The Huawei Watch three is a watershed second in what’s destined to be a busy yr for Huawei’s wearable division.
It’s a return to its flagship smartwatch model, final seen with the Huawei Watch 2 again in 2016, and with it the launch of Concord OS – the corporate’s new working system.
It’s a extra premium gadget than the Huawei Watch GT2 (and GT2e), though it shares lots of their finest options.
However is it Huawei’s finest smartwatch? We strapped it on to search out out.
Worth and competitors
At launch the Huawei Watch three prices £349. There’s no US value because it gained’t get a proper launch there, but it surely’s already on Amazon US for $432. We’d anticipate it to drop in value over the approaching months.
It’s a giant price ticket for a model that’s supplied cut-price smartwatches till now. However there’s a some worth for cash, given the wonderful supplies and display.
We’ll come onto whether or not it’s well worth the cash additional down, however what else are you able to think about?
Naturally the Apple Watch Series 6 begins at $399, so if you happen to’re an iOS person you’ll be able to go straight there.
And it’s additionally value contemplating the Amazfit GTR2e, which additionally presents related health options, stress, temperature monitoring and Alexa for half the worth.
Huawei Watch three specs
- Android appropriate and iOS (however not but)
- Stainless-steel case
- Ceramic again
- 16GB 2GB RAM
- 1.43-inch AMOLED display 1000 nit
- 466 x 466, 326ppi
- Rotating crown
- Interchangeable strap
Design and specs
As we unboxed the Huawei Watch three, we had been tangibly impressed. The Huawei Watch three is an elegantly designed smartwatch, which lets the premium supplies do the speaking.
The 46mm case isn’t going to be tremendous snug for small wrists and there’s no smaller possibility right here – so it’s definitely skewed in direction of males.
The case is chrome steel, the reverse is ceramic and the 3D glass is sapphire. The combo of supplies is superb at this value.
There are three variations of the usual Watch three, and this basically adjustments the strap materials. On present right here is the Elegant model, with the stitched leather-based strap. Then you will have Basic with a silicon band for swimming and exercises, and Elite with the steel hyperlink bracelet. In the event you go for the Huawei Watch three Professional you get a titanium case.
In our time with Elegant the leather-based band stood as much as exercises nicely, though every strap is swappable with a quick-release catch so you’ll be able to swap issues up.
There’s a giant piece of borrowing right here from the Apple Watch: the rotating, twizzling crown. This allows you to entry the primary menu and return to the watch face (similar to the Apple Watch) and scroll by way of menus. It really works, and it’s good to have a tactile management away from only a touchscreen.
The display is superb, and one of many brightest and punchiest we’ve seen on a smartwatch. The show isn’t fairly as edge-to-edge because it seems in most of the press photographs, and has a noticeable black ring round it.
Nonetheless, the 1.43-inch show is beneficiant sufficient to show Concord OS and make navigation of the working system fairly seamless. There’s an honest choice of watch faces and design is a lower above rivals, too.
It has choices for at all times on or raise-to-wake – though the previous will dent battery life quicker than the three days quoted by Huawei.
There’s additionally a barely shonky app arrange. It is advisable obtain the Huawei App Gallery from the Google Play retailer after which set up the Well being app from there. Huawei promised there could be iOS assist at launch, however on the time of writing the Watch three isn’t listed within the iOS model of Huawei Well being, and we’ve not obtained an replace of when this may occur.
Health and well being options
Huawei has gone onerous into well being and health on its smartwatches since 2019, and far of that has been introduced over right here.
Actually, the health monitoring and sports activities monitoring expertise is just about equivalent to what you’ll discover on the Huawei Watch GT2 vary.
A lot of the finest well being options are turned off by default, so that you’ll wish to head to the settings to show these on.
This contains steady stress monitoring, steady SpO2 monitoring and temperature monitoring – however these will annihilate battery life, so you could wish to think twice about what you care about.
Exercise and step monitoring
Step monitoring was broadly according to different gadgets (Fitbit and Apple Watch) and knowledge was shut sufficient to not trigger any alarm.
The acquainted wanting ring system additionally tracks lively minutes, which had been spot on towards different gadgets.
You additionally get a every day stand aim, finishing an exercise monitoring line-up that’s practically equivalent to the Apple Watch. Is it as motivating? Effectively, the objectives aren’t as baked into the Huawei Watch as they’re on watchOS, however the celebration animations are good.
The Huawei Watch three will supply sporadic transfer reminders if you happen to haven’t acquired up and moved for over an hour – if you happen to like that kind of factor.
There are watch faces that can showcase your objectives if you need, or you’ll be able to swipe proper from the watch face to get an summary.
Huawei’s sleep monitoring has been a spotlight – and it’s extra of the identical on the Huawei Watch three. You get quite a lot of knowledge and insights, and your nightly sleep rating and sleep period is out there on the watch.
We discovered sleep period to be just a little over-estimated, and it’s not as delicate to wakeups as one thing just like the Fitbit Sense or Apple Watch.
However typically, the information is in the suitable ballpark, and the sleep phases (gentle, REM and deep) had been all according to rivals. It picked up on our tendency to not get sufficient deep sleep, and comprises sufficient attention-grabbing and actionable insights to be a great tool.
An all-new characteristic that’s headed to the Huawei Watch three is pores and skin temperature readings – one thing we’ve seen pop up on the likes of the Fitbit Sense.
It’s not a massively thrilling characteristic – however one that may present an attention-grabbing knowledge level about your total wellness.
Modifications in pores and skin temperature generally is a signal of sickness, so keeping track of giant fluctuations is helpful. The Huawei Watch three doesn’t warn you of massive adjustments, and the metric doesn’t seem in Huawei Well being both.
What’s extra, the on-watch app tracks temperature over the course of the day and we really feel per week could be extra insightful. We’re undecided what a 24 hour abstract of pores and skin temperature can inform us. What’s extra, Huawei doesn’t add context on what’s regular for you from your individual baseline, as everybody runs at totally different temperatures.
Thus, we’re sceptical how helpful the characteristic is in any respect, other than ticking a field on the spec sheet.
Coronary heart charge monitoring
The Huawei Watch three boasts an all-new TruSeen four.5 optical coronary heart charge sensor, so there’s an expectation right here that issues must be fairly correct.
And issues had been off to a very good begin with resting coronary heart charge. Throughout a routine blood donation we had a nurse manually verify our pulse towards the Huawei Watch three, and had been happy that the 2 readings matched up completely.
Resting coronary heart charge is tracked within the Huawei Well being app, and was in-line with rival gadgets that we’ve come to belief. We had a RHR of 51 in Apple Well being and 52 in Huawei Well being – so every part checks out nicely.
There’s no subsets of coronary heart charge monitoring on supply, so coronary heart charge variability (HRV) isn’t measured, such as you’ll discover on Apple Watch or Fitbit. HRV powers options reminiscent of stress monitoring, but it surely’s lacking as a standalone metric. That’s effective as a result of it’s a fairly opaque, but it surely does imply you will have much less uncooked knowledge right here than different smartwatches.
By way of coronary heart charge throughout exercises, we examined the Huawei Watch three throughout a 10Okay race.
Trying carefully, the Huawei Watch three did are inclined to report slightly below a chest strap (though was really steadier at first a part of the race) – and this led to a decrease common HR total. It did handle to report the identical max HR for the session, proper up at 191bpm.
So it’s a succesful sensor that may supply an honest information of exertion throughout intense exercises.
Like all optical sensors, throwing in intense intervals with quick rises and falls did flummox the sensor – so in case you are enthusiastic about spot on coronary heart charge when leaping round in HIIT lessons, a chest strap is advisable. The Huawei Watch three doesn’t assist Bluetooth HRMs.
You possibly can choose to have stress tracked 24/7, which you’ll see within the Huawei Well being app.
It will take an hourly stress studying which it is going to flip right into a rating out of 100 – and it’ll present this rating over the day.
You should utilize this rating to advise your self when to attempt guided respiration (there’s an app on the Huawei Watch three) or different stress-busting meditations, if you happen to fancy.
Is it correct? It definitely picks up fluctuations as you undergo the day, so if stress is an issue for you, it could definitely do a job of highlighting when to take motion. There have been a lot of gaps within the every day graph, nonetheless, and we really feel its implementation wants some work to be a proactive instrument for managing anxious emotions.
The Huawei Watch three has a built-in SpO2 monitor, which is utilized in in a few methods.
First, you’ll be able to spot verify blood oxygen at any time – do you have to be at altitude or just . As a word we might at all times suggest utilizing a medical grade sensor if you happen to’re sick.
And you may have SpO2 repeatedly tracked, as nicely. In contrast to Garmin gadgets, there’s no choice to have a sleep-only SpO2 studying taken, which presents a greater compromise between usefulness and battery affect in our opinion. Low night time time SpO2 generally is a signal of sleep problems, and essentially the most helpful utility for the expertise.
SpO2 readings appeared correct when in comparison with different monitoring gadgets and a medical grade sensor – so no complaints there.
Sports activities monitoring
Sports activities monitoring has largely been ported over from the Huawei Watch GT2 vary, and the expertise seems to be and feels equivalent from the second you head to the Exercises app.
Runners are nonetheless nicely catered for with the identical pre-programmed operating coaching modes that supply steering on issues like intervals and cadence targets, if you happen to’re trying to enhance your health. They’re don’t supply a mind-blowingly expertise, and we favor one thing like Nike Run Membership, but it surely’s good you are able to do issues like guided intervals or fartlek from the wrist with out taking your smartphone out.
There are additionally loads of modes, reminiscent of a wise companion, that provides stats-based steering in your exercise, and there are alerts for just about each metric reminiscent of tempo, distance and coronary heart charge.
By default you get an terrible lot of information learn out each kilometre utilizing the Huawei Watch three’s built-in speaker. We discovered it actually annoying, and a bit embarrassing, as we hardly ever had headphones hooked as much as the watch itself.
Given there’s no music streaming assist (we left all of our MP3s again in 1999) there’s little have to have headphones connetced. So it’s simply embarrassing to be operating within the park and have your break up instances shouted out to individuals as you go. We turned that off instantly.
In any other case the operating expertise is superb. We had no points with distance knowledge or accuracy, and every part labored seamlessly.
GPS monitoring was correct – though a 10Okay race was tracked at 9.79km. Nonetheless, each km was completely tracked till the final, so we don’t have main complaints. Each different run was spot on by way of accuracy.
Disappointingly, the transfer to Concord OS hasn’t seen the flexibility to export knowledge to Strava which was our main gripe about earlier Huawei Watch GT2 smartwatches. We assume Strava is now free to create its personal Concord OS app – however we’re not going to carry our breath for that.
And that’s type of a gripe concerning the Watch three generally – the sports activities monitoring is identical as you’ll get on the Huawei Watch GT2e…however at practically 3 times the worth.
Fatigue and Coaching Mode
Due to the unfamiliarity with the Huawei design language, the App Launcher is just a little complicated. So it took us some time to note the wonderful exercise stats menu.
You get three screens: fatigue share, which is able to measure the restoration time till your subsequent exercise.
You additionally get the Firstbeat-driven Coaching Load, which assesses how a lot coaching you’ve carried out based mostly on depth and VO2 Max.
Our VO2 Max scores had been barely elevated from Garmin, which we’ve beforehand decided to be among the best estimators in comparison with a lab take a look at. Each Garmin (based mostly on runs with the HRM-Professional) and Apple Watch had us at 49 m/g/l, whereas the Huawei Watch three rated us at 53, which is just a little too excessive.
Concord OS and smartwatch expertise
There’s little question that Concord OS makes for an even bigger set of options, however the jury continues to be out on whether or not this well worth the massive hike in value over the Huawei Watch GT2 sequence.
Massive elements of the older (and cheaper) smartwatch expertise has been ported over wholesale. So why pay extra right here?
First apps: the flexibility for third events to make use of apps on Concord OS is a giant a part of its future – however proper now the choice is just not good. There are not any massive hitters (reminiscent of Strava, Map My Run) and there’s not even an Uber app – and there’s ALWAYS an Uber app. Huawei must get on the market and entice builders. We’re certain it is going to try this simply in China the place it has an enormous market, however Europe appears formidable.
There’s a voice assistant right here – Huawei’s personal Celia is readily available for a “Hey, Celia.” It really works effective for issues like timers and alarms – if you happen to like that type of factor. Is it value spending an additional $100 over rivals? Not for us, however maybe these invested in Huawei’s smartphone ecosystem will discover extra worth.
Notifications labored nicely, so no complaints there. Nonetheless, the flexibility to work together and reply to notifications is missing – which does put it at an obstacle to Put on and Apple Watch gadgets when run on their native platforms.
It’s clearly an OS that’s nonetheless being closely labored on, and was topic to fixed nagging updates in our weeks with the gadget.
It additionally must be linked to Wi-Fi manually to run updates, and doesn’t take that data out of your smartphone, as an alternative requiring enter by an on-screen keyboard which is fairly irritating to take care of.
The Huawei Watch three does assist LTE by way of an eSIM, however we didn’t take a look at that out.
The Huawei Well being app additionally feels prefer it wants some work. It’s clear and simple to navigate, however the primary Well being display is just a little naked, and we’d prefer to see extra glanceable, and actionable every day knowledge.
An enormous a part of the Huawei Watch three is battery life, which is powered by two modes.
In regular mode you’re going to get between 2 and four days battery life – relying how you employ it.
The always-on display did scale back battery to round 2 days. With out that we loved round 4 days – however word we didn’t use an LTE connection.
Turning every part on, together with steady SpO2, stress and temperature monitoring and the always-on show, did drop battery life a way wanting a single day. This was after a big battery life-focused replace dropped, which was just a little disappointing.
Nonetheless, there’s an ultra-long battery life possibility tucked away within the Settings menu. In the event you flip this on it places the Huawei Watch three into a unique mode, far more akin to the Huawei Watch GT2. Right here you solely get a single, fundamental watch face and the quantity of exercise modes is decreased to simply 14.
Nonetheless, it is going to final round 10 days – and nonetheless presents exercise monitoring, coronary heart charge and sleep monitoring.
The efficiency of the whole smartwatch can be decreased, so menus do really feel sluggish and juddery to navigate in extremely lengthy mode. For that purpose, it’s not one thing you’d wish to run 24/7, however does imply you possibly can get by way of a weekend away with out taking your charger – and nonetheless not lose a lot of the expertise.
This mode would additionally disable LTE and Wi-Fi can be disconnected.
Nonetheless, it’s really a superbly serviceable smartwatch on this mode and completely comparable with the likes of Amazfit and Huawei Watch GT2 sequence gadgets.
The Huawei Watch three seems to be and feels nice, presents a powerful set of options, and it’s among the best smartwatches for Android customers. Concord OS has the potential to develop into one thing thrilling, though at launch it doesn’t really feel that far faraway from the GT2 sequence that went earlier than. To suggest the Watch three depends on you valuing the design, as a result of if you happen to take that away, and it’s too near the GT2 household at 3 times the worth.
- Nice construct, supplies and magnificence
- Correct GPS
- Versatile battery life
- Near the cheaper GT 2 sequence
- Well being options want higher implementation