Huawei Watch Fit full review
Huawei’s latest wearable to come to Europe is the Watch Fit, a fitness tracker with an Apple Watch-esque design that’s equipped with a number of virtual fitness workouts and tracking for a range of activities.
I’ve spent some time with the Huawei Watch Fit to see how it performs in daily use – tracking exercise, testing the built-in fitness programmes, and seeing how reliable the sleep tracking and heartrate monitoring is.
Design and build
The outer metal casing of the Watch Fit comes in either black, silver or rose gold, and the silicone strap is available in Graphite Black, Mint Green, Cantaloupe Orange and Sakura Pink. The model I tested was the rose gold and pink strap combination.
Weighing in at 21g (without the strap), this is a lightweight watch that sits slim on your wrist and isn’t obtrusive like some bigger wearables.
The design is reminiscent of the Apple Watch. It’s stylish and clean, and a lot less rugged than the likes of the Huawei Watch GT. Despite being primarily a sports wearable, this watch easily blends into everyday wear.
The silicone strap on this watch isn’t the most premium thanks to its rubbery look and feel, and unfortunately Huawei doesn’t offer any leather ones at the time of writing. However, it is durable, and dirt washes off easily.
The Huawei Watch Fit boasts a 1.64in rectangular curved AMOLED display, with a resolution of 280 x 456 and a 70% screen-to-body ratio. Its bright and the colours are vivid, with good contrast – though under direct sunlight you do get a bit of a glare.
For the sake of swimming, it's also 5 ATM water-resistant. I’ve used it in pools both outdoors and indoors and encountered no lag on the touchscreen even whilst it was wet.
To control the watch, you get one manual button on the right-hand side, whilst the rest is via swiping on the touchscreen face. The digital face itself is customisable – you can tap the face to get a different colour scheme, or you can change the entire layout by browsing the watch face library on the smartphone companion app.
Software and features
Like other Huawei watches, the Watch Fit runs on Lite OS. It’s easy to navigate and features are clearly laid out, though the watch doesn’t offer any third-party app support which may be a deal-breaker for some.
You can sync up your watch to receive phone notifications, incoming calls, alarms, and the weather, and get the ability to control music playback on your phone. However, despite the Watch Fit's appearance, the limited number of features do make this wearable more of a fitness tracker than a dedicated smartwatch.
Out of the box, the watch offers 11 detailed built-in workout tracking options including walking, running, swimming, cycling and elliptical training, plus the option to add over 90 custom ones. These include yoga, spinning, HIIT and even belly dancing.
If you don’t have a training programme prepared, you can follow a number of built-in workouts which are demonstrated with the use of a virtual personal trainer. From five-minute exercises that you can do sitting at your desk, to full blown cardio blasts.
The animations on the screen are easy to follow, and the watch vibrates to let you know when each set of moves start and end. Some of the longer workouts just repeat moves on a cycle. It would be nice to have more variety – but this is something that could be changed in a software update.
The Watch Fit is also capable of oxygen saturation detection. This is useful for activities such as hiking when your SpO2 may be low due to the thinner air, or if you have a medical condition that affects your breathing, so taking this can be a reminder to take a rest if needed. Of course, this is not a medical-grade device, so don’t expect results to be as accurate as you’d get from a doctor.
There’s also a stress-tracking algorithm, which uses the heartrate monitoring to detect if stress is physically affecting your heart and, if so, it suggests breathing exercises to help regulate your body - a simpler version of the stress-based features on the new Fitbit Sense.
Tracking and performance
During walking sessions, the GPS in the Huawei Fit accurately tracks routes and provides you with your average pace, cadence, the calories burnt and max heart rate throughout the workout.
I tested the watch during swimming sessions, and it was able to provide information on my most used stroke, as well as the number of laps I did by programming the length of the pool into the watch. The watch also relays the wearer's heartrate section is during the workout.
There’s built-in auto-detect workouts, which are supposed to automatically recognise if you’re exercising but haven’t set a manual workout on the watch. This is a little unreliable though - one session I was doing a fast-paced walk, and it only asked me to turn on auto-workout around twenty minutes in.
Sleep tracking provides breakdowns of your light sleep, deep sleep, and REM, as well as analysis on your breathing via the SpO2 sensor, and the times you went to bed. It was mostly accurate, though there was one occasion during the night when I woke up, and the watch didn’t detect this – instead marking it down as light sleep.
The data logged from the Watch Fit is stored in the companion Huawei Health app. The interface of the software is clearly laid out and informative, with the exercise logs providing three pages of data including a general overview of your stats, segmented breakdowns of your workout and charts on your heart rate.
There are some improvements to be made within the Health app though. Huawei’s built-in fitness workouts aren’t logged in the app’s exercise records – though they are in the history of the watch. In addition, rivals such as Withings provide links to accredited medical pages to back up their fitness advice, as well as integration with food planning apps such as MyFitnessPal - areas that Huawei don’t currently cover.
I’ve also noticed a discrepancy in what’s recorded directly on the watch and what appears in the app when it comes to heartrate monitoring. There are numerous ‘zones’ that your BPM is in during exercise. During swimming, on the watch my heart was recorded in the ‘extreme’ zone on the watch for the entire workout, whilst the app listed it in the ‘warm-up’ zone for the whole time.
In reality, my heartrate was likely fluctuating between numerous areas. Huawei does say that heart-monitoring can be inaccurate when in water, and to wear the watch tightly to avoid this. I did do this but still got the same results.
Huawei claims a ten-day average battery life from the 180mAh cell, and largely I found this to be true. Keeping the brightness on auto and using the workout feature about three times a week (and sleep tracking a couple of times per week), it managed to hit this mark. Of course, turning up the brightness and working out more regularly drains the cell quicker.
In 30 minutes, I managed to charge the watch to a whopping 98%. This means even just a few minutes will be more than enough to charge it for a full day.
The magnetic charger itself is a little fiddly to attach to the watch, and I generally had to check to ensure it was charging properly. There were also occasions where after charging from flat, the date on the display changed from English to Mandarin. Rebooting it a couple of times did solve the issue, but it's obviously an annoyance - though hopefully one that's easy to fix with a patch.
Value for money
There’s no denying that this is a competitive price in the fitness tracker market. If you wanted to go for a premium Apple Watch, even the cheapest model (the SE) will set you back over double that, costing around £269.
For something similar when it comes to design and performance, we recommend the Amazfit GTS. It costs the same as the Watch Fit at £119, with a slightly better battery life that offers 12 days' usage on average. However, the Amazfit doesn’t include the virtual personal trainer that Huawei’s Watch Fit does.
The Huawei Watch Fit isn’t currently available in America. However, you may be able to import it from sites such as GearBest, where it's currently around $150.
Update 15/3/21: Huawei announced the Huawei Watch Fit Elegant Edition, which includes all-day SpO2 tracking, trades the standard model's polymer frame and silicone strap for a stainless steel watch frame (in silver or gold) with a fluoroelastomer strap and goes on sale in the UK on 26 March for £109.99.
The Huawei Watch Fit is a stylish and durable wearable with strong fitness tracking capabilities and a great battery life, and the built-in virtual personal trainer helps this watch stand out from the crowd.
It’s not flawless – auto-detect workouts doesn’t work properly, and the heartrate monitoring is iffy when used in water. Plus, the app could do with some refinement and additional resources to help users understand the data that the watch tracks.
However, for a watch that comes in sub-£125, this is still a great buy to consider against other premium rivals.
Huawei Watch Fit: Specs
- 46 × 30 × 10.7 mm
- Polymer fiber
- Silicone strap in pink, orange, green or black
- 1.64in AMOLED touch-screen display
- 456 x 280
- 6-axis IMU sensor
- Optical heart rate sensor
- Capacitive sensor
- Ambient light sensor
- Android 5.0 or later
- iOS 9.0 or later
- 5 ATM water-resistant
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 2.4 GHz
- Magnetic charging
- 10-day typical battery life
- 180mAh battery
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