In recent years, the market for smartwatches has seen a period of relative uniformity with features and looks that are comparable to those of smartphones. With the Huawei Watch Buds, a full-featured timepiece with magnetically fastened wireless earphones inside its case, Huawei made the decision to breathe new life into the market. The final product wasn’t the first of its sort, but it was the first from a significant tech company, and as such, it merited our attention.
The Watch Buds provide a premier wristwatch experience with Harmony OS 3.0, active health and sports monitoring in a stainless steel shell, looking like something out of a James Bond movie with the deployable earphones elegantly mounted below the screen.
For those who dislike carrying their earphones or frequently lose them, the idea as a whole looks like a terrific idea. So how does the wristwatch change as a result of the new feature, and how effective are these small earbuds? Below is what we discovered.
Design of Huawei Watch Buds
The big size of the Huawei Watch Buds makes it unsuitable for people with smaller wrists. In fact, with a 47mm case and a 15mm thickness, it’s the biggest smartwatch we’ve ever reviewed. Space is limited, of course, and we also have to consider the fact that there are a set of wireless earphones within the timepiece, which are 10mm thick on their own. The total package weighs 66.5 grammes, which is more than the bulky Apple Watch Ultra and the 46mm Huawei GT 3 Pro (all of which weigh 54 grammes) (61g).
The 1.43-inch, large AMOLED display offers vibrant colours and excellent viewing angles. You receive automatic brightness management and Always-On display (AOD) features, much like the majority of high-end Huawei smartwatches. While the watch feels substantial and has a stainless steel body, the weight is well distributed.
The watch’s construction is excellent, and the strap and case are made of high-quality materials that did not exhibit any indications of wear during the evaluation period. Under the 6 o’clock position on the watch dial, a clasp mechanism raises the screen to show the earphones. The mechanism is sturdy and cannot be accidentally touched to open. The crown button on the right side of the shell is the only other button there is. The crown feature of Huawei’s GT 3 series watches allows you to scroll, however this one does not.
Now for the most intriguing part: the tiny earphones that are contained inside the watch. They have a metal alloy housing that feels sturdy yet light, and they are formed like bullets. Each earbud has a size and weight of 4 grammes and 22 10 10 mm. It’s an engineering marvel that Huawei was able to place the drivers, microphones, sensors, and batteries in such a small box considering how little they are—about the size of four silicone ear tips piled on top of one another.
The closed Watch Buds have an IPX7 rating, and the earbuds have an IPX4 grade for splash resistance. It is a sacrifice in comparison to the majority of high-end smartwatches, which offer appropriate water resistance certifications and enable you to swim carefree. But, there aren’t too many timepieces on the market that have a set of wireless earphones within a compartment.
The lack of a second silicone watch band is one aspect of the packing that I personally dislike. Given that this watch is intended for runners and other active individuals and that the leather band would undoubtedly deteriorate with frequent use, Huawei ought to have included an extra strap in the package.
Features of Huawei Watch Buds
Huawei Watch Buds, a smartwatch, includes the standard set of health tracking features, such as continuous heart rate monitoring and SpO2 tracking with Huawei’s TruSeen 5.0 optical PPG sensor, similar as the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro series. It is claimed that the eight photosensors and the updated algorithms would produce more accurate health data processing. Also, you receive accurate stress and sleep monitoring tools, breathing exercises, and other tools to help you unwind during the day. The sleep tracking tool offers extensive breakdowns of your sleep phases, an overall score, and sleep apnea monitoring.
With dedicated running and marathon training programmes, Huawei Watch Buds can track over 80 different sports modes to help you achieve your unique objectives. You can monitor your runs and walks in real-time with the watch’s built-in GPS module. If you’re a runner, you can also obtain Vo2 Max readings, exercise recovery plans, and the opportunity to connect your runs with Strava.
The Huawei Health app is downloadable via the App Gallery, Google Play store, and App Store, to name a few. With more in-depth measurements and visuals for each area, it delivers a nice design style for your health tracking records. The app’s device sections allow you to control the watch and earbud settings as well. There are several watch faces available, some of which you may customise with your own complexity, albeit the most of them are premium options. The EQ may be set up on the earphones tab.
Unfortunately, the watch lacks cellular connectivity and a speaker, but the extra earphones make up for these shortcomings. NFC is present and functional with Huawei Wallet, although this feature varies by area. Also, you have fundamental notification management with pre-set rapid reply choices. The watch also has a weather app, audio controls, a remote shutter, and the option to add a number of your favourite contacts for convenient calling through the headphones.
Moving on to the earphones, you aren’t making many sacrifices in terms of features compared to a conventional pair of wireless buds. AAC, SBC, and Huawei’s own L2HD audio codecs are all supported. The Huawei Health app also offers an EQ adjustment option for more precise control over the audio output.
Each earbud includes twin microphones and active noise cancellation (ANC) to help block out external sounds. Capacitive touch control regions with programmed double- and triple-tap options are located on the extremities of the bud. Two wireless charging rings assist supply power to each of the 30mAh batteries inside the buds while they charge wirelessly in their cradle within the watch.
The earphones have programmable double and triple tap controls. You may touch practically anywhere on your earlobes, and the earbuds will automatically detect the taps thanks to their built-in sensors. These gestures operate on both the earbuds themselves as well as on the sides of your ears.
The adaptive identification technology is another cool feature since it eliminates the need for separate left and right earbuds because they can automatically transition between channels and fit both sides of your ears. Throughout our testing, it performed as promised by calibrating the earphones depending on your head movement and body position.
If your phone is at the other end of the room, you can still answer calls on your associated smartphone by inserting the earbuds into your ears without touching anything on the watch or on your phone.
The earbuds have a wear detecting feature that pauses or restarts media when they are put in or taken out of your ears. The find my earbuds function, which plays a loud melody to assist you discover them if you misplace them, and an ear tip fit test are also included. Also, you may send songs to the watch for offline listening, however this function is limited to specific EMUI and Android phones.
The fact that the buds only work with your linked smartphone and the watch at the time of writing this review is a major drawback. Although the option is not now accessible, Huawei does pledge to extend the connectivity possibilities to other devices like laptops and tablets with a future software update.
performance of Huawei Watch Buds
We are happy to announce that Huawei Watch Buds operate similarly to Huawei GT 3 series watches in terms of tracking health. This translates to accurate tracking of your heart rate, SpO2, sleep, and stress levels in addition to your step and running statistics. On its wearables, Huawei provides some of the more specific health and fitness monitoring stats, along with stuff specifically designed for runners. Specialty measures like pace, stride length, cadence, and VO2 Max readings—all common metrics on specialist runner-centric watches—are an extra advantage for runs.
The Huawei Watch Buds’ built-in GPS tracker is precise enough to trace your runs and walks even in the middle of a crowded metropolis, and it can quickly latch on to your location. Following your exercises, you receive measurements for your recovery heart rate as well as heart rate readings for your heart rate and heart rate zones. You should treat the generated data with caution because Watch Buds is not a medical gadget and merely provides an indicator of your well-being and activity level, as is the case with other smart wearables.
On the Watch Buds, Harmony OS 3.0 runs quickly and smoothly, and all of the built-in applications are excellent. Unfortunately, unless you have a Huawei phone, there is no way to install third-party apps, and even then, the selection is quite small (Petal Maps, Spotify controller, and a pill reminder app). Although you get all the essentials to get by, like call and notification management, caller ID, and the typical suite of smartwatch applications and capabilities, this is not a smartwatch that will completely replace your phone like the Samsung Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch.
As you can just see incoming messages and alerts with the ability to give a quick predefined response that is incompatible with all apps, notification handling on this site is not optimal. The Watch Buds’ connectivity was strong and sufficient on the Android, iOS, and Huawei phones I tested. My comprehensive health and exercise statistics were easily accessible on the Huawei Health app, and the background syncing worked nicely.
While though audio assessments might be subjective, the Watch Buds earbuds sound quite nice considering their small size. Yet, despite how wonderful these little buds sound, they are no match for earbuds with bigger drivers, such as Huawei’s own Freebuds Pro 2. Without having too many obvious frequency ranges, the default sound profile is balanced.
In order to assist you fine-tune your sound according to these subgroups, Huawei is now providing the opportunity to adjust your EQ sound profile with Bass boost, Treble boost, and Voices profiles via the Huawei Health app. The earphones’ call quality was fine in peaceful settings, but in noisy places, the person on the other end had a hard time hearing me.
Also, the earbuds have HD call, which aims to improve speech quality during calls, however I didn’t detect a significant change when it was turned on. In my testing, the gesture controls were faultless, and I was startled to find that they were frequently precise even when I was tapping near my ears rather than directly on the earphones.
A significant reduction in static noise is delivered by active noise cancellation (ANC), which is effective. Although it falls well short of what you’d receive from a pair of over-ear headphones, it’s still adequate for a little pair of earbuds. Moreover, the Huawei Health app offers an EQ tweaking option. The earphones’ loudness is a little lower than that of the majority of the solo buds we’ve examined in recent months.
Battery life of Huawei Watch Buds
The Watch Buds battery has a capacity of 410 mAh, which is lower than that of the Huawei GT 3 Pro (530 mAh), and is shared by the watch and headphones. With three exercises, all health activity monitoring settings active on the watch, and frequent alerts, I was able to get one week’s worth of use out of the battery.
It far surpasses watches like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watches and is extremely astounding for a 2-in-1 gadget. The total usage period is reduced to just three days when the earbuds are used more actively, which is still longer than Samsung’s and Apple’s products.
Huawei WatchBuds’ battery life is inferior to that of the Huawei GT 3 Pro when used as a standalone smartwatch. While the earphones on this device won’t last you more than three hours of listening, a great set of earbuds may easily last you over five or six hours of usage with their charging case included.
With the Watch Buds, which contain a set of wireless headphones, Huawei is providing something that no other wristwatch from a well-known company can. The earbuds sound fine on their own and are a true engineering wonder, but they do not compare to Huawei’s FreeBuds flagship models in terms of sound quality. The fact that you can only use them with your linked smartphone and watch is their major drawback.
The sound coming from the small earphones impressed me more during my time using the Watch Buds than the wristwatch component itself. With a week shorter battery life and a noticeably bigger and heavier case to accommodate the integrated earphones, Watch Buds is essentially a Watch GT 3 Pro.
Because there are few options from the well-known companies and because they are portable and have excellent quality, Huawei should think about introducing these earbuds to the market on their own. Although Watch Buds has the usual range of capabilities for a dedicated wristwatch, its lack of waterproofing means that it is less durable than other expensive watches.
Given that you can purchase a high-end wristwatch and yet have money to spare for an excellent pair of earphones, Huawei Watch Buds at a price of €499/£449 is a difficult sell. The majority of consumers would be better served by purchasing their wristwatch and wireless earbuds separately, but those looking for a fresh approach to smart wearables may want to take a look at Huawei’s 2-in-1 design.