The Huawei Watch Buds promise always-available audio
The innovative wrist-worn earphones are UK-bound
Ever had to jump on an important video call but didn’t have your headphones to hand? The Huawei Watch Buds want to save your colleagues from having to listen in to your virtual meetings, by sticking a pair of earbuds right on your wrist – and doubling as a fitness-focused smartwatch the rest of the time.
Revealed for China at the tail end of 2022, Huawei is now ready to bring the innovative wearable to the UK and Europe. Without looking too closely the Watch Buds is easily confused for the firms other premium watches like the Watch GT 3; it has the same stainless steel chassis, same 3D curved glass face and same clous de paris crown at the side. The 22mm leather strap is familiar, too.
It’s slightly thicker on the wrist, though, and a button press reveals its party trick: the display pops up on a hinge to reveal a pair of teensy true wireless in-ears lurking beneath. The bullet-style buds don’t compromise on tech despite their small stature, with active noise cancellation, ear canal adaptation and wear detection. You can pop ’em in either ear and they’ll know which way round to play stereo sound. They also have tap controls that can sense when you prod the front or tip of your ear, so you aren’t constantly jabbing them deeper into your ear canals.
The buds’ diminutive dimensions mean they aren’t for all-day listening, with a modest three hours of battery life with active noise cancellation enabled. But that doesn’t mean audio quality has taken a dive. They use similar composite planar diaphragms to Huawei’s premium FreeBuds Pro 2, with a 20Hz-20kHz frequency range and eardrum-threatening 104dB peak volume. They pair to any Bluetooth gadget (not just the watch) and have dual mics for making voice calls.
The watch, meanwhile, can last three days away from the mains – or up to seven if you flick on the power saving mode. And that includes topping up the buds a few times.
Other hardware is on par with Huawei’s other watches, meaning a 1.43in circular AMOLED display with a reasonably chunky bezel up top and a TruSeen 5.0+ sensor underneath. It combines accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate and SpO2 for health and fitness tracking. The HarmonyOS 3.0 software can record 80 different exercises and activities, with the focus entirely on land-based sports. The watch is IPX7 water resistant when closed, though, so will survive a shower or regular gym sessions.
The Huawei Watch Buds play nicely with Android and iOS devices. It’ll be available for pre-order from the 15th of February for £449 in the UK and €499 in selected European countries. General sales then kick off on the 1st of March.