LAS VEGAS - Get ready to start looking like a Power Ranger. Huawei's new Elegant and Jewel flavors of its Android Wear smartwatch carry microphones and speakers onboard so you can easily make calls from your wrist. Available in the first quarter of 2016 for $499 (Elegant, $599 for Jewel), the new versions of the Huawei Watch look stunning and could make contacting your friends much easier.
During my demonstration here at CES 2016, I watched as Huawei's rep swiped all the way to the right, picked a contact, then selected the call option. The watch made the call, and another Huawei rep on the other side of the table answered the call.
It's hard to tell how well the speakers will sound in a quiet environment until we get to test this feature out ourselves, but the new functionality is a welcome one. Huawei did not say if you could make calls with a voice command (such as "Call Tom"), which would be much more convenient than having to swipe all the way to the last screen to call someone.
Other than the new calling feature, there aren't many other differences between the Huawei Watch Elegant and Jewel versions and the original Huawei Watch. The most obvious improvements are in design -- the new watches have narrower 18mm bands that are friendlier for smaller wrists, and feature much more intricate designs on their faces. The Jewel, as its name suggests, is studded with Swarovski Zirconia crystals around the face, while the Elegant has a knurled pattern etched around its face.
I appreciate the gorgeous design of the two new smartwatches, but at $500 for the Elegant and $600 for the Jewel, the new wearables seem too pricey for what they offer. Our full reviews of the devices will reveal if they are worth the money.