications for incoming calls, but much of this is facilitated thanks to the connection to your smartphone.
It is your paired device, via the Huawei Health app, which will also allow you to dive deeper into the data being captured, so don’t expect to be able to do so straight from your wrist.
Where the Watch Fit is not lacking, however, is the sheer number of exercise modes you can capture data for – 96 to be precise. Sure, it does not have some of the specialist ones that you’ll find on the Watch GT 2e, but you’ll be hard pressed to find something that does not feature as a workout mode here.
As for accuracy, the Watch Fit offers no concerns. The real-time heart rate monitoring is general two to three beats per minute off of a dedicated heart rate monitor, which sees like an acceptable margin of error in our books.
Looking at battery life, the Watch Fit has some tough acts to follow, with the Watch GT devices going a fortnight depending on the model.
Here, Huawei has advised up to 10 days, and that about matches our experience. We got to the evening of the eighth day before the Watch Fit hit 20 percent battery life, after which it fell far more rapidly, prompting an overnight charge.
It is not quite 14 days, but still well above the average that other smartwatches deliver.
The Huawei Watch Fit faces some tough competition when it comes to the fitness wearables market, with come even coming from in-house, but the smartwatch has a pleasing design, boasts the necessary sensors and caters to a number of different workout modes, all while capturing data accurately.
Add to that the fact that it’s well priced, and the Watch Fit is certainly an option for savvy consumers that want to get into fitness and use technology to do so.
The only thing it need worry about is the fact that the Watch GT 2 is not all that more expensive.