Huawei Watch Elegant Review: Is style enough?
Huawei’s aim with the Huawei Watch Elegant was to create a "stylish" wearable. It (mostly) succeeds on that front, but in a huge pack of Android Wear watches, it otherwise doesn’t really stand out.
The smartwatch space is one where we haven’t really seen a lot of evolution over time. On the Apple Watch side of the fence, Apple’s sole point of innovation has been a bevy of new watchbands. Pebble has tried desperately hard to innovate as the genuine minnow in the space, and Samsung has made numerous tilts at Tizen-based smart watches such as the generally excellent Gear S2.
In the Android Wear space, however, Google’s relatively tight edicts on what an Android Wear device can actually do have led to an awful lot of sameness, leaving personal style the only real differentiator. It’s into this void that the Huawei Elegant is pitched, as a smartphone designed specifically for women.
|Huawei Watch Elegant|
|Screen size||1.4in 400x400|
|Heart rate sensor||Yes|
Upsides: Why you’d want the Huawei Watch Elegant
- You really like the style: Style is what the Huawei Watch Elegant and its companion Ladies watch, the Huawei Watch Jewel, sell themselves on, and that’s a very personal statement kind of thing. I can’t pretend to be a lady, even with a serious effort at shaving, but testing it around the finder offices, the Watch Elegant drew a wide variety of responses, with some liking the general design, while others recoiled. For something as personal as a watch, it’s important that you like the style a lot, especially at this price point.
- It’s very nicely built: Most smartwatches betray their technology company underpinnings with stock black designs that aren’t awful, but aren’t otherwise notable either. The construction and design of the Huawei Watch Elegant stands out as a genuinely well-constructed piece of jewellery, which is exactly what you should expect from a "fashion" wearable.
- It’s a great way to stay notified: The use of notifications remains the key reason to buy any smartwatch. This isn’t unique to the Huawei Watch Elegant by any stretch of the imagination, but in this role it does work well.
Downsides: Why you might not want the Huawei Watch Elegant
- Style may be off-putting: This is very much a personal call, but just as many of the ladies in the finder office didn’t like the Huawei Watch Elegant as those who did. The notable thing here is that the dislike group tended to really hate the style, noting the fussy arrangement of crystals around the watch face and the white strap. The alternate Ladies watch, the blue-strapped Huawei Watch Jewel, was described by one of our test respondents as being in "crazy high-school art teacher territory".
- Google's tight grip on Android Wear stifles creativity: The Huawei Watch Elegant may or may not appeal visually, but beyond that and Huawei's own custom watch faces, there's not enough here to differentiate it from much cheaper Android Wear devices. That's a problem, because it means that there's not a lot of innovation in this particular space.
- Big for a "ladies" watch: It’s not an absolute rule, but many watches with an eye towards the women’s market tend towards smaller bodies. The Huawei Watch Elegant is relatively bulky in that respect, and may not suit your own style simply for that reason.
- Ordinary battery life: It’s the curse of most smartwatches, but the reality of the current app-ready Smartwatch world is that you’ll only reliably get a single day’s fair use out of them. Two days is feasible if you don’t get many notifications or use apps at all, but in that case, why are you buying a smartwatch? Huawei’s charger is heavily reminiscent of Apple’s circular Apple Watch charger, and it works well, but it needs to, because you’ll be using it frequently.
Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?
It’s clear that the Huawei Watch Elegant is aimed at the female market, and it’s equally clear that it’s only going to be a truly great choice if you find the two available styles match your own sense of style. If you’re a regular watch wearer curious about the world of wearable smart watches but wary of wearing anything too "techy" on your wrist, this could be a good choice.
The Huawei Watch Elegant’s asking price puts it above every other smartwatch in the market save for Apple’s Watch and Watch Edition timepieces. That gives you a very wide choice of options at lower price points. You could opt for the Apple Watch Sport, but that’s a more garishly designed smartwatch with a choice of neon-styled elastomer bands.
Samsung offers up the Gear S2 as its most stylish smartwatch running on its own Tizen platform. There are a wealth of other Android Wear smartwatches with a dab of style under the Huawei Watch Elegant’s asking price, as well as the generally less stylish but much less expensive Pebble options. Alternatively, you could also opt for a hybrid fitness tracker/watch, such as the Fitbit Blaze.
Where can I get it?
The Huawei Watch Elegant and Huawei Watch Jewel have an Australian asking price of $699. They’re both available through Myer and Harvey Norman, as well as "selected" jewellers and Huawei Kiosk stores.