by Al Sacco

4 things Apple Watch does that Huawei Watch can’t

Oct 23, 2015
Android Consumer Electronics Smartwatches

Apple's Watch is the No. 1 smartwatch on the planet for a reason, and though many other high-end alternatives exist, including many Android Wear options, Apple's timepiece still stands out. Here are four ways Apple Watch outperforms the stylish new Android-powered Huawei Watch.

(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add information about the third-party watchbands available for the Huawei Watch. Changes are marked in bold text.)

The 2015 holiday season is just a couple of festive months away, and based on the massive increase in smartwatch sales this year, a number of the most popular intelligent timepieces are sure to grace many a gift list.

[Related Feature: My smartwatch turned me into a rude bastard (don’t let it happen to you)]

The main reason for this notable uptick in smartwatch adoption: the Apple Watch. In fact, in July, two months after its U.S. release, Apple’s Watch represented more than 75 percent of total global smartwatch market share, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. The company predicts global smartwatch sales will continue to increase by more than 60 percent in 2016, and though Apple will likely continue to lead the pack, other attractive alternative will also play their parts, especially high-end Android Wear watches, such as the Huawei Watch. (In case you’re wondering, the correct pronunciation of Huawei is “wah way,” according to this amusing video from the Chinese gadget maker.)

apple watch huawei watch smartwatch rear Brian Sacco

Apple Watch and Huawei Watch

I spent the last few weeks using these two watches side by side. (Yes, I wore two smartwatches on the same wrist, what of it?) After weeks of use, some clear strengths and weaknesses emerged for the Apple Watch and Huawei Watch. Here are four things the Apple Watch does that Huawei Watch can’t. And because there are always (at least) two sides to every story, I also wrote a companion post, “4 things Huawei Watch does that Apple Watch can’t.”

4 good reasons to pick Apple Watch over Huawei Watch

1) Apple Watch supports NFC mobile payments, Huawei Watch doesn’t

Apple’s smartwatch uses near field communications (NFC) technology to make mobile payments via the company’s proprietary Apple Pay service. That means you can pay for goods and services at select retailers with the tap of the wrist to a compatible PoS terminal. You simply hit the Apple Watch side button twice to launch Apple Pay, choose your payment card of choice and bring your wrist close to the terminal. The process is simple and efficient, as well as convenient, and I use it whenever I can.

apple watch apple pay nfc chase freedom Apple

The Huawei Watch does not support NFC, and it therefore cannot take advantage of Google’s rival payment service, Android Pay, or any other NFC-based payment options for Android.

2) Apple Watch ‘Force Touch’ enables advanced interaction

One of the most unique things about the Apple Watch is the “Force Touch” feature built into its display. With Force Touch, the Watch not only responds when you tap its screen but also when you apply different levels of pressure to it.

force touch

For example, you can touch and then press on the Watch face “home screen” to switch between other faces. You can press on the display during a workout to pause or end the session, or to lock the screen so you don’t inadvertently trigger a function while being active. A hard press on the notification screen lets you dismiss all alerts. And a Force Touch API enables third-party developers to take advantage of the feature to build creative new uses into their apps. 

[Related Feature: Why Apple Watch is a business traveler’s best friend]

Smartwatches have small displays, and most have only one or two buttons, so text in put and interaction with the devices can be tedious, and in some cases, frustrating. Force Touch gives Apple Watch users another way to trigger features and functionality, and it’s built into the display so it doesn’t require any additional buttons.

The Huawei Watch has only a single button on its side, and a set of on-screen taps and swipes, as well as voice, are used for navigation and input, which means the potential for interaction is limited compared to Apple Watch.

3) Selection of Apple Watch bands bests Huawei Watch 

The word “customization” is much more likely to be spoke alongside “Android” than “Apple,” but thanks to an impressive (and increasing) array of both official and third-party watchbands, the Apple Watch is infinitely more customizable than Huawei’s Watch, at least when it comes official watchbands. However, the Huawei Watch uses industry standard size 18-mm watch straps, according to Google, so its owners do have many generic straps to choose from.

apple watch iphone 6s plus granite Brian Sacco

Huawei doesn’t sell replacement bands at all, though its website lists seven different swappable options, ranging in price from $80 to $170, that are supposedly “coming soon.” In comparison, Apple offers seven different official Apple Watch bands, in as many as 16 different colors — though they certainly aren’t cheap. And a quick search for “Apple Watch bands” yields dozens of more affordable third-party options.

My Huawei Watch came with a shiny, natural black leather band, and though it’s well-made, it’s not at all well-suited for working out. And it’s not waterproof, so you cannot (or should not), say, use it while you’re running in the rain. I switch back and forth between a silicon “sport” band (when I’m working out) and the “Leather Loop” band (when I’m not) on my Apple Watch. Huawei doesn’t offer any sort of fitness-friendly rubber watchband for its Watch, and neither does Amazon. In other words, when it comes to bands made specifically for your watch, Apple Watch has Huawei Watch beat by a long shot.

4) Apple Watch comes in more configurations, at more price points

The high-end versions of the Apple Watch are significantly more expensive than the Huawei Watch, but if price isn’t a concern and it’s luxury you seek, you’ll find many more suitable options from Apple. The company’s three smartwatch models come with cases made of different metals: aluminum, stainless steel and gold. The Huawei Watch is available only in stainless steel, though the casing comes in silver, black and rose gold. 

Huawei Watch pricing ranges from $350 to $800, while Apple offers smartwatches that cost between $350 and $17,000. Apple’s Watch is available in two sizes (38mm and 42mm), while the Huawei Watch is one size fits all (42mm).

apple watch hermes double tour Apple

It’s also worth noting that Apple Watch is much more feminine looking than the Huawei Watch, in my opinion. Huawei’s website and marketing materials seem to reinforce this idea with a notable lack of females, while Apple clearly targeted woman with a new pink Sport model and set of fancy (and pricey) custom Hermes Watches.

Again, this post tells just one side of this story, and you really ought to read the companion piece, “4 things Huawei Watch does that Apple Watch can’t,” for context. 

Finally, you can learn more about the Apple Watch on, while Huawei’s website has details on its smartwatch.