Honor Magic Watch 2: the Huawei Watch GT 2 on a budget
Honor has today launched its own version of the Huawei Watch GT 2, and with the promise of a highly competitive price, it is arguably the better buy.
Powered by the exact same Huawei Kirin A1 chipset, with the exact same (up to) 14-day battery life, the exact same user interface and almost identical features (read my Watch GT 2 review to gen up), the Honor Magic Watch 2 is differentiated by a different set of strap options and an ever-so-slight change in appearance.
Some of the fitness options are presented differently, but essentially the watch works the same for less money (bar any temporary sales, like Huawei’s Black Friday promotions).
Two variants to choose from
Two versions of the watch are available, in 42mm and 46mm sizes. The latter offers Bluetooth voice communication, allowing hands-free voice calls to be made and received from the watch – up to 150 metres away from your phone.
The screen resolution of the 42mm watch is 390×390 pixels (1.2-inch), rising to 454×454 pixels (1.39-inch) on the 46mm one.
The 46mm watch offers 14-day battery life, while the 42mm version tops out at seven days. Both have the option of turning on an always-on display, although this reduces the overall battery life by around half.
For outdoor readability, the screen has a peak brightness of 800 nits.
There’s 4GB of storage onboard (2GB usable as storage for audio), so you can transfer MP3s to the watch and listen to music independently of your smartphone.
The watches will be compatible with both Android and iOS, and the watch – like its Huawei counterpart – runs on its own operating system.
There are a totally different set of watch faces on the Honor watch, with only a couple of faces that are the same on both.
Going forward, owners of either the Huawei or Honor watch should get the option to install customised watch faces, as is already possible for users in China.
Like Huawei, the Honor watch comes with a gallery watch face that allows you to pick a photo to use as a wallpaper, and then overlay an analogue or digital clock on top.
I had a chance to see the Magic Watch 2 in the flesh at a pre-briefing in London, and even to put the watch next to a Huawei Watch GT 2. As you can see, the similarities are uncanny.
Honor as a brand is all about offering extra value to its more youthful market, so I am hopeful that the price will undercut the circa-£200/£230 pricing of the Huawei watch.
Given the fact that you’re really not compromising anything at all by going for something with Huawei’s sub-branding, it could make the choice a no-brainer.
Honor offers 15 fitness modes, complete with voice guidance that can tell you when you’re not working hard enough, or when you need to slow down and take a pause.
A virtual pace-setter can keep track of your pace in real-time, while the VO2 Max monitoring keeps check of your blood oxygen level and can advise on a suitable rest period, as well as recovery time.
The watch also features heart rate monitoring, plus sleep tracking that counts both full sleep periods and any naps in-between.
Via the handset-based Health app, it can track different sleep disorders and help guide to towards a better level of rest.
The watch can also track stress levels, and offer breathing exercises.
Finally, in addition to hands-free voice communication on the 46mm watch, both watches can also relay notifications from your phone – such as incoming messages and other alerts.
I hope to have a Magic Watch 2 to properly compare against the Watch GT 2, but from my first impressions the one to choose will mostly come down to price, or your personal preference on the individual watch/strap design.
- Euro pricing will be from €179 for the 42mm watch and from €189 for the 46mm watch. As soon as UK pricing is announced, it will be updated here.
The watch goes on sale December 12th.
More info: Honor