Huawei Watch D review
Huawei introduced the Watch D wearable with blood pressure tracking back in late 2021, but it took until late 2022 to get the required certifications and make it available in Western markets. And now that we got to spend a few weeks with it, here's our verdict.This is the correct pose one should take when measuring blood pressure on the wrist
The wearable is the first Huawei device from the Watch series that comes with a rectangular screen rather than being circular one. However, beyond that and the unique blood pressure measurements, it shares most of its functionality with its round stablemates.
Design and build
The Huawei Watch D lacks crowns or fancy keys, just two flat buttons on the right-hand side of the aluminum case. The company calls it “Graphite Black.” In reality, it's a dark gray shade. The fluoroelastomer strap is actually black. It is specifically crafted for this device, meaning replacement with a third-party 22mm strap is not really an option, as it will probably interfere with the blood pressure measurement.
The 1.64” AMOLED has a resolution of 456 x 280 pixels and is bright and colorful, just like any recent Huawei Watch. On the bottom, we have the heart rate tracker and a small element that seals the port for the blood pressure strap.
The retail box is rich compared with other wearables. There are two straps, sizes M and L, a neat paper tool to pick the correct one with 21 steps for customization, and two inflatable straps that enable blood pressure measurement.
The crown feature of the Huawei Watch D - while Samsung's Galaxy Watch series also offer BP tracking, here we are talking actual measurements rather than estimates that require frequent calibration with an actual tool. Still, Huawei mentions several times that this isn’t medical equipment and its purpose is routine tracking rather than finalizing diagnosis.
Wrist-based BPM devices are not as accurate as those on the upper arm. The reason is blood vessels and skin are thinner there, so readings are not 100% accurate - but the Watch D is still one extra tool for people to monitor their health.
We compared this device with an actual medical instrument, and both the systolic and diastolic (the higher and lower number) were off by 10mm Hg on the Watch. While not perfect, we find that kind of deviation is acceptable.
The Watch D measures blood pressure just like a proper wrist-based monitor - it inflates to the point of making the person slightly uncomfortable while feeling their pulse and then deflates slowly to feel the blood pressure.
The additional straps, provided in the retail box, have three contact points to ensure proper attachment. The first and most important is to the back of the watch, the second is on the first hole on the regular strap, and the third is a dedicated elongated hole to make sure the strap is in place. All the elements are made from rubber and fabric and appear very durable.
Huawei is talking much about the OS because it is the slightly older Harmony 2.1 instead of Harmony OS 3.0 that is running on other international Watch devices. The Huawei Health company app has a neat feature called Healthy Living, monitoring a wide range of daily reports and offers an overall picture of your health.
It measures SpO2 (the oxygen in the blood), tracks sleep and stress, measures body temperature and informs you if there are drastic changes to your condition. It has neat prompts to drink water, to breathe deeply and calm down, even for a minute, when needed.
The bottom key of Watch D is metallic and has a conductive surface, allowing to record ECG (electrocardiogram). In theory, it can read when there are atrial or ventricular premature beats. In practice, we could not find a test subject with this issue - fortunately everyone in the office has a healthy sinus rhythm.
The Watch D is not a device for sports, and that’s why it supports “just” 70+ workout modes instead of over 100 like other Huawei wearables. Truth is, it makes little difference as wearables are only doing a decent job of tracking half a dozen outdoor running and cycling workouts. The GNSS positioning tracks outdoor routes with precision, although some of the sports that require heavy tracking were missing, like climbing and trail running.
The wearable has Bluetooth 5.1 and also has NFC. You could 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 cannot be used on all wireless chargers unless you unhook the strap.
Notifications and controls are fairly easy and in line with any recent Huawei Watch. Voice support only works within the Huawei environment, meaning Siri and Google won’t be triggered, which is hardly any news.
The company promises 7 days of life on a single charge of “typical usage”. We always got exactly 7 days of what we saw as pretty heavy usage, so we would even say the Watch D exceeded our expectations. If you only measure ECG or BP once or twice per day, you could certainly add a day or two to the endurance.
However, that's achieved with the Always On Display feature off, relying on the reliable turn to wake up gesture instead. When we activated AoD, the battery life declined dramatically. The Watch D goes just over 72 hours, or 3 days, before it needs to go back on the charger.
Even this worst-case scenario is not a terrible experience, particularly if you compare it to smartwatches by Samsung, Apple and Google. However, those run more elaborate apps with deeper system integration, so it's a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison.
The Huawei Watch D stands alone in its market niche. It borrows from two categories - smart medical equipment and a classic smartwatch, and we'd say the wearable is great for a certain group of users.
If we look at it as strictly a smartwatch, there are clearly arguments why other Huawei wearables are a better choice. If we consider the wearable a medical device, it is not perfectly accurate, so we wouldn't fully recommend it as a replacement for your blood pressure monitor.
Here’s who will love the Huawei Watch D - health-conscious people who need one more tool to track their health but generally have solid vitals. This specific group should disregard eventual appearance because Huawei does not offer any customizations or color options for this device.
We believe the Watch D is worth the €399 if you are within that small circle. The company offers specific bundles on its websites across Europe, including free Huawei merch and massive discounts, which would make the price tag even more attractive.
- 07 Feb 2023
This may sound silly, but try the other arm! For some reason the Huawei Bands/watches I have tried seems to do a better job on MY right arm than my left. I have no idea why. The two windows are arranged 'perpendicular' to the arm, so shou...
- 07 Feb 2023
It's the best medical grade wearable
- 06 Feb 2023
10 points difference is too big