Ever stepped out of the house and realized long after that you left your TWS earbuds at home? Or into a video meeting and just suddenly tried looking for your earbuds but they’re nowhere to be seen? It seems like an edge case, but it’s enough to be an absolute drag. The problem with TWS earbuds is that they’re small and that humans are forgetful… although Huawei hopes to solve that problem with the HUAWEI WATCH Buds – a rather avant-garde smartwatch with earbuds built into them. Pop the lid/screen open and you’ve got yourself a pair of earbuds that you can now wear to listen to music or podcasts, and even use with voice and video calling applications. The TWS earbuds are designed to be incredibly compact and space-efficient, as is the smartwatch that houses them, giving you a product that’s multi-purpose without being huge or clunky. Moreover, the earbuds are also designed to be completely identical and can automatically detect whether they’re being used in the right or left ear. This clever detail makes it more efficient and foolproof to wear and charge the earbuds without figuring out which one’s the left one and the right one. The earbuds sit within their charging case, which also doubles as a highly precise and capable smartwatch that’s designed with zero empty space and zero compromises. The watch itself packs a bright 1.43-inch AMOLED screen that sits under luxurious 3D curved glass. You’ve got a Clouse de Paris detailed crown at the 3 o’clock position, and full-grain leather straps that would make any watchmaker proud. Although announced in China in December 2022, the HUAWEI WATCH Buds makes its official global debut today, starting with the EU (€499 EUR) and the UK (£449 GBP).
Design & Engineering
The watch and earbuds are a collective marvel of engineering, with 21 layers of technology perfectly sandwiched together with absolutely no wasted space. More than 20 of the watch’s internal components are seamlessly laser welded together to connect them without using screws and other fixtures, and components are assembled with tolerances of as little as 30 microns. This allows the watch itself to be as thin as 15mm, while housing everything on the inside from an SoC, a battery, other components and sensors, the display, Huawei’s latest TruSeen™ 5.0+ heart sensor array, and not one, but two rather powerful earbuds that sit snugly under the hood, accessible by pressing a button that causes the lid to flip open.
The TWS Earbuds
Measuring around 0.8 inches long, the TWS earbuds are surprisingly compact for what they’re capable of. They’re designed to be agnostic of left and right orientations, and can be used in either ear (with the buds automatically detecting where they’re placed). They’re 50% smaller than your average earbud, but pack a punch with their full-range planar speakers that output higher than 104dB with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz. In short, they’re compact, loud, and have balanced audio. Dual microphones on the earbuds give them ANC features, while the earbuds themselves have dynamic EQ, ear canal adaptation, wear detection, and a patented wind noise-suppressing design. Being rather tiny (and weighing a paltry 4 grams each), the earbuds don’t offer much in terms of touch controls, although to circumvent that, Huawei designed a system that lets you tap your ear itself to control playback. You can tap twice to play/pause music or answer/reject calls, or thrice to enable or disable noise cancelation, while the watch itself lets you customize controls for each individual earbud.
Quite remarkably masking the fact that it has two TWS earbuds inside it, the HUAWEI WATCH Buds smartwatch measures 47 x 47.5 x 15 mm (1.85 x 1.87 x 0.59 in) with a stainless steel frame, a curved glass front, and leather straps that secure this marvel of engineering to your wrist. The smartwatch works just as you’d expect, offering a slew of features including music playback, AI noise cancellation and Dual Mic + VPU (Voice Pickup Unit) for things like calls and video chats, and extensive health and fitness tracking features that support as many as 80 different exercises including running, hiking, cycling, HIIT, etc. The TruSeen™ 5.0+ sensor array on the bottom adopts eight photosensors in a circular layout and a newly upgraded algorithm, which improves the accuracy of dynamic heart rate monitoring, especially during workouts. The watch intuitively pairs its TWS earbuds with the device you’re connected to, whether it’s a phone or tablet (it supports both iOS and Android devices), and even helps you find your earbuds if they ever get misplaced by letting you remotely ‘ring’ them.
Battery & Durability
The earbuds, being rather small, have a battery life that maxes out at 4 hours (without ANC) and 3 hours (with ANC) when listening to music. Pop them in their case, however, and it instantly begins charging them, thanks to the platinum-plated charging rings on the earbuds, and 360° magnets that allow the earbuds to simply snap into their charging enclosures built inside the watch. The watch itself has a battery life of 3 full days, double what the Apple Watch Ultra boasts of (36 hours). You can even bump it up to 7 days on low-power mode, giving you limited functionality but a much longer battery span.
The watch itself has an intricate hinge detail that’s engineered and tested to consistently open and close over 100,000 times, offering years’ worth of rigorous use. The watch and the earbuds are also designed to offer water resistance, with the earbuds being IPx4 water (splash) resistant and the watch being IPx7 water-resistant (even with the buds securely placed inside them).
The HUAWEI WATCH Buds will be up for pre-order in the EU and UK on February 15th, and will officially go on sale on March 1st. Customers in the EU can grab their WATCH Buds for €499 EUR while UK patrons can buy the device for £449 GBP.