If you are one of those gadget geeks who are always looking to simplify your digital life, the new Huawei Watch Buds might tickle your fancy.
The Chinese company’s latest smartwatch comes with a pair of true wireless earbuds neatly tucked under the screen so you can use them during your daily commute. A press of a latch just below the watch face will pop up a cover to unveil these earphones.
With a polished finish, the new smartwatch is a reminder of the premium look and feel that Huawei is capable of producing in its smartwatches and smartphones.
The Huawei watch itself weighs in at 66.5g (the earbuds add another 8g). This smartwatch one of the heftiest I have encountered, but it helps to give the watch a little gravitas, for want of a better word.
The new smartwach still has the same metal built from previous Huawei watches, with leather or silicone straps to match. The straps can be changed to suit your outfit of the day without the need for any watch tools.
The earbuds are also pretty simple to use. All you need to do is pair the smartwatch with your smartphone, and you are ready to go.
The whole process takes mere minutes if you are using a Huawei phone. Otherwise, download the Huawei Health app from the Huawei website (not on Google Play store) to your phone before pairing the watch.
The music from the buds is enjoyable when the noise cancellation mode is switched on. While it may not have the more expansive soundstage like top models from Sony, it is good enough for casual listening.
The Huawei earbuds still have another trick up their sleeves. You can activate noise cancelling or pause the music by triple or double-tapping the top of your ear or beside the earbuds without touching the buds itself. That certainly feels futuristic!
The experience of using the smartwatch is similar to the previous Huawei smartwatches. The new model comes with a 1.43-inch AMOLED colour screen with a resolution of 466 x 466. The smartwatch provides all the health-tracking information such as activity tracking, sleep, stress and heart rate monitoring.
By integrating earbuds into the smartwatch, some sacrifices clearly had to be made. The battery life for the smartwatch is reduced quite significantly to three days of maximum usage, compared to regular smartwatches that may last up to 2 weeks.
Listening to music with noise reduction will no doubt crater the battery life further. During my two-week trip to New Zealand earlier this month, I had to charge the watch twice, even with minimal use.
Having a cover does not help if you are into water sports either. The Huawei smartwatch itself is not IP-rated, though the earbuds come with IP54 rating, which is dust and water-resistant. Still, be careful not to be wearing them outdoors during a heavy downpour.
And while it may be convenient to pop out the earbuds to listen to music, trying to answer an incoming call may be another thing. Think about the effort to pry the earbuds out, especially if your phone is, say, kept in your bag while you’re standing in a busy train.
To be sure, the Huawei Watch Buds does offer something different by integrating two gadgets into one so you don’t have to fiddle with so many on a day out. It helps that it looks sleek and attractive too.
The problem is the asking price of S$698. For significantly less than that, you can buy the S$250 Huawei Watch GT 3 and the S$249 Sony WF-1000XM4 earphones together. That’s not to mention the the better audio performance and improved features you’d get in the separate devices.