Huawei Fit review

A fitness watch not fully fit for the job
Huawei Fit

The Huawei Fit is the fitness watch successor to the Huawei Band and essentially the Honor S1 just under a different name. The screen-packing wearable is part fitness tracker, smartwatch and sports watch that you won't have to pay a premium to get your hands on it.

It'll count your steps, log sleep and also tracks a handful of sports with a heart rate monitor in tow to measure your workout intensity. At $130, it's not going to break the bank, but does put it in the same pricing realms as the Fitbit Charge 2.

Essential reading: The best fitness trackers to buy right now

It's got a pretty big job on its hands convincing someone to go for the iOS and Android-friendly fitness watch over a Fitbit, Misfit or Withings tracker. So does it do enough to impress? We've been using the Huawei Fit for the past month to find out.

Huawei Fit: Design and comfort

Huawei Fit review

While the Fit doesn't exactly break the design mould, we've actually grown to like its minimalist look. There's no physical buttons breaking up the streamlined body with a aluminium casing and soft, watch-style 18mm band that gives it a very Pebble Time Round feel as far as stature and the space it'll accommodate on your wrist. It's light as well at just 35g and we found it very comfortable to wear 24/7.

There's a few different coloured bands on offer and the orange band we had is certainly the loudest and sportiest of the bunch. They're also interchangeable too with a mechanism around the back to remove them if you prefer a more understated look.

Huawei Fit review

The Fit's focal point is the circular 1.04-inch, memory LCD always-on monochrome screen that's surrounded by a sizeable bezel hogging up some of that potential extra space. For the simplistic nature of the menu screens, the small screen is a decent fit. It offers good visibility outdoors and there's a backlight to aid your night-time workout sessions. It's not the brightest, but we're glad it made the cut.

There's a big problem when you need to interact with the screen, though. While Huawei's recent software update has improved the responsiveness, overall it's still a mess. It doesn't handle sweaty fingers well at all making it a nightmare to use during workouts. Switching between data screens or even trying to end a tracked workout session is often a fiddly and ultimately frustrating experience.

Something that the Fit does have in its favour is the fact it's waterproof to a IP68/5 ATM rating so you can go swimming with it. That's little consolation when the display is such a nightmare to use.

Huawei Fit: Activity tracking

Huawei Fit review

In terms of fitness tracking, don't expect anything out of the ordinary from the Fit. There's a 3-axis accelerometer and a six-axis accelerometer and gyrometer motion sensor setup to track steps, measure distance and estimate calories burned. Unfortunately, it was often quite a way out from the fitness trackers we paired it up against. We always allow for some degree of difference in step count as all companies use their own algorithms to crunch the data, but it was noticeably higher on the Fit.


These motion sensors are also used to log sleep, which on the whole matched the Withings Aura and TomTom Spark 3's automatic sleep tracking for accuracy but offered limited data.

What's more disappointing is the sports tracking. There's the option to track running, cycling, walking, treadmill and swimming but it's mainly optimised for running. There's no GPS on board here so you're relying on the other motion sensors to record the data or your smartphone and that's a problem. On several runs against the TomTom Spark 3 GPS sports watch it was at times 2-3 miles off the pace. Data that's viewable on the watch itself is pretty limited as well. I wouldn't feel comfortable relying on it for a run tracking session again.

Huawei Fit: Heart rate tracking

Huawei Fit review

One of the few positives somewhat surprisingly is the performance of the optical PPG heart rate sensor. While we've had a pretty underwhelming experience with the majority of wrist based heart rate monitors, the Fit actually stands up to be one of the better ones we've tried.

Huawei isn't doing anything drastically different on this front from a technical perspective. It still uses a light based sensor that flashes against the skin to detect blood volume and relay the heart rate data.

You can toggle continuous readings on or off to deliver on the spot readings and resting heart rate data, which can be useful if you how to interpret the data. Huawei doesn't do a particularly good job of that but the readings are at least reliable based on our experience.

Huawei Fit review

Left to right: Huawei Wear app (left and centre) and Polar Beat (right)

You can also use the heart rate sensor during sports tracking sessions giving you real time BPM readings. We put it up against the Polar H7 heart rate chest strap and was pleasantly surprised how well it did, even with high intensity training. You can see from the screenshots below of an interval training session on a treadmill that graphs were pretty consistent and there was only a 1bpm difference in the average heart rate data readings.

Huawei Fit: Notifications

The Fit does do notifications although it's nothing to write home about. You can customise alerts from the app including native and third party applications like Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook. While the range of notification support is welcome, it's all a little wasted when they appear on the watch face.

That small display and big bezel means there's little room for notifications to be displayed in a really useful way. Unless it's the briefest of updates, you're going to have to wait to scroll through the message before you know whether it's worth breaking from your workout. You're better off reaching for your smartphone instead.

Huawei Fit: App

Huawei Fit review

When it's time to review data, adjust watch settings or even set up workout plans, you'll need to head to the Huawei Wear iOS or Android app. It's a pretty consistent experience across both platforms and while on the surface it looks great, it doesn't take very long to realise that it's a very clunky experience.

At first glance everything seems to be well laid out with steps, exercise tracking, heart rate information, sleep tracking data given the snapshot view treatment on the main home screen.

Huawei Fit review

It's just a shame syncing that data is so temperamental. It's been a long time since I've had to experience the kind of issues I had getting the data from the Fit into the app. Despite using it for than a month, it's failed to save a huge amount of my workouts. That's further compounded by the fact that workout history feels buried away that makes it very difficult to locate. Intuitive this most definitely is not. These are the kind of basics even budget fitness trackers get right and Huawei really disappoints on this front.

Huawei Fit
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It's a bit of shame because there are some elements that I do really like here. You do get some third party app support albeit only from a handful of apps (Jawbone, MyFitnessPal and Google Fit). The running training plans are a nice touch as well. While you're not going to get the same level of sophistication you get from the customisable running programs you get from Polar or on the Adidas MiCoach platform, the plans are easy to follow and one of the few things that reliably syncs back to the watch.

Huawei Fit: Battery life

Another one of the few positives is the battery life. There's an 80mAh battery on board that doesn't sound all that impressive, but will get you six days making regular use of all the core features.

When you factor in the lack of a colour display that's perhaps not all that surprising that it can go the distance. It's really down to the optical heart rate monitor to sap the power, which can thankfully be turned off. Huawei promises 30 days in standby and we have every confidence that it's capable of going the distance.


Huawei Fit
By Huawei
The Huawei Fit is an ambitious device that tries to cram in a lot for a really affordable price. But if you're asking me whether you should buy this over a similarly priced Fitbit, Withings or Garmin tracker, my answer would be no. Aside from the surprisingly decent heart rate tracking performance, there's so many reasons to avoid this fitness watch. The screen issues alone are reason enough to leave this one on the shelf. If you want a fitness tracker with a screen that offers largely the same features, go for a Fitbit Charge 2 or a Garmin Vivosmart HR instead. You'll only regret it you spend your money on what Huawei has served up.

Hit
  • Slim, light and comfortable to wear
  • Surprisingly reliable heart rate tracking
  • Strong battery life
Miss
  • Temperamental navigating display
  • Inaccurate distance tracking
  • Constant syncing issues


4 Comments

  • adscott says:

    How did you end up exporting the data from the watch to a usable file?

  • titust1 says:

    I have owned one. Let me tell you my conclusions. The watch has a very high quality finish and design and is aesthetically quite attractive. It is light, even too light, you didn't feel it. I'm used with heavier watches. The screen tough is the watch's major problem. The screen uses an LCD low power technology which is good for the battery life, but it has a major visibility issues. Before buying the watch I was really misled by the pictures of the watch showing superb contrasting images of the screen with black backgrounds and bright white figures. DON'T BE MISLED all these images are photo-shopped to impress the buyer. It is far from being like that, I had difficulties seeing the screen either indoors or out doors. I always had to rotate my fist to catch the right light reflection. There is no button at all and the touch screen interface is a real pain. It is not working properly, sometimes it does, sometimes it refuses to work. I am pretty sure I did not have a defective unit. This is how it was. I've seen reviews on the web with people complaining about this too. To turn the light on, you have to rotate the arm to the horizontal position, unfortunately this does not work as supposed. I tried this in the middle of the night about 10 times, without success, the light just won't turn on. During the day, in standing position I noticed that the light goes on by itself, when it shouldn't. A simple button would have solved this issue. The light it is also very very weak, and blueish in color. That's why you won't see anywhere pictures of the watch with the light turned on. The watch faces are very limited in number, 4 or 5, not very nice. With a screen having this relatively high resolution they could have done much better in designing a nice face.

    The band is soft and nice, but I don't really like rubber bands in general. I would have replace it with a Milanese magnetic strap like the Apple watch. It would have looked great. Unfortunately I did not keep it.

    I purchased the Fit in order replace my non-smart watch and to have only one watch all the time, mainly for normal watch functionality, to read the time. But also for counting the steps, going to gym, reading the heart rate. What I really liked about it was that it was looking as a an elegant classical watch, not as a huge 55mm in diameter GPS attached to my hand. Apparently the Fit is not yet ready. Too bad it has a lot of advantages: it looks very nice, the battery lasts 6-7 days, the heart rate seems very accurate, but this is not enough (see above)

  • titust1 says:

    I have owned one. Let me tell you my conclusions. The watch has a very high quality finish and design and is aesthetically quite attractive. It is light, even too light, you didn't feel it. I'm used with heavier watches. The screen tough is the watch's major problem. The screen uses an LCD low power technology which is good for the battery life, but it has a major visibility issues. Before buying the watch I was really misled by the pictures of the watch showing superb contrasting images of the screen with black backgrounds and bright white figures. DON'T BE MISLED all these images are photo-shopped to impress the buyer. It is far from being like that, I had difficulties seeing the screen either indoors or out doors. I always had to rotate my fist to catch the right light reflection. There is no button at all and the touch screen interface is a real pain. It is not working properly, sometimes it does, sometimes it refuses to work. I am pretty sure I did not have a defective unit. This is how it was. I've seen reviews on the web with people complaining about this too. To turn the light on, you have to rotate the arm to the horizontal position, unfortunately this does not work as supposed. I tried this in the middle of the night about 10 times, without success, the light just won't turn on. During the day, in standing position I noticed that the light goes on by itself, when it shouldn't. A simple button would have solved this issue. The light it is also very very weak, and blueish in color. That's why you won't see anywhere pictures of the watch with the light turned on. The watch faces are very limited in number, 4 or 5, not very nice. With a screen having this relatively high resolution they could have done much better in designing a nice face.

    The band is soft and nice, but I don't really like rubber bands in general. I would have replace it with a Milanese magnetic strap like the Apple watch. It would have looked great. Unfortunately I did not keep it.

    I purchased the Fit in order replace my non-smart watch and to have only one watch all the time, mainly for normal watch functionality, to read the time. But also for counting the steps, going to gym, reading the heart rate. What I really liked about it was that it was looking as a an elegant classical watch, not as a huge 55mm in diameter GPS attached to my hand. Apparently the Fit is not yet ready. Too bad it has a lot of advantages: it looks very nice, the battery lasts 6-7 days, the heart rate seems very accurate, but this is not enough (see above)

  • SgtCheeseburger says:

    I just bought one, and tomorrow I am going to return it. It appears that some things have changed since the review was written.

    The device itself is quite comfortable to wear and I don't find it difficult to use at all. The app, however, is just about the worst I've used.

    First, you have to install two apps, HuaweiWear to sync with the Fit and Huawei Health to use the data and, in theory, share it with other apps. HuaweiWear is borderline useless but functional. Huawei Health, however, is bad enough to put me off Huawei products forever.

    First, worst, completely unacceptable: the app displays popup ads when it's running in the background. I paid a decent chunk of money for the Fit, and should not have to put up with sneaky ads, which I managed to trace to the Huawei app with Anti Adware. I can't imagine how this got approved at Huawei headquarters, but if they want to be a real contender in any area of the electronics, cheap novelty-app shenanigans like this are not the way to do it. Everyone involved in this decision should be fired.

    Second, both apps must be running in the background all the time, and they are battery killers.

    Finally, the connections to MyFitnessPal and the Jawbone Up app both don't actually work.

    Apparently the apps were updated relatively recently to their current, terrible state. Honestly, they are so amateurish that I would believe I'd mistakenly installed some third-party clone if I hadn't done it directly from a QR code on the Fit itself.

    To anyone thinking of buying the Fit: don't. You will be disappointed.

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