Huawei’s smartwatches have long been a fan favourite at Expert Reviews, but the company’s feud with Google has prevented it from updating its flagship Huawei Watch model for some time. The Huawei Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro have come this year, courtesy of the company’s own Harmony OS, and they have a lot going for them.
They’re a fantastic alternative for Android users searching for an alternative to Wear OS watches because of their long battery life, smooth performance, luxurious design, and decent fitness tracking capabilities. They also operate quite well with the iPhone, though only the extended battery life may persuade iPhone customers away from a new Apple Watch, as Apple’s wearable is significantly more competent overall.
The Huawei Watch 3 Pro is only available in one size, and at 48mm, it can appear a touch bulky on thin wrists. Despite its modest size, it was pleasant to wear on my bony wrists. However, for workouts, you may want to replace the leather strap with something stretcher to make the fit nice and snug. That’s simple enough thanks to the watch’s quick release spring pins, which are the normal 22mm width.
Advantages of Huawei Watch GT 3
There are many things to admire about the Huawei Watch 3 Pro, but the responsiveness and ease of use are at the top of the list.
The touchscreen is used for most navigation, with swipes left, right, up, and down to access the main areas of the OS. A press of the crown brings up a list of all the apps that have been installed on the watch, and spinning it zooms in and out or scrolls up and down depending on the mode you’re in, and every action you take is accompanied with snappy, fluid animations.
Pressing the button below the crown activates the watch’s training mode, which is also my favorite feature of the Huawei Watch 3 Pro. While it doesn’t compare to a specialized fitness wearable like the Coros Pace 2 or Garmin Forerunner 245, there’s plenty to get your teeth into.
For starters, the watch has all of the sensors you’d expect from a high-end smart wearable these days. Along with GPS and all-day heart-rate monitoring using Huawei’s TruSeen 4.5+ sensor array, there’s also all-day blood oxygen (SpO2), skin temperature and stress monitoring, a barometric pressure sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, and digital compass.
Naturally, the watch uses these to measure all of the essential metrics, such as sleep, step, and calories, but Huawei has also done an excellent job with the workout-focused features, stuffing in over 100 different tracking modes, including some basic Couch-to-5K-style training plans. I appreciate how all of the information are provided in the Huawei Health app: there’s enough of detail and it’s all written out simply and plainly.
Because this is a wristwatch, you can also install apps from the Huawei App Gallery. The selection is currently restricted, especially when compared to the Google and Apple shops (though the number is steadily expanding), but this is less important with a wristwatch than it is with a phone, especially when the built-in fitness tools are so good to begin with.
There’s a nice number of preinstalled watches faces to choose from, as well as hundreds of paid-for options. Most of these are reasonably priced at 99p or less, and you can even check out the watch faces before you buy, which is a great touch.
Third-party fitness platform sync is also supported, albeit it is presently limited to Adidas’ Runtastic app and only appears to pass over GPS data (distance, duration, pace, and map), not heart-rate data.
By Apple Watch and Wear OS standards, battery life is superb. In full smartwatch mode, I found that the Watch 3 Pro would last between four and five days with three to four hours of GPS workouts each charge. There’s also a battery-saving mode that claims to last 21 days.
Disadvantages of Huawei Watch GT 3
Unfortunately, I was less satisfied with the accuracy of the heart-rate monitor, which rarely lined up with the ECG chest band I was wearing as a control. Over the course of the same seven runs, I discovered that it continually delivered average heart-rate readouts that were roughly 10% higher than they should have been.
That’s not fantastic, but other reviews have found it to work better, so your mileage may vary. It’s also considerably more precise when reading your heart rate when sitting, indicating that it’s doing something properly.
That is my main complaint about the Huawei Watch 3 Pro, but there are a few other minor niggles. The first is about notifications, which appear on the screen and are lovely and visible on the bright display, but cannot be reacted to like on the Apple Watch or a Wear OS wearable like Mobvoi’s TicWatch series.
It’s also frustrating that in the UK, eSIM connectivity is only available through Vodafone, and the Wallet feature does not presently support bank cards. Furthermore, music listening is limited to Huawei Music or MP3 files downloaded to the watch.
It’s also worth noting that several services, such as paid-for watch faces, SMS text replies, and Huawei Music, will not work if you pair the watch with an iPhone. When coupled with an iPhone, the battery life is likewise reduced by half, from five days to two and a half days in “average settings.” Huawei’s website has a comprehensive list of compatibility concerns.
Finally, there doesn’t appear to be any way to use the app to build custom planned workouts, despite the fact that you can set time, distance, and calorie targets, as well as a “Smart Companion” to assist you keep up the pace in a race.
These flaws make the Huawei Watch 3 Pro difficult to recommend in several aspects. It’s pricey, the accuracy of the heart-rate monitor isn’t outstanding, and eSIM connectivity is confined to one UK mobile network.
But the Huawei Watch 3 Pro does a lot of things right. It’s made of high-quality materials, looks amazing, is pleasant to wear, and has a battery life that Apple Watch owners would kill for. Furthermore, its GPS performance is among the greatest of any wearable I’ve seen, and the fitness functions are outstanding considering it isn’t a specialist sports watch.
At a reduced cost I was tempted to recommend it, but as it is, it’s a little too pricey and has far too many flaws.