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Huawei Watch 3 review: Great hardware

Huawei Watch 3 review: Great hardware

Huawei Watch 3

The Huawei Watch 3 has superb hardware for a smartwatch. From its bright and crisp AMOLED screen to its smooth and solid steel and ceramic body, the build quality is top-notch. It also supports eSIM for voice calls, though I did not test this. But Huawei's smartwatch ecosystem — the apps and services — still needs work. If you already have several Huawei gadgets, the Watch 3 is a good fit. But for the average user, competing smartwatches from Apple and Samsung offer more features and crucially, more familiar, big-name apps.

Quick specs

  • Stainless steel and ceramic
  • 1.43-inch Amoled screen
  • 46.2 x 46.2 x 12.15mm, 54g
  • Requires smartphone with Android 6.0+ or iOS 9+

For starters, pairing the Watch 3 with my Android smartphone was not exactly straightforward. To add the smartwatch, I needed the Huawei Health app, which was already on my phone from reviewing the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro previously. But I first had to update the app via Huawei's AppGallery store (instead of the usual Google Play update). This is probably because the Watch 3 runs on Huawei's new HarmonyOS 2 operating system, unlike older Huawei smartwatches. The Watch 3 also gets a new interface that looks similar to the Grid View in Apple's watchOS. This interface is nice and responsive to my swipes. Notifications, smartwatch settings and key information like the weather, activity records and heart rate are all just a swipe or two away. You can also rotate the crown to zoom in or scroll through content.

Huawei Watch 3
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

The other big thing in the Huawei Watch 3 is support for third-party apps, which are available from AppGallery. However, there are only around 50 apps, including those that seem to cater to specific regions (Spanish and Arabic languages). No social media apps, no digital payment apps (despite having NFC). For Singapore users, there are just several useful ones like meListen for tuning in to Mediacorp's radio stations and BusLeh Wear for bus and train timings. The former works well enough, especially as the Watch 3's speakers are surprisingly good. Speaking of which, the Watch 3, like the GT 2 Pro, will read out your metrics during workouts or runs, which can draw unwanted attention. You can turn it off, but it should have been disabled by default.

Huawei Watch 3
The new grid interface for this HarmonyOS 2 powered smartwatch. Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

A new feature that didn't work for me is Huawei's Celia voice assistant. Despite appearing to transcribe my voice query accurately, Celia would reply — in Chinese-accented English — that it did not understand me. But as a fitness tracker, the Watch 3 is as good as the ones out there. It has more workout modes (over 100) than I can ever use, and automatically detects when you start a run. The sleep tracking, and other health measurements like heart rate and blood oxygen level, seem accurate enough when compared to other smartwatches.

The Huawei Watch 3 boasts a typical battery life of 3 days, though in my experience, it lasts around 1.5 to 2 days (without the always-on display). The smartwatch went from 100% battery to 22% after 24 hours of continuous use. There's also an ultra-long battery life mode (up to 14 days uptime), which turns off mobile data and Wi-Fi, and reverts to a basic watch face that cannot be customised. You get far fewer workout modes, and third-party apps are unavailable. In short, it feels like a GT 2 Pro instead. If Huawei improves the software in the near future, the Watch 3 could be worth checking out. It's available from S$548 on Shopee and Lazada.

See Also
BeBird Home 30S

Review unit provided by Huawei.

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Great hardware hindered by software.

Buy it at Shopee
Available at Lazada

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