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The Honor Watch ES wants you fighting fit, even at work. Just ignore the similarities to its Huawei-made big brother
The relationship between Honor and Huawei is a bit like the one between two siblings and their childhood wardrobe. Big brother Huawei gets first dibs on the new pair of jeans and Honor gets them as a hand-me-down afterwards. They might be missing a button and aren’t exactly brand-new, but they look pretty much the same and still do a job.Â
And that is how we end up with the Honor Watch ES: a half-smartwatch, half-fitness tracker hybrid that’s a dead ringer for the similarly new Huawei Watch Fit. Crucially, this mashup’s Â£100 price tag tells you it’s very much a basic workout buddy and isnât vying to go toe-to-toe with the Apple Watch or a TAG Heuer Connected for a place on your wrist. Donât dismiss the ES because of its affordable status; it’s well-equipped to become a useful fitness companion and be of use when youâre not getting sweaty.
If you took a square smartwatch and sliced a third off it, whatâs left represents the look of the Honor Watch ES. Itâs an idea that shouldnât work, but it did the job for the Cartier Tank and works well enough here too. For the kind of information youâre going to glance at, putting a smartwatch-like display on a fitness band body makes sense.
The ES has an all-plastic look and while that doesnât sound all that fantastic, this wearable fully plays up to its inherently sporty exterior while offering a respectable display with a satisfying level of brightness and nice punch of colour, so you donât feel immediately disappointed to glance at the thing when you raise your wrist. Your pick of meteorite black, coral pink and Icelandic white straps means youâre not exactly blessed with an exciting colour palette to choose from, though Honor does at least make them easy to get off and gives you freedom to change up the look.
While it sacrifices some screen estate to provide a slimmer profile, Honor isnât heavy-handed in scaling back what itâs capable of. Thereâs still room for an optical heart-rate monitor thatâs a better match for keeping tabs during the day and night than it was when we ramped up the effort levels on a rowing machine or on an interval running session. It follows the trend of including an SpO2 sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels, itâs just not going to tell you if you have serious health problems with it.
The Honor Watch ES offers fitness tracking staples by counting your steps and automatically monitoring your bedtime, rating you on your sleep success and telling you how good, bad or late youâve hit the hay. If youâre feeling stressed, itâll record that too and you can seek some mindful solitude with its range of breathing exercises to get you feeling calm again.
Thereâs more sports to track here than youâll probably ever do in your lifetime. Hit that track button for frisbee or fishing instead of running or cycling and the gulf in metrics is huge. It can tell you if your running pace is good, but it wonât tell you how well you can cast a fishing rod. The lack of onboard GPS is a bit of a kick in the teeth as well, since that’s available on the Â£130 Huawei Watch Fit.
Cast your attention over to the new fitness courses and youâll find a collection of guided workouts that are not just about mirroring what youâd do in a gym class. These workouts want to take you away from your desk for no longer than 20 minutes to correctly relax your shoulders and neck or do a series of bum kicks and star jumps to combat stress and fight off fatigue.
You can see how to perform the moves directly on the Watch ES and in some instances itâll track your moves too with mixed success. You can also follow workouts dedicated to ab ripping and strengthening that core, if thatâs your bag. These workouts might not last long, but youâll feel them doing their job. Hopefully Honor will expand the workout library to offer more variety and keep you going back for more.
Honor keeps to the basics when youâre away from the gym floor. It will show off notifications from all of the same apps that deliver them to your phone. It will give you control of music playing on your phone when itâs not within reach. If you want your fill of watch faces, youâre certainly not shortchanged. You do miss out on being able to pay your way or get all of the kudos on Strava for your latest big bike ride. Honor likes to keep data sharing to other apps to a minimum and Strava isnât one of them.
Smartwatches are still a mix bag in terms of how long they keep you from the charging cable. The Apple Watch is still a couple of days as is Samsungâs latest, while most fitness trackers are around the five-day mark. Honor promises ten days from its smartwatch and tracker hybrid. You may well get that if youâre not tracking exercise and keeping tabs on your heart 24/7, but otherwise its stamina errs closer to a respectable five days total.
Think of the Honor Watch ES as less of an Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 rival and more of a more feature-rich fitness tracker, one that gives you a high-quality display and more sports modes and health sensors youâll know what to do with. The Watch ES strikes a good balance between its undeniably sporty look and cutback smartwatch vibes. That might sound like a tricky tightrope act, but it’s a magic formula for anyone who wants a simple but capable exercise buddy.
Smartwatch, Huawei Watch, Apple, Activity tracker
World news – CA – The Honor Watch ES wants you fighting fit, even at work