This circular Haier smartwatch actually looks pretty elegant (hands-on)

Bound for Europe, the Haier Watch is a steel-encased smartwatch that runs on Android-based software, monitors your heart rate and counts your calories.

Lynn La

Lynn La

Senior Editor / Reviews - Phones

Lynn La covers mobile reviews and news. She previously wrote for The Sacramento Bee, Macworld and The Global Post.

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Although Haier is best known for its home appliances, the Chinese company also makes smartwatches from time to time. Its latest wearable is known as the Haier Watch, and it was demoed during Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona.

A year ago, the company made the Haier Smartwatch (it has a very creative naming department) with three different variants tailored for kids, seniors and pets. This time around, however, the Haier Watch is aimed at adults. It plans to launch in Europe for about 199 euros (around $220, £155 or AU$305, converted).

The watch offers a more elegant and mature aesthetic and has three design options: gold, silver and black. You can also swap out the bands for leather, steel or silicone. Its 1.4-inch display is encased in steel and it has a 400x400-pixel resolution. The device is also water resistant to a certain degree (IP56) so you won't have to worry about it while you're washing your hands.

Haier elevates its smartwatch design game (pictures)

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I have to admit that when I first saw the device, it looked chic and polished. But as I began to spend some time with it, however brief, I wasn't very impressed. Though its design is nice, the watch wore heavy on my wrist. Though I chalked that up to my petite hands, the steel band was also difficult to snap on. There were a couple of times when I thought I clasped it securely together, only to have it snap loose on me again.

Second, the software was quite laggy. When I pressed the watch crown, it always took a few moments too long for the display to turn on. Swiping through the many different menu pages didn't feel as smooth and instantaneous as other smartwatches I've tried.

As for its capabilities, the watch doesn't run Android Wear, but we were told its OS is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. A Haier representative also said that you can access Google Play on your phone and load apps in your watch from there. The watch is also an activity tracker, so it can measure your heart rate and keep track of the number of calories you've burned.

Other features:

  • Apps like an MP3 player, weather and calendar
  • Connects to phone via Bluetooth 4.0
  • Microphone and speaker for calls
  • 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage