The stylish Haier Watch is a premium Android-based alternative for $200 [Hands-on]


There weren’t many new smart watches to be revealed at Mobile World Congress this year, but Haier came to the show with one, and boy does it look good. The Haier Watch — which the company says won’t be much more than $200 — is made from a nice stainless steel metal and features a nice stylish design.


Haier’s Watch is a lot like the Huawei Watch (read our review) in that regard:

  • They’re both pretty thick on the wrist.
  • They both ship with a leather black band as standard.
  • They look almost identical with their respective mesh bands.
  • They both have heart rate sensors.


Above: Huawei Watch

Haier’s goal with this thing definitely wasn’t to provide an almost identical premium experience that undercuts any other competitor in price. (We’re using sarcasm, in case you can’t tell.)

Looks aside, the watch isn’t quite as familiar elsewhere. For starters, it isn’t Android Wear, though it does run Android. Haier is using their own custom Android 6.0 Marshmallow-based ROM to drive the experience. It features cool watch faces and watch-appropriate apps, and perhaps someone will even find a way to get a standard Android UI to run on it.

Haier Watch Pictures

But that also means you won’t have the cool Android Wear apps that continue to pour into the Google Play Store. Haier is sure to have a good amount of their own — including a suite of fitness apps — but we wouldn’t expect much in the way of third-party goodness.  The Watch also communicates with your smartphone through Bluetooth, but WiFi and cellular connectivity aren’t options.

The Haier Watch also exceeds many other Android Wear watches in the specs department, including the use of 1GB of RAM when 512MB is the standard, as well as a full 8GB of storage AM over the usual 4GB. The 1.4-inch circular display is more standard with a 400×400 resolution. The beefier internals might only be needed due to Haier’s Watch not meeting the same level of optimization as Android Wear watches, but it’s worth noting anyway.

Unfortunately, Haier wasn’t too talkative about other aspects of the device, such as how many apps you’ll be able to use and what you’ll be able to do with it while it’s connected to your phone. That information is sure to come along as we inch closer to its eventual launch.

A Watch for Kids


Haier also had a Kids Watch to show off. The watch features GPS, an SOS button and a virtual fence so parents can make sure their kids aren’t wandering into trouble. We assume all these things will be communicated to the parent’s smartphone once triggered, though there’s also continuous monitoring if you just want to check in.


That stuff can happen from afar thanks to an embedded GSM radio. The Kids Watch also has a pedometer for tracking steps, the ability to playback music tracks, and an IP65 waterproof rating. You’ll be able to grab them in Blue or Red, so be sure to ask your kids which color they’d prefer!

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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