Huawei Watch 2 hands on: Another chunky Android Wear 2 sports watch

The elegant dress watch appeal of the original Huawei Watch is gone, and in its place is a plasticky sports watch.

Remember the Huawei Watch? It was one of the best Android Wear watches, with a simple and minimalist dress watch appeal. The Huawei Watch 2 (and Watch 2 Classic) are nothing like it.

The Watch 2 is big, bulky, and plasticky. I was reminded of the LG Watch Sport I recently reviewed. Huawei’s sport watch has similar features, including NFC, GPS, and a heart rate monitor, and a similar big, chunky, sporty look. However, Huawei’s new watch feels a bit lighter and is more ergonomically shaped, and is thus more comfortable to wear than LG’s Watch Sport.

The Watch 2 will come in a variety of styles with different bands, and should release around April or so. No U.S. pricing has been announced, but depending on the style and features (4G support is optional), the price will vary. I was told to expect something in the ballpark of $350, which seems a little steep for a watch with such a plasticky and bulky design. But, again, no firm U.S. pricing has been announced.

If you want something with a little more class, there’s always the Watch 2 Classic. It’s about the same size, and lacks the LTE option, but has a classy metallic build and design that won’t look so out of place when you go out to dinner.

Curiously, these watches each have just 2GB of storage, while nearly all other Android Wear watches come with 4GB. They are otherwise quite similar to other Wear watches—you’ve got a Snapdragon 2100, 420mAh battery, and display resolution of 390x390.

They seem nice enough, but I can’t help but feel like Android Wear is going backwards. LG’s new Watch Sport and Style, and these new Huawei watches, are larger than some of the best first-generation Android Wear devices. They’re not as attractive, with cheaper-feeling build quality and materials. Shouldn’t the watches be getting smaller and slimmer, with build quality in line with other watches that cost a few hundred bucks?

Android Wear 2.0 is a step forward for Google’s wearable OS, and it needs to be matched by a similar step forward in hardware. The Huawei Watch 2 and Watch 2 Classic are fine for what they are, but they don’t seem like evolutionary improvements at all.

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