back to article El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2

Back when Captain Scarlet was still fresh, in the 1970s, I wanted a watch that made phone calls. I think I might have drawn one on my arm with a Biro. This has been a sci-fi staple since Dick Tracy in the 1950s. Now I’ve got one, I wonder why I ever wanted it. After using Huawei’s Watch 2 every day for over three weeks, I …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it do WiFi and tethering?

    Then I can see a point to it. Portable hotspot you always have with you, and can make calls in an emergency.

    If not... meh.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Does it do WiFi and tethering?

      Given what WiFi hotspot does to my phone's battery, I can't see a watch being any use in that respect.

      Not until it can leach power from the nanites in your bloodstream, which are hijacking the excess calories from the food you eat. At which point you won't need a fitness tracker anyway, as you can eat what you want without gaining weight. Until the programming bugs mean you are no longer able to absorb any calories at all, and so you starve to death...

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Does it do WiFi and tethering?

        Hmm. BMR of 80W, smartphone consuming 2W. Means a 40 yr old can eat like a 20 yr old. I like it!

        Probably won't be able to eat whatever I like though if I've only got a few watts to play with.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another useless gadget

    A watch that can't keep time for more than 24 hours? No thanks.

    1. Mark 110

      Re: Another useless gadget

      Agree - battery on my Garmin Swim lasts 6 months and thats with it recording about 3 hours swimming a week. OK - it doesn't give me notifications from my phone. But then my phone does that . . .

      And if I go for a walk run or cycle then Strava on my phone will do record that too.

      I would be interested in some biometrics but that might just make me worry.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Another useless gadget

      Fair play - the article says it also has a low power 'watch mode' that will tell the time for 25 days. Pretty radical idea that, a watch with a 'watch mode'. And bloody expensive for something that tells the time!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another useless gadget

        >Fair play - the article says it also has a low power 'watch mode' that will tell the time for 25 days

        My Tissot is still going strong on it's battery from 3 years ago.

        1. Neill Mitchell

          Re: Another useless gadget

          My Christopher Ward Automatic is still going strong 6 years later with no battery ;)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: Another useless gadget

          "My Tissot is still going strong on it's battery from 3 years ago."

          My Christopher Ward Automatic is still going strong 6 years later with no battery ;)

          I'll raise you.

          My Citizen Eco Drive is still going strong after 10 1/2 years.*

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            My turn

            My Omega automatic hasn't needed a battery changed or charged since at least 1976.

            1. pleb

              Re: My turn

              My humble Lorus has not not needed a battery, nor has it ever stopped, in 16 years, even if I leave it in my drawer for a month or so.

              Bragging is great. But seriously, is there no hope for these new fangled 'wearables'? Would the combined power of solar and kinetic not be enough? Buzz me when they get there.

          2. Matt 70

            Re: Another useless gadget

            My sundial has been good for 4 Billion years so far... :)

          3. Samoa Tech
            Pint

            Re: Another useless gadget

            I can up add my Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay has been going for 20 years, no battery needed and no repairs.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Another useless gadget

        I wish we could buy mobile phones with a "phone mode".

  3. Peter 26
    Thumb Down

    Android Wear is shockingly bad

    I can't believe Google produced this piece of garbage that is Android Wear. It's like they decided on a bunch of features at a committee and then just shoved them all in without any thought.

    You summed it up perfectly with swipe left and swipe right lets you change the watch face???? How could anyone ever think that was a good idea and actually get out to a live release?

    The best solution for a smart watch seems to be buying one from a company that has gone bust, Pebble. They actually put some thought into how people might use it. That's a sad state of affairs for smart watches.

    My only hope at the moment is that Apple will show Google how it's done like they did with the iPhone. I feel like I'm browsing the web on a Symbian S60 when I'm using Android Wear. It has all the features, but just isn't a fun experience, it's just easier to get your phone out.

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Android Wear is shockingly bad

      Well there are some problems which prevent ideas from emerging.

      First of all, it's comparatively hard to develop for such watches, regardless of manufacturer. Typically you need to install some kind of development environment on a separate computer. Adding to that may be the time you need to get aquanted with that. That process is to slow to hack together a prototyle to satisfy an immediate need. Therefore most good ideas get lost.

      Then there are some dogmas, like having a TFT or OLED display, both needing far to much power... and having a fully blown operating system which is then cut down to displaying a clockface and some notifications. That also takes lots of power. The Pebble approach is much more sane.

      If I was to design such a device, I'd include a simple development environment, like an old school BASIC Interpreter, and make that accessible via ssh or telnet. Essentially you'd enable that on your phone, it would display its IP-Address as well as a security token you can use as a one time password. Since most applications that solve a problem can work in less than 100 LOC, that's still managable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android Wear is shockingly bad

      You summed it up perfectly with swipe left and swipe right lets you change the watch face???? How could anyone ever think that was a good idea and actually get out to a live release?

      I don't wear a watch, much less a smartwatch, so I'm probably wrong here. But I'd imagine that the thinking is that the point of a smartwatch over a traditional watch is that it can be different things depending on what you are doing. So if you're working out, you'd switch to your sport-oriented watch face, going to work you'd switch to an info-oriented watch face, and going out to dinner you'd switch to a "watchy" watch face, so you might indeed be switching watch faces several times a day.

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Android Wear is shockingly bad

      "You summed it up perfectly with swipe left and swipe right lets you change the watch face???? How could anyone ever think that was a good idea and actually get out to a live release?"

      Bizarrely, WatchOS 3 does this. So Apple thought it was a good idea. I'm not remotely convinced it is, of course. It's one of the negatives of WatchOS 3, along with the change in how you access "glances", like the music player remote controls - changed from 'swipe up" to "press the lower side button, use the wheel if the right glance isn't displayed, tap the screen to use the selected glance". Not an improvement.

    4. Sir Sham Cad

      Re: swipe left and swipe right

      That caught me out last week.

      Me: Owns a G1 Moto360 with Android Wear Original Flavour

      Chum: Owns a Huawei Watch 1 running Wear 2

      Me: Plays with Chum's watch, in doing so promptly changes and removes many watch faces forcing a resync. Wondering why the fuck it did that.

      Chum: Oh yes, it's running Wear 2, it does everything totally differently.

      Me: WHY?

    5. Orv

      Re: Android Wear is shockingly bad

      You summed it up perfectly with swipe left and swipe right lets you change the watch face???? How could anyone ever think that was a good idea and actually get out to a live release?

      To me it sounds like someone was thinking about what would look cool when someone picked up the watch and demo'd it before buying. The part they left out was a way to make it do something else later.

  4. Cuddles Silver badge

    The Watch 2 will be sold on fitness, though

    No it won't. Anyone interested in a watch for actual sports will get a Garmin or Suunto, or less likely one of a few other companies who make actual sports watches. You know, things that will last a week or more of constant use including an hour or two of GPS every day, and that are designed around actually being useful for sports rather than desperately trying to cram a phone into uselessly small package. And that are half the price if you go for the expensive model.

    The Watch 2 will be sold on fitness in the same way Fitbits are - completely useless for anyone actually interested in fitness, but a sadly catchy gimmick for people who think counting steps is actually in any way meaningful or useful. Except that at least you can get a Fitbit for £20 or so, not £400.

  5. SimonAldrich

    Reasons to be Wear-y

    I bought a refurb'd Sony Smartwatch 3 last year and I find it really useful:

    1. It cost me £70 which is cheaper than a GPS activity watch

    2. I can control Strava and the music player app from my wrist allowing me to keep my phone in my panier bag when I'm riding.

    3. I find the ability to read notifications at a glance really useful. If I want to react, I get my phone out.

    I thought I'd object to the short battery life but I just charge it when I charge my phone and it's not really an issue. For £70 I haven't regretted the purchase at all. Don't think I'd splash £300 on one though

    1. DJ Smiley

      Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

      The idea you're listening to music while riding infinitely scares me.

      While you may be one of the safety conscious who actually have headphones which allow you to hear traffic and such, or you don't ride on roads making the point mute - but 90% of cyclists who use this kit are on the road, and really shouldn't be :/

      1. SimonAldrich

        Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

        Not on the road (cycle paths) and I have a handlebar mounted bluetooth speaker, so I can definitely hear everything going on around me. Also, I'm listening to audio books, not music. Thanks for your concern though :-)

        1. Timmy B

          Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

          "I have a handlebar mounted bluetooth speaker"

          That's worse.You're like one of them kids that has their music playing on their mobile as they walk about. Just don't. I don't want or need to listen to it.

          1. SimonAldrich

            Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

            "You're like one of them kids that has their music playing on their mobile as they walk about."

            I take your point but at the speed I'm going you'd be lucky to hear more than a snippet of narrative from my audio book. I want some entertainment on my long(ish) commuting ride but I also want to be able to hear what's going on around me for my safety/benefit as well as everyone else's.

            I think listening to spoken word audio through a relatively small speaker is a fairly considerate compromise for everyone.

          2. Michael Kean

            Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

            If a motorbike can deafen me legally, I don't see why playing music should be a big deal. I'm yet to hear any cyclist reach the dB of a motorbike or a semi.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

        Well they certainly shouldn't be on the fucking pavement, like most of the idiots round here!

        1. SimonAldrich

          Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

          Cycle paths are a great thing, and where I live we're lucky enough to have a great network of them. I can get from home to my office without having to mix with motor vehicle traffic at all.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

          Have an upvote.

          Though I was under the impression the the word pavement was a foreign word that means cycle lane

          Cheers… Ishy

      3. 9Rune5

        Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

        "While you may be one of the safety conscious who actually have headphones which allow you to hear traffic and such"

        I suppose we should also ban quiet EVs while we're at it?

        I used to ride my bicycle a lot while listening to some Stones. Never had an issue. What exactly is it you think bicyclists should respond to? They will realize a car sneaking up from behind is doing 80kph and jump out of its way somehow?

        Heck, I continued my habit after I finally caved in and bought a car. Again, Stones playing on the stereos, and all the windows tightly closed. Especially in the winter when the traffic situation is even more complex.

        Do you drive your car with your head sticking out the window listening for aural clues as to what is going on? [/curious]

        (PS: making it a habit to look behind oneself before making a turn is probably good advice, regardless of the mode of transportation being chosen)

    2. MJG

      Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

      I too have a SmartWatch 3.0 and was disappointed Wear 2.0 wasn't coming to it, but with the change in the left swipe, that sounds awful, and maybe I was lucky!

      I got mine new from Amazon about 18 months ago, and I'd be lost without it. As you say battery life is fine (I had a mi band, that charged every 30 days, but I'd lose the proprietary charger), these things need to last months/years, or daily isn't an issue.

      I use it mainly for notifications and deleting junk email. I can reply to messages quickly. It stops me getting my phone out. Also helps me locate phone in the house when I've put it down and can't find it. I add notes, and reminders with voice with it (live alone, so it not that weird). Pause, skip and ff music though it (casted, etc). I run, and although the SM3.0 has a GPS built in, I use a proper garmin for that (though have used apps when I've miss placed my garmin or it wasn't charged, I prefer buttons I can press when sweating to start/stop/lap, etc).

      No it's not essential, and these £300+ devices, not a chance I'd buy one of them, but for the £80 or so I spent, I'm very happy and use it all the time, and would be a little lost without it... I would spend that again if and when this one dies though.

    3. IHateWearingATie
      Stop

      Re: Reasons to be Wear-y

      I'm seriously annoyed that nothing to beat the smartwatch 3 has come out yet. I want new shiny shiny!

      Its an ugly thing, but it does have some plus points that a lot have but few bring together in a single watch:

      - Uses the same cable to charge as my phone (micro USB) - no proprietary cable to lose or forget

      - Lasts 2 days or more

      - All the usual notification goodness

      - Inbuilt GPS so not relying on my phone for Strava tracking

      - Always on screen for looking at the time that doesn't kill the battery (why aren't there more using the transreflective approach - seems to work well on this)

      - Costs less than a mid range phone

      To be honest, I want a smartwatch 4 - everything this one does but better looking (and for Sony to start making the steel straps again so I can find one that costs less than the watch itself)

  6. Wibble

    Waterproof? How deep?

    If I can't wear a watch doing everything I do, then what's the point? Wearing it in the shower, washing a car, swimming, scuba diving....

    1. IHateWearingATie
      Gimp

      Scuba diving with a smart watch??

      Unless you're tech diving and tracking run time against your deco schedule, most people generally use some kind of dive computer rather than a watch. You'd have to take it off anyway to get your arm through the wetsuit / drysuit sleeve. And given large mound of kit needed for diving you're not saving much in the way of weight or hassle.

      Even when tech diving, I used to use a Suunto (plus a spare, depending on what I was doing) in guage mode as having depth and time in the same place was useful.

      Not sure that criticising a smartwatch for not being able to survive a scuba dive is that fair a criticism !

  7. GingerOne

    Another Sony SmartWatch 3 fan here. For £90 it's a great thing. Being able to keep phone locked away in bag and still seeing notifications and being able to control music is super useful - no more pulling phone out of pocket for a notification you don't care about.

    The built in GPS is great too, especially with turn-by-turn navigation, great for cycling.

    I just cannot see anything in these super expensive watches to warrent the extra cost. And LTE? Why? So I have to fork out another tenner a month for my watch to have data??

  8. Snarf Junky

    I thought smart watches were stupid and then my wife bought me the original Huawei watch for my birthday and I was an instant convert. I love being able to read texts, Facebook messages, control my music and when exercising Google Fit and Runkeeper are both very good. I found the step count more accurate at judging distance than the GPS on my phone. My email inbox is less cluttered as I delete crap as it comes in rather than once every couple of months when I can be bothered. I though the battery would be an issue but it lasts a day comfortably and I just pop it onto the charger by my bed at night. Best of all it looks great and I've had more people say how good it looks than a lot of other similar priced watches I've owned. The Android Wear 2 update is a great improvement too.

  9. GrumpyOldMan

    Nah

    I don't give a rats. I won't be buying one.

    If I miss a call, oh well. The world will still turn. I'll call them back. When I can be bothered.

    I have a watch that tells the time.

    My phone has GPS if I need it. But for the last 55 years I haven't needed one so why do I 'NEED' one now?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Nah

      How else do you expect google to provide you with life enhancing adverts if they dont know where you are?

      I must confess I've only ever used GPS 'services' once and that was to drive to a garage when low on car juice. It was shut.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nah

        Adverts?

        That is the very thing I go out of my way to avoid.

        The world would be a far, far better place without them, ad agencies and especially Ad slingers.

        As I've said before here, anything directly advertised to me goes straight on my 'DO NOT BUY EVER' list.

        Yours,

        Grumpy Old Man (lifetime member)

        PS,

        despite spending several days in the Hipster Capital of the world (San Francisco) I've yet to see anyone wearing a so called smart watch in the wild. (Joggers excepted)

        An answer waiting for a question? Absolutely.

  10. Sir Sham Cad

    FUGLY

    Even the Classic Mode. They just look like Casio G-Shock rejects. Ugliest smartwatch I've seen and I include the Galaxy Gear in that!

  11. GingerOne

    For a tech site there really is a worrying lack of nerds & geeks. Smartwatches - if not for us then who?

  12. A. Coatsworth

    " I even grudgingly began to see the point of the bezel"

    Which was...?

    After dissing the bezel and strap so hard, I thought some redeeming factors would be included following that phrase. I guess I missed them

    1. theprisoner

      Re: " I even grudgingly began to see the point of the bezel"

      I guess you hold the watch out so everyone can see and sooner or later someone will say "Great bezel, dude" and your happiness will be complete.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've got a Rolex Ceramic Daytona

    7 year waiting list and reassuringly expensive. And I've got one. So when I read a smartwatch review, I just give a little superior grin. I'm doing it now actually as I type this on my new retina iMac, listening to something smooth on my B&O. Tap, tap, tap, grin, grin, grin. I feel good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I've got a Rolex Ceramic Daytona

      Ah - I see those in the cheap seats have found the downvote button.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    many other other lard arses. YMMV.

    That's Hard Hat, CODE NAME HARD HAT!

    "What did you say, lard ass?"

    Hello, head quarters, hello, head quarters, this is hard head, I mean hard hat, code name hard hat. gimme that! Do you know who this is?

    "No, who is this is?"

    This is Sargent Stedenko

    "Bye, bye, lard ass"

  15. Herby

    On watches...

    Anything more than about $50.00 is jewelry. Those that spend more are just to have show-off bling on their wrists.

    Me: My watch (of around 20 years) is one my VERY-ex girlfriend gave me. Replaced the battery many times, and have a nice twist-o-flex watchband. Served me well, and I don't need much more. Yes, watches have a LONG lifetime, something many "smart watch" people haven't figured out.

  16. bjr

    I thought this category was dead

    I bought a Pebble when they came out and hated it so much that i switched to mechanical watches, I don't even want a quartz watch on my wrist, it's wind up watches for me until there is a real breakthrough in smart watches.

    Until a watch can completely replace a pocket phone there is no point to them. To do that voice recognition has to get nearly perfect, Google Assistant has made great strides but it's still no where near reliable enough to be your only interface. You also need much better batteries, if and when Lithium Air batteries become viable you will be able to stuff a large enough battery into a phone that you will be able to run LTE and GPS for a few days which is the minimum requirement, it will be a few years before we have good enough batteries, maybe longer. Finally they need to stop looking like crap, a tiny Samsung S8 (i.e. piece of curved glass where the entire surface is a screen) would be appealing but something that looks like a Casio from the 1980s is utterly unacceptable.

  17. Jeffrey Nonken
    Pint

    The Dick Tracy two-way wrist TV is cool because the only phones available are landlines wired into the wall. And they only do voice, nothing else.

    Only that ain't true no more. Damn near everybody in the world having an insanely powerful multimedia computer slash telephone slash message system that fits in your pocket and costs a couple weeks' wages (YMMV) causes a MASSIVE perspective change. We were right then, that it was cool, and we're right now, that it's not. The whole world has changed, and us with it.

    Give this watch (along with the necessary infrastructure) to somebody back then without the 40 or 50 years of intervening buildup and they'd pass out from the geekgasm, and rightly so. Don't be too hard on your younger self.

    (P.S. "Dwarves" is a plural noun. You want "dwarfs.")

  18. mikecoppicegreen

    Another Sony Smartwatch 3 fan. Its compromises work for me. I use Time, emails, agenda, step counter, music controller, calculator. I'd like an upgrade, but I've found nothing that really fits.

    Sony smartwatch 4 please.

    That being said, I'm a self confessed Sony fan.

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