Huawei had a lot of interesting things it had teased for its “winter product launch”, which was supposed to happen last Friday but was postponed following the passing of former China President Jiang Zemin. By far the most intriguing was the Watch Buds, which—as the name suggests—is both a smartwatch and a pair of wireless earbuds.
The company has only released a brief teaser so far, but it appears a few individuals have already gotten their hands on the device, judging by the leaks that have appeared on social media. As you can see, the Watch Buds looks like most other timepieces, with a conventional round metal case and a large crown at 3 o’clock. The lack of a second button, as seen on other Huawei smartwatches, hints that it may be more of a fitness tracker than a true smartwatch.
It’s only along the side where you can start to tell that something is amiss. The case is quite chunky and the bezel and crystal jut out quite a bit outwards. But it’s only when you press the button at the bottom of the case that the Watch Buds shows its wild side—the entire top portion of the watch pops open to reveal a pair of tiny earbuds that appear to be magnetically attached to the underside.
We’ve seen two-in-one products that hide TWS earbuds before—witness the Nokia 5710 XpressAudio feature phone, which hid them in a sliding compartment behind—but this is the first time we’ve seen it on something as small as a watch. The rectangular design looks painful to wear for anything more than a few minutes, but we’ll withhold judgement until we try it on. If, of course, this thing makes it out of China in the first place.
I’m not typically a fan of these two-in-one devices, because it usually means that the manufacturer has compromised on one (or both) of the products. In this case, Huawei appears to have skimped on not just the comfort of these earbuds but also possibly the functionality and even the battery life of the watch—where is the battery even supposed to go? I’m hoping for Huawei to prove me wrong, but I’m not holding my breath.