Deep Dive | Honor MagicWatch 2

This new smartwatch can help you track, monitor, record and ultimately improve your fitness across a whopping 15 different activities

It’s called the HONOR MagicWatch 2 and as the name suggests, it’s a follow up to the original which was launched just over a year ago. That first one was fitness orientated and HONOR have built even further on that this time, plus they’ve refined the look, making it visibly sleeker.

This is one of those watches that will help you with your daily life; whether that’s keeping on top of your diary, listening to music or, well, being on time for things, but it also has the added bonus of being an aid for your outdoor adventures and training as well. Whether you’re into hiking, trail running, snow sports or even open water swimming, there are a bunch of features they’ve added here that will aid, record and ultimately improve your performance.

We were recently given the opportunity to test out the MagicWatch 2 on a trip to the Welsh mountains. Here are the impressions we got.

Design And Feel

There are two variations of the MagicWatch 2 available, one with a 46mm face, which we tested, and one with a 42mm face and no outer numbered bezel. The tech inside is virtually the same though the 46mm has a slightly bigger battery and therefore a longer life (more on that below).

The body of the HONOR MagicWatch 2 is made from an aerospace-grade refined 316L stainless steel, it’s about 0.9mm thick and the casing and bezel are completely flat. Perhaps more importantly, it’s totally watertight, meaning you can wear this while snowboarding or even during fully water-based sports like surfing or kayaking.

“The 1.39-inch screen on the 46mm model we tested gave a bright and vibrant display”

There are four different colours to choose from, including Charcoal Black, Flax Brown, Agate Black and Sakura Gold. There are options with the strap as well – we tried the silicone one but there are a number of different colours and materials that you can go for.

The 1.39-inch screen on the 46mm model we tested gave a bright and vibrant display and it was crystal clear when viewed even in bright outdoor sunlight. Two buttons on the right hand side are used to control the interfaces and there are touch screen sensors as well.

PC: Chris Johnson.

Day-To-Day Features

So, what’s it do then? Well, it will tell you the time and date accurately, which is always good, but it can also do a lot more. A hell of a lot more. For example, you can make and receive calls either through bluetooth headphones or through its built in speaker and mic. You can store and play up to 500 songs or stream music directly from your smartphone, there’s a personal assistant that delivers alerts for messages, emails and calendar appointments. You have timers and alarms, weather reports and even a torch setting.

That stuff’s all well and good, but it’s the fitness tools that we’re really interested in…

Fitness Tools

The operating system used by the HONOR MagicWatch 2 has a good amount of training functions that have been pre-loaded onto it, so outdoors and fitness enthusiasts should find that it provides all the tools they need.

Its 15 different fitness modes cover outdoor activities like running, walking, hiking, climbing, trail running, cycling, open water swimming and then indoor, gym training stuff as well. With each one you get a bunch of useful data feedback along with professional advice – even with optional real-time voiceover guidance.

“You get a bunch of useful data feedback along with professional advice”

At the start of our adventure in the Brecon Beacons we activated the Outdoor Walking mode and off we went into the mountains. Along the way, the MagicWatch 2 gave us an accurate reading of our heart rate, pace, footsteps, altitude and the distance we were covering and it provided a barometric reading so we could be prepared for any bad weather that was on the way. When we lost our bearings, we just flipped on the compass mode to get us back on track.

Once the hike was finished, we were able to look back at our journey via the corresponding app we’d downloaded onto our smartphone. There we could see our entire route, tracked precisely thanks to the combined GPS and GLONASS satellite connection. We could also see how our heart rate changed throughout the day.

On our trip, there was also an opportunity to see how it fared with some open water swimming (very, very cold open water swimming). We found it was able to measure our distance, speed, stroke efficiency and the calories we’d burnt in the process. One thing we noticed here was that the watch’s low profile meant we could pull our wetsuits on and off without having to remove it. A small thing, but a good thing nonetheless.

PC: Chris Johnson.

The running mode is particularly useful. Want to smash your PB at your next parkrun? The virtual pacesetter will help with that. There’s also the ‘Professional Workout Trainer’ which has 13 running courses from beginner to advanced level. With this you’ll get data fed to you and even audio instructions to help you reach your goals. Then there’s that built in heart rate monitor which allows you to keep a close eye on how hard your working – a good thing to do if you want to avoid picking up an injury – plus it lets you keep an eye on your stress levels throughout the day (this is viewed through the Health mode).


There’s plenty of control over the settings on this watch so you can change stuff to suit your needs. There are, for instance, a number of different watch faces you can choose from, and you can even upload and use your own photo. You can change things like the brightness and notifications and adapt the menu so that the mode that you use the most can be accessed quickly via the bottom button. There’s also the option to have the watch face showing constantly or only when you raise your wrist to your face.

PGC: Chris Johnson.

That brings us onto the battery life, which HONOR says is up to 14 days (7 days for the 42mm) on its standard settings and 30 hours with constant GPS tracking. As we write this, we’ve got a team out testing the claim on a splitboarding trip in the French Alps, so we’ll add in the results here when we have them. What we can say, is that after our day in the mountains where used it pretty extensively, it still had plenty of juice left in the tank. That’ll be thanks to its Kirin A1 chipset, along with all of the power-saving algorithms it uses. It’s charged, by the way, by simply placing it onto its magnetic dock which plugs into a USB-cable. Nifty.

Early Verdict

Set to retail at £159.99, this is the watch for the outdoor adventure and sports enthusiasts out there who want to improve their fitness and performance but don’t have the time or money to shell out on an expensive personal trainer or fitness coach. As we found out, you’ll not only get to know your way around this quickly, but you’ll also quickly start to notice the benefits it brings as well. It’s sleek, it’s smart and it’s certainly durable enough to handle those brutal sessions, whether that’s in the gym or mountains, on the road or in the surf.

Splitboarding Verdict, Rob – Staff Writer

I used this on a trip out to Tignes, France when we were filming for the Splitboard Hub. In terms of GPS accuracy it was spot on, all the heights around the resort I know pretty well and the Honor Magic 2was always pretty much on the mark. I’ve traditionally always used Suunto watches in the past, and I opt for the simple screen with buttons over a touch screen interface. I was amazed at how well this watch’s touch screen worked, even with glove liners on. Even while out touring on those cold December mornings, the screen remained responsive and vibrant and I’d had no concerns running this on its highest settings.

It doesn’t feel quite as robust as my Suunto, but after a fair bit of abuse from myself and my colleagues who have also had this out on test and, so far, there are no issues to report. Because of its price, I was expecting there to be a clear drawback somewhere. I’m now coming round to the reality that its just an incredibly well-priced GPS watch, and while it may not bring over the loyal fans of Garmin or Suunto, it should certainly bring a few newbies in the smartwatch community.

Find out more about the product here.

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