Huawei Watch Buds reviewon February 15, 2023 at 00:01 Tech Advisor

At a glance

Expert’s Rating


Unique hybrid designBright AMOLED displayImpressive audioRange of tracking software


ExpensiveHeavy to wear if you have smaller wristsIssues with Huawei Health AppNot suitable for swimming

Our Verdict

The Huawei Watch Buds pushes the limits of what is possible with technology, but the novelty of having a wearable with built-in earphones costs quite a lot.

Price When Reviewed


Best Prices Today: Huawei Watch Buds


If you’re a gadget enthusiast who dreams of owning a piece of 007-style tech, then the Huawei Watch Buds may be for you.

This smartwatch looks like an ordinary wearable on the surface, but the watch face clicks open to reveal a pair of wireless earbuds, which are docked and charging from inside the watch. These buds come with active noise cancelling (ANC), along with a few more surprises.  

It is certainly a unique product from Huawei, but is this hybrid wearable actually of any use? And more importantly, are the features worth the price? I’ve been using the Huawei Watch Buds, seeing how this crossover smartwatch performs day-to-day, and I have many thoughts.  

Design & build 

Two-in-one smartwatch and earbudsCharging case located beneath the watch faceBuds attach via magnets

The Huawei Watch Buds is truly a feat of engineering that hasn’t failed to intrigue people whenever I open the screen to show off the surprise underneath.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The watch face opens via a button below the dial and can be placed anywhere between 10 and 75 degrees. I’ve used it plenty of times, and it never felt janky or breakable in that time.  

The earbuds stay in via magnets on the top of the face – even holding the watch upside down doesn’t shift them. Below that is a built-in charging case, so as soon as you close the watch, the buds will start juicing. The watch always gives you a heads-up when the case is open. 

A feat of engineering that hasn’t failed to intrigue people whenever I open the screen to show off the surprise underneath

I wasn’t convinced that I’d find a need for this product, but a few days with it proved me wrong. I found it extremely handy to not have to hunt around in my bag for my earphones during my commute. They were right there, ready to access with ease – so Huawei has certainly nailed the convenience factor. 

The wearable

Heavy for anyone with smaller wrists22mm leather strapIPX7 rating when closedNot suitable for swimming

Huawei has made efforts to make the watch look as normal as possible, but at the end of the day, there is an earbuds case housed in there. As such, this is one chunky wearable.  

It weighs 66.5g (excluding the strap), which is twice as heavy as other leading wearables like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. This might not be an issue for someone with thicker arms, but I have noodle-like wrists. As a result, the watch feels cumbersome after long periods of time, such as wearing it overnight for sleep tracking.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The thickness also proved an issue when changing clothes – I was caught in a precarious position when I accidentally clicked open the case and got it caught on my jumper which was already halfway over my head. I’d advise taking the wearable off when changing. 

The body is made from black stainless steel and comes with a matching 22mm leather strap with a brown underside. Whilst it feels comfortable and looks premium, it isn’t the best option for exercise as it feels rather grubby after sweating. However, this is detachable, so you could swap it out for any third-party one with ease.

Huawei has certainly nailed the convenience factor

The AMOLED display measures 1.43in and comes with a 466 x 466 resolution. It is bright, glossy and clear, and doesn’t seem to retain marks or fingerprints. You can navigate via the touchscreen display, or by using the button on the right-hand side which is also used to power the device.

The Huawei Watch Buds has two IP ratings, as the device is more vulnerable when the lid is open. When the watch is closed, it is rated IPX7 – this then drops to IPX4 when it is open. You could in theory shower with this watch on with the case closed.

However, if you get the buds wet in any way, or get any liquid in the charging case, you must wipe it down with some cotton buds or a paper towel. That may be annoying if you’re using it for exercise, as you can’t simply stick them back in the case without making sure they’re free from sweat first. 

In addition, the Huawei Watch Buds does not support swimming at all due to concerns of breaking the buds. As a regular pool-goer, this was a slight disappointment.  

The earbuds

Stable and compact designCan be controlled using taps on buds, or on the ears

The buds themselves come in a shiny black finish with silver accents and an octagonal design. They weigh only 4g per bud, measure a tiny 21.8 x 10.3 x 10.3mm and come with three interchangeable silicon ear tips. They’re extremely comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time.  

As they come with no stems or wings, I was worried about stability. However, I never had any issue with the buds falling out – they even managed to hold up under a run with minimal movement.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

They come with what Huawei dubs as Wide-Area Auricle Touch Controls, meaning that the touch controls work not only on the outer edge of the buds themselves but also on the outer and inner edges of your ear.

Surprisingly, I found the taps to be more consistent and comfortable on my ear rather than on the buds, which sometimes were slow to respond or nestled in my ear just a little too roughly.  

Software & features 

Runs on HarmonyOS 2App selection not as comprehensive as WearOS

The Huawei Watch Buds runs on HarmonyOS 2, and it has many similar features that Google and Apple wearable users will be used to.  

You can either choose to display all the apps in a grid format (the default, which is similar to the layout on Apple Watch), or as a list with everything laid out as you’d find on Amazfit wearables. I opted for the latter.  

Huawei includes a range of apps such as the weather, music (you can load songs on via the Huawei Health app), alarms and more. The smartphone app also includes Huawei’s own AppGallery, which has a range of extra apps that you can download to the watch. These include Petal Maps, a pill reminder app and a watch controller for Spotify.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The watch can receive notifications from your smartphone and interact with some. For example, you can send automatic responses on WhatsApp, as well as emojis.

The app selection isn’t quite as comprehensive as what you’ll find on WearOS (you won’t find any Google specific watch apps here), but it is better than the offering on Zepp OS. 

You can receive and take phone calls on the Watch Buds, but you’ll need to be wearing the buds to do this as no speaker or microphone is included on the watch itself. You can also load music onto the watch to listen without using your smartphone for playback.   

Make sure that the app has permission access to your smartphone contacts, as otherwise the names will show up as ‘unknown caller’ on the watch.  

Fitness & tracking 

80 different workout modes supportedMessy app layout Some issues with step count on Android

Besides taking calls and listening to music, you can also use the Huawei Watch Buds to track your health and fitness levels.  

The watch supports over 80 different workout modes. The standard pre-loaded ones are running, walking, cycling, skipping, cross training and using a rowing machine – but you can add loads of different ones, including yoga, boxing and tennis.

The watch also includes some courses to follow. I tested out the advanced walk/run setting, which had pre-loaded timers for when to switch between the two activities. You can add more of these courses via the Huawei Health app – which is available on both iOS and Android. 

Hannah Cowton / Foundry

This app is sadly one of the worst things about the Huawei Watch Buds. Not only is it full of ads for various Huawei products and software, but it also isn’t the most intuitive to navigate – some features are buried deep within the settings, for example.  

If you have an Android phone, the app also double counts your steps on your wearable and phone and combines them as standard. Whilst the figure on the Huawei Watch Buds itself was accurate, the one on my phone was wildly out and seemed to think that I was walking when taking the tube across London (I WISH I could walk 60,000 steps in a few hours).  

This can be fixed by disabling ‘physical activity’ on app permissions. Huawei claims in the app that this isn’t a problem for those on iOS.  

This isn’t a crossover product that I can see catching on anytime soon

The watch also features an auto-detect mode for workouts. However, I attempted to use this for walking and it did not activate. I’ve contacted Huawei about this to see if this issue will be fixed.

Bugbears aside, the app does provide a decent breakdown of your workouts. Here you can see the route you travelled (if GPS was enabled), your heart rate throughout the activity and some additional metrics on certain sports, like average pace and cadence on running.  

You can also use the Watch Buds for tracking your heart rate, SpO2 levels (blood oxygen) and stress. The results I got were in-line with the numbers I’ve had from other smartwatches. The wearable also displays an average of your heart rate over the last seven days, which is a nice touch.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The Huawei Watch Buds can also be used for sleep tracking. The app breaks down where you had deep sleep, light sleep and REM, and flags if you woke up during the night. It also provides some analysis of your sleep based on the time you went to bed. You can also add in a manual sleep record, should you forget to wear your wearable.

Again, these scores all seemed correct, with the watch identifying any nasty disturbances I had during the night. The information on the app is quite comprehensive for this section and backs up the claims with sources from medical institutions.  

Sound quality 

Impressive audio qualityInterchangeable left and right budsSo-so ANC

The headphones on the Huawei Watch Buds impressively (for their size) come with a Full-Range Planar Diaphragm Unit, the same tech seen on the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2. This is combined with a flat voice coil and a quad magnetic structure. According to Huawei, all this technology results in “transparency, smoothness, rich details, and deep sound”. 

They come with a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz, which is in-keeping with most other earbuds and matches the theoretical human hearing range. They also produce up to 104dB in terms of volume. You get Dynamic EQ mode on the watch, which can boost the bass, treble and voices on audio.

In real terms, the buds are a treat for day-to-day listening, especially when you tweak the settings to suit what you’re listening to. Bass has a nice thump to it with electronic songs such as Sebastian Bohm’s remix of Blue Monday – especially when it is boosted. Other instruments such as strings and synths also shine nicely.  

The quality is a bit on the muddy side for rock music, but that is a common issue with many earbuds. Deep Cuts by You Me At Six has clear vocals, and the instruments are all identifiable from one another. Vocals on podcasts also sound sharp and detailed.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

Arguably the most unique thing about the buds is that they have Adaptive Identification Technology. Providing that they are properly synced, the audio channels will automatically correct so they can be used interchangeably. I.e. you could take out the left-hand bud and use it in your right ear.  

The buds do this by sensing movement. So, if you pick up the right-hand earbud and put it in your left ear, Huawei asks users to gently nod or shake your head. The earbuds will then notify you that they are automatically synced – this is between five and 15 seconds for me (though Huawei asks to give it up to 30 seconds). Note that you can’t do this successfully if you’re lying down or taking a phone call.  

When listening to Bohemian Rhapsody, I noticed that the channels did automatically switch to correct ones after switching and waiting for them to synch. I had one or two separate occasions where the audio appeared to sound slightly off-kilter, but this was only for a split second.  

The earbuds come with both active noise cancelling (ANC) and ambient modes. Whilst ANC does block out some level of noise, it’s not quite at the same level as rival earphones. Travelling on the underground, for example, still produces some level of background noise.  

This may be down to the smaller size of the buds, which just don’t provide the same level of acoustic seal as a standalone set of headphones.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

In addition, ambient mode is useful for when you need your wits about you (such as crossing a road), but you’ll still need your volume to be at a low level to hear conversations.

Dual mics are built in on the buds so you can take calls on them. I tested these out on busy roads, and whilst my voice was largely clear, it was slightly on the tinny side and not all background noise was omitted.  

Battery life & charging 

Average three days usage on smartwatchUp to four hours of listening on buds on one chargeJust over one hour to charge from flat to full

Huawei claims an average of around three days’ worth of usage with the Watch Buds, and I found this number to be largely accurate. The earbuds themselves have around four hours of listening time without ANC enabled, and around three hours with this feature turned on.  

The buds charge inside the watch automatically, unless you enable the power-saving mode via the battery settings which should extend the watch’s life to around a week. I noticed that when the watch dropped below 10%, it stopped charging the buds.  

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The quick settings mode shows what percentage each bud is charged, as well as the charge of the watch itself.  

Whilst some wearables from the likes of Amazfit offer much longer battery life, this is a decent range that actually outpaces some leading rivals such as the Google Pixel Watch. That’s all the more impressive when you take into account that the earbuds are constantly charging when they are docked inside.

Huawei’s magnetic charger juices the watch from flat to full in just over an hour, which is much quicker than I was anticipating.

Price & availability 

The Huawei Watch Buds cost £449/€499 and are available to pre-order now from the Huawei store. It goes on sale on 1 March 2023, and will be available from Amazon UK in mid-March. Like other Huawei products, it isn’t available in the US.

This is an expensive smartwatch, which is understandable considering its unique hybrid nature. Nonetheless, you could easily buy two separate products for the same price (or cheaper) and get better quality overall – including the Apple Watch SE and AirPods 3

If you’re a tech enthusiast who values convenience, then it is still worth considering the Huawei Watch Buds, as there isn’t anything like it on the market. However, this isn’t a crossover product that I can see catching on anytime soon.  

You can check out our round-ups of the best smartwatches and the best true wireless earbuds.


The Huawei Watch Buds is a cool piece of tech, there’s no denying it. The hardware on the watch is impressive, and the earbuds are both inconspicuous and comfortable. Plus, both the audio and fitness/sleep tracking performance are largely quite good.  

There are some use cases for it – it eliminates searching around for your earbuds in your bag and is especially useful for commuting and light exercise out and about.  

However, it is let down by its bulky build and messy app. Plus, it’s hard to justify something so niche at such a high price tag. You could just opt for two great separate products for less, and get a much more comfortable and slimmer smartwatch whilst you’re at it.


Watch measurements: 47 x 47.5 x 15mmWatch weight: 66.5g (without strap)22mm leather strap1.43in circular (466×466) AMOLED displayStainless steel casing Heart rate sensor80 workout modesIPX7 rating (closed) IPX4 rating (open)Watch battery: Average 3 days, up to 7 seven days on power saving modeWireless chargingCompatibility: Android & iOSBuds measurements: 21.8 x 10.3 x 10.3mmBuds weight: 4g per budFull-Range Planar Diaphragm UnitANC and ambient modeWear detectionInterchangeable left and right channelsTouch controls on buds and earsCharging within the hidden watch case4 hours listening time without ANC, 3 hours listening time with ANCBlack and silver finish on buds


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