See if you can guess which smartwatch Huawei wants to take on with its latest release. It’s called the Huawei Watch Ultimate, and it’s made to appeal to outdoorsy types, complete with comprehensive diving and expedition modes.
It has a really big screen and a big battery too. That’s right, the Huawei Watch Ultimate is an Apple Watch Ultra competitor — but don’t pass it by just yet, because it’s worth your attention.
Huawei has a great track record when it comes to designing good-looking, watch-like smartwatches, and the Watch Ultimate is no exception. There are two versions, named primarily after their respective colors — the Voyage Blue and the Expedition Black. Both have cases made from liquid metal, a material Huawei says is stronger and harder than stainless steel, and more resistant to high temperatures too.
The bezel on each watch is made from ceramic for extra scratch protection, and the Voyage Blue version has a diver-friendly numbered scale, while the Expedition Black has a sportier tachymeter marking. It’s 2.35mm thick sapphire over the big 1.5-inch AMOLED screen, and there are several exclusive watch faces to complete the look. The Expedition Black comes attached to a rubber strap, while the Voyage Blue has a titanium bracelet. Also included in the box is a separate rubber strap with an extension piece for use over a wetsuit.
There are three buttons on the case — a rotating crown at 2 o’clock, a function button to access menus and interact with the watch at 4 o’clock, and a new Assist button at 10 o’clock, which gives immediate access to either the dive or expedition modes. It’s these special modes that separate the Watch Ultimate’s software from versions installed on other Huawei smartwatches.
The dive mode provides information including current depth, dive recording, the temperature during a dive, reminders about decompression, ascent curve and rate data, and a hovering timer too. The watch meets ISO2810 and EN13319 standards and is water resistant to 10ATM. The expedition mode replicates the route trackback features we’ve seen on the Apple Watch Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, the other recent smartwatch Huawei is eyeing with the Watch Ultimate.
It uses dual-band, five-constellation GPS to provide markers for your route, a return-to-safety mode to lead you back the way you came in case you get lost, and a series of timers too. The smartwatch also provides data using a barometer and an altimeter, meaning weather, tide, and sunrise/sunset information on your wrist. It has all the usual activity tracking features, including a heart rate sensor, blood oxygen measurements, and an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature. It connects to your Android or iOS phone using the Huawei Health app, and syncs with apps, including Strava and Runtastic.
All of this is displayed on the 1.5-inch, 466 by 466-pixel AMOLED screen, which is more than just notable for its size. It’s an LPTO screen with the ability to drop the refresh rate down to 1Hz to improve battery life and has a 1,000-nit maximum brightness for easy viewing in bright conditions. The 530mAh battery should return up to two weeks of use between charges, but this could drop to only eight days with heavy use, and it fast charges back to full in an hour. However, there aren’t any special extended-life battery modes onboard, nor is there an SOS feature to help in an emergency, and it’s a Bluetooth-only smartwatch with no option for LTE connectivity.
The Huawei Watch Ultimate will be available from April 3 through the Huawei online store in the U.K., but prices have yet to be confirmed. For reference, the Apple Watch Ultra costs 850 pounds in the U.K., while it’s $799 in the U.S., and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is 429 pounds or $450 in the U.S.
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