The HUAWEI Watch 3 is a sports focused smartwatch released in June 2021. This is HUAWEI’s flagship watch and really the first big upgrade since the popular HUAWEI Watch GT 2 was released in October of 2019.
HUAWEI is a popular smartwatch brand but due political backlash against this manufacturer, HUAWEI products are not available in the United States. Outside of the US, HUAWEI products are easier to purchase.
A big change in HUAWEI’s flagship watch, is that it has moved off the LiteOS operating system to the HarmonyOS operating system. HarmonyOS includes a 3rd party app store but currently has very few apps available. While a 3rd party app store sounds good in theory, it will be difficult to attract developers to this ecosystem for a number of reasons:
- Google’s purchase of Fitbit shows they are becoming serious in smartwatches after neglecting Wear OS for a number of years
- Samsung’s move to Wear OS this year adds more clout to Wear OS and developers will focus on the 2 key ecosystems (Apple and Wear)
- Limited sales to the US market will discourage many developers from creating apps for this platform
A similar scenario happened with mobile phones. App developers flocked to the big 2 platforms, Apple and Android, while neglecting others (Windows, Blackberry). This will likely be the case for HUAWEI. The lack of a large 3rd party app store a significant disadvantage particularly at the price range the HUAWEI Watch 3 sells for.
Unfortunately HUAWEI does not disclose the chipset used for the Watch 3. That being said, the watch does not lag and performs adequately.
The HUAWEI Watch 3 has a circular watch face design and while large, it is attractive. The watch looks similar to what a rounded Apple Watch would look like. The Watch 3 is available in black or gray with the case made from stainless steel. This smartwatch is on the larger size at 46.2 x 46.2 x 12.2 mm and weighs 54g. The 12.2 mm thickness is quite big and could be uncomfortable for some to wear while sleeping.
The Watch 3 comes in 3 models. The Active Edition comes with a fluoroelastomer strap, the Classic Edition comes with a leather strap while the Elite edition comes with a stainless steel strap.
All are interchangeable 22 mm straps. All three straps are high quality matching the overall upscale look and feel of this watch.
You can interact with the watch using the touchscreen, 1 physical button and digital crown. The touchscreen works very well with no lag. Fonts, menus and icons can easily be read and navigation is not too complex.
The Watch 3 has a 5ATM water resistance rating which allows for swimming. The watch also has a swimming mode that allows the screen to be locked. A “drain” function is also available that allows for water to be drained from the watch.
While the 5ATM water resistance claim is impressive, HUAWEI indicates that the watch is not suitable for showers with hot water.
HUAWEI Watch 3 Pro
Huawei is also launching a premium version of this watch called the HUAWEI Watch 3 Pro and comes in 2 versions, the Classic Edition with a leather band and the Elite Edition with a stainless steel band.
There are a number of differences between the Watch 3 vs the Watch 3 Pro:
- The pro has a bezel around the screen giving it a more classic look
- The watch case is made of titanium instead of stainless steel
- The screen is protected by sapphire glass
- The watch is larger at 48 x 48.6 x 14 mm and weighs 63g
- Battery life is improved (5 days instead of 3 and 21 days for Ultra-Long lasting mode)
The Pro is a premium version of the Watch 3 but comes with a steep, over $600 price tag.
The screen of the HUAWEI Watch 3 excellent. The 1.43″ AMOLED Touchscreen, with 466 x 466 pixels and 326 ppi pixel density delivers a high-quality visual experience. Indoors the display is excellent while outdoors it is acceptable but not great.
HUAWEI does not indicate what screen protection is provided which is disappointing. That being said, the bezel-less design offers less protection against screen scratches and scrapes when compared to watches where the bezel protrudes past the glass surface. While the bezel-less design is sleeker, it may not be as durable as some other sport focused smartwatches.
The Pro version with a bezel and sapphire screen protection is the more durable choice.
The watch has an always on screen option but this has a significant impact on battery life. The watch allows for custom watchfaces which is a nice feature.
HUAWEI claims that typical usage battery life is 3 days and watch mode battery life is 14 days. Real world battery life matches this claim. While not horrible, this is a step back from previous HUAWEI smartwatches that had battery life measured in weeks.
From a connectivity perspective, the HUAWEI Watch 3 has limited functionality when compared to full featured smartwatches. The watch can only receive notifications and there is no ability to respond to notifications from the watch.
This is one of the biggest drawbacks of the watch and a very common complaint. While the inability to respond to notifications may be acceptable on cheaper watches, not having this feature on a $500 flagship watch is unacceptable.
The Watch 3 has both a speaker and a microphone and has the ability to both answer and place calls via Bluetooth. On the positive side, the speaker and microphone work well for incoming calls. The speaker can be used to play music stored on the 2GB internal memory.
The microphone is also used for the watch’s voice assistant. Unfortunately, HUAWEI Assistant does not work well and is of limited use especially when compared to Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Watch 3 does not have a camera. On the positive side, it does come with built-in GPS. GPS connectivity is fast and accuracy is good. It also comes supports eSim for 4G LTE cellular connectivity.
Finally, while Near Field Communication (NFC) is supported, outside of China no payment systems are covered making this feature useless.
Health and Fitness Features
The HUAWEI Watch 3 comes with 8 sensors: Accelerometer, Ambient light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM), Pulse Oximeter (SpO2), Temperature. These cover quite a bit of fitness functions and even some health areas. These sensors allow you to track the following 13 metrics: Blood Oxygen Level, Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Incidental Fall, Menstrual Cycle, Skin Temperature, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max.
Also included are 100+ different sports modes. Heart rate accuracy at rest, casual activities or steady state runs is relatively accurate. For casual tracking, this may be adequate but could be a concern if you are looking for high tracking accuracy for your sports or fitness goals. However with interval training, short bursts of activity or high intensity training, accuracy is poor.
Tattoos, hair, sweat and even skin color are factors that impact accuracy as well. This is a common problem with nearly all wrist based optical heart rate monitoring. While there are a few exceptions that do a pretty good job on heart rate monitoring, such as the Apple Watch 6, serious trainers should look into a chest strap for best heart rate accuracy.
HUAWEI Health App
The HUAWEI Watch 3 uses the HUAWEI Health app, which is very good particularly for fitness and sports tracking. The app is not cluttered, easy to navigate and works quite well. You can see how the HUAWEI Health app ranks on our Smartwatch Apps Page.
As this watch has just recently been released, there are no common known issues.
The HUAWEI Watch 3 is a nice looking watch but the price is way too high for the specifications. No notification reply ability, limited 3rd party apps, no payment capability and unimpressive battery life are disappointing. That being said, fitness and sleep tracking are good but those features do not make up for the gaps at this price point.
|Watch Type||Sports Focused Smartwatch|
|Release Date||June 2021|
|Operating System||Proprietary - Other|
|Supported Devices||Android 6.0+, iOS 9.0+|
|Case Size||46.2 x 46.2 x 12.15 mm|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Strap Width||22 mm|
|Strap Material||Fluoroelastomer, leather, stainless steel|
|Watch Colors||Black, Gray|
|Input||Touchscreen, 1 Button, Digital Crown|
|Water Resistance||5 ATM|
|Screen Type||AMOLED Touchscreen|
|Resolution||466 x 466|
|Pixels per Inch||326 ppi|
|Typical Usage Battery Life (Days)||3|
|Watch Mode Battery Life (Days)||14|
|GPS Mode Battery Life (Days)||Not disclosed|
|Charging System||Wireless, Magnetic|
|Bluetooth Calling||Receive and Place Calls|
|GPS||GPS (US), GLONASS (Russia), BeiDou (China), Galileo (EU)|
|Near Field Communication (NFC)||No|
|Voice Command||Huawei Assisstant|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Ambient Light, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Heart Rate Monitor (HRM), Pulse Oximeter (SpO2), Temperature|
|Tracking||Blood Oxygen Level, Calories, Distance, Fitness Level, Heart Rate, Incidental Fall, Menstrual Cycle, Skin Temperature, Sleep, Steps, Stress, Swimming, VO2 Max|
|Automatic Workout Detection||Yes|
Fall incident detection
Good quality screen
Excellent fitness and sports apps
Can receive and place calls with the watch when paired to your phone
High price for specs
Cannot respond to notifications
Limited apps available on the app store No payment capability
Unimpressive battery life
|Verdict||While a nice looking watch, price is too high for the specifications. Fitness and sleep tracking are good. However, no notification reply ability, limited 3rd party apps, no payment capability and unimpressive battery life are disappointing.|
Published: June 19, 2021
HUAWEI Watch 3 - WatchSmarty
The HUAWEI Watch 3 is a nice looking watch but the price is way too high for the specifications. No notification replies, limited 3rd party apps and poor battery life.
Product SKU: HUAWEI Watch 3
Product Brand: HUAWEI
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 500
Price Valid Until: 2023-01-01
Product In-Stock: SoldOut