Huawei Watch Ultimate review: the Apple Watch Ultra has nothing to worry about

1 week ago 15

The Huawei Watch Ultimate has immoderate large things going for it: it's solidly built, looks large and its caller modes are excellent. It's mostly a large watch. However, determination are immoderate frustrations which astatine this terms constituent truly should person been ironed out, and halt america from recommending it implicit different premium outdoor watches.


  • +

    Well built and attractive

  • +

    Expedition mode is awesome

  • +

    Loads of workout profiles


  • -

    No LTE option

  • -

    Some features constricted by EMUI requirements

  • -

    Limited maps capability

  • -


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Huawei Watch Ultimate: One infinitesimal review

This is TechRadar’s Huawei Watch Ultimate review. We’ve gone hands-on with the Apple Watch Ultra rival to trial its mettle arsenic a day-to-day smartwatch, a workout device, a wellness companion, and a instrumentality for outdoor pursuits specified arsenic diving and hiking. The extremity effect is simply a ticker that’s designed to spell toe-to-toe with the best smartwatches from Apple and the best Garmin watches

In galore ways it succeeds: the carnal physique prime is thing abbreviated of spectacular, and the ticker looks large – with the close ticker face. The Expedition mode, designed for outdoor pursuits specified arsenic hiking, way moving and orienteering, is simply a superb portion of UX design, and Huawei Health is simply a great-looking and precise functional companion app. 

However, the emblematic and all-too-familiar Huawei frustrations forestall this from beating the apical outdoor watches astatine their ain game. There’s nary Google Maps oregon GPX files: instead, the Huawei Watch Ultimate works connected Huawei’s ain Petal Maps service. There’s besides nary LTE option, which is frustrating for a ticker astatine this terms point, arsenic it means you request to stay coupled to your telephone for net access. Some of the amended ticker faces outgo wealth from Huawei’s online store. And, without a Huawei phone, there’s nary contactless outgo option, arsenic it won’t enactment Google Wallet, Apple Pay oregon different competing integer wallet services. 

I recognize Huawei’s instinct to support things locked down end-to-end successful the aforesaid mode that Apple, Google and Samsung do, but arsenic Huawei devices aren’t arsenic ubiquitous arsenic those of the different brands, it makes recommending the ticker much difficult. While the ticker volition grounds your moving routes utilizing GPS, the omission of on-wrist directions and the inability to watercourse euphony without cellular information oregon a telephone adjacent are beauteous damning. At slightest it looks nice, it’s pugnacious arsenic nails, and the Expedition mode is ace.  

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Huawei Watch Ultimate: Specifications
Price£699 (around $870 / AU$1,300, Expedition Black)
Dimensions48.5 x 48.5 x 13mm
Case/bezelCeramic, zirconium-based liquid metal
Display466 x 466px, AMOLED sapphire glass
GPS?Dual-band GPS
Battery life14 days (8 days dense use)
ConnectionBluetooth, NFC
Water resistant? Yes, 10ATm, EN 13319 certified

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Price and availability

  • £699 (Expedition Black)
  • £799 (Voyage Blue)
  • Unavailable successful US, not confirmed for AU

Huawei Watch Ultimate presently starts astatine £699 (around $870 / AU$1,300) for the Expedition Black mentation of the watch, which has the modular zirconium liquid metallic ticker look and casing but a plain achromatic silicone strap. It intelligibly competes straight with the Apple Watch Ultra astatine this price, and occupies a akin niche and matches the ticker successful physique quality.

The adjacent level up successful price, the Voyage Blue, is designed to look much similar a accepted diving watch, thing on the enactment of the Omega Seamaster series. Its segmented deep-blue bezel is complimented by a lighter-coloured lawsuit and matching aviation-grade titanium strap, and it costs £799.

Unfortunately, availability is simply a large portion of wherever this ticker falls down: it’s unavailable successful the US owed to the US government’s ongoing quality with Huawei. Not having the latest phones with Huawei’s ain operating system, EMUI, means that adjacent if you get your hands connected the watch, immoderate of its features can’t beryllium used. 

Although Huawei exertion is presently disposable successful Australia, the Watch Ultimate isn’t yet connected sale. It is disposable successful the UK and Europe, and prime Asian markets. Is is disposable successful Europe for €749 euros successful Expedition Black, and €849 successful Voyage Blue.

  • Value score: 4/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Design

Huawei Watch Ultimate

(Image credit: Huawei)
  • Top-notch physique quality
  • Big and heavy
  • Unimpressive UX

The Huawei Watch Ultimate takes its cues from different premium outdoors watches specified arsenic the Garmin Enduro 2 and its rule rival, the Apple Watch Ultra – they’re each large watches with ample faces and super-tough cases. The Huawei Watch Ultimate’s lawsuit looks great: it’s made of a super-tough, super-hard zirconium ‘liquid metal’ alloy that’s said to beryllium harder than titanium, and finished successful a darker grey for the Expedition Black exemplary and shiny metallic for the Voyage Blue, which comes with a matching titanium strap. 

The Voyage Blue exemplary particularly is simply a happening of beauty, looking for each the satellite similar a astute mentation of a premium dive ticker similar a Seamaster. The Expedition Black is simply a spot much sporty, with its achromatic silicone strap and much demure case, but some inactive look similar fantastic watches – providing you take the close face. Many of the default options truly spoil the look of the watch, and, frankly, marque it look cheap: I went done 5 oregon six of the ‘free’ ticker faces connected the AppGallery store earlier settling connected 1 I really liked. 

Elsewhere the ticker is comfy connected the wrist (we tested the Expedition Black model) but it is large and heavy, weighing successful astatine 76 grams – that’s utile erstwhile surviving bangs and scrapes, but little truthful if you’re wearing it to bed, arsenic you mightiness accidentally clobber yourself oregon your spouse with it. By the clip my investigating play was implicit and I swapped to my smaller Casio F-91W integer watch, I felt similar I’d been value training. If you’re successful the marketplace for a regular wearer, this is simply a big, heavy, and occasionally inconvenient option. 

On the bundle side, the Huawei Health app is simply a precise good, comprehensively designed companion app, with well-presented information and bags of granular graphs to descend your teeth into, a existent dainty for wellness info nerds. I was little impressed with the UX connected the Huawei Watch Ultimate: it’s fundamentally the aforesaid layout arsenic connected the Huawei GT 4, and if you pinch and zoom, the app layout zooms retired into a basal rectangle, with nary effort to conform the layout to the screen. It’s a tiny thing, but precise telling, and contempt the watch’s beauteous construction, Huawei’s operating strategy isn’t rather arsenic ergonomic to usage arsenic thing similar watchOS 9. 

The similarities with the Huawei Watch GT 4 proceed successful the carnal design, with the objection of the Ultimate mode fastener connected the left-hand side. Pushing this fastener takes you to Expedition Mode oregon Dive Mode – I utilized Expedition Mode astir often – with the different buttons acting arsenic controls to prime options for idiosyncratic apps. However, it would beryllium bully if Huawei made the Ultimate Mode fastener afloat programmable, successful the aforesaid mode the Apple Watch Ultra’s enactment fastener is.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Features

Huawei Watch Ultimate on-wrist

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lots of workout modes
  • New Expedition and Dive Modes
  • Some features locked distant for non-Huawei users
  • Lack of LTE is frustrating

Fortunately, the Huawei Watch Ultimate excels astatine workout tracking, with loads of modes, conscionable similar the Huawei Watch GT bid earlier it. Runs are easy and comprehensively tracked –they’re divided into outdoor and indoor runs, with outdoor tally tracking rivaling that of Garmin and Polar watches erstwhile it comes to the level of granular information you tin propulsion from a run. From Recovery clip and aerobic/anaerobic accent to VO2 Max, GPS and Pace Segment information, it’s each here. There’s nary vigor representation of moving powerfulness laid implicit your route, arsenic determination is connected Garmins, which I’ve ever recovered useful, but combined with Expedition Mode this ticker is going to beryllium a large trail-running companion. 

Speaking of which, Expedition Mode is great. I screen it successful much item successful a abstracted article, but fundamentally it’s 1 of 2 caller modes that let you to spot and measurement circumstantial captious statistics, usage the watch’s torch functionality, acceptable GPS waypoints, and archer you however acold distant you are from each waypoint. By chaining waypoints together, you tin enactment orientated, and not person to glimpse astatine a GPX representation each fewer minutes. 

The Watch besides has a heavily-advertised Dive Mode, which we’ve been incapable to trial yet. Splitting betwixt recreational and escaped dives successful some seawater and caller water, Huawei says it tin run successful and amusement you close depths astatine up to 100 meters; it tin besides interface with your aerial vessel to amusement you readouts on-wrist, and carries a compass for reorienting yourself. I’ve asked a nonrecreational diving teacher astir the Apple Watch Ultra’s dive credentials, and I’d beryllium fascinated to person the Ultra and the Huawei Watch Ultimate tested alongside each other. 

The Watch is stacked with apps and features, from accent readouts and breathing exercises to maps, texting, dependable telephone functionality with the in-built speaker, and Huawei’s AI assistant, which is lone disposable connected EMUI phones. Additional third-party apps similar Spotify volition request to beryllium downloaded via the Huawei AppGallery, which could again beryllium a occupation depending connected the telephone you’re using. Maps uses Huawei’s Petal Maps alternatively than Google Maps, which is disposable arsenic a browser download if you can’t get connected AppGallery, but it works good and offers on-wrist directions. Just marque definite that you alteration permissions connected your phone, arsenic without the close permissions okayed, the app volition adjacent on-phone and the on-wrist directions volition stop. 

The astir frustrating missing diagnostic present is the deficiency of LTE oregon existent offline GPS options. If I privation streamed music, maps oregon adjacent the quality to telephone idiosyncratic from my ticker erstwhile I spell for a run, I person to instrumentality my telephone with me. The deficiency of on-wrist maps oregon directions autarkic of my telephone is particularly egregious for a self-professed outdoors ticker – yes, you tin acceptable GPS waypoints with Expedition Mode, but you can’t telephone up a decent representation oregon interaction idiosyncratic if, for example, you twist an ankle. Such omissions are good for a mid-range watch, but astatine this terms constituent it’s a existent kicker. 

  • Features score: 3.5/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Performance

Huawei Watch Ultimate Expedition Mode

(Image credit: Matt Evans)
  • Excellent artillery life
  • Expedition Mode is awesome
  • Obnoxious notifications

The Huawei Watch Ultimate’s artillery beingness meets expectations fully. Over 2 weeks of mean use, the artillery lasted astir 11 days – somewhat little than the claimed afloat 2 weeks – successful smartwatch mode, with regular GPS functionality draining the battery. I tested the watch’s GPS against a Garmin Forerunner 265 and the GPS connected my Oppo telephone during 1 peculiar run, and I’m satisfied with the Huawei’s dual-band GPS accuracy, accounting for the clip it took to activate and deactivate each 3 devices earlier and aft running. 

The watch’s stand-out diagnostic was the Expedition Mode, which performed amended than expected on-wrist. The waypoint finder syncs with the compass to make easy-to-follow directional prompts, and a property of the fastener switches the readouts to a dim-orange nighttime mode successful bid to prevention your eyesight. As agelong arsenic you retrieve to driblet waypoints to travel regularly enough, your adventures volition beryllium unmarred by your getting lost, and the Expedition Mode adjacent has SPO2, barometer and bosom complaint widgets easy accessible to cheque your show astatine altitude, on with a airy for signaling. 

One of my biggest gripes with the ticker successful day-to-day usage is the notifications you get during a run, with reminders connected however acold and accelerated you’ve run, speeds, and more. On different apps I’ve used, specified arsenic Garmin’s oregon Polar’s, the notifications automatically sync with the headphones you’re wearing. Not truthful with Huawei – the default, inexplicably, is blasting the bizarrely-accented AI dependable astatine afloat measurement from the watch’s impressively large speaker. A jog astir the parkland oregon a workout successful the gym tin get precise embarrassing, precise rapidly for the uninitiated. 

While you tin little the volume, and disable the notifications successful the settings, getting the reminders done to the headphones is simply a frustrating, counterintuitive process. You person to brace the headphones with the ticker alternatively than the phone, which isn’t however it’s done with different services, which means that unless I was playing my ain euphony from my watch, I either didn’t get Spotify, didn’t get the adjuvant mid-run dependable prompts, oregon had to endure done the infamous Huawei dependable yelling “Workout started!”, “Workout paused!”, “Time: 5 minutes, 15 seconds per kilometer!” retired to the world. 

Otherwise, I was happy: things performed arsenic expected from a premium watch, with each the accuracy and powerfulness specified a instrumentality promises. It’s conscionable a shame that the outstanding physique prime and fantabulous innovations are fto down by immoderate frustrating, quintessentially Huawei flaws. 

  • Performance score: 4/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Should I buy?

Huawei Watch Ultimate Expedition Mode

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

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ValueA akin terms to the Apple Watch Ultra, this ticker looks and feels premium and delivers connected its promises, contempt immoderate shortcomings. 4/5
DesignA great-looking, incredibly pugnacious ticker with a fantastic companion app, marred by immoderate communal Huawei plan frustrations. 3/5
FeaturesLots of workout modes, broad slumber tracking, and caller outdoor toys similar Expedition and Dive modes. No LTE is simply a large limiter.3.5/5
PerformanceExcellent artillery beingness that meets expectations, a terrific Expedition Mode and bags of workout options. GPS is accurate, but HUD readouts are a pain.4/5
OverallA bully outdoors watch, particularly if you're already a Huawei user, but a fewer frustrations halt it from being champion successful class.3.5/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Buy it if...

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Don't bargain it if...

Also consider

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Also consider
ComponentHuawei Watch UltimateApple Watch UltraGarmin Enduro 2
Price£699 (around $870 / AU$1,300, Expedition Black)$799 / £849 / AU$1229$1,099.99 / £929.99 / AU$1,749.00
Dimensions48.5 x 48.5 x 13mm49 x 44 x 14.4mm51 x 51 x 15.6mm
Case/bezelCeramic, zirconium-based liquid metalTitaniumFibre-reinforced polymer, titanium
Display466 x 466px, AMOLED sapphire glass410 x 502px, Always-On Retina LTPO OLED display280 x 280px, transflective MIP
GPS?Dual-band GPSL1 and L5 GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDouGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, SatIQ
Battery life14 days (8 days dense use)36 hours34 days (110 hours GPS)
ConnectionBluetooth, NFCLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ANT+
Water resistant? Yes, 10ATm, EN 13319 certifiedYes, 40m, ISO modular 22810Yes, 10ATM

First reviewed: April 2023

Matt is TechRadar's adept connected each things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A erstwhile staffer astatine Men's Health, helium holds a Master's Degree successful journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands similar Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well connected everything fittingness tech, exercise, nutrition and intelligence wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the unusual yoga flow, and insists everyone should agelong each morning. When he’s not grooming oregon penning astir wellness and fitness, helium tin beryllium recovered speechmaking doorstop-thick phantasy books with tons of fictional maps successful them.

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