- Smart integration of blood pressure technology
- Nice, big screen to view data
- Data is well presented on and off the watch
- Design isn’t particularly stylish
- Less smartwatch features than cheaper Huawei watches
- Not quite super smooth performance
The Huawei Watch D is a health smartwatch with a difference, thanks to its unique built-in blood pressure monitor.
Unlike Samsung’s blood pressure monitoring smartwatches, Huawei is delivering that support without the need for calibration with a cuff blood pressure monitor. It promises the same margin of error as an at-home monitor, which typically requires strapping on an inflatable cuff to take readings.
After launching in China in 2021, the Watch D has now grabbed the appropriate regulatory approval in Europe to take its serious health monitoring powers further afield.
So, does this smartwatch deliver a great place to track your vitals? Here’s our comprehensive take on the Huawei Watch D.
Design and comfort
The Watch D couldn’t look any different from Huawei’s other watches. Its chunky, rectangular-framed case gives it the feel of a medical device as opposed to a smartwatch like an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch.
It’s not uncomfortable per se, but it simply isn’t as pretty or as slim as Huawei's other watches.
There is a nice big 1.64-inch, 456 x 280 AMOLED display to stare into at least and while it’s not the best AMOLED panel you’ll find on a Huawei smartwatch right now, it’s still very good in terms of brightness, colors, and can be always-on.
On the right side of the case, you’ve got two physical buttons. The top one wakes up the display and gets you into the main menu screen, while the bottom Health one gives you quick access to its blood pressure measurement mode.
The BP cuff strap
First, we have to talk about how the Huawei Watch D works. It doesn't take blood pressure readings via the optical PPG sensor. It actually incorporates an inflatable cuff into the strap. So that does make it pretty chunky to wear.
The fluoroelastomer strap feels very side and that’s necessary for a couple of reasons.
The main reason is the inflatable airbag that takes the BP readings fits inside it, so it's needed for a reliable fit. It feels pretty massive on smaller wrists and really means that the Watch D is exclusively a device for those with a vested interest in blood pressure.
You’ve got both medium and large straps with that airbag included. If you’re not sure which one you should be using, Huawei does offer an explainer along with a wrist circumference ruler tool to make sure you get the right strap for your wrist size.
The watch comes with the large strap version installed, which we had to remove to clip in the more suitable medium-sized one.
An important thing to note is that Huawei offers a different level of water protection on the Watch D compared to its other shower and swim-friendly watches.
The Watch D carries an IP68 rating as opposed to the 5ATM one included on its GT watches.
That means it can handle being submerged in water for up to 30 mins up to 1.5m depth, so it's good for the shower but Huawei doesn't advise swimming.
Blood pressure tracking
There are two big features that separate the Watch D from Huawei’s other watches. That’s the ability to take blood pressure and ECG heart rate measurements.
Those ECG measurements are delivered in a similar fashion to the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. The approach to blood pressure tracking, however, is different from anything we’ve seen on a smartwatch so far.
We’ve seen Samsung introduce the ability to take blood pressure measurements through its optical sensor technology, which first requires calibration with a traditional blood pressure monitor. It also only works when that watch is paired to a Samsung phone.
In the case of the Huawei Watch D, this is something that works with iPhones and Android phones. We primarily used it paired to an iPhone 14 and had no problems getting things up and running and taking measurements.
So, how does it work? Much is down to the straps included, which feature an airbag that inflates in a similar way to the way a cuff inflates on a traditional blood pressure monitor.
Along with Huawei’s own TruBP blood pressure algorithms, the Watch D is able to take a 30-second measurement and generate the same systolic, diastolic and pulse measurements.
Huawei also includes some additional features like posture detection or the ability to detect movement during measurements, which will impact the reliability of readings.
Like ECG measurements on the Watch D, this is a feature that has the necessary regulatory approval to be able to offer insights into whether blood pressure is normal or abnormally high, which you could then take to a medical professional to seek advice.
A low blood pressure (also known as hypertension) of less than 120/80 (systolic/diastolic) could be an indication of an underlying health problem.
Huawei says its monitor has the same +3 mm Hg margin of error as your typical home blood pressure monitor.
We’ve been using the Watch D over a few weeks, capturing blood pressure readings alongside a Kinetik blood pressure monitor and plotting that data manually inside Apple Health.
What we found over those weeks is that when those readings on the watch that weren’t interrupted by movement or incorrect posture, were generally in line or within that margin of error Huawei promised.
Ranges of those readings over that period generally told a similar story as well.
Taking a measurement is very straightforward. We tended to tap the blood pressure reading icon on the main watch face to take a measurement.
You’re instructed to keep both feet on the floor and raise your arm towards your heart but not to rest your arm on your chest. During that time, you’ll hear the strap initially softly squeak and then it gently starts to expand.
On the watch screen, you’ll see a gauge flicker up as it takes the reading and then when the strap deflates it’ll present your SYS/DIA and pulse data. Taking measurements wasn’t a problematic process. There were a couple of occasions where the cuff was struggling to fully deflate after measurements.
Where Huawei does a really good job is the way it presents this data on the watch and in the companion app.
On the watch, you can see measurement records for up to 60 of the most recent measurements, you can change units of measurement and you can even do a guest measurement if someone else wants to check their blood pressure.
Just make sure the right strap size is on though.
In the app, you can see your most recent readings from the Health tab and then jump in to see average data plotted over the day, week, or month.
There’s a good explainer of your data, which is based on the National Health Commission Publication and Medical Institution Guidelines according to Huawei.
We could see quite quickly numbers in general were deemed normal though pulse rate had jumped when we’d been unwell.
It would perhaps be useful here to be able to delete anomalous measurements that have been impacted by movement or incorrect posture. But that aside, Huawei has done a really nice job with the ease with which you can take blood pressure readings and the way data is delivered and presented on and off the watch.
ECG for added health skills
If blood pressure tracking skills weren’t enough health monitoring features for you, Huawei’s Watch D does also pack in an ECG sensor that is capable of detecting atrial fibrillation and a more normal sinus rhythm and offers a more accurate way to measure your heart rate.
It’s a single-lead setup that’s built into the Health button on the watch, where you’ll need to place your finger for 30 seconds to take a measurement. This is the way Apple, Samsung and Fitbit do this as well.
Then you can head over to the Huawei Health app and dig into that data in the Heart section of the app. You can see readings for the day and classification of the reading along with a graph of the reading.
We tested it alongside Apple’s ECG sensor and the data for readings came up the same on our readings, so we’re happy that it seems to be in line with other ECG-packing smartwatches and means Huawei has another useful health feature that can offer some insight into aspects of your heart health.
If you’re hoping that the Watch D is going to give you the same rich smartwatch experience as its other cheaper watches, then that’s not what you get here. Huawei gives you enough we’d say, but there are some missing features you do find on its GT series watches.
We’ll start with what is here and that’s being able to do things like view notifications, control music playing on your phone, and view weather forecasts. There's quite a nice collection of watch faces to choose from here too, with more offered inside of the Huawei Health app.
There are also features like setting timers and alarms, using the watch as a remote camera shutter for your phone and there’s a handy find my phone feature here too.
The notification support works fine, though from an iPhone you can’t act on the notifications bar clearing your feed.
The dedicated widgets for things like weather and music are well optimized to that rectangular screen as well, but something we have noticed in our time is that interacting with the software isn’t quite as slick or smooth as it is on Huawei’s other watches.
It certainly doesn’t feel like it’s packing the same components to cover things in the performance department.
So what do you miss out on? You don’t have access to Huawei’s AppGallery storefront to download apps, there’s no built-in music player or the ability to take calls via Bluetooth with no LTE functionality on board either.
It’s a stripped-back Huawei smartwatch, but there’s far more here than we anticipated and if you’re happy being able to check in on your notifications or the weather and want to switch up those watch faces once in a while, then the Watch D has got you covered.
Useful sports and health extras
Huawei doesn’t give you the full complement of its sports tracking, general wellness monitoring, and activity tracking features – but it does give you more than enough to make the Watch D more than useful outside of its more focused health monitoring skills.
We’ll start with sports tracking, where there are tracking modes aplenty.
You have to live without the swim tracking because of that lower water resistance rating.
It does cover profiles for indoor and outdoor running and cycling and there are modes for indoor workouts like skipping and rowing here where you can record exercise-specific metrics.
There’s GPS on board, but it unsurprisingly lacks the newer dual-band GPS mode we’ve seen crop up on other Huawei watches. You also don’t have the ability to upload and navigate routes like the GT 3 and the GT Runner.
On a roughly 7km run, it clocked us at 7.10km with an average pace of 5.26 min/km. A Garmin on our other wrist recorded the run at 7.10km at 5.26 min/km pace. GPS tracked routes and metrics like pace looked generally fine for us too.
Heart rate graphs and data didn’t quite match up to a chest strap and on a very easy-paced indoor run, the heart rate data was well off from a Garmin HRM-Pro Plus chest strap monitor.
In an indoor row, it delivered similar data to the usually reliable row tracking on Garmin for total and average stroke rates, so there’s some good and bad here on the sports tracking front.
The activity tracking is familiar too. You’ve got a similar dedicated activity tracking widget on the watch and off it, you can delve into when those steps are happening and the activities they come from. Step totals tended to be around 500-1,000 steps out of similar tracking by Oura and Garmin.
There’s sleep tracking here too with sleep stage breakdowns, sleep points and it can track breathing quality here as well. Core sleep data in general seemed to paint a similar picture to Garmin’s improving sleep tracking, with similar sleep graphs and roughly similar sleep stage breakdowns.
This is a watch that can track your heart rate, stress, skin temperature, and SpO2 levels 24/7 and that is unlocked from Huawei’s latest Tru Seen optical sensor technology.
Resting heart rate and heart rate ranges tended to match up with Garmin’s continuous monitoring, which we’ve found performs well in general.
Stress tracking requires taking a quick survey, which involves questions like asking if you get easily annoyed when someone interrupts your work and using heart rate variability measurements to gauge whether stress is normal or high.
Capturing SpO2 data continuously seemed fine in general though there were gaps in our data and the data isn’t put into any sort of context unlike some of the other metrics on offer here.
It’s a similar story when monitoring skin temperature. Again, this isn’t a feature designed for medical use, but we were at least able to see when a virus hit that skin temperature jumped slightly over the normal 33-37 Celsius.
Huawei says you can expect a typical battery life of up to 7 days in between charges. That usage is based on what Huawei says are typical application scenarios. That includes measuring blood pressure 6 times a day, tracking sleep and exercising for 90 minutes a week.
We’d say that the Watch D is capable of going for a full week, even with some moderate to heavy usage of key features.
Daily battery drop-off was anywhere from 10-15% on most days and using the GPS for around 40 minutes of running saw battery drop by 4%. Unsurprisingly, if you have the screen set to always-on, that does eat into that time considerably.
Ultimately, there’s no concerning drain, even with continuous sleep, heart rate, and SpO2 monitoring in use.
It might not be the best battery life you can get on a Huawei smartwatch right now, but we’re happy to see it’s comfortably a week as opposed to a few days. If that screen isn’t set to always on.
When it comes to charging, this rectangular watch uses a similar white, charging disc supplied with other Huawei watches you can gently drop the watch onto, but lacks any sort of fast charging support.
How we test