Due to various reasons, Huawei and its sub-brand Honor aren’t active in the smartphone space in India anymore. However, that hasn’t held the company back in allied product segments, including wearables and audio products, in which it remains present. Wearables make up a popular and fast-growing segment, particularly in the affordable price range where many of the company’s new launches are. Among the most recent new products from the company is the Huawei Watch Fit.
Priced at Rs. 8,999 in India, the Huawei Watch Fit is marketed as a smartwatch rather than a fitness band, even though the design and features might have you think otherwise. It’s also priced a bit higher than many products with similar features, but there are a couple of key factors that help set it apart. Is this the best fitness-oriented wearable you can buy under Rs. 10,000? Find out in this review.
Huawei Watch Fit design
Smartwatches and fitness trackers offer many of the same functions, but differences come down to physical design and software capabilities.The Huawei Watch Fit has a design that is unique enough to not quite let it fall into either category. The large AMOLED screen and thick casing make it feel like a smartwatch, but the narrow form factor and fitness-centric features offer functionality that’s more in line with what you’d expect from a fitness tracker.
The Huawei Watch Fit has a 1.64-inch AMOLED touch screen with a resolution of 280×456 pixels. That makes for a pixel density of 326ppi, and a screen-to-body ratio of 70 percent. It’s available in three colours in India – black, blue, and pink – and comes with matching detachable rubber straps depending on the colour you pick. The smartwatch has a single button on the right. Charging contact points and the optical sensor for heart rate and blood oxygen measurements are on the bottom.
I found the Huawei Watch Fit to be comfortable to wear, and it was light enough to be unobtrusive even while sleeping. The single button on the watch controls power, opens the app drawer if you’re at the home screen, and jumps to the home screen from anywhere else within the watch’s interface. The device comes with a charging cable which magnetically attaches to charging contact points on the bottom. It stayed in place securely on a flat surface while charging, and wasn’t easily knocked loose.
The Watch Fit weighs 21g without straps, and has various sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, capacitive sensor to wake the watch screen with a lift gesture, ambient light sensor, and optical heart rate sensor. There is built-in GPS as well, and the body is 5ATM water resistant. The primary mode of connectivity with your smartphone is Bluetooth, although the version has not been specified.
Huawei Watch Fit software, interface, and app
The Huawei Watch Fit runs its own custom operating system and UI, and links with the companion app over Bluetooth (available for Android and iOS) to synchronise fitness and health data. For this review, I used an Android smartphone with the app installed on it.
The user interface of the Huawei Watch Fit was simple and clean, with touch and tap gestures that allowed me to navigate through the various screens, working in conjunction with the physical button.
The AMOLED screen is put to good use on the Huawei Watch Fit, with most backgrounds being black to make content stand out and conserve battery life. The apps on the smartwatch are fixed and largely cover the basics; there is no way to install any third party apps. Most of the apps on the smartphone I was using the Watch Fit with were supported for notifications, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and of course, the Phone and Messages apps.
I quite liked how sharp and premium the Watch Fit’s user interface looked, with everything well optimised for the high-resolution AMOLED screen. Settings and notifications were easy to reach, fitness and health data was just a few swipes away, and it was convenient to start workouts and measure my heart rate and SpO2 level. You can usefully also see weather updates, control music on your paired smartphone, set timers and alarms, page your paired smartphone, and more.
Many of the preinstalled watch faces can be selected directly on the Huawei Watch Fit, but you can also use the Huawei Health app to download and install custom watch faces from the face gallery for free. Many of these felt poorly designed and tacky, but there are some useful, good-looking watch faces to choose from as well. These can provide plenty of information alongside the time, such as steps taken, heart rate, and more.
The Huawei Health app works well and the connection between the smartwatch and the smartphone was stable in my experience. The app syncs and stores health and fitness data within the app for easy reference. You can start workouts directly from the app, configure key device and health monitoring settings, update the watch’s firmware, and more. It’s among the better apps for affordable smartwatches and fitness trackers you can find right now.
Huawei Watch Fit performance and battery life
Although pitched as a smartwatch, the Huawei Watch Fit looks and feels more like a premium fitness tracker. With a large, sharp AMOLED screen, the hardware to track most key health and fitness parameters, and functional second-screen capabilities, this device is impressive on paper for the price. However, the Huawei Watch Fit didn’t take very accurate measurements when tracking some parameters. On the other hand, smartwatch functionality proved to be more reliable, and I had no trouble with push notifications from apps, caller identification, or music controls.
The Huawei Watch Fit can track an impressive 96 different types of workouts, including common ones such as indoor and outdoor walking and running, cycling, swimming, rowing, and elliptical, to name a few. There are also plenty of niche options including various dance forms, yoga, pilates, strength training, various martial arts, and popular sports such as tennis, cricket, football, and more.
Other categories of activities include watersports, extreme sports such as parkour, and winter sports such as snowboarding. It’s difficult to say how accurate and useful the tracking will be with some of these, but it’s nice to know that the Huawei Watch Fit has some kind of understanding of how you’ll be moving your body during such niche and specialised activities.
For my review, I stuck to tracking the basics of exercise, including indoor and outdoor walks, and stair climbing in my apartment building. In our manual step counting test, the Huawei Watch Fit recorded 1,071 steps when I had manually counted 1,000 – a rather high error margin of around 7 percent. For other tests, I used an Apple Watch Series 5 to compare data, and the differences were similarly wide.
While walking in a covered area, the Huawei Watch Fit recorded around 75 more steps per 1,000 than the Apple Watch. The distance calculation reflected an even wider difference of 1.14km on the Huawei device for 1km on the Apple Watch. It should be noted that the Watch Fit does allow for manual calibration of distance for indoor walks, in order to improve tracking accuracy over time.
The Huawei Watch Fit has a GPS sensor, which is activated for any outdoor distance-based workouts and activities such as walks and runs. I expected this to result in better accuracy, but there was still a considerable difference in distance recordings – the Huawei device recorded a distance of 1.18km when the Apple Watch recorded 1km, for a distance that Google Maps estimated to be just a little under 1km.
On the whole, the Huawei Watch Fit’s fitness tracking is a lot less accurate than what I’ve experienced with more affordable devices with similar features, such as the Realme Watch 2 Pro.
I also found SpO2 readings to be quite inaccurate when compared to those of a decent pulse oximeter; the Huawei Watch Fit provided readings of 96-97 percent blood oxygen saturation, while the pulse oximeter showed readings of 98-99 percent.
Heart rate readings on the Huawei Watch Fit were accurate, matching what I could see on both the pulse oximeter and the Apple Watch. Sleep tracking was also reasonably accurate on the Huawei device, and the data is a fair bit more detailed than what you can get from an Apple Watch.
Battery life on the Huawei Watch Fit is very good, with the device running for around nine days on a single charge with regular use. It’s possible to get a bit more out of the battery by turning off regular heart-rate monitoring and only allowing limited use of GPS tracking, for example. However, battery life is decent even if your usage tends to draw more power. Charging is convenient and quick with the included cable.
The Huawei Watch Fit has a lot going for it, including good design and hardware, a very good screen, sophisticated and thoughtful software, and an app that keeps everything running smoothly. However, it falls short in one major department: fitness tracking. The error margins for step and distance tracking were too high, and blood oxygen saturation tracking seemed completely arbitrary in our tests. While heart-rate and sleep tracking were decent in my experience, this isn’t quite enough to establish the fitness credentials of this device.
As a smartwatch, the Huawei Watch Fit is reasonably good, so it might be worth considering for its design and ease of use. However, as a fitness tracker, the Watch Fit falls short, even when compared to more affordable competition, including the Realme Watch 2 Pro. Options such as the Mi Watch Revolve Active might also be worth considering at around this price.