Huawei Watch GT 3 Smartwatch in Review: Classy looks and impressive battery
Case and features: Stainless-steel smartwatch with chic straps and phone function
The new Huawei Watch GT 3 comes in an elegant casing made of stainless-steel. The back, where the sensor is centrally located, is made of plastic. We tested the 46 mm version of Huawei Watch GT 3. It is also equipped with a considerably larger battery compared to the more compact 42 mm variant. The case is 11 mm thick (42 mm variant is slightly thinner) and weighs a good 42 g (42 mm: 35 g) without the interchangeable and 22 mm wide strap.
For our test, we had the Classic Edition with a silver-colored case and the elegant brown leather strap on hand. It looks especially good with classy outfits. We also find the more expensive Elite Edition with a stainless-steel strap quite classy, while the Active Edition with a black fluoro-elastomer strap looks much sportier.
The smaller 42 mm variant, which is aimed primarily at female customers, is available with either a black fluoro-elastomer strap, white leather strap, or gold-colored Milanaise strap, and a matching case.
A microphone and a speaker are integrated for the telephony function discussed below. Besides the smartwatch itself, the scope of delivery includes a manual and the charger. The charger has an approximately 80 cm long USB-A cable and is magnetically attached to the underside of the watch. A power adapter is not included. Alternatively, any Qi charger or reverse charging function on the smartphone can be used, which is quite practical.
Setup and operation: Problem-free, but somewhat limited under iOS
The Huawei Health app on the smartphone is mandatory for setting up the smartwatch. It is available for HarmonyOS 2, Android 6.0, and iOS 9.0 or later. The setup process is actually self-explanatory and is well explained in the app, but it requires a Huawei account and takes a while. However, everything is done after about ten minutes including the creation of an account.
Various settings can be made on the smartwatch via the app. Among other things, you can specify which health data should be collected permanently and which ones only on demand. Additional watch faces can be loaded and installed via the app, additional settings can be adjusted, and the tracked data of the smartwatch can be clearly displayed.
If you connect an Android or HarmonyOS smartphone, you can also install additional apps via the AppGallery (for Android as APK download). However, the selection is (still) very sparse. Big names and important services are completely missing (probably due to the US embargo). The installation of additional apps is not possible under iOS and will not be possible due to Apple's policy.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is equipped with a rotatable and pressable crown at the top and a button positioned below it on the right side of the case. The crown calls up the menu when pressed, while zooming in and out is done via rotary motion. Various functions can be assigned to the lower button in the settings such as to start a workout, for example. Feedback is provided by a light vibration, which is also easily noticeable in everyday use. The voice assistant, the activity rings, and other widgets appear via a swipe to the right or left.
Telephony and notifications
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is not available in an LTE version. However, it is does come equipped with a speaker and a microphone. The wearable can also be used for short conversations with the smartphone within reach. The audio quality is logically not the best, but it is sufficient for the purpose.
Notifications on the smartphone are usually immediately displayed on the smartwatch as well. Different notification types (e.g., WhatsApp, social media, etc.) can be activated and deactivated via the app. Longer messages are unfortunately not displayed completely on the wearable. It is also not sufficient for reading emails. A reply function is not available apart from predefined quick replies to SMS since a recent update (not under iOS). Emojis (e.g., for Skype) are also not displayed correctly. In addition, there were occasional problems with synchronization with an iPhone.
The Watch GT 3 supports the AI Voice Assistant, but requires a Huawei smartphone. Access to Google Assistant, Siri and the likes is not possible.
Health and fitness: Smartwatch convinces with accurate tracking and various sensors
The Huawei Watch GT 3 does not offer an ECG function, but it does track today's common values of heart rate and blood oxygen content (SpO2). If desired, it can also track 24/7 and not just when needed. An optical sensor with eight circularly arranged photo diodes and two light sources in combination with a curved glass lens is used for this purpose on the underside. The tracked data can be viewed in detail in the Huawei Health app on the smartphone and synchronized with Apple Health and Google Fit.
In addition, the smartwatch provides information about the stress level, sleep quality, and menstrual cycle. The Huawei Watch GT 3 can also measure the skin temperature and has an integrated altitude barometer for the air pressure. It also provides weather information.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 displays daily activity targets in the familiar rings that we know from Apple Watch and co. These include steps, sports, and movements. In addition, it also provides various tips and incentives for a healthier life with Healthy Living — not a bad idea, especially in the home-office scenario these days.
Heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood oxygen saturation
Compared with a Polar H10 chest strap as a reference device, there were no differences in the resting heart rate in our test and only a deviation of one percent in activity. Thus, the Huawei Watch GT 3's heart rate sensor works very accurately.
Blood oxygen saturation is measured reliably, either on command or continuously depending on the setting. The latter results in a progression curve over the day comparable to the pulse. A data export option is not available.
As the embedded screenshots above show, the sensor responds quite quickly and accurately compared to a Polar H10 chest strap even with larger fluctuations in heart rate.
If you also wear the Huawei smartwatch at night, you can monitor your own sleep. No special app or mode needs to be started; the watch detects this automatically.
The length of sleep is displayed in the morning. A detailed but unfortunately not very clear evaluation of sleep phases and quality is only available in the Huawei Health app on the smartphone. A few more details directly on the wearable would be nice and would save the detour via the smartphone app.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 features over 100 sports modes, around 20 of them directly on the smartwatch. In addition, there is an AI running trainer as well as other free courses and plans. Thus, numerous sports can be recorded — from running, spinning, and rowing machine to free training. The selection of the sport is done via the menu. For outdoor activities, a GPS connection is first established after which you can start the workout.
The watch tracks different measured values depending on the sport. For jogging and walking, for example, these are the distance covered as well as the course (can be viewed via Huawei Health), the speed, the duration, and of course the heart rate. A colored bar with a marker arrow also shows at a glance which area the user is currently training. That is practical. A detailed evaluation is only available on the smartphone here as well. The smartwatch can also determine the VO2max value, which is interesting for runners, among others.
After stopping the workout recording, a more detailed view can be seen in the app on the smartphone. If desired, the smartwatch can also measure recovery after exercise within two minutes and thus provide insights into the current training status. We tested the workout recording during a brisk winter walk in icy temperatures, among other things, where the tracking worked well.
GPS and navigation
The Huawei Watch GT 3 connects via GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS to record covered distances. Establishing the connection took about 20 seconds in the test. The accuracy is acceptable, as the comparison of the routes in the pictures below shows.
There are some differences in the covered distance; there is a deviation of aroud 1% when compared to a Garmin Venu 2. A navigation app is not preinstalled, but a return navigation is. However, select navigation apps such as Petal Maps can be installed via the AppGallery. It is also possible to export the tracking data as GPX via Huawei Health.
Display: Wearable with great AMOLED display
The AMOLED color display with touch and swipe controls on the 46 mm Watch GT 3 measures 1.43 inches, a good 0.1 inches larger than the 42 mm version. AMOLED offers an infinitely high contrast ratio and deep blacks.
The resolution is 466 x 466 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 461 ppi. No pixels are visible to the naked eye, so a sharp display is a given. Although the display is reflective, it is also bright enough for sunny days thanks to the 630 cd/m² brightness
Performance and runtime: Fast operating system and great stamina
An unspecified ARM Cortex-M with 32 MB of main memory and 4 GB of mass storage is installed. While the software of the predecessor, the Huawei Watch GT 2, with LiteOS still had some weaknesses, the installed HarmonyOS 2.1 runs smoothly and mostly without problems on the new Watch GT 3. The watch responds quickly to inputs and apps start quickly. Only the activation of the display when turning the wrist did not always work reliably in the test. Unfortunately, benchmarks are not available for HarmonyOS.
Huawei promises up to 14 days of battery life for the larger model. While these manufacturer promises are often exaggerated and only achieved with minimal use, the Huawei Watch GT 3 actually convinces with long battery runtimes in practice. Up to ten days of use without charging in between is possible with low to normal use.
However, the battery stamina always depends on the intensity of use. Users who continuously monitor their health data, track one or the other sports session as well as their sleep, and activate the always-on display option permanently should be prepared for charging every three to five days. Compared with many other smartwatches, especially with Wear OS, these are good run times. Another positive aspect is that the charging time of up to an hour is manageable.
Verdict: The Huawei Watch GT 3 convinces in the test but is not without criticism
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is a stylish and visually variable smartwatch thanks to different variants. The performance in everyday use is good, and there are many sports and health features. Tracking was accurate and reliable in our test.
The battery run times are particularly outstanding, and the manufacturer (almost) does not overdo it.
The display is also convincing. Among other things, the lack of an LTE version and NFC are negative. Thus, the smartwatch cannot be used for independent calls or contactless payments, which would not make much sense without Google Pay support in this country anyway.
Those who use an iPhone as a paired smartphone have to contend with further restrictions. More options are available with Android and HarmonyOS, even though the selection in the AppGallery is sobering. Huawei (like many other manufacturers) is known for dovetailing the products of its own ecosystem the best anyways, which is also proven by the Huawei Watch GT 3 in our test.
If you are looking for an even better equipped smartwatch from Huawei, the Huawei Watch 3 Pro will likely offer what you may be looking for. In contrast, the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch has more options due to Wear OS, but significantly less battery life.
Price and availability
At the time of our review, the Huawei Watch GT 3 is available from €229 (~$249) at Notebooksbilliger and other stores. The tested version with 46 mm and brown leather strap is available from Huawei or Amazon (DE) for €269.