Huawei Fit Hands-On: A Sports Watch Elegant Enough for the Boardroom

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Huawei Fit Hands-On: A Sports Watch Elegant Enough for the Boardroom

After having launched the Huawei Watch one of the best Android Wear smartwatches on the market—Huawei is turning its attention to the fitness tracker market. With the launch of the Huawei Fit, a $129 activity-tracking wearable, at an event in Germany, Huawei shows that it can design a sports watch that’s simultaneously rugged and elegant.

Unlike competing fitness trackers that bear a bulkier design to give the appearance of a sports-focused product, Fit makes no pretension that it wants to blend in with your daily life, whether you’re at the pool, gym, office or a nice restaurant for a formal dinner. With a minimalist, round face, etched tachometer marks on the glass bezel and straight, angular watch lugs, Fit can easily be mistaken for Movado’s simple, yet elegant watch designs.

The way you’d interact with Fit is through the always-on monochrome touchscreen LCD display that’s bright and easily readable under direct sunlight. Fit comes with a few preset dials for customization. The screen resolution is 208 × 208 pixels, and an ambient light sensor helps to adjust brightness. Even under direct sunlight, I had no trouble with screen readability, an issue that some smartwatches struggle with.

Compared to the Android Wear-powered Huawei Watch, you’ll immediately notice how compact Fit is. Fit has a 39.5mm face, compared to the Watch’s larger 42mm dimension, and it feels extremely light when you pick it up. But because the watch face uses an edge-to-edge glass construction, the bezel takes a sizable chunk from screen area. The usable screen is only 26.3mm.

Navigating the watch’s interface is done primarily through taps, swipes and flicks, and the process is as easy and intuitive as using a touchscreen phone. Under dry condition, Fit easily registered my taps and swipes, but it’s unclear how responsive the screen will be around sweat and water. Huawei claims Fit is waterproof up to 5ATM, and the watch is IP68 rated.

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But despite its small stature on your wrist when looking at the Fit top-down, the watch is rather bulky, measuring 9.9mm thick—the thickness itself is a quarter of the diameter of the face.

The machined aluminum construction of Fit gives the watch a sense of elegance for more formal settings, and it also makes the watch feel rugged in casual, sports-oriented environments.

“Huawei Fit is the perfect companion for every body—regardless of fitness level,” Huawei said in a statement. “It bridges the gap between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker, with a stylish design and standard band sizes so you can easily swap for a customized look.”

The casing is available in a darker Titanium Grey hue or a Moonlight Silver finish, and Huawei representatives in San Francisco informed me that Fit ships with either blue, black or orange rubber straps. Like Huawei Watch, you can also swap out the straps on Fit for any other 18mm watchband.

After the gym, for example, you can swap out Fit’s thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) straps for a leather strap or even a stainless steel band.

Performance

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Fit works with Huawei’s new app for Android and iOS called Huawei Wear. Fitness data collected through Huawei Wear can be synchronized with a number of third-party apps, including Google Fit, according to Clay Wang, Senior Director of Wearables at Huawei Devices USA, Huawei Wear on Android. Wang didn’t specify if Apple Health will be supported.

The Fit can automatically track daily activities, like sleeping, walking and running, and it can also be used in sports mode with its six-axis motion sensor to record data from cycling, treadmill workouts and swimming. Along with technology from FirstBeat, Fit also includes a training mode for runners that supports five km, 10km, half-marathon and marathon workout plans.

The sleep monitoring mode will also provide you with detailed sleep analysis, giving you a breakdown of light and deep sleep periods throughout the night. For health data, Fit will also give you calories burned, total workout time, fat burning and aerobic endurance. Fit also measures heart rate and VO2 max and recovery time.

Heart Rate Sensor

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Like leading fitness trackers on the market, Fit can measure heart rate either during the exercise period or continuously throughout the day.

“During exercise and training modes, five heart rate zones are displayed on the watch in real time,” Huawei said. “These zones are divided according to the activity: warm up, fat burning, aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance and maximum effort. When the heart rate approaches the maximum effort zone, the watch will vibrate to alert the user.”

Smart Functionality

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Like a smartwatch, Fit is also capable of displaying notifications and alerts from your phone. You can even dismiss a call directly from the Fit without having to take your phone out of your pocket.

And unlike traditional smartwatches, Fit has a long battery life. I wasn’t able to test out Fit’s battery endurance during my hands-on with the watch, but Wang informed me that the watch can last for six days of normal use and up to 30 days when in standby mode.

Unlike sports watches, like those from Garmin or TomTom, users will interact with Fit only through the touchscreen. The clean watch design means that there isn’t a button on the Fit. When asked how users can turn off Fit, Wang said that you don’t need to with the watch’s long battery life.

While I appreciate Fit’s clean touch-only interface, the lack of buttons may limit the watch’s appeal to more serious athletes. On my Garmin Fenix 3 sports watch, for example, the buttons make it easy to navigate the watch while mid-run, and buttons allow me to interact with the watch with gloves on or in wet conditions—the presence of water on the touchscreen could affect Fit’s usability when wet.

Fit can tell if it’s being worn by the user, Wang explained, and if the capacitive sensor detects that it’s not on your wrist, the watch will know to enter a lower power state to last for up to a month.

Charging Fit is easy. There is a magnetic round charging dock with exposed charging pins that hook onto the rear of the watch. A micro USB cable can be plugged into the magnetic charging puck, and Huawei claims that it takes around two hours for the Fit to be fully recharged.

Stay tuned for a full review of the Huawei Fit from Paste.