Huawei has just officially introduced its first Android Wear smartwatch, the aptly named Huawei Watch, and it's getting some crazy attention. Well deserved attention, at that, because it's the best looking Android Wear watch we've seen yet.
Sadly we're not expecting to see it on store shelves any time soon, Huawei executives said tentatively "middle of the year," but that doesn't stop us getting our hands all over it in Barcelona at MWC. And that's exactly what we did.
Huawei isn't playing around with its first entry into the smartwatch arena. With a body constructed from cold-forged stainless steel and a Sapphire Crystal lens, this is about the closest in terms of construction and materials of any smartwatch out there right now to traditional timepieces. Traditionally watches aren't disposable items. You buy one, you wear it every day, you keep it for years. Whether the internals or the support from Android Wear continues that long isn't the discussion for today, but you should be able to do that with the Huawei Watch at least from the perspective of the hardware.
One pretty neat design touch is the crown that's been moved up to the 2-o-clock position on the watch. Huawei says this is because it's a button, not a traditional watch crown that would be turned. And you know what? It's the right decision. Your hand (presuming you're wearing it on your left wrist) will naturally curl around the bezel, so it works.
Moving on to the display, and CEO, Richard Yu, proudly declared the Huawei Watch to have the best looking screen of any current Android Wear watch. At 400x400 it's a higher resolution than the competition and it's extremely nice to look at. Sat next to the Moto 360 with a slightly larger and 320x290 resolution display, the difference is noticeable. Huawei Watch has a 42 mm diameter, so the whole watch face is narrower than the 360. And it's not that thick, either. Compared to a traditional watch, it's about on par.
In tandem with this is the news that Huawei will offer narrower watch bands targeted at female buyers. Traditional watches often feature narrow bands for this target market, and Huawei is going to be doing the same. The bands on display at the event showcase just some of the ideas they're working on right now, including a bunch of metal, mesh options, traditional metal links and various leather options in different finishes and colors. But with a standard 18mm lug you're free to swap it out for your own favorites.
Oh, and folks will want to know about the charger. Huawei Watch charges with magnetic pins on the back, similar to several other current Android Wear watches. It has a little hockey puck style charging dock you sit it in, and that's about it. No fancy wireless charging or anything like that.
To say we're impressed with the Huawei Watch would be accurate. The demo units available were locked to demo mode, so we haven't been able to see first hand Huawei's activity tracking app just yet. But what we have seen has left a mark. The combination of design and materials has produced something special. The biggest disappointment is that we'll have to wait until potentially June/July to wear it.