Huawei Watch: Early impressions

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The Huawei Watch is our pick for the best-looking smartwatch to date (though it may have some competition very soon)(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

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The Huawei Watch has been a long time coming, with its first public appearance coming at Mobile World Congress back in March. More than six months later, we finally have the Android Wear device in house and – holy Switzerland, Batman! – is this one nice-looking watch.

Update: No need for early impressions, you can now read Gizmag's fullHuawei Watch review.

The Huawei Watch reminds us a little of the LG Watch Urbane, the previous winner of the (completely unofficial and subjective) "best-looking Android Wear watch" award. Only Huawei's smartwatch improves on it, with slimmer bezels and a bigger and sharper screen.

Take the best traits of the Urbane and Moto 360, splice them together, and you have this thing of beauty right here.

It is still a fairly big and thick watch, as every Android Wear watch so far has been – and it will probably be better-suited to men's wrists. But it is moving in the right direction, as the Huawei Watch's face is significantly smaller than both the LG Urbane's and first-gen Moto 360's (it's the same diameter as the smaller of the two 2nd-gen Moto 360s).

Its 286 pixel-per-inch AMOLED display looks great – this is the sharpest we've seen Android Wear look (though the first Asus ZenWatch wasn't far behind). So far it also appears to join the Urbane, G Watch R and ZenWatch in having good battery life even with its always-on display setting turned on (something the Apple Watch doesn't do).

Performance is as zippy as it's been in every Snapdragon 400-running Android Wear watch (that's most of them), which is to say it's very good, and notification vibrations hit a sweet spot as well: pronounced enough that you'll feel them, but not so obnoxious that they'll distract you if you're in the middle of something else.

We'll have much more on the Huawei Watch in our full review, including more detailed battery life impressions. In the meantime, though, this looks like the smartwatch to beat. Stunning looks, great display and simple-yet-powerful Android Wear software (and it's even now compatible with iPhones). Huawei will have much more competition in this space very soon, though, so stay tuned.

Huawei Watch pre-orders are now shipping. You can find it at Huawei's US store, Amazon, Best Buy and the Google Store, starting at US$349 for the leather band version you see in this article.

Product page: Huawei

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