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Wearable Tech

Huawei Watch 2 comes to the US at a price of $300 and up

Can an Android smartwatch focused on fitness succeed at this price?

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google needs a good hero watch to show off its improvements to Android Wear. The Huawei Watch 2, which debuted earlier this year in Barcelona, looks like it's aiming to be that watch. It's finally available in the US starting today, along with a price: $300. The watch also comes with a 10-week extended trial of Google Play Music. Google's music subscription service works in streaming or offline modes on the watch.

The Huawei Watch 2 Classic, coming later this spring, will cost even more, at $370. In the US, neither model will come with cellular-enabled functions.

Huawei Watch 2 is aiming for everyday fitness and includes a solid set of features: GPS, always-on heart rate, Android Pay capability when paired with an Android phone, and a larger battery that lasts several days, or 25 days in a special standby watch-plus-step-tracking mode.

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The black, all-plastic look of the Huawei Watch 2 coming out in the US.

Huawei

But, its its $300 price places it on the similar price-level as Samsung's premium Samsung Gear S3.

I've been wearing the Huawei Watch 2 for over a week, and its plastic construction and thick body are a far cry from the original Huawei Watch's metal-and-glass elegance. But its fitness features, largely thanks to Android Wear 2.0, are much improved. The US version of the Watch 2 lacks cellular connectivity, but there's an onboard speaker for phone-connected calls or for playing music on-wrist (but I'd recommend pairing Bluetooth headphones instead).

The screen feels small, and the watch lacks a spinning crown like the LG Watch Sport and Style. Huawei is promising better on-watch fitness features than on competing Android Wear watches. I've worked out with one a few times, and the on-watch readouts and data are more detailed than I expected, closer to what the Samsung Gear S3 offers.

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Now that there are so many Android Wear-capable smartwatches, many pushing the bottom line for price down to $200 (around £160 or AU$260) such as the ZTE Quartz and the upcoming Misfit Vapor, can premium Android smartwatches succeed?

Huawei has its work cut out for it. The Huawei Watch 2 is just one watch among very many.

Read our additional hands-on impressions of the Huawei Watch 2 for more details, and stay tuned for a full review soon.