Huawei Watch Ultimate Review: A masterpiece with an air of jewelry and without fear of Apple Watch Ultra
The market for wrist devices has been diversifying to cover from the simplest, the so-called activity bracelets , to true handheld computers prepared to measure extreme sports . The Huawei Watch Ultimate is precisely one of those that target this extreme segment, all with a bet that is clearly reminiscent of the Apple Watch Ultra . And that comes out quite well from this comparison, by the way.
Huawei saw its waterline hit when the United States confirmed the ban on its smartphones ; step prior to the progressive expulsion of the company from the cores of mobile operators . In terms of consumer devices, it has almost disappeared, but it still resists with dignity in a very specific type of device: wearables. With the Huawei Watch Ultimate on my wrist this last week I discovered firsthand why.
Technical sheet of the Huawei Watch Ultimate
|HUAWEI WATCH ULTIMATE|
|BOX AND MATERIALS||Zirconium front cover, ceramic back cover, sapphire crystal display and ceramic bezel|
466 x 466
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Huawei’s own system|
optical heart rate
14 days of regular use
8 days of intense use
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||48.5 x 48.5 x 13.0mm
Weight of 76 grams without strap
|OTHERS||GPS double band (GPS, Glonass, BDS, Galileo y QZSS)
More than 100 sports modes
Design: the luxury smartwatch was this
It is not the first high-end smartwatch that I have put on my wrist, I still remember the Montblanc Summit 2+ and its excellent construction and appearance. As was the case with said Montblanc, Huawei has put all its experience and know-how into building a smart watch that doesn’t look like it at first glance . In fact, the Watch Ultimate goes through a high-level chronograph finished by a Swiss brand. The use of liquid metal based on zirconium is a good example (according to Huawei it is the first time this material has been used in a smartwatch).
The watch is of enormous quality to the eye and to the touch. Said touch is solid, very robust and resistant, both to shocks and scratches. And this leads to a problem, which those with not too big hands will suffer: the Huawei Watch Ultra is huge . And heavy, carrying it is in itself an exercise in weights.
The version that I was testing is the Titanium, the model in chrome finish that not only comes with a rubber strap, but also with titanium links. For my taste, this strap is very annoying when doing sports , I preferred to bet directly on the elastic one, perfect for adjusting the watch during sports practices. Even so, I have to admit that the Huawei Watch Ultimate with the titanium strap gives an appearance of complete luxury. The finish is spectacular.
The watch case is very large, made of zirconium-based liquid metal, the glass above the display is sapphire (2.35mm thick) and both the back and the bezel are made of ceramic. This heavy-duty set is finished off with three buttons: two on the right side (the top one includes a rotating crown) and a third on the left. Said button is the one of the expedition mode: it is enough to press it for the Huawei Watch Ultimate to record the location allowing the return to the place of departure if necessary.
The lower right button leads directly to sports functions, one of the keys to the device: Huawei proposes the Watch Ultimate as a smartwatch for the professional athlete . The high resistance of the exterior already demonstrates these intentions, not in vain can it withstand a depth of 100 meters and pressures of up to 10 ATM. Diving is one of the sports where you can get the most out of your smartwatch; without being the only one: as we will see later, he is an outstanding player in sports.
The sensations are impressive: I can’t think of a better construction for a smartwatch . And keeping the classic design of high-end chronographs, including the round screen: the Huawei Watch Ultimate does not raise objections beyond the dimensions and weight. Nothing strange about the watches from which it draws its inspiration, on the other hand: traditional mechanical chronographs are not exactly small.
Screen: bright, huge and well protected
The dimensions are generous in all aspects, especially in the diagonal of the screen: its 1.5 inches make it extremely easy to see the progression of the exercises. The brightness also helps, it does not offer any problem of visibility outdoors, even in direct sunlight: according to Huawei, the maximum brightness of the Watch Ultimate reaches 1,000 nits .
Apart from the large screen diagonal, the AMOLED LTPO panel that equips the Huawei Watch Ultimate offers an excellent resolution for this type of device: 466 × 466 pixels. Detailed panel, with a great contrast, the colors are excellent and the response to the touch is also very good . Even with gloves, I didn’t find it inconvenient to go running with it in the early morning (it’s still cold).
The distribution of the elements on the screen during the exercises is customizable depending on the practice. Each one has different screens that are accessed by sliding from top to bottom, also from left to right: the response of the screen is at a very good level. As often happens, when the watch touches the water the screen loses its response capacity, although it can be controlled with the buttons for sports use, also for its pause and restart (this is especially important for diving and swimming, which are managed underwater thanks to the physical buttons). The sapphire crystal with which the panel is protected gives the watch great resistance, I emphasize this point again.
The Huawei Watch Ultimate can work with the screen always on (Always On Display or AOD), also with the screen off and activated through wrist gestures. The response to turning the hand is usually immediate, also effective . And the battery drain is not an impediment with the use of the AOD: I have had the panel always active without suffering a noticeable drop in autonomy. During that mode, the screen mostly blacks out to show a minimal watch face. It can be completely turned off during the night thanks to the sleep mode (it works manually or automatically when it detects that the user is sleeping).
The panel of the Huawei Watch Ultimate lives up to the excellent construction that the smartwatch exudes: its visibility in any circumstance is outstanding. Plus, the included watch faces are designed to get the most out of your screen ; without increasing power consumption: Huawei offers a cost ratio for each of these watchfaces.
Performance: this is how a smartwatch should be
I have not had any problem with the operation of the Huawei Watch Ultimate, it seemed to me that it lives up to what is set by the high expectations from abroad: both outside and inside, this smartwatch demonstrates Huawei’s good work in the segment of smart watches . Including the software, that HarmonyOS 3 is fabulous.
Immediate response to touches, the watch never gets hot, switching between functions is fast, positioning is also fast and it is appreciated more than loose in any task : the Huawei Watch Ultimate performs perfectly. With its drawbacks, as usually happens.
Those who pair the smartwatch with their smartphone will have more or less functions depending on the phone’s operating system. The iPhone is the one that offers the most problems, not in vain is it left without the installation of applications (and without the wallet, although it is not available in Spain). On a Huawei mobile, the Watch Ultimate offers maximum compatibility, as is logical: the Health app, already included in EMUI, enables the installation of some applications directly from the AppGallery. In any other Android there is also this possibility, and without Huawei requiring the installation of its store. Yes, you have to manually download Huawei Health , it is not on Google Play .
One of the aspects that was most positive for me was the ease of the smartwatch to move its link between my different phones : once the Huawei Health application was synchronized with my user account, I could easily move the Huawei Watch Ultimate between my iPhone 14 Pro , the Huawei Mate 40 Pro and the Nothing Phone (1)without losing any data along the way, not even the steps. The process does not need more than a minute. And it enables you to use the watch regardless of the mobile with which you go out on the street: all the registered data will be synchronized with the Huawei account; synchronized in turn between the different mobiles. A thousand times better than Wear OS, for example, although with a major problem in Android: Huawei Salud does not export data to Google Fit , but to platforms such as Strava, Adidas Running and Komoot . On the iPhone it syncs with Apple Health.
The upper right button gives access to the list of installed apps in a menu quite similar to that of WatchOS. The behavior of the crown is also similar: turning it zooms in on the shortcuts, arranged on the screen in the form of a grid . The lower right button offers direct access to the exercises. And the left one, as I already said, activates the expedition mode. To return to the initial screen, simply press the upper right button.
Control gestures on the screen allow movement between the different elements of the interface. Horizontally, HarmonyOS has the cards with direct access to the different health functions and the apps; with time on the left side. Sliding from the bottom up, the notifications appear, perfectly legible thanks to the huge screen . And sliding your finger from the top to the bottom reveals the quick settings, icons that activate and deactivate the different hardware options. Scrolling is intuitive once you get the hang of HarmonyOS (and doesn’t stray too far from Wear OS or WatchOS).
To go back you have to move your finger across the screen from the left area to the right, the classic backward movement. To turn off the screen, simply put your hand over the watch
Some of the settings can be adjusted from the mobile, but most of the options are found in the watch menus. The Huawei Watch Ultimate is highly customizable, it allows you to respond to messages with predefined text options (the necessary ones can be created to say the usual with a press) and offers the possibility of picking up calls from the watch, as well as rejecting them. In addition, it is possible to make calls by adding favorite contacts to the phonebook or returning those received from the call list, the app installed on the watch.
The speaker included in the smartwatch is very powerful : the exercise guide is heard perfectly even in noisy environments. And it doesn’t just ring for notifications, calls and training: Huawei enables the Watch Ultimate to play music loaded directly on the device. It sounds much better than it looks.
Sport and sensors: it is one of the most complete smartwatches
The Huawei Watch Ultimate aims for the top in terms of smartwatch. On the outside it is especially appreciated, inside too. And this is transferred to its sports and health capabilities: Huawei has nurtured its device well. Constant day-to-day tracking offers remarkable accuracy in most aspects ; whether a sport is being practiced, such as a simple daily walk.
Regarding sensors, the watch that I have worn on my wrist constantly recorded my heart rate (very precise in low and medium pulses), my blood oxygen saturation (also with good precision), the Watch Ultimate can measure skin temperature ( does not give a reliable figure because the wrist is usually warm ), records steps (not completely accurate, it is at a good level), measures sleep quality (reliable enough data) and offers advanced functions that require activation: the electrocardiogram and the flexibility of the arteries. In principle, these last two measurements maintain good reliability (within what a non-medical device implies).
The number of body measurements is very high, most of them automatic, but it doesn’t stop there: the Huawei Watch Ultimate includes a barometer, compass, and depth sensor. These are perfect for climbing, diving and any sport in which ascents are carried out: the data is recorded in most sports practices . I did not encounter any problems when checking the data, they seemed sufficiently accurate to me.
Satellite positioning turn. Huawei ensures that it includes a high-precision multi-satellite positioning system that records the routes accurately and constantly. From my checks, the Watch Ultimate serves as a bedside watch for those logging amateur practices, but it doesn’t reach the levels required by a professional trail logger . In straight sections, the notable variations in the lines can be seen, as well as the differences with respect to the paths on the map. Even so, it is not a major problem for those who want to go for a run without taking their smartphone, for example.
Positioning is very fast: it usually takes a few seconds. And you don’t lose the satellites during the journey , not even doing sports in the forest. The energy consumption is adjusted, as I will detail in the next point of the analysis.
Huawei includes support for more than a hundred sports, although not all of them offer the same level of depth in the data. Running, cycling, walking and the rest of the most common practices include a large number of options , such as a metronome, for example. And diving is where the brand makes the most effort: the Watch Ultimate is a complete handheld computer that can even dictate decompression times or the amount of oxygen in the tank. It was not a sport that I could try, the analysis time did not give much of itself.
I did several runs, trekking, strength training and also mountain biking: in all these outings the Huawei Watch Ultimate behaved like a champion. The position registration could be improved, the cardiac measurement I did find it very precise, even at high heart rate . Although yes, you have to place the watch properly: tight to the wrist and about two fingers away from the joint. Otherwise, it is common for the heart rate measurement to go well below the real one.
Apart from the route record, with all its related data (cadences, breathing, strides, altitudes, heart rate…), it is possible to load new routes on the watch from the Health app . And all practices can be shared as a multimedia capture; in addition to exporting the information to Komoot, Adidas Running and Strava, all from the privacy management of the user profile, in the Health app.
Autonomy: One week away from the charger
Accustomed to using an Apple Watch Series 7 as a personal smartwatch, getting more than seven days on a single charge is almost a blessing. In fact, it was like this: I loaded it as soon as I received it and I was completely carefree for a week ; week in which I was doing sports regularly, I kept the Always On Display and all the active body sensors.
With a little containment, the Huawei Watch Ultimate lasts ten days without a problem , especially if GPS track recording is not used excessively. During practices with active positioning, the smartwatch consumes approximately 5% of battery every half hour; which gave me an energy expenditure of around 15-17% daily. Without worrying about saving consumption.
In terms of battery I have nothing but good words, especially in the case of a large smartwatch, with enormous screen dimensions and full of sensors: Huawei, and HarmonyOS, maintain efficiency at a high level . Not only that, the charge also offers joy: very fast during the first few minutes on the charger, so that the Huawei Watch Ultimate can last several days after charging for a few hours.
The times it returned with its stock wireless charger were:
- 5 minutes of charging : 24% battery.
- 10 minutes of charging : 39% battery.
- 20 minutes of charging : 64% battery.
- 30 minutes of charging : 82% battery.
- 40 minutes of charging : 96% battery.
- Total : 47 minutes of charge.
The Huawei Watch Ultimate includes its wireless charger attached to a USB A cable, but does not offer the power adapter. It is compatible with any standard Qi charging base.
Huawei Watch Ultimate, The Conclusion.
The time spent with the protagonist of this analysis was very positive, the smartwatch lives up to expectations. The exterior is magnificent, the construction is enviable and the sensations transmitted with the Huawei Watch Ultimate are luxurious . It could literally pass for a Swiss chronograph. Both outside and inside, the brand has done an excellent job.
As is logical given the characteristics, the watch is not cheap; hence the slight inaccuracy in route registration is more noticeable. Beyond here, sports and health capabilities are at a high level; with the drawback of not having excessive applications available on Android and zero apps if the Huawei Watch Ultimate is synchronized with an iPhone . Of course, whoever cannot install the added applications does not lose too much either, they do not add extra value to the enormous capacities implicit in the device.
The 749 euros that Huawei asks for the black Watch Ultimate, the cheapest, are many, even despite the fact that the device offers high-quality materials. The titanium model, the one I was lucky enough to try, costs 899 euros: from my point of view, it’s not worth it unless you’re looking for a metal chain . What’s more: if you don’t need the extra strength and diving capabilities, a Huawei Watch GT3 Pro is more than enough. In all cases, the smartwatch experience is exquisite.