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Honor Magic Watch 2 first impressions: If it ain’t broke…

The Honor Magic Watch 2 is a smartwatch that—at first glance—is practically identical to the Huawei Watch GT 2. That’s not the biggest surprise, given that Honor is a brand owned by Huawei, and this certainly isn’t the first time that this has happened.

The Huawei Watch GT 2, in any case, is a superb option due to its incredible battery life of up to 2 weeks—almost unheard of for a smartwatch. As I’ve previously said, a large part of that is due to Huawei’s LiteOS, which is a simpler operating system geared towards efficiency and simplicity.

As expected, this is pretty much mirrored in the Honor Magic Watch 2, which also uses the same Kirin A1 chip to power the device, along with LiteOS. From first impressions, the Magic Watch 2 has an identical set of specs as the Watch GT 2—including 4GB of onboard storage for MP3s to listen to on-the-go.

But there are some subtle differences between the two. Not really the most immediately obvious ones, but stuff that might actually sway you towards (or away from) the Honor Magic Watch 2.

Similar, but not identical

Honor says that the design of the Magic Watch 2 is tailored for a “youthful” look—whatever that means—and this translates to a slightly different-looking bezel. It looks like the bezel and the face of the watch are both covered by a single piece of glass, which gives the watch a rather modern look.

The two buttons on the side still protrude out in the same way that the Watch GT 2 does, although there is a red stripe around the home button on the Magic Watch 2—subtle, but a nice touch. The rubber strap on the Magic Watch 2 is also quite comfortable, much like the Watch GT 2. In fact, I found that you can even swap the straps of the Watch Magic 2 with the one on Huawei’s smartwatch.

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The interface of the Magic Watch 2 is pretty straightforward. You have two buttons—pressing the top button brings up a menu or brings you back to the home screen, while the lower button brings up a list of workouts, and can be remapped. You can also swipe through menus from the home screen, or press-and-hold the watch face to change to other watch faces.

Speaking of the watch faces, the selection you have for the Magic Watch 2 is still pretty limited (total on Huawei Health: 25), just like the Watch GT 2’s. But you get a different selection to choose from—I’d have to say that I do prefer Huawei’s selection a little bit more, but that’s more of a subjective choice.

There is a new feature that Honor has added to the Magic Watch 2. For certain workout routines, you can measure your current performance compared to your “smart companion” in real-time, and there’s even a little animated figure running on your screen (to motivate you, I assume).

I haven’t had too much time to test this particular feature out, and there isn’t any information on how the performance of this “smart companion” is calculated. It seems to me that the smart companion works like a virtual fitness coach, which is designed to help you with your workouts.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The Honor Magic Watch 2 isn’t really any different than the Huawei Watch GT 2, bar a few details—after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You get the same insane 2-week battery life (around 11 days in real-world use), a relatively comprehensive set of fitness functions, and a 1.39″ AMOLED display that looks pretty good.

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Just like the Huawei Watch GT 2, the Magic Watch 2 features dual-GPS, 5ATM water resistance, Huawei’s TruSleep and TruRelax propietary technologies (sleep tracking and stress management). It even feels the same on my wrist.

There are two variants available: 42mm and 46mm. Our unit, the larger variant, has a built-in microphone and speaker so you can use the watch to receive calls. The smaller variant misses out on this, unfortunately.

It’s held back by the same issues as Huawei’s Watch GT 2, it must be said. The microphone doesn’t have access to Google Assistant (or another handy virtual assistant), while there isn’t support for a Spotify app. In fact, there isn’t support for any apps, which means that the Magic Watch 2 is essentially a fitness tracker dressed up like a smartwatch.

Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. Its functions should suffice for most average users, and I certainly like how the aesthetic of the Magic Watch 2 matches well with work/dress events—much like how a conventional watch would.

I suppose the commercial success of the Honor Magic Watch 2 hinges on how Honor decides to price the smartwatch in Malaysia. Anything below RM799 (the starting price of the Huawei Watch GT 2), and the Magic Watch 2 would be a bargain, because it’s basically the same watch.

If you’d like to read a more detailed breakdown of the near-identical Huawei Watch GT 2 and how it fares against a competitor, scroll to the “related reading” section below for an in-depth comparison. To find out more about the Honor Magic Watch 2, click here.

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