Smartwatches and true wireless earbuds are both popular in their own right, so why not combine them into one handy wearable? That appears to be Huawei’s thinking, as it showcased its quirky new smartwatch — the Huawei Watch Buds — in a teaser trailer on the Chinese social networking site Weibo.
At first glance a rather chunky smartwatch, the unique selling point appears to be a face that flips open to reveal a charging dock for two dinky earbuds. Pop them out, and you’ll instantly be able to listen to music — no need to worry about leaving home without headphones again.
While Huawei’s Weibo video is very much in the ‘teaser’ category, you can get a better look at how it’ll work courtesy of the hands-on video from QSQTechnology video embedded below.
While there’s no pricing or release date, we know you won’t be able to buy it in America, thanks to the continued ban on Huawei products. But will the innovative design catch on as something that other smartwatch makers try to imitate?
We wouldn’t count on it.
Convenience at what price?
The benefits are obvious. In theory, it’s a lot harder to leave home without any earphones, and you shouldn’t ever worry about misplacing your charger either. Just pop them inside the watch for 15 minutes and see them fill up.
But I’m not totally convinced that the convenience justifies the clear drawbacks.
We’ve already noted that the watch looks chunky. That’s not surprising, given it has to fit not only the usual smartwatch innards, but also a pair of earbuds. But smartwatch manufacturers have been trying their hardest to make their wearables thinner without decimating battery life, and this seems to be a step backwards both in aesthetic and longevity terms.
With the added space used to hold earbuds rather than a larger battery, you won’t get any extra mAh capacity. Indeed, it might be worse, given said battery has to support both the watch itself and the charging of earbuds. Who knows what that will do for the smartwatch’s ability to last the day?
There’s also the question of sound quality. Obviously, we haven’t heard these earbuds, but they’re understandably small enough to fit inside a watch, which suggests that they may not offer a decent bass response, let alone features like active noise cancellation. Suffice it to say, I doubt they’ll be anywhere near good enough to feature on our list of the best wireless earbuds.
Huawei isn’t the first company to use other tech to house true wireless earbuds. Earlier this year, Nokia unveiled the 5710 XpressAudio — an inexpensive feature phone that houses a pair of wireless earphones inside its utilitarian frame. That’s probably a bit more practical, even if feature phones remain a tough sell in 2022.