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Huawei Fit review: A stylish design isn't enough

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The Good The Huawei Fit is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has week-long battery life. It can track daily activities, including heart rate, and can show notifications from your phone. It can be worn in the shower and while swimming.

The Bad The display is dull and touchscreen is difficult to operate when working out. There's no GPS or automatic exercise detection. The Huawei app lacks any sort of social features.

The Bottom Line The Huawei Fit is a capable fitness smartwatch, but the software falls short of the competition.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Battery 8
  • Performance 6
  • Software 6
  • Features 7

The Huawei Fit is like so many other wearables on the market. It's a good device on paper, but ultimately fails to dethrone Fitbit, Garmin and Samsung.

Why does that keep happening? Because the software doesn't live up to the hardware. The Fit can track all of the basics: Steps, distance, calories burned, sleep and heart rate, which it does automatically every 10 minutes. It also doubles as an entry-level smartwatch, and can display notifications from your iPhone or Android device. This includes calls, text messages, emails and any third-party apps.

The watch is also swim-proof and equipped with a battery that will last up to a week. But, it's not that simple anymore. The wearable market is changing and getting more competitive. There are a ton of devices out there that can measure your daily activities, more than anyone needs. It's not about the device, it's about the platform. Unfortunately the Huawei app falls short of the competition in that regard.

The Huawei Fit is available now for $130 (about £105 and AU$170).

Fitness first

Huawei is positioning the Fit as a fitness watch. It features workout profiles for running, walking, biking, treadmill running and swimming, but it doesn't include built-in GPS. If you want real-time (and accurate) data on your pace and distance, you will have to run with your smartphone.

Huawei calls this "connected GPS", but unlike from what we've seen on the Fitbit Charge 2 (£80 at Amazon.co.uk) and Fitbit Blaze (£129 at Amazon.co.uk), this feature doesn't actually show any information on the watch itself. The watch is able to broadcast your heart rate to the app, but it would have been better if you could actually see your running data on your wrist.

huawei-fit-10.jpg

The Huawei Fit (center) compared to the Samsung Gear Fit 2 (left) and Fitbit Charge 2 (right).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Another problem for everyday fitness is the lack of physical buttons. The Huawei Fit has a clean design, but this minimalist style isn't ideal for working out. The touchscreen can be difficult to operate with sweaty fingers. There is the option to flick your wrist to change screens, but this isn't even available in workout mode.

Oddly, the Fit's display is easy to read when outdoors, but dull and hard to read when you step inside. The Fit also lacks automatic exercise detection like we've seen in trackers from Fitbit and Samsung.

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