Huawei Watch 3 Review: Horological Dissonance


It’s no secret that – at the international level, no less than – Huawei’s smartphone trade was once ripped to shreds after the Trump management’s entity checklist limited its get entry to to US-related applied sciences and corporations. But within the face of adversity, the Chinese tech large has been short to pivot its center of attention; making an investment and growing the opposite product classes it is already concerned with (in addition to branching into new ones), together with smartwatches.

The arrival of the Huawei Watch 3 (and Watch 3 Pro) isn’t any accident. With the transfer clear of Android – after shedding give a boost to for Google Mobile Services on its internationally-released smartphones – Huawei doubled down on its efforts to construct a platform of its personal and what it got here up with was once HarmonyOS (a.okay.a. ‘HongMengOS’ in China).

At the release match for HarmonyOS 2.0 on 2 June 2021, Huawei unveiled a slew of {hardware} set to show off the platform; together with the Huawei Watch 3. The Watch 3 is not just a long-overdue successor to 2018’s Wear OS-powered Huawei Watch 2 regardless that, for lots of it’s going to most likely be the primary style of HarmonyOS that customers out of doors of China will come into touch with, so you would hope it makes a excellent first affect.

Design and construct

  • Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro game distinct kinds
  • Excellent construct high quality and hardiness
  • Interchangeable 22mm straps

While each the Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro percentage in the similar show measurement and design, the usual fashion sports activities softer traces and extra rounded components, whilst the Pro fashion opts for more difficult edges and bolder geometry.

The same old Watch 3 maximum intently resembles the rounded 42mm Huawei Watch GT 2, with a pillowed toughened glass entrance and tapered lugs; sharing in its predecessor’s give a boost to for quick-release 22mm bands and 5ATM water resistance.

Huawei Watch 3 angled front screen off

Despite equivalent traces, on the other hand, this technology of Huawei does not if truth be told come with a smaller 42mm variant (as with the GT 2 line), that means the ‘Active’ fashion of the Watch 3 – with its black casing and matching fluoroelastomer strap – is the bottom profile choice of the lineup. There’s additionally a Classic and Elite model of the Watch 3 to believe, either one of which function a silver casing and both a brown leather-based or stainless-steel hyperlink strap, respectively.

You’re no longer beholden to any kind of proprietary straps in both case however Huawei does promote its personal line of EasyFit 2 bands that are available in an collection of colors, fabrics and kinds, if you are in search of a spot to begin in the case of personalising the glance of your Watch 3.

Huawei Watch 3 straps

Going Pro manner you business as much as sapphire crystal at the entrance, whilst the 316L stainless-steel of the standard Watch 3 is changed via extra top rate titanium alloy – no longer not like 2020’s sumptuous Watch GT 2 Pro.

The large addition with this technology of Huawei smartwatch is the ‘3-d rotating crown,’ which when you’ve observed or treated an Apple Watch, will have to be straight away acquainted. Haptics lend credibility to this new manner of interplay, with exact ticks and faucets towards your wrist when urgent and twisting the crown as a super manner of sensory comments.

(*3*)

The collection of LEDs, photodiodes and a sapphire crystal lens (jointly dubbed Huawei’s TruSeen 4.5 sensor) at the watch’s again facilitate consistent center charge tracking, SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) tracking, assist give a boost to sleep monitoring or even continuously log pores and skin temperature – one thing solely actually discovered within the shopper wearable area on the Fitbit Sense, at the moment.

Having lived with the Watch 3 for months, most likely one of the crucial spectacular sides of its design is its hardiness. Despite repeated knocks, scrapes and drops (on laminate and linoleum, as smartly towards wooden, plaster and glass) the watch seems to be nearly unscathed; in the case of each the steel casing and that pillowed duvet glass, which even repels micro-abrasions with sudden self belief.

For a timepiece that is not advertised with any kind of ruggedisation or hardiness past its water-resistance/swim-proofing, the Watch 3 weathers extremely smartly, even with day by day put on.

Display and audio

  • Bright, crisp AMOLED show
  • Extensive show controls and lines
  • Disappointing microphone efficiency

Behind that duvet glass sits a 1.43in round AMOLED show, which guarantees an similarly sharp 326ppi, on-par with the likes of each Apple’s and Oppo’s signature smartwatches. What’s extra, in observe it is transparent, shiny and vibrant sufficient to look at in shiny out of doors prerequisites, with out factor.

The watch comes with over 30 pre-loaded watch faces, offering a variety of selection, helped via the truth that many come with animated components and customisable headaches. They all additionally possess some extent of always-on capability that displays their energetic design however enabling always-on mode does produce a caution that this selection can probably lower battery existence in part.

Huawei Watch 3 watch face 1

In reality, one of the most great issues in regards to the show revel in is the extent of transparency and keep an eye on over its function set; with the more than a few put in watch faces all coming with persistent intake rankings – so you recognize which can motive extra drain at a look ahead of selecting one.

As smartly as always-on capability, show settings additionally come with a tilt-to-wake function (which I most well-liked over always-on mode, even supposing it to begin with felt at the slow facet), a torch, automated and handbook brightness keep an eye on, and the power to fasten the display to ‘on’ for a collection time period (as much as 20 mins, in five-minute increments).

Huawei Watch 3 watch face integration

Additional watch faces may also be downloaded from the paired Huawei Health app, which options its personal curated retailer of each reliable and user-created watch faces, consisting of each loose and paid choices.

Audio

The Huawei Watch 3 additionally comprises an built-in speaker, which is most dear when relaying pertinent well being data all the way through workout routines – together with tempo and center charge – in most cases each and every ten mins, relying at the job.

It provides strangely excellent readability that may if truth be told care for tune (as long as the tunes in query don’t seem to be too rambunctious), even supposing I’d dissuade any person from the use of the Watch 3 as a valid manner of if truth be told taking part in Doja Cat at the cross.

Loudness for a smartwatch is first rate too, however attach a couple of headphones by the use of Bluetooth when you if truth be told need to pay attention to tunes at once from the watch; whether or not they are saved in the community or you might have swung for Huawei Music’s streaming carrier, which helps offline playback too.

The microphone revel in – which you can most likely maximum regularly use to have interaction with Huawei’s virtual assistant, Celia – is rather less dependable; suffering to parse easy queries, like checking the elements and even recognising the “Hey, Celia” wake command on a constant foundation.

Software and lines

  • One of the primary units to run HarmonyOS 2 globally
  • Heavily apes each Wear OS and watchOS
  • On-wrist AppGallery app retailer

Just as HarmonyOS bears greater than a passing resemblance to Android as apparently on telephones and tablets, so too does its guise at the Watch 3; echoing sides of each Google’s and Apple’s wearable platforms in the case of each appear and feel. The means could also be unoriginal, positive, however some would possibly to find the result richer for it, to not point out the whole lot runs extra easily in comparison to the likes of Huawei’s personal Lite OS-toting GT 2 line.

Those acquainted with Wear OS will have to really feel at house with the format of HarmonyOS 2 at the Watch 3; with the primary watch face serving as a central hub, with options grouped into spokes working off in 4 instructions.

Huawei Watch 3 app grid

The Celia assistant is a swipe to the proper (or a button press away), notifications are exposed with a swipe up, tiles – widgets that offer simple get entry to to options like center charge and climate – are introduced in via swiping left (near-identically to Wear OS’s Tiles), whilst short settings – together with the torch function and Find my Phone capability – are hidden at the back of a swipe down.

The large departure from the Wear OS tropes comes with a press of that 3-d rotating crown, which (via default, no less than) brings up an apps grid that intently apes Apple’s watchOS grid view. Twisting the crown additionally lets you zoom out and in of the grid, simply as on an Apple Watch.

As for the app variety, the Watch 3 is de facto brimming with options out the field; from a compass to a calendar, Huawei’s personal Petal Maps, and there may be even a devoted on-watch model of the AppGallery (Huawei’s app retailer) that helps third-party apps to enlarge capability additional – one thing the corporate’s Lite OS watches had been regularly criticised for missing prior to now.

Huawei Watch 3 quick settings

While maximum notifications do not permit for any actual interactivity, supported messaging apps – together with WhatsApp – do assist you to reply on-wrist.

Text access is strangely competent at the Watch 3, with an on-screen keyboard that inspired with its skill to know which letters my sizeable fingertip was once aiming for amidst the minuscule keys. Voice enter and short replies (which you’ll be able to organize from the Huawei Health app in your hooked up smartphone) also are supported when you’d quite.

As for connectivity, in addition to Bluetooth, the Watch 3 connects to WiFi (helpful for streaming tune or downloading apps from the AppGallery), in addition to NFC – operating along side loyalty playing cards and the like that you’ll have added to the Huawei Wallet app (even supposing credit score/debit playing cards aren’t supported in the United Kingdom, the place this fashion was once reviewed).

Unlike Apple’s wearables, even essentially the most modestly-priced variant of the Watch 3 comes entire with eSIM capability integrated too, that means patrons may not must fork out additional (past a suitable contract) in the event that they need to cross phone-free from time to time.

Fitness and monitoring

  • Over 100 trackable actions
  • Tracks an excellent choice of metrics
  • Considered in-workout glanceable, pertinent metrics

The majority of the Watch 3’s wealthy function set is curious about health and wellbeing. As discussed previous, it is one of the most solely smartwatches past the Fitbit Sense in the market being able to observe pores and skin temperature (an invaluable metric in tension detection), however it is usually supplied to trace center charge, SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation), sleep and extra.

Huawei Watch 3 back

General day by day health is damaged down right into a trio of key metrics; represented as blue, orange and pink crescents (they are no longer reasonably the Apple Watch’s rings however they indubitably glance acquainted, regardless).

Huawei Watch 3 fitness

The Watch 3 logs your steps, job and energetic hours all over the day, with the purpose of filling the ones crescent-shaped segments ahead of the day’s finish; a very easy, glanceable solution to stay tabs in your normal job over a 24-hour length. You can drill down to peer much more metrics previous the bottom crescents like stairs climbed too (the watch includes a barometric power sensor to gauge altitude).

Looking for extra explicit exercise monitoring? There’s give a boost to for over 100 actions, together with complex monitoring for 17 of the ones (referred to as “skilled” exercise modes). Automated exercise detection additionally is not unhealthy; particularly with easy walks, which you’ll be able to specify as indoor or out of doors and log retroactively.

Huawei Watch 3 fitness leather

Depending at the job, the Watch 3 shows present pertinent metrics, like center charge, tempo and exercise depth, or even throws out audio updates, akin to how lengthy you might have been figuring out and different key metrics chances are you’ll love to stay tabs on, with no need to look down.

Performance and battery

  • Responsive UI
  • Promising longevity
  • Ongoing insects undermine consumer revel in

Similarly to the likes of the Oppo Watch, the Watch 3 is determined by a twin chipset structure to stability high-end efficiency towards persistent potency. The Pro fashion additionally boasts extra correct dual-channel GPS; a rarity within the wearable area and a function the corporate first carried out within the Kirin 980 chipset powering its Mate 20 collection smartphones.

From the instant you persistent the Watch 3 up, essentially the most glaring departure from its direct predecessors (within the GT 2 collection) is how short and responsive the whole lot feels.

Huawei Watch 3 app grid leather

HarmonyOS 2 at the Huawei Watch 3 no longer solely looks as if a extra top rate smartwatch consumer revel in than we are used to from the corporate’s timepieces, it feels like one. That’s thank you, partially, to snappy animations and coffee contact latency; making for essentially the most top rate wearable revel in Huawei has put out thus far.

The caveat this is that – in its present state, no less than – there are nonetheless basic problems that even months after launch nonetheless have not been addressed. Bugs come with alarms failing to head off, tracked exercise reputedly finishing with out caution and each timers in addition to the watch face itself all having frozen a large number of all the way through the evaluation length, in spite of a number of rounds of updates.

from time to time, undermining the basic capability that the Huawei Watch 3 must nail to end up HarmonyOS is a valid smartwatch platform within the area.

Longevity

On the battery existence facet, the Watch 3 guarantees 3 days of wear and tear in ‘customary mode’ or 14 in ‘ultra-long battery existence mode’ (nearer to that of the corporate’s Lite OS-powered timepieces), whilst the Pro totes as much as 5 days of normal use that extends to 21 days in power-saving mode.

In normal use, I discovered the Watch 3 required a recharge each and every couple of days (quite than the promised 3) however that also surpassed expectancies and makes this a extra viable weekend put on clear of a charger than Apple’s most sensible timepiece.

Mileage varies lovely considerably, the place wearables are involved, with even small adjustments in utilization probably amounting to important shifts in longevity. A 90-minute aerobic exercise sapped 5% of the Watch 3’s persistent, whilst a 45-minute run with consistent center charge and GPS enabled was once virtually as challenging at the battery.

For the ones instances while you merely don’t seem to be going so that you can recharge as regularly as you in most cases would, the Watch 3 does function an ‘Ultra-long battery existence mode’, which disables WiFi and mobile connectivity (if arrange) and adjustments the consumer revel in to one thing extra at once harking back to Lite OS; no longer simply visually however in the case of throttling again UI animations and locking off make a choice apps, just like the AppGallery.

Even so, the color UI components and the whole lot that does stay to be had make this one of the crucial feature-rich power-saving modes I’ve encountered on a wearable.

Price and availability

Both the Huawei Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro had been unveiled as a part of Huawei’s June 2021 HarmonyOS release match and each went on sale across the world later that very same month: on 18 June for the usual fashion and 27 June for the Watch 3 Pro.

At release, the Huawei Watch 3 price £349.99/€369 (making it one of the most emblem’s most costly smartwatches thus far except Porsche Design variants), whilst the Watch 3 Pro price from £499.99/€499.

That beginning value puts it toe-to-toe with the present Apple Watch, whilst Samsung’s Wear OS 3-toting Galaxy Watch 4 provides a in a similar way aggressive wearable revel in at a particularly decrease beginning value.

Both fashions are to be had from the Huawei Store (UK, France, Germany, Spain) and decided on outlets, together with Amazon (UK, France, Germany, Spain), with common reductions and bundles that includes on Huawei’s personal web site.

Verdict

There’s surely that the Huawei Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro provide essentially the most feature-packed and succesful wearable revel in the corporate timepieces have presented thus far.

HarmonyOS transcends Huawei’s current Lite OS smartwatch revel in via construction on it in (virtually) all of the proper tactics; resulting in one thing that feels actually aggressive towards top rate opponents from the likes of Apple and Samsung. There’s additionally the truth that Wear OS 3’s expected lack of iOS give a boost to renders the Watch 3 one of the most solely profitable top rate choices to the Apple Watch for iPhone customers.

The added capability and complexity that HarmonyOS has delivered to Huawei’s wearables does additionally build up the danger of issues and a few basic, ongoing insects critically harm the Watch 3 line’s skill to be an in a different way simple advice.

Specs

Huawei Watch 3: Specs

  • 1.43in round (466×466) 60Hz AMOLED show
  • 316L stainless-steel/titanium casing (same old/Pro)
  • Ceramic again
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB garage
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Geomagnetic sensor
  • Optical center charge sensor
  • Ambient gentle sensor
  • Barometer
  • Temperature Sensor
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • 100+ exercise modes: 19 ‘professional’ modes, 85 customized modes, automated exercise detection for six modes
  • 5ATM water resistance
  • eSIM (LTE)
  • Bluetooth 5.2 + BLE
  • WiFi (2.4GHz-only)
  • NFC
  • GPS+GLONASS+Galileo+Beidou/GPS-L1+GPS-L5+GLONASS+Galileo+Beidou+QZSS (same old/Pro)
  • Battery: Up to 3/5 days – Smart mode (same old/Pro), 14/21 days – Ultra-long battery mode (same old/Pro)
  • Wireless charging
  • 5V 2A magnetic USB wi-fi charger
  • 54/63 grams w/o strap (same old/Pro)
  • 46.2mm x 46.2mm x 12.15mm (same old)
  • 48mm x 49.6mm x 14mm (Pro)
  • Compatibility: Android 6.0/iOS 9.0 or later



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