Huawei Watch 2: Good Looks, But Lacking a Major Feature

Smartwatches have long been called the next step in mobile tech, but with many watches suffering from lackluster battery lives, they often fail to provide their most basic function: telling time. To help solve that problem, the newly announced Huawei Watch 2 comes with a special watch mode that will give the device up to 25 days of battery life.

Extended longevity isn't the only party piece for the Watch 2, which Huawei unveiled today (Feb. 26) at Mobile World Congress. Available in two models, Huawei's new smartwatch runs Android Wear 2.0, features a 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen and comes with several compelling features including built-in GPS, all-day heart rate monitoring and IP-68 water-resistance.

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The standard Watch 2 is the sportier of the two models introduced by Huawei, with a hybrid rubber watch strap that keeps things secure even during a workout. In contrast, the Watch 2 Classic is a bit more stylish, thanks to its slimmer dimensions, sleeker lines and metallic/ceramic body.

Unfortunately, all these high points are counted by a pretty pronounced low note: the U.S. market won't be getting the Watch 2 with built-in 4G LTE. That means people looking for the ability to make calls and send texts while out on a run sans smartphone will have to opt for a device like Samsung's Gear S3 or the recently released LG Watch Sport instead.

Should you turn every feature on, the Watch 2's 420 mAh battery will only last for about 10 hours. However, in normal use, Huawei says the Watch 2's should be closer to two full days.   

When the Watch 2's battery inevitably gets low, it will automatically turn on the Watch mode, which will display the time when you flip your wrist over and track your step count. You won't get full functionality, but it's better than nothing. And when you finally to do get a chance to juice up your smartwatch, Huawei's revamped magnetic charging puck now has fast charging that will get the watch back to 100 percent in just 1 hour.

The other bit of tech that sets the Watch 2 apart from its competitors is the First Beat app, which aims to help new or experienced runners train better. The app comes pre-installed on the Huawei Watch 2, and it will track your route and speed, monitor your VO2 max and even set regiments to help you prepare for races with specific lengths such as a 10K, half marathon or even a full 26.2 miles.

In the end, while the lack of the Watch 2's 4G LTE model version is definitely a bummer, it's nice to see another watch sporting Android Wear 2.0 hit the market. Last year proved to be a tough year for the wearable industry, but that doesn't mean it's time to give up on smartwatches just quite yet. In that spirit, Huawei's Watch 2 looks to be a solid device for starting fresh.

Photo credit: Tom's Guide/Sam Rutherford

Sam is a Senior Writer at Engadget and previously worked at Gizmodo as a Senior Reporter. Before that, he worked at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag as a Staff Writer and Senior Product Review Analyst, overseeing benchmarks and testing for countless product reviews. He was also an archery instructor and a penguin trainer too (really).