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4-min read

Honor Watch Magic Review: Generous Style And Substance, Except it Can’t Track Climbing

What we got from the Watch Magic was 10-day battery life on a single charge, something quite rare for smartwatches

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:April 8, 2019, 2:30 PM IST
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Honor Watch Magic Review: Generous Style And Substance, Except it Can’t Track Climbing
What we got from the Watch Magic was 10-day battery life on a single charge, something quite rare for smartwatches
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The smartwatch ecosystem beyond the Apple Watch has been fairly week. And this has been a trend for quite a while now. Even more so because Google’ Wear OS (formerly known as Android Wear) has not stepped up the way it was expected. That meant if you had the money, you went and bought an Apple Watch. Assuming you already were using the iPhone. But if you weren’t, it was a conundrum. However, solution could be at hand with the Honor Watch Magic. This is priced at Rs 13,999 for the Lava Black variant and Rs 14,999 for the Moonlight Silver option.

For years, smartwatches struggled with the design. They were either too bulky or just didn’t look premium enough. Watch maker Fossil must be credited with making smartwatches look sleek and cool. The Honor Watch Magic also delivers on the design aspect. In fact, this is also very similar to the Huawei Watch GT. Slimness is noticeable, and this measures just 9.8mm in thickness. You can buy this in two colours—black and silver. The former ships with a textured black strap while the latter is paired with a brown leather strap. The rather interesting addition to the leather strap is the silicon rubber layer on the underside, the part of the strap that touches your skin—this is helpful with protecting the leather from sweat and moisture. Very well built, with the stainless-steel chassis, but yet remains very light to wear around the wrist.

This watch is not just all style and no substance. Mercifully, that is! On the face of it, a 1.2-inch AMOLED display may not feel much. However, this 390 x 390 resolution display is a very good canvas as far as visibility is concerned. It is easy to read text on this, colour look rich and vivid and the blacks are also inky dark, which helps all other colours also come alive. The thing is, you don’t always look at a watch at the perfect viewing angles, and this display doesn’t fade out even when you may be looking at it from a skewed angle.

The Honor Watch Magic runs Huawei’s own Lite OS, just as the Huawei Watch GT. It is good to have an alternative to Google’s Wear OS—purely because Wear OS has not really delivered on the promise of being a genuine alternative to the Apple Watch’s watchOS and has terribly disappointed as far as the battery life is concerned. Lite OS, on the other hand, makes a good first impression. It is snappy while navigating the interface and the apps and doesn’t really stutter at any point. There are not a lot of third-party apps available for this right now, but the simplicity could perhaps just be the charm. In fact, many swipe gestures and the layout does seem to have been inspired by Wear OS. There are some rather interesting watch face options to choose from, though this is where the lack of third-party options to add more tend to rankle a bit. Also, we didn’t notice many customization options for these watch faces—what you see is what you get, pretty much.

There is a lot of focus on activity tracking. For instance, swipe right or left from the watch face, and you will move through different screens that detail your heart rate (current, resting, maximum and minimum with a helpful graph as well), stress monitoring (somehow I activity every hour etc., complete with rings). The elaborate feature set is great to have on your wrist. However, we noticed a serious anomaly. The Honor Watch Magic simply refuses to calculate the flight of stairs you may have climbed up and down all day long. This wasn’t an issue for a day or a week, but for every single day yours truly wore the Watch Magic and used the stairs all day at work. At the end, nothing. Zilch. Nada. It’s like I used the elevator all along. While all the detailed fitness tracking capabilities are great, this is a rather unexpected and, in some ways, weird shortcoming for a smartwatch. We did reset and re-pair the watch twice, but that didn’t make the difference.

Everything can perhaps be made up for with good battery life. And the Watch Magic does. Honor claims 7-day battery life, which on paper is a great figure to boast of anyway. In the real world, things are a bit different. Read, better. What we got from the Watch Magic was 10-day battery life on a single charge, with the heart rate monitor and GPS enabled, as well as 30 minutes of exercise tracking. It’s the charge it and forget it sort of a scenario that is quite rare with smartwatches.

Should you buy the Honor Watch Magic? Apart from the fact that it can’t tell the difference between climbing the stairs or taking a luxurious elevator, there really isn’t much wrong with the Honor Watch Magic. It has the style and the substance to go with a rather interesting price tag. The Honor Watch Magic really has no alternatives in this price range.
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