The original Huawei Watch Fit, which went on sale in autumn 2020, stood out as a good-looking feature-packed device under £100. The Watch Fit Elegant is largely the same watch with a stainless steel case instead of a polymer and a polished glass screen.
The changes undoubtedly make the Elegant a better-looking watch. I like the slim smartwatch look of both Watch Fit versions, but the steel case makes it considerably nicer. The upgrade comes at a premium though: the Elegant is currently reduced to £89.99 on the Huawei site compared with £69.99 for the Active.
Otherwise, the Elegant and Active are identical, and offer an awful lot for a device around the £100 mark. There’s the bright 1.64in (42mm) AMOLED touchscreen, which is responsive and clear to read from all angles. The Watch Fit has built-in GPS, 24/7 heart rate and stress monitoring, an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen saturation measurements, and smart features like notifications, weather forecasts and music controls. The Elegant watch also introduced 24/7 SpO2 monitoring, which will arrive on the Watch Fit Active in due course.
The activity and sports tracking is also impressive, with over 90 sports modes and guided workouts – 13 of these are for running, while 12 are bodyweight sessions that have onscreen animations to show you how to perform the exercise or stretch. The watch is waterproof and can be used for swimming either in the pool or open water.
There is even some training load analysis on the watch, which is done in partnership with Firstbeat, the company that provides the analysis on Garmin devices. You get info on your overall training load and estimated VO2 max, plus advised recovery times after workouts.
There are three activity tracking goals to hit each day: steps, active minutes and active hours – the latter requires some movement within a given hour to count it as active. The watch will remind you to move if you’re sedentary for too long and suggest a quick routine to follow. Several of the guided workouts on the watch are ideal for slotting some movement into your day, such as neck and shoulder stretches, or a quick four-minute full-body stretch.
I found the GPS accuracy satisfactory. Though it took a couple of minutes to find a signal – much slower than a Garmin, Coros or Polar watch – it did record similar distances to them.
However, the heart rate accuracy was a let-down. While it’s fairly common for optical heart rate monitors worn on the wrist to have problems during exercise, the Watch Fit also struggled to track my heart rate reliably when I wasn’t working out.
This inaccuracy has an impact on several features on the watch, including the training load analysis, stress tracking and even active minutes if your heart rate spikes when you’re not exercising. It also clocked my resting heart rate as about 20bpm higher than every other device I’ve tested in recent years.
I’m also concerned that the inaccurate heart rate tracking affects what should be a strong feature on the Watch Fit – sleep tracking. Huawei’s watches typically offer an impressive level of insight into your sleep, with the partner app clearly explaining every metric measured and why it’s important.
My sleep scores tallied fairly well with how I felt each morning, and the time asleep was close enough to that measured by the Oura Ring, which is the most accurate sleep tracker I’ve used. But the time spent in light, deep and REM sleep differed wildly from the Oura’s figures.
The smart features are pretty limited, simply mirroring your phone’s notifications and showing a weather forecast. You can control music playback on your phone using the Watch Fit, but you can’t store music on the watch itself or use it to make NFC payments. It works with both Apple and Android phones, though Apple users don’t get some features, including stress monitoring.
The battery life is listed at 10 days but you’ll reach this mark only if you use the device sparingly. I found you can expect four to five days if you choose an always-on watch face and regularly use the GPS to track outdoor exercise. The gesture wake is fast enough that you don’t really need the always-on screen activated, which will add another day or two of battery life.
There is a nice collection of watch faces to choose from, with more available in the partner app, and this does add to the experience of using the Watch Fit Elegant, which is a positive one. It’s an enjoyable watch to look at and interact with, especially with the new stainless steel case, and it’s really only the accuracy problems I had that stop me from recommending it more strongly.
If you’re looking for a well-rounded fitness tracker and aren’t particularly concerned with heart rate performance, it offers great value and a cracking design, But if you are interested in your heart rate (we would be) and the features that rely on it, it isn’t quite up to scratch.
Rating ⭐⭐⭐ (3/5)
Buy from Huawei (opens in new tab) | £119.99 (currently reduced to £89.99)
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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