You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to find out where Huawei drew inspiration for its newly announced last watch. It’s clearly Huawei’s not-so-subtle answer to the Apple Watch Ultra, and now we know the similarity extends to price as well. Starting tomorrow, Ultimate will retail in the UK and Europe for €749 / £700 for the ‘expedition black’ colorway and €899 / £800 for the journey blue version.
If you missed the Watch Ultimate news, it’s likely that the company currently has no plans to launch the device in the US (that Huawei ban is still in effect in 2023). While the company once had a decent foothold in the wearables market, the ban has since limited its reach to US audiences for all but the most dedicated users. With that said, here’s a quick rundown of the features.
Each of these is a feature that Apple introduced to the Ultra, but to be fair, the Ultimate is different enough that you can’t really call it a complete imitation That is at least evident in the design, which is much closer to traditional mechanical watches. There are also differences in specifications and materials. The Watch Ultimate, for example, uses a “zirconium-based liquid metal case” that it claims is 4.5 times stronger and 2.5 times harder than stainless steel. It’s not titanium, unlike the Ultra, but the implication of extreme robustness is the same. (Obviously not liquid either.) Both have nanotech ceramic bezels and sapphire crystal on the OLED LTPO screens.
Huawei is also interested in overtaking Apple in some areas. Like the Ultra, the Watch Ultimate is EN13319 certified, which is the standard for diving equipment. But while Apple doesn’t recommend dives deeper than 40 meters, Huawei says the Watch Ultimate can go down to 110 meters and supports technical and free dives as well as recreational dives.
The battery life is also much longer. Huawei claims that the Watch Ultimate can get you up to two weeks off on a single charge, though it didn’t enter into the parameters it used to arrive at that estimate. As always with smartwatches, battery mileage will vary with use. That said, Huawei noted that users can go from zero to 100 percent battery in 60 minutes and 25 percent in 10 minutes.
Huawei’s proprietary operating system doesn’t have the most robust app ecosystem, but there are some improvements on that front, too. Huawei says that users will now be able to use third-party integrations from Strava, Komoot, and Runtastic. It’s not quite the same as having the app on your wrist, but it makes sharing data between those services much easier.
Regardless of how you feel about Huawei, the Watch Ultimate is the closest competitor to the Apple Watch Ultra for a single smartwatch, at least on paper. Garmin has a few options, like the Epix 2 and Fenix 7 lineup, but those are sturdier sports watches than aspirational luxury smartwatches. It would be nice if everyone had more options on that front, but if you’re in the US, there’s no official way to get the watch through US retailers. Otherwise, you’ll likely have to wait. to see what Samsung and other Wear OS watchmakers have up their sleeves.