Wheel alignment

Tuesday 18 June 2024

A new toy - the Huawei Watch 4 Pro

The Huawei Watch 4 Pro unboxing

I've always liked nice mechanical watches, principally because of their elegant design; which appeals to me as an engineer. I still have the 54 year old Omega which was a 21st birthday present from my grandparents.  I also bought a TAG Heuer over 3 decades ago and both have served me well.  Smartwatches have never been of interest, although the rest of the immediate family have them for varying good reasons.  My view has changed over the last few weeks and I blame Bryan, my doctor!  Let me explain.

Apart from the normal age-related matters plus a bionic knee (soon to be both of them), I'm reasonably fit with good blood pressure numbers.  On the minus side, I've had Atrial Fibrillation (AF) for a few years.  Fortunately, the effects have been minimal and don't seem to affect my cycling or other physical activities.  On a recent routine visit to Bryan, he proudly showed off his new Huawei smartwatch, purchased during an overseas trip.  He gave me a lengthy demonstration of the manufacturer's health app which covers multiple aspects of cardio tracking.  I was particularly interested that it has an ECG function and could be a useful addition to monitoring my own cardio health.  This feature is currently  uncommon on smartwatches. Online reviews of this Huawei model are excellent.  After consultation with my Chief Financial Officer, permission to purchase was obtained and it was ordered through Amazon.  

This isn't going to be a full review of the watch capabilities as there are plenty of online reviews on YouTube and other platforms which do a comprehensive job.  What follows is my personal experience so far for the capabilities which interest me in case they're of any use to other potential users. Talk about being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.  Good job I love learning new stuff!


When the package arrived from Amazon, the first action was to charge it via the accompanying magnetic wireless charger.  It has a large titanium case with a 1.5" (38mm) display under sapphire glass.  Very easy to read and there is a magnification function too.  I downloaded the Health App to my Samsung smartphone via Google play - all straightforward.  Accompanying instructions are brief but the process is reasonably intuitive for a non-IT guy.  About 30 minutes was spent trying to pair the phone and watch 3 or 4 times without success.  I thought I'd followed the correct procedure every time but it eventually worked ok - bit of a puzzle.  The first thing I did was to change the watch face from space-age digital to an analogue replica to confirm old fart status.  There are heaps of choices, both free and at a minor cost so no-one will be disappointed.  The following photo is what I chose.  Time, day/date, percentage of charge remaining, local weather and number of steps/calories burned (not interested in steps etc but it's part of that particular watch face).

A clutter-free design

The setup allows certain functions to not be loaded and at this stage, I've bypassed a few features which don't interest me. How it's configured affects battery life.  Huawei claim 21 days if wifi is turned off, down to 4 days or thereabouts when all bells and whistles are activated.  With my current setup, I recharged it after 6 days for the first time, which is fine with me. It takes about 90 minutes to fully recharge the battery.  No complaints there either.  After initial setup, the watch informed me that some system updates were available via wifi. One or two were very fast but the update of the Harmony operating system most certainly wasn't.  It had loaded 53% in 5 hours before it was time for bed.  With some trepidation, I left it to its own devices, expecting to see a "failed to load" warning or "Blue Screen of Death" in the morning.  Needn't have worried - everything worked perfectly and we were ready to rock and roll.


First step was to learn how to navigate between screens, which was dead easy with the assistance of good old YouTube. Opening the Health App brought up requests for permission to access the phone for downloading data for storage.  All pretty standard.  It was then time to go digging, although not in any structured way.  The following photo shows one of many screens showing various options.  These can be enlarged as appropriate.  The heart rate shows current rate and a historical trend since midnight.  This can be accessed in far more detail and there are examples further on in this post.  Three of the dials are blank.  These are some which I'm not currently interested in.  The light blue symbol with the stethoscope gives access to the Health App. The Yin/Yang symbol covers breathing exercises.  The purple symbol showing 7.4 (hours) is sleep data.  I'll be covering this in more detail.

A typical selection screen

I set the watch up to continuously monitor cardio and sleep data without my intervention.  The phone can be turned off at any time, but will sync all the data when turned back on for a more detailed look at statistics.

The following photo is a 24 hour graph from midnight to midnight of my heart rate.  Between midnight and 0600, it's generally low during sleep.  The peak readings between 1100 and 1200 were when I was hill climbing on my mountain bike and it decreases quickly once the arduous part of the ride is complete.  The 91 bpm figure simply shows my heartbeat at that particular point in time by dragging the cursor to the required spot.

24 hour heart rate tracking

The following photo shows the mountain biking period in more detail by selecting the cycling part of the app before setting off.  Just by way of comment, my heart rate during the mountain biking was significantly higher than it normally is for an unknown reason and that's why data collection over time will be valuable. It was back to normal on a subsequent ride.

Cycling data

The next graph shows another ride with heart rate and a green/blue line showing altitude.  The heart rate is lower than the previous example, partially because the route doesn't have so much climbing in it. It may also be that my AF was behaving itself.  For the first 2/3 of the ride, it's reasonably consistent but drops significantly on the downhill section where I'm not putting much effort into pedalling.

Heart rate vs altitude

I was taken by surprise during the cycling by a male American voice periodically giving me various statistics, including when my heart rate was considered high - presumably because of some age-based algorithm.  It was relatively easy to hear when cycling along.

The ECG function takes about 30 seconds to perform and the example output below clearly shows my AF, which is normally not noticeable other than when I'm laying quietly in bed.  Even then, it's not really intrusive.  I'll be building up data for discussions with my doc as the basis for any future action.

ECG trace

The other function which I'm currently interested in is the sleep tracker.  I've been a light sleeper for several decades and it may be associated with the work I was involved with all that time ago. I'd like to improve the quality of sleep and getting objective data is the start of that process.  Here's part of the report covering a night's sleep. It suggests that Deep Sleep and REM states are far too short and that Light Sleep is far too long.  Although I haven't previously had objective data, the results come as no real surprise and opens the door to doing something about it....... further reading on the subject for starters.

Sleep tracking data


It's early days yet and it's risky to draw conclusions from such a small data sample.  Nonetheless, there are indicators to be chased down with further data acquisition and subsequent discussions with health professionals.  Also, it's fun learning something new and I'm a naturally inquisitive person.  Errrr.... bordering on anal or OCD if you listen to someone who is near and dear.  I couldn't  possibly comment.

I hope this post has been of interest to at least one person out there on the world wide web who isn't a techo tragic!


  1. You kids and your flash toys...

  2. Yeah I had no interest in a smart watch, but my wife bought me one for my birthday last year. Whilst I still forget to wear it every now and again it has some good uses, find it goes flat after 3 days but if you put it on charge every night not a problem

    1. Hi Steve,
      The Huawei gets great reviews for battery life which is a real plus with me. Tablets and phones are daily and I really didn't want another daily job. For me, I'm just happy to use the cardio info as an aid to staying in decent nick. Take care mate!

  3. I recently purchase a new watch, and the next day had to take it back to get the time properly adjusted. Too many new buttons and features that I don't think I will ever need.

    1. Hi Kofla,
      I know how you feel! There are lots of features I'm not interested in but the health app has already been really useful. I can definitely improve some things from the data I've recorded and analysed.


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