A well-designed value-for-money wearable

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on March 20, 2019

The Honor Watch Magic is feature-rich and cutting edge. It can easily fit your wrist, and bill

Huawei’s most famous sub-brand Honor’s recent entry into India’s expanding wearables market is expected to heat up competition as well as the quality of products in the market, nearly half of which is controlled by Xiaomi. With the arrival of Honor, which focuses on aesthetically pleasing products at affordable price tags, many expect the wearables segment to see some fresh, innovative products. The Honor Watch Magic, one of the latest from Honor’s wearables stable, is affordable priced at Rs 17,999 (it is now available for Rs 14,999) and packs a bunch of features that are generally found in premium smart watches.

The The Honor Watch Magic looks chic and premium. The review unit has a silver dial with 1.2 inch AMOLED colour display that supports touch faculties. The watch is 5ATM water-resistance, but it is not waterproof, so you have to be prepared. The strap is soft and hugging, but it can leave some discomfort and mild marks on your wrist if you use it for more than 10 hours continuously. But that’s only in the first week and soon you’ll get used to it. The watch is not so heavy and has a pleasing look. Some may find it suitably retro especially when you change the watch face to the old-school analogue mode. The watch allows you to have multiple faces based on your interest. Sparing the one with some Chinese script on it, I have found all of them appealing enough. My favourite is the one that focuses on step-counts and calories burnt.

The two control buttons are placed on the right of the watch and understanding how they function will take some time. Pairing the watch with your smartphone is fairly easy. You don’t need Huawei’s dedicated smartwatch apps for this. The default Huawei Health app will do the job in combination with Google Wear faculties. Once paired, the rest is on auto-pilot mode and you can monitor all activities and the history on your mobile, just like you do with any other quality smartphone-backed watch. Even the basic Honor fitness band, which competes with Xiaomi’s basic models, does a good job on these parameters. The Huawei Health app is pretty exhaustive. It has the usual functions such as allowing users to set goals and work towards it, track health and exercise records, share data with Google Fitness and do a lot more. Most functions are useful.

The device comes with a nice looking charging cradle, which is of the size of a Rs 10-coin and it gets charged pretty fast. If you are not enabling GPS for long hours, the watch can last long enough (4-5 days in our experience). But the GPS drains it rather faster. It is better if you don’t let the watch switch off while in action; we have found the watch getting reluctant to update and sync with the smartphone after waking up from a night-long sleep and miss out on syncing the new day’s data already gathered on the phone if you have carried it with you during, say, a morning walk. Instead, it starts from the scratch. This causes some confusion because the app and the watch will now show two different counts. I figured the app offers the accurate data.

The watch is rich with features that a middle-class user can easily find useful and, more importantly, meaningful. To start with, it offers dedicated modes for monitoring various exercise types and supports exercise statistics on them. These include outdoor and indoor run, outdoor walk, outdoor and indoor cycling, mountain climbing, pool swim stroke recognition and more. When you enable one of these, the watch customises the performance to that particular activity and functions better and delivers a more detailed result.

The watch’s sensors are quite efficient. The ALS ambient light-monitoring does a good job even under bring sunlight. The dial turns on the moment you turn your wrist facewards. Steps are tracked and counted with impeccable accuracy. The device doesn’t get fooled easily. It knows when you walk, run and sleep. The device allows for 24/7 continuous heart rate monitoring. It supports resting, single continuous heart rate and other measuring features. This comes handy for runners, the elderly and for all those want to keep a tab on their sweet hearts. Honor claims the automatic sleep recognition and data statistics is validated by the CDB Center at Harvard Medical School.

The high-precision tracking is backed by GPS, GLONASS (Russia), GALILEO (Europe), which means it will work across the globe. That said we didn’t see reverse tracking features on the app. The notification reminders work just fine, but you will need to have some patience to get them on the job as the app gets a little confusing there and the settings are a tad cumbersome. The watch supports caller ID, SMS, e-mail, calendar, social app notification, smartcare.

It tracks and monitors most daily activities. Users can read steps, calories, activity intensity, activity time and standing statistics. Among the other features, the ‘find my phone’ is super useful for all of us who merrily forget where we have dumped the device (phone). The watch also features altitude barometer, compass, weather information, stopwatch, timer, flashlight alarm clock, and so on. The dial also has an Alipay QR, which won’t work in this geography. A QR for Paytm (which is controlled by Alpay anyway) would have worked well.

Price: Rs 14,999

Pros: Good looks, lightweight, feature rich, accurate measuring, affordable price

Cons: Minor glitches in syncing, strap can get a little rough

Published on March 20, 2019

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