Honor Watch 4 Hands-on: “One Watch Dual Standby” + “Long Battery Life” + “999 Yuan”

July 26, 2023
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On the evening of July 12th, at the grand Honor Magic V2 event showcasing their latest products, the Honor Watch 4 was officially unveiled, priced at 999 yuan (approximately $139).

Distinguished from its predecessors in the Honor Watch family, the Honor Watch 4 boasts a distinct design characterized by the trendy “square watch” shape and supports eSIM communication capabilities. This product, empowered by the innovative Honor MagicRing Trust Circle technology, even presents the industry’s first “dual standby” solution. Furthermore, the most remarkable feature is the Honor Watch 4’s claim of an impressive 10-day long-lasting battery life. This is a truly “revolutionary” achievement for an eSIM watch.

Honor Watch 4

Now, let’s delve into the experience of the Honor Watch 4. Can it deliver a distinct experience amidst the seemingly saturated yet somewhat “mundane” smartwatch market? Let us venture into this review experience together.

Part I: Honor Watch 4 Design

The Honor Watch 4 offers three color options: Glorious Gold, Azure Blue, and Obsidian Black.

For this review, Gizcoupon got its hands on the Azure Blue variant. Frankly, the overall design and color scheme of the Honor Watch 4 exudes a distinctly “youthful” vibe. In comparison, its predecessor, the Honor Watch GS3, showcased a more business-oriented appearance.

Honor Watch 4

It is far from projecting an aura of “business sophistication” rather it embraces a youthful spirit. Particularly, the “Azure Blue” variant obtained by Gizcoupon features a light blue silicone strap. Additionally, it is adorned with Honor and “GO BEYOND” graffiti, making it perhaps more suitable for young students.

For those accustomed to the mature look of “wearing suits with groomed hair,” the dignified and versatile “Obsidian Black” color scheme is more recommended.

Honor Watch 4

Additionally, the buckle of the Honor Watch 4’s strap is made of plastic, which somewhat compromises its quality. It is hoped that Honor will provide more style and material options for watch bands in the future.

Considering the positioning of the product, the Honor Watch 4 is inherently targeted at a younger audience. Thus, it should cater to the design preferences of the youth, such as the currently popular square watch design.

It adopts a 6-series aluminum alloy frame, offering a delicately metallic texture. In the top right corner is a metallic button with a glossy beveled edge. Below, there is a long strip serving as the speaker aperture.

Honor Watch 4

On the left side of the frame is a microphone opening. The overall design of the metal frame is rounded and minimalist, with the rounded corners lending it a “soft” aesthetic appeal.

Honor Watch 4

Screen design

It features a 1.75-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 390*450 and a PPI of 340. It supports automatic brightness adjustment. While the specific brightness data is yet to be disclosed, based on the reviewer’s experience, using the watch outdoors posed no challenge.

The display quality of this screen is also impressive, boasting vibrant colors. The screen glass is designed with a 2.5D curvature, perfectly blending with the rounded frame.

Honor Watch 4

The screen appears like water filled to the brim in a cup, its fluid edges brimming but not overflowing, creating a sense of tension in the curvature. The content on the screen seems to be “within reach,” offering a remarkably transparent viewing experience.

Wearing experience

This watch also earns high marks for its overall weight and comfort when worn. According to official data, the dimensions of it are 45.3mm x 39.1mm x 11.2mm, with a weight of only about 32g (excluding the weight of the strap). That puts it between the weight of most smartwatches and fitness bands.

Wearing it on the wrist doesn’t create a strong sense of “foreign object.” Slightly loosening the strap allows for comfortable sleep while wearing the watch at night.

The bottom of the Honor Watch 4 is black and houses the proprietary optical micro-lens array. Unfortunately, wireless charging has not been implemented, and the watch still relies on the magnetic suction top-pin charging port.

Honor Watch 4

However, based on the reviewer’s recent experience, magnetic charging poses little of an issue. Because the Honor Watch 4 boasts an impressive battery life, eliminating the need for frequent charging. Even for short business trips, there’s no need to carry the magnetic charging cable.

Of course, the reviewer still hopes for the inclusion of wireless charging capabilities. Because owning a wireless charging pad that’s only used for the phone feels somewhat “underutilized.”

Part II: “Dual Standby” Experience

As Honor’s first intelligent watch was released in 2023, the Honor Watch 4 introduced MagicOS into the smartwatch ecosystem for the first time.

According to official information, it is capable of simultaneously supporting two phone cards from your mobile device. It allows for phone calls, messages, and notifications on both cards.

In scenarios where the secondary card on your mobile phone receives a call, the Honor Watch 4 will display a notification for the missed call and enables you to make a real-time callback through the eSIM calling feature of the watch. The official statement declares that the Honor Watch 4 is the first product from an Android phone manufacturer to achieve simultaneous reception of notifications for incoming calls on dual phone cards.

The “dual standby” capability of the watch is far from a mere marketing gimmick. Its practicality is of considerable value.

Honor Watch 4

Dual standby is versatile

For instance, let’s consider a straightforward situation: many Android users have dual SIM cards on their mobile phones. However, eSIM watches currently support activation for only one phone number. This means that in certain situations, when separated from the phone (e.g., running, playing football, or engaging in sports where the phone is not nearby), the eSIM watch can only receive calls from one number. In contrast, the other number remains “unreachable.”

For instance, as the author of this review, I have a work number and a personal number. But I have only activated eSIM for my work number. Sometimes, when I go fishing or play ball games and leave my phone in the car, the watch I wear can only receive calls from my work number.

This problem seems unsolvable unless one is willing to buy two eSIM watches and activate eSIM for both numbers. This is obviously impractical.

Thus, the “dual standby” feature is not a pseudo-demand or a niche requirement. It addresses a demand that has always existed.

So, how does the Honor Watch 4 cater to this demand?

How to Use Dual Standby´╝č

Firstly, you only need to activate eSIM for one phone number (main card) by paying a monthly fee of 10 yuan. It can be activated through the app. After activation, you can enable the “remote message” function in the watch’s settings. When the phone and watch are disconnected, since the main card is activated with eSIM, the Honor Watch 4 can function independently for calls and messages.

Meanwhile, if someone calls or sends a message to the secondary card on your phone, the Honor Watch 4 will receive a notification.

It is important to note that this “notification” appears in the form of a message.

Handling Missed Calls and Messages

For example, if there’s an incoming call to the secondary card on the phone, the Honor Watch 4 cannot answer it directly. After the call is disconnected, the Honor Watch 4 will display a “missed call” notification with the label “phone.”

At this point, you can use the eSIM function of the Honor Watch 4 (main card) to call back the missed call.

Honor Watch 4

The same principle applies to messages. When the phone receives a message on the secondary card, the Honor Watch 4 will synchronize the message. At the same time, it allows you to reply via the watch using quick reply phrases. The sender of the reply message will still be identified as the “secondary card.”

It is essential to emphasize that all the content and tests mentioned above are based on independent use. This means the watch and phone are disconnected from Bluetooth.

After conducting tests, the Honor Watch 4 can indeed receive notifications for calls and messages from the secondary card on the phone, providing a “dual-card dual-standby” experience similar to that of the phone. The Honor Watch 4 achieves true independence from the phone, ensuring that even for dual-SIM users, both cards remain online.

Part III: Honor Watch 4 Comprehensive Experience

As an eSIM watch, the battery life of the Honor Watch 4 is also highly satisfying. According to official data, in typical eSIM scenarios where the Honor Watch 4 is connected to an Honor phone, it can last up to 10 days. In an independent eSIM usage scenario, with the watch functioning 24/7, the battery can last for more than 3 days.

Based on Gizcoupon’s actual experience, this data is quite accurate. For instance, with health monitoring fully activated, the always-on display enabled, and independent eSIM activated, the battery only consumed about 14% overnight (around 10 hours). This performance surpasses that of many eSIM watches that need to be charged daily.

It is understood that the Honor Watch 4 is equipped with a self-developed power management system and adopts a three-core architecture. When the Honor Watch 4 is connected to the phone via Bluetooth, one of the co-processors will be deactivated. In the screen-off state, only one co-processor functions, and the main processor enters sleep mode. In the screen-on state, the main co-processor works simultaneously with the main processor while the other co-processor enters sleep mode. When the Honor Watch 4 is used independently, in the screen-off state, only one co-processor functions, and the other two processors enter sleep mode. In the screen-on state, one main co-processor works alongside the main processor, and the other co-processor enters sleep mode. This configuration ensures excellent battery life.

Sports

In terms of sports, it offers nearly a hundred sports modes, including fitness, dance, ball sports, water sports, winter sports, and extreme sports, among others. Additionally, it features 12 professional sports modes, such as outdoor running, indoor running, indoor cycling, outdoor cycling, outdoor walking, indoor walking, pool swimming, open water swimming, elliptical, rowing machine, skipping rope, and free training.

For instance, during outdoor running, indoor running, outdoor walking, indoor walking, rowing machine, and elliptical workouts, the Honor Watch 4 can actively monitor the user’s exercise status.

Moreover, the Honor Watch 4 supports a 5ATM waterproof rating. It also supports five major satellite positioning systems, including BeiDou, GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, and QZSS, providing a hybrid positioning system.

Health monitoring

Regarding health monitoring, the Honor Watch 4 features a self-developed optical micro-lens array. It supports heart rate monitoring, breathing training, stress detection, sleep tracking, menstrual cycle tracking (for users who identify as female in the app’s personal information settings), and blood oxygen saturation monitoring.

Taking heart health monitoring as an example, the Honor Watch 4 supports the “Honor Heart Health Research” (requires downloading a separate app), which includes screenings and reminders for potential atrial fibrillation, premature beats, and sleep apnea. Additionally, it collaborates with the “Palm Fuxing Hospital App” to provide appointment services for medical consultations.

 

Part IV: Smart Interaction

The Honor Watch 4 introduces the MagicOS system ecosystem. Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that the system’s interaction is incredibly smooth, whether it’s sliding the screen or switching between functions.

In terms of functionality, the Honor Watch 4 features NFC capabilities, supporting Alipay and WeChat QR code payments. Additionally, it supports online music, quick message replies through WeChat, and the YOYO voice assistant.

In the app ecosystem, the Honor Watch 4 supports over a dozen third-party apps, including HX Travel, Kugou Music, Baidu Maps, Perpetual Calendar, Countdown, Lemon Water Reminder, UU Errands, Alipay, Water Drinking Reminder, and Todo List, among others.

However, one disappointment is that the watch does not seem to have an app store option. Does this mean it doesn’t support third-party app downloads? It seems a bit unreasonable, especially considering that the Honor GS3 does support it.

All-scenario intelligent experience

Of course, the apps on the watch are more about extending the content from the smartphone’s larger screen, providing a comprehensive smart experience across all scenarios. After all, the screen size of a smartwatch determines its positioning and application scenarios.

Taking Baidu Maps as an example, it doesn’t run independently on the watch. Instead, it needs to be used in conjunction with the smartphone, functioning as an “app spanning screens.” For instance, when using Baidu Maps on the phone for cycling or walking navigation, the watch will synchronize and display the navigation information.

Similarly, with HX Travel, after installing the app on the phone, the watch will sync and display the most recent travel itinerary.

Regarding WeChat, the current version of the watch is not a “standalone” version, so it still requires pairing with the phone. Nevertheless, it supports daily message replies and more.

Furthermore, the music feature on the Honor Watch 4 is entirely independent. The device itself also supports wireless Bluetooth earphones, making it effortless to listen to music while running.

In conclusion:

In a nutshell, the Honor Watch 4 has brought three surprises to the author:

Firstly, the “dual standby” feature solves the problem of the secondary card “losing connection” in scenarios where you don’t carry your phone. For Android users with strong demands, the Honor Watch 4 is the only choice (it requires pairing with an Honor phone), and once you use it, you won’t go back. Let’s hope other brands catch up quickly!

Secondly, its outstanding battery life, even with eSIM activated, allows for charging every few days.

Thirdly, it’s competitive pricing of only 999 yuan (approximately $139). For a long-lasting eSIM watch that supports dual standby, this price is a true bargain.

So, who is the Honor Watch 4 suitable for? Firstly, the young demographic, such as young professionals, university students, and the like. They can receive comprehensive messages without carrying their phones during sports activities, effectively replacing the need for a smartphone.

Secondly, it’s highly recommended for users of dual-SIM Honor phones. The Honor Watch 4 enables you to stay connected with both numbers in scenarios where you are separated from your phone.

Lastly, for users with a strong demand for long-lasting eSIM watches, the Honor Watch 4 is a great option.

Of course, the Honor Watch 4 is not without its flaws, such as the somewhat “cheap” wristband and the lack of an app store. However, considering its price of around $139 and the core advantage of “dual standby,” I believe these are not significant issues.

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