At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

  • New lightweight and comfortable design
  • Agile and fast touch experience
  • Good AMOLED display
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Honor Health mobile app
  • No always-on display option
  • Cannot install third-party apps
  • No support for mobile payments

Our Verdict

Honor’s new generation of smartwatch comes with substantial changes to its design, making it a sleek and lightweight product, comfortable to wear and handle and with a myriad of usage modes. You can take calls via Bluetooth, but it’s far from offering 14 days of battery life as Honor claims and lacks NFC, too.

This is Honor’s latest smartwatch creation. The brand has clearly gone for a major design evolution, creating a style that has a lot to resemble the most coveted watches on the market, both Android and iOS.

As we’ll see below, the Watch 4 rubs shoulders with great smartwatches from other brands. It’s a good step forward for a user of the brand to be able to use it alongside the company’s most premium mobile phones, with even foldable models in mind.

But here lies the question: is anyone who buys phones like the Honor Magic 5 Pro or the foldable Magic VS going to accompany them with a wearable like the Watch 4? The company urgently needs to rethink its smartwatch strategy and expand its portfolio to include more premium models but lets see if this model appeals to you.

Design & Build

  • Robust with aluminium materials
  • Very light for everyday use
  • 5 ATM resistant

Smartwatches have evolved a lot in recent years, to such an extent that companies that have been producing several models for each generation often choosing to modify the designs and dials between each in order to adapt to the new times.

This is what Honor’s engineers have done: they have turned the design of the Watch 4 upside down to the point where it has little continuity with its predecessors, the Watch GS 3 or the Watch 2, both of which are more traditional in style.

The one now presented, corresponding to 2023, is much more eye-catching, offering a dial with rounded and polished edges that is in line with the most premium watches on the market, such as the Apple Watch 8 or the Sense 2 by Fitbit, two benchmark brands.

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

The aluminium dial is not circular but rather rectangular, taking advantage of a screen size of 1.75in. To operate the functions you can use both the touchscreen, which responds quickly, and the single button on the side.

The weight of 32g is very light and the thickness of 11.2mm also makes it easy to wear 24 hours a day. I didn’t find it annoying to leave it on at night while I slept, which I can’t do with other models if it doesn’t fit snugly on my wrist.

I didn’t find it annoying to leave it on at night while I slept

A light press activates the display. If you press again, you can access the multitude of apps and functions that are installed by default. We don’t have a crown like the Apple Watch to scroll through them, but with the help of the touchscreen it won’t be hard to get to the one you want.

Honor Watch 4 review botonera

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

During the period I’ve been testing it, the button doesn’t activate by mistake when you make hand movements, thanks to its good development and the fact that it has been integrated very well into the dial with hardly any travel.

The watch charges its battery with the typical simple charging base that has a pair of contacts. It is magnetic and has only one position in which the watch will charge. I would have preferred a base with a magnetised area to attach it somewhere, but the solution is typical of other brands.

The straps offered as standard are 20mm and made of silicone material, with a pleasantly soft feel. Only one size is included, but it’s reasonably large and works with a buckle in order to make the watch more secure when you wear it.

Honor Watch 4 review estadistica

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

Finally, the water resistance rating is IP68 and 5ATM so it’s fully dust and waterproof and can be taken to a depth of 50 meters.

You can purchase the Watch 4 with two different dial finishes, either in gold with a beige wristband, or in more traditional black with a black strap. Replacement is easy, and you can always use other compatible models.

Screen & Speaker

  • AMOLED panel
  • Over 300 different dials
  • No “Always on” display

As you can imagine, a watch’s display says a lot about its use and handling. The Watch 4’s is an AMOLED panel that frankly looks pretty good, with acceptable brightness levels that will only fall short when you try to consult the watch in broad daylight with the sun’s rays shining directly on its surface.

I like the fact that changing the watch face is an almost instantaneous action, with a long press on the screen allowing you to navigate through the various masks you’ve previously loaded onto the watch from the Honor Health app.

Honor Watch 4 review esfera

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

The resolution offered by the screen is 390 x 450 pixels with a pixel density of 340ppi. It has a 60Hz refresh rate and a sensor means it can automatically adjust the brightness based on the lighting conditions of the environment.

The watch is able to recognise the gesture of turning the wrist to activate the display, however, although Honor claims the watch has an always-on display function, I was unable to activate it. It is only possible to extend the time the screen timeout to 5 minutes.

Although Honor claims to have an always-on display function, I was unable to activate

What I was pleasantly surprised by is the power of the speaker. It supports Bluetooth calling, for which you have a microphone that allows you to communicate. It’s not the most natural for long conversations, but if you want to answer a call in a timely manner, it does the job.

Although we’ll talk about the software later, the Watch 4 does a good job of informing you of notifications with sounds and vibration, but it doesn’t allow interaction to respond with a pre-created message like: “I’m busy”.

Specs & Performance

  • Exercise motivation with ring
  • Good Magic OS response
  • Honor Health app somewhat confusing
  • No mobile payments option

The Watch 4 has a micro-optical lens array of sensors that allow you to measure important things like stress, blood oxygen level, heart rate, respiration and sleep quality.

Some of these are taken over time, which is good if you want to keep track of your health. However, unlike other mid-range or high-end watches, it is not always possible to request the on-demand function when you want it.

The built-in heart rate sensor, for example, takes periodic measurements while you wear it, but it doesn’t allow you to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) on demand.

Honor Watch 4 review sensores

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

In the case of SpO2 blood oxygen measurement, the measurement is carried out throughout the day, so you can consult the history to detect when the level decreased. You can also take the measurement at your own convenience.

However, the stress level allows you to check your current status, but does not allow you to interact with the watch to the extent that you can enter your status at a time of day that you feel you need to record.

Operation of the watch is simple and intuitive. A scrolling gesture from the top brings up the quickest settings functions. If you scroll from the bottom, it shows you the latest notifications.

Honor Watch 4 review funciones rápidas

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

On the other hand, if you move your finger and scroll horizontally from one side or the other, you will see that you move between the most relevant cards, such as heart rate, stress level, time, music and the ring with the activity logs.

The latter is proven to be a good daily motivator to encourage you with steps and exercise.

Ring management is a good daily motivator to encourage you with steps and exercise

If you want to access the rest of the functions, you have to press the watch button again to access a menu that looks quite similar to Apple’s watchOS, displaying the possibilities in list form and quickly scrolling through all of them.

Honor Watch 4 review funciones

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

The clock indicates that it’s working with Magic OS 7.2, so there’s obviously an evolution over time. To tell the truth, the watch is agile and without system failures.

Honor Health, both on iOS and Android, has room for improvement. For example, when you access the ‘Watch face shop’, Chinese acronyms keep appearing on the interface, which can cause confusion.

The cards on the main screen are highly customisable to your liking, with the one for completing the movement ring standing out at the top. However, the graph showing the outdoor run or walk is a bit basic compared to what others offer.

The graphs to view the history are there but I found it hard to work out that to view previous days you can’t scroll the graph to the left, you have to select the date of the particular day to get to that information. It’s not so much maddening but it’s not as intuitive as I expected it to be.

We can’t overlook the fact that there’s no way to make payments with the Watch 4, as it’s not supported with no NFC chip. Nor will you find the possibility of being able to operate a voice assistant, such as Alexa or Google Assistant.

Honor has included some useful features, including the ability to search for your phone by making it ring. But keep in mind that its ecosystem is limited, and you won’t be able to download apps from the Google Play Store or similar.

Battery Life & Charging

  • 451mAh battery
  • Fully charged in 1 hour
  • Estimated usage of 6 days

At this point I have to say that Honor raised my expectations of the Watch 4’s battery life by claiming that 14 days of use is possible.

I’m afraid that the company is too optimistic because in the best-case scenario and with typical use of the watch, with a couple of runs and using the GPS, the battery lasted me a maximum of 6 days without reaching a week.

The battery lasted me a maximum of 6 days, which is half the time Honor claims it can last

This is less than half of what Honor claims it can offer. I kept the automatic brightness on, answered the occasional Bluetooth call, and kept all other metering features on, so about average use.

Honor Watch 4 review carga

Alfonso Casas / Foundry

During the period I’ve been using it (15 days) I’ve had to use the charger a total of 3 times. Not bad for the type of screen it has and the functions it has (look at the Apple Watch with its daily charge and you’ll know what I’m talking about), but it’s not the 14 days that the manufacturer claims making it a disappointment.

On the positive side, battery charging is fast. Plug it into the charging dock and you’ll have the 451mAh battery charged to 100% of its capacity in barely an hour.

Price & Availabilty

The new Honor Watch 4 is available in two different finishes, either with a black or gold dial. Either way, it costs £129.99 at launch and you can buy it directly from Honor.

Currently, the company is selling this new model and the £44.99 Honor Band 7 as an entry-level activity tracker. Neither is available in the USA.

It’s cheap when you compare to smartwatches from Apple and Google, with the Pixel Watch costing £339, for example, so Honor does offer value.

Check out our chart of the best smartwatches for more options.

Should you buy the Honor Watch 4?

The leap in design, with the use of aluminium alloy materials and rounded finishes, partly justifies the price tag. However, the Watch 4 rubs shoulders with the likes of the Fitbit Versa 4 and the Huawei Watch GT 3, which is now priced at £179 in the Huawei Store.

It’s clear that in looks and interface handling, Honor’s watch has gained in accessibility, but the bar for smartwatches is set very high and it’s hard to justify the absence of features like mobile payments, ECG recording, or temperature measurement even at this budget-friendly price.

Honor has taken a giant step forward in terms of design and finish with the Watch 4, but now in the next generations it must also accompany this great product with other aspects such as extra functions, as well as evolve the mobile application so that it lives up to the device.

This review first appeared on Tech Advisor Spain.

Specs

  • Models in gold or black finish
  • 1.75-inch AMOLED display
  • 390 x 450 pixels and 340 ppi resolution
  • 6-series aluminium alloy material
  • 4 GB ROM
  • Touch and button operation
  • IP67 or 5 ATM resistant
  • GPS and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity
  • 451 mAh battery
  • Charging port magnetic contacts
  • Microphone and speaker
  • Silicone strap
  • Magic OS 7.2 operating system
  • Dimensions of 45.3 x 39.1 x 11.2 mm
  • Weight 32 grams