Huawei's first smartwatch – simply called the Huawei Watch – was one of our favorites in the first-wave crop of smart wrist wearables. Let's examine how the second generation Huawei Watch 2 compares to the first.
Note that in the comparison below, we're including both variants of the Huawei Watch 2: the base model (titled simply Huawei Watch 2, though sometimes it is referred to as the "sport" model for clarity's sake) and the Huawei Watch 2 Classic. Excepting their aesthetic, the two watches are very comparably equipped. In cases where they share specs, only the base model Watch 2 is shown.
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As a whole, the second edition is definitely the bulkier of the two. It has a larger, more pronounced bezel and a bigger, thicker case. It will stand 10 percent higher off the wrist.
Build (watch face)
The first-generation watch was more jewelry-like in its delivery and materials. It had a stainless steel case and a sapphire display covering.
The second-generation watches are certainly more athletic-looking, especially the plastic (with ceramic) Watch 2. The Watch 2 Classic is more evocative of a traditional analog sport watch with its steel-and-plastic casing. Both displays were downgraded from nature's third-hardest mineral to still-capable Gorilla Glass 3.
The original watch was available in three metallic finishes. This year's new watches offer more options, but not in all configurations.
Colors for the Watch 2 depend on whether you're eyeing a Bluetooth-only or a Bluetooth + LTE variant. Black is available in both versions, while orange is only available with the LTE option, and gray is exclusive to the Bluetooth edition. Meanwhile, the Classic only comes in one dark metallic gray tone.
This year, Huawei nixed the (arguably more sophisticated) stainless steel band option. The Classic has a hybrid leather band that's reinforced with a rubbery material on the interior, while the Watch 2 ships with a rubber-like plastic "sport" band.
On the plus side, all of Huawei's watches have removable, swappable bands. If you don't like the bundled option, you can seek an alternative from a third party supplier.
Despite its greater bulk, the Watch 2 has a smaller display. The older watch display is 27 percent larger.
The Watch 2 display has a higher resolution overall, which should mean a slightly sharper viewing experience.
Both generations have always-on display options. The newer version also adds on a low-power mode for keeping time only, without smartwatch functionality.
Huawei has not taken a cue from the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch or the rotating bezel on Samsung's smartwatches. There are no physical ways of scrolling or twisting to navigate through the watch's content. Instead, you're limited to the touchscreen and side buttons.
The Watch 2's IP68 water resistance rating is slightly higher than that of the older edition.
The Huawei Watch 2 (but not the Watch 2 Classic) is available with standalone cellular service, so you can use it to make calls without your phone.
Heart rate sensor
Either generation can take your pulse.
The second edition adds built-in GPS.
Another new addition: NFC, which enables mobile payments. With the new Watch 2, you'll be able to shop with a swipe of the wrist and Android Pay.
The Watch 2 has a larger battery, but it also has more power-hungry features. We'll run a battery test on one in our full-length review.
The Watch 2 ships with the latest version of the Android Wear operating system. On the other hand, the original Huawei Watch is expected to get the 2.0 update in the coming weeks.
The Huawei Watch is launching in several markets, including the US, in April.
Huawei has yet to confirm US pricing for the second edition of its smartwatch, but we can venture a wild guess based on the European price tags: €329 for the Watch 2, €379 for its LTE variant and €399 for the Classic. That's about US$345, $400 and $420, respectively. They're not inexpensive, but if you buy an LTE version, you may be able to nab a favorable payment plan from your carrier.
If you are still considering the first Huawei Watch, don't pay the full asking price. Many retailers that still have them in stock are offering them at considerable discounts.
We'll post a full-length review on the Huawei Watch once it's released. In the meantime, read up on our hands-on impressions.
Correction: The original version of this comparison omitted ceramic from the Huawei Watch 2 (standard) list of build materials.View gallery - 19 images