Despite the best efforts of some of the manufacturers, there are still precious few Wear OS watches that can seriously be considered a “good” option. That being said, several smartwatches of different OS origin can excite users.
With multiple options available between $399.00 and $499.00 across two screen sizes, the Huawei Watch GT3 offers a lot. This is another example of a manufacturer deciding to put their OS on a watch and doing it well.
The look and feel
We have the 46mm as a review unit, and — without being deliberately sexist — this seems to be built for men. I say this simply because it’s a pretty chunky and weighty device that looks out of place on petite wrists.
The variety of watch faces available (free or for purchase) is beyond remarkable; it’s frankly ridiculous. This gives a feeling of near endless customizability of the device, which is a great thing. This is complemented by the buttons on the side and the slick looking front of the device, which is very difficult to mark or scratch.
The screen (model dependent) gives you a 1.43-inch at 326PPI (46mm option) or 1.32-inch at 352PPI (42mm option) viewable area running 466 x 466 resolution. The screen is easy to read and reacts well to varied light conditions like its predecessor. The physical size of the screen and good resolution also lends itself to being a very good option for quickly reading messages, emails and other notifications without the need to get your phone out.
While — as already mentioned — it’s a pretty chunky watch, more importantly, it’s actually really comfortable. The body construction lends itself to being well protected in the materials used, which sits quite nicely after a bit of experimenting on placement.
Software and Health Tracking options
This step could cause some users anxiety because to get the current, full version of Huawei Health; you’ll first need to sideload the Huawei App Gallery. The process is really simple by following the instructions on Huawei’s website. Once App Gallery is installed, it’s easy to install Huawei Health and get the watch connected.
As with the previous generation of the Watch GT series, there are plenty of features to enjoy, and as a stand-alone smartwatch, it’s an absolutely fantastic option. There is plenty of features and customisation available to users, including which apps to get notifications from, extra apps to install onto the watch, and hundreds — quite literally — of watch faces to choose from.
The feature set continues with controls and simple access to all functions through the watch interface. As a default, the quick access option (swiping from right to left) heart rate, SpO2, daily activity monitoring, Weather, Lunar Cycle and Sleep tracking. Again, as with the previous generation, you’re able to store music on the device for listening while out on a walk, run or ride; alternately, you can control streaming music by simple touch.
The Huawei Watch GT3 ticks every box you could possibly want it to as a smartwatch. Simply put, it’s one of the best smartwatch options on the market at this time.
The problem still stands there’s no way to import existing health tracking data into the Huawei platform or automated ways to get the data to sync to existing platforms you’ve used for years, such as Fitbit, Garmin, Google Fit etc. There is now a manual workaround to get your data out from Huawei into Strava for runs and rides, or wider through Health Sync, assuming you can be bothered…
In terms of the activity options and tracking, there is far too much available to go through it all. The options for activity tracking are beyond vast, and with the amount of time and money invested by Huawei in the development of tracking, it’s got a lot going for it as a tool for improving fitness, general health and performance in certain activities.
If you’re more of a casual user of fitness tracking, you’re likely to forget to start the watch tracking more than once. The auto-recognition is very good and generally gets it right for simple activities like walking, running, riding a bike, or even working out in a gym.
Regardless of your choice of physical activity, there are very good odds with a range of tracking capabilities this vast that you’re covered. The tracking capabilities are huge with GPS (speed, distance, elevation), heart rate, and caloric burn, and they’re all recorded inside the app.
Charging and battery life
Let’s start with the charging because it’s quick and easy. The charging puck is magnetic, offering a very quick way to attach your watch because there’s no wrong way to do it. Once your watch is close enough, the magnets do the rest: locate and attach the watch correctly. Charging time varies slightly depending on the charger you’re plugged into, but about 1 hour and 15 minutes will get you from single digit percentage to full power.
If you’re caught out, there’s the bonus of being able to charge your watch with almost any Qi compliant wireless charging pad or even reverse wireless charging from your mobile.
On paper, Huawei says that you can expect to get 14 of normal
usage from the watch before charging. Apparently, I’m not normal because I struggled to get seven days out of it, but I also spend over 6 hours a week exercising in various forms. These were mostly gym sessions tracking heart rate and activity vs the use of GPS; when I used the GPS, the battery suffered more. That’s not to say this is “bad” battery life; with near-daily use of the GPS on top of normal gym sessions, I got four days which is a decent result in the current smartwatch market.
Should you buy one?
If you’re in the market for a smartwatch, aren’t in the Apple garden, and don’t have previous links to other platforms, the $449.00 price tag for the functionality you get is well worth the money.
If you’re looking to use the GT3 with a greater focus on fitness and have invested years of data into another platform, this could be a much tougher sell. While there is a manual workaround, the lack of integration into popular platforms will be problematic for some potential buyers.
The hardware is genuinely excellent, and — as mentioned — as a smartwatch, this is an option I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. In complete honesty, I’d happily buy one just to use as a smartwatch, given how good it has been during testing. The battery life alone is a big win over many other options currently on the market if you’re not capturing physical activity daily.
You can take a closer look or pick one up at Amazon, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, MobileCiti or the Huawei Experience stores.