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Huawei Watch D review: THE smartwatch revolution?

Huawei Watch D NextPit Hero Picutre
© NextPit

The wristband of the Huawei Watch D expanded several times during my review and cut off the blood in my arm! And that is exactly the genius of Huawei's innovative smartwatch. This is because the Watch D is equipped with a blood pressure monitor and can be particularly exciting to use, perhaps even vital, for readers who have hypertension. The NextPit review reveals whether the wearable is really convincing in everyday use!

Rating

Good

  • Innovative measurement of blood pressure
  • Many fitness features (GPS, ECG, SpO2 and more)
  • Great OLED display
  • Surprisingly good battery life

Bad

  • Limited water protection
  • Blood pressure measurement is not quite accurate
  • Only few additional apps in the Huawei store
  • Wristband gets musty very quickly

The Huawei Watch D in a nutshell

Rarely are there fitness wearables that I am convinced really help certain people, and the Huawei Watch D is one of them. This is because it has never been much easier to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. At the same time, the Watch D shines with its ease of use, reliability thanks to its six-day battery life, and diverse fitness features. The only real drawback is the water resistance rating. Despite the high purchase price, it is a real steal!

The Huawei Watch D is not available in the U.S. now, however, if you want to buy it, you will have to import it. The wearable costs now around $399 based on the RRP.

Design & Operation

With an angular design and an exceedingly wide strap, the Huawei Watch D looks more bulky than other smartwatches. However, since Huawei has to integrate a cuff and a pump into the watch, the design ends up functional. The smartwatch is controlled via a bright OLED display and two buttons with a water resistance rating of IP68 that is less impressive compared to other smartwatches.


What I liked:

  • Easy to adjust the right wristband length.
  • Great OLED display.
  • Wears comfortably despite its size and heavier weight.

What I disliked:

  • Fabric wristband quickly gets icky with lots of exercise.
  • Limited water resistance.

You notice that the Huawei Watch D is a bit different when you unbox it for the first time. In addition to the watch and two wristbands, you will also find a paper measuring tape in the box. You have to wrap it around your wrist to see which of the straps you should wear and follow the appropriate setting. This is because the Watch D wears a bit tighter than its competitors, since the blood pressure measurement has to exert enough pressure on your arm.

Huawei Watch D Gesamtaufnahme
Huawei's smartwatch has a high-quality build and looks "rugged". / © NextPit

Once you have understood the unconventional closing mechanism of the wristband, handling it is easy. To remove it, you release a metal clip and the band opens, letting you can slip out of a large loop on the wrist. When you close the strap, you have to make sure that the fabric sleeve inside the rubber band wraps around the wrist without any kinks. This also becomes second nature after a few times. Huawei has thought out this concept exceedingly well, and the special wristband is convincing except for a bit of slippage when removing it.

After spending two weeks with it, I see the risk of Huawei's wristband tormenting you with unpleasant odors in the longer term. This is because the Watch D tends to be the central collection point of sweat during sports, which is mainly jogging for me. Therefore, I let it dry in the fresh air for some time after exercising. Nevertheless, the wristband became a bit musty after only a few days. The fact that the manufacturer does not offer replacement straps for the Watch D is therefore particularly annoying. However, you can wash the fabric case as an alternative.

But enough about the unconventional wristband, I will later go into detail about the blood pressure measurement. This is because the Watch D does well as a robust smartwatch in everyday use, even without any special functions. The rectangular design exudes a bit of 80s flair, and the wearable is not too heavy at just under 40 grams, while the soft and cozy wristband translates to comfortable wear that does not disturb you even when sleeping.

The operation is easy enough thanks to Huawei's own operating system, a pair of buttons, and the responsive touch OLED display. I very rarely got lost in the operating system and could locate most of the features right away.

Huawei Watch D OLED Display
The display of the Huawei Watch D is easy to read even during the day. / © NextPit

However, I have to criticize the water resistance of "only" IP68. While this would be a plus point for a smartphone, it is below average for wearable devices. The watch is suitable for temporary submersion, but I would not swim or shower with it. More information about the IP certification can be found in the linked NextPit guide.

Operating system

Huawei once again uses its own operating system for the Watch D but alternatives are unnecessary in the first place due to the US trade embargo that was enforced in 2022. Together with the Huawei Health app, however, it results in seamless smartphone communication in combination with iOS. The variety of available apps is still limited, though.


What I liked:

  • Reliable synchronization with the smartphone
  • Simple operation.
  • Vital data is well presented.

What I disliked:

  • Limited selection of apps.

As with all its smartwatches, Huawei uses its own HarmonyOS on the Watch D. Thus, those who have already used a smartwatch from the manufacturer will immediately be able to figure out their way around. You will need the Huawei Health app to connect to the smartphone - and you have to install the Huawei Media Services via APK on Android.

Huawei Watch D Knöpfe
These two buttons control important functions. / © NextPit

The availability of the HMS on Android has the advantage that you can install additional watch faces and apps on the smartwatch. In connection with an iPhone, this option is omitted. However, since the availability of known apps is very low anyway, I don't really see this as a loss.

Screenshots Huawei Health App mit der Watch D
Here you can see some screenshots from the Huawei Health app. / © NextPit.

On the contrary, the clearly arranged and detailed Huawei Health app is a plus point. You can use this to create training plans, access numerous features and settings of the smartwatch, and view the Watch's numerous health data. Huawei supplements these with additional information and tips so that even fitness novices can easily find their way around.

Sensors & Fitness

With the blood pressure measurement function, the Huawei Watch D offers a unique feature. Other models only provide a rough estimate of these values via the pulse oximeter in the form of a photoplethysmogram. Besides blood pressure, the Watch D also monitors your pulse, your location via GPS, blood oxygen, runs an ECG, and checks your skin temperature.


What I like:

  • Exciting to see blood pressure data.
  • Diverse measurements of vital information

What I disliked:

  • Blood pressure measurement is not quite accurate.

In my opinion, the impressive thing about the Huawei Watch D is that it also masters all other tasks found on a fitness smartwatch despite its focus on blood pressure measurement. With its built-in sensors, the Watch D measures your pulse throughout the day, the oxygen content of your blood, your stress level, the temperature of your skin for early detection of diseases, and even runs an ECG if desired. While many of the features worked automatically, you have to activate the ECG manually and place your finger at the bottom button for a few seconds.

Die Sensoren der Huawei Watch D
Huawei's sensor called TruScreen 5.0 records your vital signs. / © NextPit

While many smartwatches can record these vital signs, the Watch D has the much-mentioned additional feature. You can access it out of the box via the lower of the two buttons. Huawei's Watch D then asks you to cross your "watch-wearing" arm over your chest. The watch will then pump itself up for about 20 seconds and then displays the systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as your pulse. These are the same values that a conventional blood pressure monitor displays. But are they accurate enough?

Measured values compared to a blood pressure monitor

Measurement Huawei Watch D Blood pressure monitor
  Systolic Diastolic Pulse Systolic Diastolic Pulse
Measurement 1 111 53 66 113 71 66
Measurement 2 124 84 64 125 72 62
Measurement 3 122 79 63 115 75 63
Measurement 4 130 76 56 138 77 59
Measurement 5 118 77 63 125 83 61

Not quite! Although Huawei claims that the integrated pressure gauge can measure to within ± 3 mmHg, I cannot confirm this in comparison to a medical gauge with an arm cuff. The Huawei Watch D deviates at certain places, especially in the diastolic value, which indicates the residual pressure in the relaxation phase of the heart. The pressure meter seems to have problems reliably recording the weaker of the two values.

Nevertheless, users who have problems with their blood pressure will get a very portable blood pressure monitor that can even remind you to take regular measurements if desired. The results tend to show an approximation, but do not have to be regularly "calibrated" with a conventional device, as is the case with the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (review). The latter also only provides an estimate based on the pulse oximeter's results.

Pumpe der Huawei Watch D
The pump of the Huawei Watch D is hidden behind the small port. / © NextPit

Huawei also deserves praise for the elegance of how the blood pressure measurement was integrated into the hardware. One of the wristbands has an air cushion that is plugged into the back of the watch via a connector. This snaps into place to ensure a steady air supply. Thanks to various fabric straps, which you can also wash by hand if necessary, you gain a high level of wearing comfort that is also hygienic. In case you do not need the pump, Huawei also includes a kind of dummy cap for the pump connection. Everything has really been well-thought-out here.

Other sensors work reliably

But enough about the blood pressure monitor - or did I not mention that yet? Jokes aside, the other sensors of the Huawei Watch D are not only versatile, but also reliable. After a few weeks of use, I now know that my blood pressure is in the optimal range in everyday life. It drops after sports, which is due to a widening of my blood vessels. My heart rhythm is also impeccable, and my pulse readings while jogging provide me with an indication of how far I can push myself the next time.

Huawei Watch D am Handgelenk
On the wrist, the Watch D doesn't look too clunky, despite the built-in compressor. / © NextPit

In everyday life, my stress level falls within the normal range, my sleep phases over the past few days were tracked with pinpoint accuracy, and a built-in GPS module showed me exactly how long my commute to work was despite having to navigate through construction sites. If I catch the flu, I can even see when it's coming on thanks to skin temperature measurement and react early enough. If it is pneumonia after all, the SpO2 value would allow me to detect it earlier.

In a nutshell: The Huawei Watch D offers a real bunch of information about the human body. If you want to quantify your life or use the information for sports, no other smartwatch currently offers such a wide range of options.

Huawei Watch D Maßband
When you wear the watch for the first time, you have to measure your wrist. / © NextPit

Battery and smart features

Although the Huawei Watch D has a small compressor, the manufacturer claims to have a battery life of up to seven days. This is a value that we could confirm in the review. However, smartwatch fans have to reckon with restrictions in terms of charging options and smart features.


What I liked:

  • Solid battery life of six days in the review
  • Expandable through apps in connection with Android.

What I disliked:

  • No reply options for notifications.
  • No automatic music playback.
  • No expansion via apps when connected to an iOS device.

To begin with, here is something you need to take note of if you are considering buying the Watch D. If you use an Android smartphone, you can install Huawei Media Services as an APK and thus have the option to install apps on the Watch. This is not possible on iOS. However, this is not a big loss due to the small number of available apps. More information about the app availability of HarmonyOS can be found in Stefan's review of the Huawei Watch GT3 Pro.

Huawei Watch D Lade-Puck
The magnetic charging puck from Huawei looks familiar - wireless charging via Qi is not included. / © NextPit

On a more positive note: I was surprised by the battery life of the Huawei smartwatch in the review. Despite taking regular blood pressure measurements, 24/7 monitoring of pulse and blood oxygen, and a lot of trial and error, the Watch D lasted up to six days in the review. That is one day less than what the manufacturer promised.

Finally, it is a bit of a shame that Huawei decided to skimp on the smart features. The option to reply to notifications without a smartphone does not exist. There is also no option to store music on the watch and play it independently of the smartphone. The installed music app is only used to control song playback and volume. Those who want a multimedia watch are not advised to pick this up.

It is also a pity that the Watch D does not support wireless charging via Qi. Thus, you will always have to use Huawei's magnetic charging puck.

Final verdict

Let's summarize everything once again: With the Watch D, Huawei introduced a new measurement method for vital data to the world of smartwatches and mastered it very elegantly and reasonably reliably right from the beginning. Thus, users who have to watch their blood pressure can easily obtain approximate values that they can then check with a precise measuring device or their doctor. This is a value-added feature and something that, in my opinion, should even be suggested by health insurance companies and covered in the costs. Do bear in mind that this is not a professional medical device, though!

Huawei Watch D Schmetterlingsverschluss
The butterfly cap is unconventional, but you will quickly get used to it. / © NextPit

Also on the positive side, the Huawei Watch D is also a pretty and functional smartwatch in and of itself. Despite the larger case, it is comfortable to wear, does not stand out negatively when sleeping, and suits both a jacket and a jogging suit thanks to its simple design. However, users who are active will quickly notice a nasty odor. However, this can be remedied by removing the fabric casing of the cuff and washing it.

Only Huawei's typical app restrictions really stood out negatively in the review. Since Apple does not support Huawei's media services, iPhone users are even left empty-handed when downloading apps. In line with this, key features of some alternatives, such as automatic music playback, wireless charging, a water protection rating that makes it suitable for swimming, and reply options to notifications, are missing.

If Huawei fixes these few shortcomings, the successor will surely score a full five points. Huawei proved that they cannot only shine in the wearable sector, but also offer innovation.

Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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