Honor may be best known for making cheap smartphones that pack a punch but in the last year, the company’s attention has been drawn towards the world of smartwatches.
Honor’s latest offering is the MagicWatch 2 - a smartwatch that is meant to be your companion through whatever the day throws at you, whether that be night or day, work or leisure - all for the price of £149.99.
There are two sizes available - 42mm and 46mm - but because of our reviewer’s slightly smaller stature, we road-tested the newer 42mm model.
The design of the MagicWatch 2 is sleek and minimal and the interface is user-friendly and easy to use, but what do you really get for just over £150? And, can it really rival those pricier big-name brands?
Here are the seven things you need to know about the Honor MagicWatch 2.
Honor’s MagicWatch 2 is available in the new 42mm size for £149.99, or in 46mm if you prefer a slightly bigger watch. And. there's even £20 off the 46mm until Sunday, bringing the price down to £139.99.
1. The Perfect Fit
Unlike most watches - smart or otherwise - the Honor MagicWatch 2 has 17 holes on the watch strap so that it fits perfectly on your wrist. Contrasting this with our Fitbit, which we wear daily, we usually have to choose between having it a little too tight or risk it sliding around most of the day. There’s no such issue with the MagicWatch 2 because there are so many holes at such close increments to each other, you’re bound to find the perfect fit.
The small spacing between the strap holes also naturally increases the watch’s comfort. We usually can’t wait to take off our watch at the end of a long day but we found we could wear the MagicWatch 2 a complete 24 hours before we succumbed to taking it off.
2. Get the most out of your workout
The MagicWatch 2 offers a shed load of data when it comes to your workouts. Before working out, you simply let the watch know what type of exercise you are doing with the preset options covering everything from jog outdoors to rowing, open water swimming and hiking. If you want to make your run a little more interesting - or you need a little more coaching - there are also 13 running courses to choose from. If you’re new to running, these are a great place to start as the courses are broken down into timed segments to give you something to aim for.
To give you a better idea of how the stats are broken down, we decided to hike Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Each kilometre of the 6.4km walk was broken down so we could see our pace, along with stats on our average stride, cadence, heart rate and how high we climbed. We particularly like the recovery time feature, which shows how long you should take out before exercising again. In our case, it was 14 hours.
3. Making stress manageable
We could all benefit from being more aware of our stress levels, and the Honor MagicWatch 2 helps you do so. The smartwatch’s stress monitor has a nice graph that tracks your stress levels, along with giving you a score. It was a handy way of pinpointing what increased our stress and it also gave us an idea of what percentage of the day we were relaxed, normal, medium or highly stressed. Turns out being stranded in Edinburgh because of Storm Ciara and cancelled trains does make you a little stressed.
The MagicWatch 2 also offers breathing exercises, which tell the wear to breath slowly in and out in time with an undulating circle. It’s probably not something we’d use regularly but may be a nice feature for those who struggle with anxiety and find breathing exercises to be a helpful tool.
4. Sleep well
The sleep monitor was by far our favourite feature of the MagicWatch 2. If you’re not used to wearing a tracker to bed, it does take a little getting used to but we found the MagicWatch 2 to be pretty comfortable to wear to bed and we loved the amount of data we got from it. Not only did it let us know exactly how long we’d been asleep, it also broke down that sleep into light, deep and REM sleep.
The graph on the Huawei Health app gave us a great idea of when we were sleeping our heaviest, along with giving a decent summary of how well you slept and what a good amount of REM sleep really is. We scored low when it came to deep sleep continuity but normal for all the other categories including how often we woke up, our breathing quality and how long we slept for. This is definitely a handy tool if you’re struggling to sleep and want to better understand why, or are simply curious to find out what makes a good night’s sleep.
5. A battery that lasts forever (Almost)
One of Honor’s key selling points for this watch was its 14-day battery life so naturally it was the first thing we wanted to put to the test. The verdict? The battery does last a hell of a long time. Ours lasted just over 10 days but that was wearing it night and day, taking full advantage of all the monitoring and GPS/location features. For typical everyday use, this watch is easily going to last two weeks, especially if you’re not going to be wearing it to bed every night like we were.
And okay, 14 days may not be forever but it's certainly long enough that you can get on with your life without worrying about charge every 5 minutes. There’s simply no faulting the battery life of the Honor MagicWatch 2, it’s the perfect smartwatch for those who like to travel a lot and appreciate the fact they won’t need to take yet another charging cable.
6. Be ready for the great outdoors
The watch may be designed with everyday use in mind, but there are some good features that make it pretty handy for if you want to go off course. Not only does it track your exercise and location, but there’s also a built-in compass, flashlight and barometer (which measures air pressure).
Now if you’re a regular hiker, you’ve probably invested in some more rugged (and more expensive) tech but the MagicWatch 2 isn’t really designed for you. If you’re a city dweller who’s decided to go on their first camping trip since the millennium then you might get some fun out of the MagicWatch 2.
7. Make it personal
With over 80 watch faces available for the MagicWatch 2’s full-colour AMOLED touchscreen, you’re bound to find one that suits all your design and functionality needs. For everyday use, we enjoyed ‘Dashed’, which allowed us to keep track of our steps and heart rate combined with the more traditional watch face. Other options include ‘Space’, a minimal black and white design simply showing the time, date and weather, and ‘Clear’, which combines all of the above, plus battery life and calories burned into one colour-coordinated watch face.
With a fantastic battery life, an app that impressed us more than we thought that it would and a strap that actually fits our wrists, the Honor MagicWatch 2 is a great smartwatch contender. It's not a watch for those who are looking to monitor their exercise and health at an advanced level, or those who are looking for a rugged watch to take hiking. But, for those looking for a well-priced Android smartwatch rival (this watch doesn't use Wear OS or Watch OS but Honor's own software), then this is for you.