Huawei Fit hands-on: fitness tracker in smartwatch clothing

Smartwatches are having a hard time this year. While fitness trackers remain hot, smartwatches, says IDC, are not. That is perhaps why Huawei’s latest wearable device isn’t being billed as a smartwatch. The Huawei Fit, after all, is, for all intents and purposes, a fitness tracker. It just happens to have a circular touchscreen, much like a smartwatch. We put it on our wrist and take it for a spin to see if this new Fit has what it takes to run with the older players in this league. And suffice it to say, it has a lot going for it.

Design-wise, the Huawei Fit looks like smartwatch but definitely doesn’t quack like one. The circular body is made from one whole piece of aluminum. There aren’t even any buttons, which allows it to boast of an IP68 dust and water resistance rating. It almost looks like the Pebble Time Round except for two important differences. One, the display is totally monochrome. Two, it uses a touch-sensitive, reflective, and backlit LCD screen. LCDs usually don’t offer the best visibility outdoors, but the combination of those features allows the Huawei Fit to offer a decent performance. And yes, that monochrome LCD is always on.

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The Huawei Fit offers all the bells and whistles you expect in a fitness tracker. Because, after all, it is a fitness tracker. It automatically detects your activity, or lack of it in case of sleep, and adjusts the data it records to match. For example, when you’re on a run, it while measure stride, heartbeat, distance, calorie burned, etc. But when you hit the sack, it’ll switch over to monitoring your quality of sleep. It can even detect differences in light and heavy sleep. It also has a built-in heart rate sensor to keep in touch with your heart. You can set it to take a measurement either manually, regularly when you’re doing some exercise, or all throughout the day.

All that data is transferred to the accompanying Huawei Wear app, available on both Android and iOS. Aside from giving you pretty graphs for your stats, the app also ties in with FirstBeat to offer training advice for more hardcore health buffs. The app is also where you control which app notifications will bother you in your workout or daily busy-ness. The Huawei Fit can vibrate for notifications, especially calls, and will let you read messages, but that’s about it. It’s definitely no smartwatch in this regard. As it has no buttons at all, every interaction happens through taps and swipes on the screen.

With not much going on, the Huawei Fit’s battery is advertised to last a good 6 days with regular heart rate monitoring. On standby, that stretches to 30 days. Charging happens through a wireless dock that, while looking similar, is not compatible with the Huawei Watch’s wireless charging dock.

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There are two body colors available for the Huawei Fit: one all black, and another with a silver body that comes in either blue or orange straps. Not your type of colors? No worries! Those polyurethane straps can be removed and replaced with any standard 20 mm strap, so you can style to your heart’s content.

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Despite already so many big brands in the fitness tracker market, from Fitbit to Jawbone to even Samsung and Pebble, the Huawei Fit still offers an interesting proposition. It is a fitness tracker that looks like a smartwatch but doesn’t come with the complications of a smartwatch, and one that you can definitely wear as a classy time piece, with the right straps. And just as it sits between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch in terms of design and functionality, so does its price.

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The Huawei Fit is available today from retail partners including Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg, for a mouth-watering price of $129.99. For the first 60 days, Best Buy will exclusively offer the Black version, while the Silver with Orange or Blue will be available widely.

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