Huawei introduced the wearable Watch D with blood pressure tracking at the end of 2021, but it took until the end of 2022 to obtain the required certifications and make it available in Western markets. And now that we’ve been able to spend a few weeks with it, here’s our verdict.
The wearable is Huawei’s first Watch series device that comes with a rectangular screen rather than a circular one. However, beyond that and the unique blood pressure measurements, it shares most of its features with its round stable mates.
Design and build
The Huawei Watch D lacks fancy crowns or keys, just two flat buttons on the right side of the aluminum case. The company calls it “Graphite Black”. In reality, it is a dark gray shade. The fluoroelastomer strap is actually black. It’s designed specifically for this device, which means replacing it with a third-party 22mm strap isn’t really an option, as it will likely interfere with blood pressure measurement.
The 1.64″ AMOLED has a resolution of 456 x 280 pixels and is bright and colorful, like any recent Huawei watch. At the bottom we have the heart rate monitor and a small element that seals the port of the blood pressure strap.
The retail box is rich compared to other portable devices. There are two straps, sizes M and L, a neat paper tool for choosing the right one with 21 customization steps, and two inflatable straps that measure blood pressure.
The Huawei Watch D crown feature – while Samsung’s Galaxy Watch series also offers BP tracking, we’re talking about actual measurements here rather than estimates that require frequent calibration with an actual tool. Yet Huawei repeatedly mentions that it is not medical equipment and its purpose is routine monitoring rather than finalizing diagnosis.
BPM devices on the wrist are not as accurate as those on the upper arm. The reason for this is that the blood vessels and skin are thinner there, so the readings aren’t 100% accurate – but the Watch D is still an additional tool for people to monitor their health.
We compared this device with an actual medical instrument, and the systolic and diastolic values (the upper and lower number) were off by 10 mm Hg on the watch. While not perfect, we believe this type of deviation is acceptable.
The Watch D measures blood pressure like a real wrist monitor – it inflates to the point of making the person slightly uncomfortable while feeling their pulse, then slowly deflates to feel blood pressure.
The extra straps, supplied in the retail box, have three contact points to ensure a secure fit. The first and most important is on the back of the watch, the second is on the first hole of the normal strap, and the third is a dedicated elongated hole to ensure the strap is in place. All elements are made of rubber and fabric and seem very resistant.
Huawei talks a lot about the OS as it is the slightly older Harmony 2.1 instead of Harmony OS 3.0 which runs on other international Watch devices. The company’s Huawei Health app has a cool feature called Healthy Living, which monitors a wide range of daily reports and offers an overall picture of your health.
It measures SpO2 (blood oxygen), monitors sleep and stress, measures body temperature and notifies you of drastic changes in your condition. It has neat prompts to drink water, take a deep breath, and calm down, even for a minute, if needed.
The lower key of the Watch D is metallic and has a conductive surface, allowing an ECG (electrocardiogram) to be recorded. In theory, it can read when there are atrial or ventricular extrasystoles. In practice, we could not find a test subject with this problem – luckily everyone in the office has a healthy sinus rhythm.
The Watch D is not a device for sports, and that’s why it “only” supports more than 70 training modes instead of more than 100 like other Huawei wearables. The truth is, it makes little difference as wearables only do a decent job tracking half a dozen outdoor running and cycling workouts. GNSS positioning accurately tracks outdoor routes, although some of the sports that require heavy tracking were missing, such as rock climbing and running.
The wearable has Bluetooth 5.1 and also has NFC. You can use the feature for Huawei Wallet (Pay or Access), but the feature is not available in Europe. Charging is standard Qi wireless, but because of the strap with its folding clasp, the Watch D can’t be used on all wireless chargers unless you unhook the strap.
Notifications and controls are quite simple and consistent with all recent Huawei watches. Voice support only works in the Huawei environment, which means Siri and Google won’t be triggered, which is hardly news.
The company promises 7 days of life on a single “typical use” charge. We still got exactly 7 days of what we considered quite heavy use, so we’d even say the Watch D exceeded our expectations. If you only measure ECG or BP once or twice a day, you can definitely add a day or two to endurance.
However, this is achieved with the Always On Display feature disabled, relying on the reliable turn to wake gesture instead. When we turned AoD on, battery life dropped significantly. The Watch D lasts just over 72 hours, or 3 days, before needing to get back on the charger.
Even this worst-case scenario isn’t a terrible experience, especially when you compare it to smartwatches from Samsung, Apple, and Google. However, these run more elaborate applications with deeper system integration, so it’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison.
The Huawei Watch D is the only one in its market niche. It borrows from two categories – smart medical equipment and a classic smartwatch, and we’d say the wearable is ideal for a certain group of users.
If we consider it strictly as a smartwatch, there are clearly arguments why other Huawei wearables are a better choice. While we view the wearable as a medical device, it’s not completely accurate, so we wouldn’t fully recommend it as a replacement for your blood pressure monitor.
Here’s who’s going to love the Huawei Watch D – health-conscious people who need one more tool to track their health but generally have strong vitals. This specific band should ignore the possible appearance as Huawei does not offer any customization or color options for this device.
We think the Watch D is worth €399 if you’re in that small circle. The company offers specific bundles on its websites across Europe, including free Huawei products and massive discounts, which would make the price even more attractive.