The first thing to come to your attention, taking the Huawei Watch 2 out of the box, are the sporty looks. It has two buttons on the right, a ceramic chronograph crown and non-nonsense rubber straps that look sturdy enough.
The latest Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset and the 768MB of RAM are capable enough of powering the Android Wear 2.0 device. You don't get much variety with smartwatch internals and the Snapdragon dedicated platform is basically as good as they come.
The hardware that failed to impress is the GPS chip with its slow refresh rate. When the device was used in running and cycling, the positioning data was only collected once a minute which is of little use if you are doing interval training or preparing for a race or a long run. At least the positioning is accurate enough so if you don't change direction too frequently you will get decent mapping at the end of your workout. And after all, if you are preparing for a marathon, aiming for those 4:30-5 minutes per kilometer, maybe a smartwatch isn't the best option around.
Android Wear 2.0 gives its bearers much more independence, allowing watches to make phone calls, navigate on Google Maps and even run games on it while waiting in line at the airport or wherever. The only problem - if you have bigger fingers, the tiny icons that the watch face can fit are inconveniently small targets. When dialing a phone number, you are probably going to need to erase a wrong digit or two in the process.
Conversation with the Watch 2 is effortless. The only problem you might have is with bystanders, because even in 2017, talking to your wrist doesn't quite attract the right kind of attention.
If you still don't mind, you can even ask Google Assistant for relevant info. It works with "OK Google" but you can also hold the top button for several seconds to launch the Assistant app.
Navigation via the circular screen is well thought out - you swipe left or right to change watch faces, up to show notifications and down for Display Brightness, Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb. You can configure the watch face in various designs and colors but here is a tip: if there is a lot of sunlight where you are, a white or light-colored face would do a better job. A dark background doesn't do well in direct sunlight and if you are wearing sunglasses even checking the time can be a challenge.
The top button of the Watch 2 activates the app menu upon a single press, while the bottom one starts the Fit app. If you don't like that, you can have it your way in the Settings.
Connecting the Watch 2 to a smartphone via Bluetooth is easy enough. When devices are paired, you receive notifications on your watch if your phone is in range. After pairing for the first time via Android Wear (available on Google Play and the App Store), the Watch 2 scans the apps you have downloaded on your phone and suggests to download the their matching Android Wear 2.0 versions on the watch.
There is a rather important differentiation to be made here, regarding Wear 2.0 and previous generations of Google's smartwatch OS. The platform is not only polished on the outside, but quite different in the way it works. Pretty much all Android Wear experiences used to be fed from your phone to the wearable, essentially being developed as dedicated interfaces (Android Views) within an existing APK, running on your smartphone.
This is no longer a limitation for Wear 2.0 apps. Now they can live entirely independently on your wrist. The implications from this are many, but mostly revolve around the wearable's new-found ability to be the master of its own hardware, resources, sensors and data channels. Wear apps can now open and access a data connection on their own. While apps still employ different levels of co-dependence with your phone, we can expect more and more untethered local and connected experiences to emerge in the Android Wear realm.
We found that having all the apps on the watch has both its benefits and drawbacks. For example, Facebook Messenger gives you the opportunity to open the conversation, but you can't type a response - you either send a Like sticker or record a voice-to-text message. When using Runtastic or Strava for running the situation got even worse - the apps tracked everything you do, but the device has to be connected to Wi-Fi or 3G to sync your data. There's no data transfer whatsoever for the major fitness apps between your watch and your phone.
When the Huawei Watch 2 is connected via Bluetooth, the 'Wi-Fi Automatic' feature is activated. It lets the device use the phone's wireless connection. There's also an option to connect the wearable to another Wi-Fi network, and if you have to write a password, it just sends a notification to your smartphone to type the password. Overall the watch and your smartphone would work together pretty well regarding notifications. You can always preview everything you need to know on your watch. When you tap a notification, it automatically opens on the smartphone, if the Watch 2 itself can't read it.
The battery life of the Huawei Watch 2 managed to impress. The device lasts two days in normal use, but if you need it to last longer you also have a Battery app that gives you two options.
The first one is Smart Power Saving, which extends the battery life by some 20%. It turns off the gestures that might activate the watch face by accident. The second is Watch mode - it turns off everything, including notifications and leaves only the watch itself and the pedometer. This option lets the Watch 2 go about 20 days on a full charge, or just let you get through the day when the battery levels are already critically low.