6 days ago

Gadgets of the week: Glowforge, Anki Overdrive, and more!


We're diving into yet another weeks-worth of accessory releases. As always, we've got an eye out on the world of wearables, the connected home, and just about anything else that plays nice with your Android phone or tablet. This go-around we've spotted Glowforge, a sharp 3D laser printer that you can control with your nearest Android tablet. Meanwhile, Anki's newest connected toy racecars can speed along on a modular track. That's all well and good, but the last release on our list will probably make you die a little inside. Check out the other Android gadget releases of the week below!

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6 days ago

AC editors' apps of the week: Hill Climb Racing, Khan Academy and more


Our weekly app picks

Appday Sunday is one of our favorite parts of the week, because it means we can share something from our phone that makes us happy in one way or another. Sometimes it's a game one of us can't stop playing, other times it's an old app rediscovered due to to a new feature. Whatever the reason, each of us offers up something cool each week for you to consider checking out.

Here's what we've got for you this week!

READ NOW: AC editors' apps of the week

Jen Karner — Hill Climb Racing

I'm a sucker when it comes to fun and silly games I can play on my phone. Hill Climb Racing is actually one of my favorites. You play as a driver in one of several vehicles, and your goal is to climb hills. It sounds easy and it is, right up until it isn't. You have to gauge your gas, especially when you're dealing with ridiculously steep hills. There are over a dozen levels, and vehicles available, and each vehicle can be upgraded to make it more effective. During each level you'll earn coins, and those coins allow you to unlock new levels, and vehicles, along with upgrading your current ride.

Hill Climb Racing is a fun physics based game, and I shudder to think of how much time I've spent with it at this point. I've never 'beat' a single level, and the upgrades or changes in vehicle make each level more challenging as you go. While you can spend real money to buy coins for your upgrades, I've never needed to. Grinding through a level a few times will give you plenty of coins to purchase what you'll need. As far as physics based games go, this is one of my favorites — and it's absolutely free.

Download: Hill Climb Racing (Free)

Jared DiPane — Mopar Drag N Brag

I'm not a huge gamer, and when I do find something that strikes me it's usually something I can pick up and put down, without having to really put much thought into it. I don't want to have to hit a save point, or worry about needing to stop and my progress disappears. Mopar Drag N Race is a drag racing game, that is quite simple.

You warm up the tires on the way to the start line, then you try to react as quick as possible when the light turns green, and keep your car in your lane. There isn't much to it, but it is filling the void of my 10 minutes of downtime here and there. Like most car games, you earn money, buy mods, and things get harder as you go along. Give it a shot, and let us know what you think.

Download: Mopar Drag N Brag (Free)

Andrew Martonik — Samsung Level

If you're using any of Samsung's Level Bluetooth audio products, you'll want to have the simple Samsung Level app installed. While it isn't required — you can can just use any of these accessories as regular Bluetooth devices — you get lots of extra features from the app.

You can use the Samsung Level app to manage connections between multiple Level devices, as well as determine how notifications come into the headphones when in use. You can set the headphones to read your notifications, vibrate (when available) and select only essential apps (calls, texts, alarms) to come through. You also get notifications when the headphones are connected or disconnected, and a battery status indicator.

A final feature is a neat one — with headphones connected, you'll get a permanent notification with up to four of your favorite media apps to launch quickly. It'll disappear once your headphones disconnect.

Download: Samsung Level (Free)

Alex Dobie — Star Music Tag Editor

If you juggle between streaming music and good old-fashioned MP3s, chances are you've encountered the need to change your files' ID3 tags — the metadata that holds album and track names, genres, album art and more. It's easy enough to do this on a PC or Mac, but that involves plugging in, transferring over files and other headaches. Star Music Tag Editor is lets you do all this directly from your phone. You can easily find files by location, album or even time, and change things to match the rest of your library. Best of all, it's free, though there is an option to remove ads through an in-app purchase.

Download: Star Music Tag Editor (Free)

Russell Holly — Khan Academy

Every day is a school day for me. I never stop learning something. Surrounded by all of the other AC editors all the time, that's not surprising, but beyond the daily dose of Android there's always something new to be learned. It's one of the big reasons I've always enjoyed Khan Academy. It's something simple my kids and I can use together, and the sheer volume of segments you can pull from makes it an impressive resource for anyone. On my phone, however, it means I can read while waiting in line for something instead of getting sucked in to yet another game.

Download: Khan Academy (Free)

Richard Devine — Weather Timeline

Weather apps are plentiful and I'm the first to admit I'm a kind of addict. I've tried so many and never once stuck with any of them for very long. Weather Timeline night finally be the one to put a stop to all that.

The data comes from either Forecast.io or a selection of other sources, and it's one of the nicest looking weather apps I've seen. It's a fully Material Design look and feel, displaying all the important data in a clear, concise timeline. As if that's not enough it also has an Android Wear watch face to tell you the time along with your full weather information.

Download: Weather Timeline ($.99)

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6 days ago

From the Editor's Desk: Next week tomorrow


So here we go. New Nexus week. The phones are just part of it, of course. We'll have a more in-depth preview Monday of what we're expecting Tuesday. But me? I'm hoping for a few surprises, especially since so much has leaked out already. (And I really do hate it when that happens.)

The new Nexus phones are the sexy part, of course. And two of them? I'm hoping (but not sold on the idea) that it's more than just a SKU play, that it's more than just size and spec options. Will one be functionally different than the other? Will a 3400 mAh battery (and change) make that big a difference in the Huawei 6P? And will that phone just be too damn big?

And if the blurry Chromecast rumors pan out, might that be the bigger long-term product? My only issue with 'Casting all the things has been connectivity. A 5GHz connection couldn't hurt that, right? Or have issues been a server-side thing? (I've never enjoyed telling my daughters why their movies are lagging.)

And don't forget about the release of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which is as exciting as much as it also is hurry-up-and-wait for most folks. For those new to Android, remember that a code release is not the same thing as updates being available on devices. Question is who will be first with updates. My money's still on Motorola. But it's pretty obvious that manufacturers have been building with M for some time.

So there's going to be a lot going on in the next week or two. I'm not concerned about having it all figured out on Day 1. There's going to be a lot to take it. Let's remember to have fun, they're just phones — and this won't be the last time any of us goes through this.

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1 week ago

AC interviews The Martian author Andy Weir


Books become movies all the time, but The Martian is something special.

If you're a fan of science fiction movies, specifically the space variety, there's a good chance you've been paying attention to the trailers for The Martian. It has all the makings of an amazing movie, and that has a lot to do with it first being an amazing book. If you've never read The Martian, you should quickly add it to your list, but for those who have and are looking forward to seeing this story on the big screen we've got something a little different from our normal Android coverage today.

We sat down recently with Andy Weir, author of The Martian, to talk a little about his experiences as this story became a movie. Beware before you read any further, there are some movie spoilers in the interview. Enjoy!

Russell: This story started out basically as a series of blog posts, eventually making its way to a published book and then a movie. Has this journey changed your thoughts on self-publishing at all?

Andy: I never expected any of this stuff to happen, right? I thought I was just writing this for the small group of nerds on my mailing list, so this has all been a complete surprise to me. A really pleasant surprise, like winning the lottery kind of surprise, but shifting how I thought about publishing? I think self-publishing was the key to my success there, I would never have thought to send this off to publishers.

Russell: If you were to write something else, would you also self publish it?

Andy: Oh no, now that I have an "in" I'm gonna shamelessly stick around.

Russell: A lot of The Martian is excitingly technical, can you talk about the research you did for this book?

I calculated out the orbital trajectories that Hermes takes, and it was accurate.

Andy: Mostly it was me looking things up on Google. I didn't know anyone in aerospace, I was on my own, so I did a bunch of Google searches. I know a lot of people in the field now, but I didn't at at the time so I would research things as I needed to. I really liked that. The research was fun, it was entertaining and fun to do that. The hard part was sitting my ass down and actually writing.

Russell: Was there one piece of the research in particular you found the most interesting?

Andy: Probably the orbital trajectories. I calculated out the orbital trajectories that Hermes takes, and it was accurate. It felt good to know that they were correct, even if the readers would never really know that. I had a lot of fun doing that, I went way down the rabbit hole on that one. It was just way more work than was necessary.

Russell: Have you had any of your new NASA and JPL contacts point out anything in the book that was inaccurate?

Andy: Everybody points out, and I knew this when I wrote it, that a sandstorm on Mars doesn't have that kind of force. A Martian sandstorm can't do that kind of damage. I know that at the time I wrote it, I just made that concession to drama because it was a Man vs Nature story and I wanted Nature to have the first punch. On a more positive note, folks at JPL were really happy to see the firm division between NASA and JPL in the story. Most people don't even realize there's a difference between those two entities.

Russell: Talking about how this turned into a movie, you've mentioned being happy with the changes that were made in order to make this work on the screen. Can you talk about what you feel was the most significant of these changes?

Andy: The whole trip from Ares 3 to Ares 4 is kind of montaged. It's fairly quick, so all of the problems he faces in that trip are gone. He doesn't run into the dust storm that threatens to run him out of power, he doesn't flip the rover, those are just not in the film, and I think it was a good idea to pull them out. The movie is already pretty long, it's over 2 hours. You have to remove things or you'll have a movie that just drags.

Russell: Is there any one scene you find absolutely looks as you pictured it when writing the story?

Andy: Yeah! I was really happy with it. This may seem like a boring answer, but it's the views. The panoramic vistas of Mars from the surface. It's just these beautiful red mountains and hills and rocks, stuff like that. I really got a kick out of that because you can't really convey that in writing very well. You can't really describe landscapes and excite the reader at all. Seeing a landscape or seeing a natural scene is entirely a visual experience. If you describe it briefly there's no emotion to it, and if you explain every scene in depth the read is going to toss the book over their shoulder because it's boring. I had to hope the readers were visualizing Mars, but in a visual medium it's beautiful. Ridley Scott likes to do that, he likes to show you the panoramas and let them breathe for a bit. It was pretty cool.

Russell: Finally, what was your favorite of the jokes involving Watney?

Andy: There's a great visual gag in the movie where he gets blown up by the hydrazine, and shows him sitting down in front of the camera. He goes "yeah, uh, I blew myself up" and there's literally smoke coming off of him and it's really funny.

Buy The Martian on Google Play Books

Buy The Martian on Amazon Kindle

Buy The Martian on iTunes

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1 week ago

The GameOn Watch Face for Android Wear is all about distractions


When it comes to watch faces on Android Wear there really is something out there for everyone. If you constantly rely on games to fill the time, checking out the GameOn Watch Face is probably a good idea. This analog faces launches directly into a simple but addictive game guaranteed to take up your extra time.

Let's take a look.

The GameOn Watch Face is interesting and a bit different than most of the offerings you'll find on the Google Play Store. That's because it's a game and a watch face, in a single app. There aren't any options here, nothing to tweak or prod. It's a simple face with a fun game built in that's great when you want to waste a few minutes.

The watch face is analog, with two white hands to tell time. There aren't any numerals or indicators around the sides of the screen here. Instead you get a background of rolling purple mountains, and green grass with a small animated goat who sort of roams back and forth. At the top of the screen you'll see your game high score in white.

To play the game, all you need to do is tap the screen and the watch hands will fade away. Your only control is a single tap which, will make your goat jump from the top to the bottom of the screen. This game is a side scroller, your goal is to avoid the obstacles on your screen by jumping between the ceiling and floor. Carrots and pumpkins give you in game boosts, while running into fences or being eaten by giant lions, will end your turn. It's a super simple premise, and honestly the simplicity is what makes it fun.

If you're looking for something fun and not too serious, then you should definitely be checking out the GameOn Watch Face. It's available now for the awesome price of free, which means there's no loss if you try it out and aren't a fan. It's a fun and simple watch face, and that's what makes it great. Let us know in the comments below if you're a fan!

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1 week ago

Leaked Nexus 6P slides reveal Gorilla Glass 4, 3450 mAh battery and more


Some new slides have leaked with additional information about the rumored upcoming Nexus 6P that Google could announce on September 29. The Nexus 6P has been the center of attention for quite some time, with a number of leaks already revealing what the design could look like as well as what we may find inside the phone.

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1 week ago

Mobile Nations Weekly: iPhone 6s arrives in hands, Android arrives on BlackBerry


The week was quiet until it wasn't.

Normally, when there's a scheduled Apple-related event, be it a press announcement or a product release, the rest of the tech world lays low, avoiding their exciting news from getting buried under the breathless coverage of a fawning press. And initially it seemed like it would be that way with this week's release of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Google had their Nexus event scheduled for the week after, and Microsoft planned to unveil their wares a week after that.

But there's one thing that was scheduled way in advance and couldn't be changed, lest they draw the wrath of the SEC: BlackBerry's quarterly earnings call. Normally they're pretty staid affairs, laden with numbers and optimistic talk of future earnings potential (that's true of just about every company's earnings calls). But with all the leaking evidence mounting, BlackBerry felt they had no choice and went ahead and announced the Android-powered Priv by BlackBerry — the portrait slider device with a physical keyboard of many fan's long-forgotten dreams, no less.

Who would've thought that it would be BlackBerry that'd cut through all the noise on iPhone launch day?

Android Central — Pure, BlackBerry, and Pay

We're gearing up for the launch of some new Nexus devices as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but there's plenty of current fodder to be had as well. We've been knee deep in reviews, Android Pay vs. Samsung Pay, and we've got an Android-powered BlackBerry on the way. To wit:

CrackBerry — Priv for privacy, for Privilege, for Android

Heading into this week, we knew it would be an interesting one with BlackBerry set to announce their Q2 2016 earnings results but I don't think anyone accounted for what would happen in between the start of the week and the end of the week. Earnings report, the all-new Priv by BlackBerry slider getting announced and more is what we ended up with. A bit of a rollercoaster ride.

iMore — It's iPhone 6s time!

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are here! Apple launched this year's flagship phones as only Apple can, with pomp and circumstance from London to New York and around the world. Check out our ongoing coverage and if you need iPhone 6s help then jump on in!

Windows Central — On the horizon

Overall it was a relatively slow week for Microsoft. However, this is just the expected calm before the storm for October 6 in New York for their big press event. Here is what we expect Microsoft to reveal on that day.

Unfortunately (for Microsoft), the leaks keep happening for that show day. Over the weekend, the first legitimate images of the new Microsoft Band 2 found its way to the web. On board are a new, curved display and a big improvement in aesthetics. The Band 2 is expected to go on sale in early November.

A few internal Microsoft slides revealed the upcoming Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL flagship Windows Phones in all their glory. Although the information just confirmed what we already knew, it is still exciting to read about its iris scanner and QHD display. Both phones should be available sometime in November.


This week on Kicked Weekly we feature a moon lamp for your home, a baseball radar detector, robot spiders and more! Plus Dan calls Kim out on the awkward little moment in last week's show where she locked him out of her house. Also, how about some headphones that don't go over your ears but transmit sound through your skull? You know you want those!

It's your last change to get in on our prize giveaway! For your chance to win a Pebble Time smart watch, an Ilumi smart bulb 10-pack, or the Coolest Cooler, watch this video and subscribe to our YouTube channel. You've only got until the end of September so subscribe today!


This week on Connectedly we took a look at some more products featuring smart technology, like the Wilson X smart connected basketball and a Kickstarter campaign that features a smart strap for your "dumb" watch. We also broke down 10 products you can get to turn your home into a smart connected home.

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1 week ago

The 2015 Nexus phone launch: Android Central editor roundtable

Nexus 5

We're closing in fast on the launch of new Nexus phones.

As we cruise toward one of our favorite times of year, where we see the final release of a new version of Android and some fancy hardware to accompany it, we like to do a little roundtable of our thoughts on the upcoming announcements. The editors here at Android Central have deep thoughts on everything Android-related, but new Nexuses are definitely at the front of our minds right now.

We're going to look back at past Nexus launches, where Nexus fits in the Android world today, and of course what we're expecting from this year's phones.

Read now: 2015 Nexus phone launch: AC editor roundtable

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1 week ago

Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge received Android 5.1.1 update from AT&T


AT&T is now pushing the Android 5.1.1 update for both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. The update, which weighs in around 660mb brings a number of changes to the smartphones. First being Android 5.1.1, but beyond that there are a few changes as well.

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1 week ago

Samsung will make your phone payments until 2016 when you switch to a new Galaxy smartphone


Samsung has yet another promotion going on that will have the company paying your monthly installment from your carrier until 2016. You will need to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Galaxy Note5 from the carrier of your choice on an installment plan, and Samsung will reimburse your payments for the phone (up to $120). To get started, you will need to head to the promotional site from your smartphone to register your email address.

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1 week ago

Limetown is a non-techy podcast well worth your ears


When you're not listening to the Android Central podcast, what other shows are filling up your feeds? There's a good chance if you're reading this then there's sure to be a fair showing of other tech related shows. You're not alone. But what about changing the pace a little and trying something new? Something fictional, even? Limetown is well worth the attention of your ears.

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1 week ago

Huawei Watch Review

Huawei Watch

Huawei's first Android Wear watch joins an already full roster, and manages to stand tall in the crowd.

The balance smartwatches need to reach between technology and fashion is a complicated one. Lean too far in either direction and you lose a significant chunk of your potential audience, and when you consider the third axis — a competitive price tag — every decision in the balance is immeasurably important. We've seen some manufacturers focus on price, some on features, and at least a couple decide to focus entirely on sport and fitness functionality.

Huawei has made its position in the smartwatch market clear from Day 1. It wants its watch to be seen as the most watch-like smartwatch out there, the one that wrist-computer people who wear watches would consider replacing their daily driver with. To get there, Huawei focused on high-end build materials and numerous options, and a little less on a competitive price tag, while striking the balance between technology and fashion.

When it was all said and done, the Huawei Watch was born. Here's our review.

About this review

Huawei provided Android Central with the Watch that I (Russell Holly) have been using for nine days. During this time, the Huawei Watch was paired with a Moto X Pure Edition and a Samsung Galaxy Note 5. The watch used in this review is the $349 stainless steel model with a leather strap, and is running Android Wear 1.3 build LCA49B.

Huawe Watch

Undoubtedly superior

Huawei Watch Hardware

From the moment you remove the jewelry box from its packaging, the Huawei Watch feels like a premium experience. When you compare it to the clear plastic blister pack-like casing or smartphone carboard packaging we see so many of the other Android Wear watches show up in, the initial impression is significant. The Huawei Watch also feels lighter than it looks like it should, and the stainless steel model used in this review is cool and soft to the touch as it comes out of the box. There's no plastic to remove, no obvious branding anywhere, and aside from probably needing to charge the Watch it is ready to go.

For the first time on a smartwatch, I didn't feel the need to immediately replace the strap.

The body of this watch is decidedly masculine, even in rose gold. It looks awkward on slender wrists — and yes that includes the female friendly model with support for smaller straps. It sits tall on your wrist, and the design of the lugs helps it take up quite a bit of space. It looks great on my wrist, but many of the people I handed this watch to with slender wrists couldn't deal with how bulky the watch felt. If you've got smallish wrists, you will absolutely want to try this before buying. (Which may be easier said than done.)

Affixing the Huawei Watch to your wrist quickly points out just how nice the included leather strap is. Every smartwatch I have ever worn — which if memory serves is now at nine — has come with a horrible strap. The sporty ones get gross quick, the metal ones are usually low quality or don't fit my wrist comfortably, and whatever it is Apple and Motorola are actually selling on the straps they label leather are strange an awful compared to a quality leather strap. For the first time, I didn't feel the need to immediately replace the strap on the Huawei Watch. It's a nice plush strap that feels great and doesn't get gross when I get sweaty. Best of all, it's a quick-release strap at the lugs, so if I wanted to swap for another color or something it will take seconds to get the stock one off.

It may seem weird to gush about a button, especially since every Android wear watch has essentially the same button, but the mechanism for the button — ahem, the crown — on the Huawei Watch is exceptional. It's a soft, squishy button with a gentle push to confirm you've pressed it far enough in, and feels great. There's no digging your finger into the side of the watch, pressing a small metal dot with enough force to leave a mark on your skin, nothing like that. The button is perfectly placed, and wide enough that you can hit the edge and still register a press. It feels like a well-made button, which is a big deal on a watch. Of course it's not really all that functional in Android Wear, but at least it works well, mechanically speaking.

The proprietary magnetic pin connector is ugly, and the magnet isn't quite strong enough to keep the two pieces connected.

The display is supposed to be the star of the show for something that is essentially a computer on your wrist, and the 400 x 400 resolution AMOLED display Huawei has packed into this watch is quite good. It's absolutely the best display on an Android Wear watch today, but in many cases you'd only know that by putting the two watches side by side showing them doing the exact same thing. It's a great display, in both color and ambient modes, and the switch between the two doesn't take too long.

I wouldn't go so far as to say this feels like a $350 watch on my wrist, because real watches that run $350 are a hell of a lot nicer than this, but this is by far the nicest feeling Android Wear watch out of the box, and it looks great on the wrist without any strap changes or anything. The Huawei Watch charger is the most unfortunate part of the hardware experience. The proprietary magnetic pin connector is ugly, and the magnet isn't quite strong enough to keep the two pieces connected if one gets jostled. Setting the charger down and placing the watch on top of it, on a flat surface, is your best bet. Given the experience from the rest of the Watch, it's unfortunate that the charger so abruptly breaks the feeling of quality you get from the rest of the watch.

Huawei Watch Navigation

Android Wear, and nothing else

Huawei Watch software

This may come as a surprise to anyone who has every used a Huawei phone, but there's really not much to say about the software on the Huawei Watch. Android Wear 1.3 comes pre-loaded, and it performs exactly as it is supposed to. This is the best possible thing you can say about an Android Wear watch, where the environment is completely controlled by Google and the manufacturers are really only allowed to add apps and watch faces.

At no point during the experience so far has the watch hung on any interface option, and in no way did the user interface feel it was lacking. When looking at the core interface, from voice commands and wrist gestures to the animations as notifications arrive, it all worked exactly as expected.

Read our Android Wear 1.3 review for more!

Huawei Watch screens

Huawei includes three apps with the Watch, and all of them are fitness oriented. The heart rate monitor has a single button or grabbing your heart rate and a second page for your last recording. Daily Tracking is a well designed watch app for tracking your steps, organized into activity types and including a rough guess at calories burned in the process. Like Google Fit, you can set this to keep you motivated towards a daily goal and see your progress at a glance. Fitness tracking is a separate app aimed at specific fitness tracks. You can set up a workout goal and have it run in the background, counting your steps against a timer. Goals in this mode are set by time or calorie count, with a vibration on your wrist when you reach either.

What you see in the software on the Huawei Watch is Android Wear, plain and simple.

What the Huawei Watch lacks in extra software — and to be clear that is not a bad thing at all — it more than makes up for in watch faces. The overwhelming desire to make this a watch for everyone means there are dozens of traditional watch faces in a variety of color schemes, each with its own unique ambient mode to complete the design. None of the included Huawei watch faces offer any of the new interactive modules Google offered in Android wear 1.3, and unlike some of the stock faces in the LG Watch Urbane there's no illusion animation to make it seem as though the faces are real. These are strictly default watch faces, and while many of them look nice it won't take most people long to wander into the Play Store for something new.

The only thing missing from the Huawei Watch interface is a better way to confirm the watch is charging. There's no charging screen like you see on so many other Android wear watches, and as a result the only thing you have to tell you the watch is charging is the tiny white icon that floats in the middle of the screen when a connection with the charger is confirmed. Because the magnetic connection to the charger is questionable unless perfectly seated, and there's no real charge screen, I've woken up several times to put the watch on only to discover there's only 10% of the battery remaining.

What you see in the software on the Huawei Watch is Android Wear, plain and simple. For better or worse, there's not a lot of extras to look at here. It's a nearly perfect representation of Android Wear as a platform, and that works for Huawei since their primary focus is on the outside.

Huawei Watch

A complete thought

Huawei Watch experience

It's not enough to look at an Android Wear watch from the outside, drag a finger across the display a few times, and say you know what this watch is all about. Huawei's big message for this watch is that you should feel like you are wearing a watch. When you look at most of the other Android Wear offerings, it's clear you're wearing a watch-shaped computer. Huawei wanted this to feel like a premium product on your wrist, something that didn't necessarily feel like technology.

For my wrist, Huawei nailed the comfort of a watch.

For my wrist, Huawei nailed the comfort of a watch. The strap feels nice, the watch body isn't too heavy, and the display is clear enough that it doesn't always register I'm looking at a display when glancing at the ambient display for the time. It is, by far, the most watch-like of the Android Wear watches out of the box. You can get reasonably close to this experience with a Watch Urbane and a nice strap, but the display difference in ambient mode is what really seals the experience.

There's no auto-brightness on this watch, so for most of the time it has been used the Huawei Watch lives at brightness level 4 — out of 5, for those unaware — and that seems to work well. The watch isn't quite bright enough to enjoy in direct sunlight, so 4 ends up being bright enough for just about everything. The lack of auto-brightness means you're stuck manually setting the brightness if you're driving at night and the light is too much or you're in a dark room and haven't enabled theater mode. Having used the Moto 360 for so long, the lack of auto-brightness is a little disappointing but doesn't pull too much from the overall experience.

Huawei really likes using the phrase "cold-forged stainless steel" in its marketing for the Watch, and the goal there is to try to convey a sense of durability and quality. Stainless steel is fairly durable, but it's not impervious to scuffs and dents. The top of my Huawei Watch has fallen victim to the same wrist bumps and accidental taps as every other Android Wear watch I have worn, and unlike those other watches you can see some clear battle damage on this Huawei Watch already. None of the marks on the top of this watch were intentional or the result of an aggressive contact with another surface, and that's a problem when considering my Moto 360 has had a car door slammed on the face and doesn't have a scratch on it. The Watch still looks nice from a distance, but when you get up close the results aren't pretty.

The proprietary charger on this watch is awful, there's just no two ways about it.

During a full day of use, putting the watch on at 5:30 a.m. every morning and taking it off at 10 p.m. every night, paired to a Moto X Pure Edition the whole time, the Huawei Watch never once got below 25 percent battery. Huawei claims this watch can get a full day, and it does exactly that. You'll need to charge it every night, but during the day you shouldn't ever need to worry about this watch, and that's how it should be. Eighteen hours should be table stakes for a smartwatch that does everything an Android Wear watch can do, and Huawei seems to have pulled that off.

As watch-like as the Huawei Watch feels on your wrist, that's how gadgety and miserable the Huawei Watch feels when you take it off. The proprietary charger on this watch is awful, there's just no two ways about it. The magnet isn't strong enough, and waking up to 10 percent battery remaining instead of it being charged like you expected would have completely ruined the experience if this watch didn't charge from dead to 100 percent in just about an hour. Fortunately you can discover the problem, fix it, and by the time you're ready to leave the watch will still get you through the day.

Huawei Watch and Moto X Pure Edition

A solid first effort

Huawei Watch The Bottom Line

There's a lot to like about the Huawei Watch. The efforts to make this wrist computer feel like a nice watch are unmatched in the Android Wear ecosystem, and with Google in control of the software the interface is only going to improve from here. It's a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall, with the charger being the only real downside in day-to-day use.

The question in need of answering after having used this watch for a while is whether the experience is worth the $349 price tag for the base model. Earlier I mentioned being able to get reasonably close to this experience with a Watch Urbane and a nice strap, and that combination would run you roughly $325 depending on where you shopped for a nice leather strap. So is the Huawei Watch really $25 better than the LG Watch Urbane? I think so. The display is fantastic, the ability to charge in under an hour is handy, and this watch feels ready to handle the next few versions of Android Wear without issue. This is not a product for someone on a strict tech budget, it's a watch for someone who wants the nicest looking Android Wear watch you can buy today. And that's even more true as you ramp up all the way to the $699

Should you buy it? Probably

Huawei Watch Box

I would recommend the Huawei Watch to anyone who wants the nicest smartwatch that looks like a watch, but this is clearly not for everyone. Slender wrists are going to feel overcrowded with this design, and compared to the wireless charging and auto-brightness of the Moto 360 2015 it's not the most capable of the Android Wear watches out there. This is all about form over function, as long as it fits your wrist. If you fit in that group of users, this is absolutely the watch for you.


Despite the original listing showing all of the variants of the Huawei Watch, it appears as though Amazon will only be selling three of them. If you are interested in using your Prime membership to get it quick, you can pick from the basic stainless steel with a leather band, the stainless steel with steel link band, or the black stainless with black stainless link band.

Purchase the Huawei Watch from Amazon

Best Buy

Best Buy will be selling a number of configurations for the Huawei Watch from the standard stainless steel and black leather band to the black stainless with black stainless links.

Purchase the Huawei Watch from Best Buy


Huawei will be selling all of the configurations of its new smartwatch, from the basic stainless steel with black leather band to the rose gold and gold link band. Huawei is offering free shipping on any order of $100 or more. Huawei's site will be the only place you can purchase all of the configurations that are available.

Purchase the Huawei Watch from Huawei

Google Store

The Google Store will only be offering the stainless steel with stainless mesh band configuration, which is priced at $399. As usual, the Google Store is also offering free shipping.

Purchase the Huawei Watch from the Google Store

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