If you haven't heard of Huawei yet, now may be the time to pay attention.
The Chinese manufacturer made a name for itself in 2015 by producing the Nexus 6P phone for Google. Since, Huawei has become the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, behind only Apple and Samsung. Most of Huawei's success, however, has been in Chinese markets—and, as a result, the company has been working hard to make its name known worldwide.
In addition to the Huawei Watch 2, released earlier this year, the company is also releasing two new fitness bands: the Band 2 and Band 2 Pro. A few representatives from Huawei recently visited the Men's Fitness offices to give us a first look at these brand new products, which will be released in the U.S. in the coming months.
At first glance, the Band 2 Pro looks remarkably similar to Fitbit's Alta HR. However, there are significant differences: The Band 2 Pro's OLED screen is bigger than the Alta's, and can display more information at a given time. Additionally, a small black bar below the screen acts as a navigation bar; swiping left or right on the bar lets you cycle through stats like steps, heart rate, and more. We found this to be a lot more intuitive than navigation on the Alta HR, which requires double taps for navigation. Swiping between panels on the Band 2 Pro is smooth and responsive.
In addition, while the Band 2 Pro has the form factor of the Alta HR, it also includes built-in GPS and the ability to calculate VO2 Max, two features missing from the Alta HR. Huawei also promises features such as comprehensive coaching and breathing instruction, though we've yet to test those.
Overall, we were impressed with what we've seen of the Band 2 Pro, but we're particularly interested to see the price, which Huawei has yet to announce. If it's priced competitively, it could easily prove to be a viable alternative to other wearables.