I’ve been able to use quite a few ‘Watch GT’ smartwatches from Huawei up until now. The improvements the company is making are easily noticeable, and this is the best iteration in the series yet, without a doubt. The Huawei Watch GT 3 is the first watch in the series to ship with Huawei’s new HarmonyOS operating system. That OS does improve the Huawei Watch GT 3 compared to its predecessor, even though the UI will look familiar, as you’ll see in the review.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is essentially a hybrid between a sporty watch, and a classy watch. Huawei did include tons of fitness features in here, but you can easily throw a leather strap on it, and wear it in combination with a suit or something like that. That’s actually the quality its predecessor had as well, though this thing takes it to a new level. That being said, let’s get started, we’ll touch on the design first.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 design is a great combination between sporty & classy
If you’ve owned the Huawei Watch GT 2, or any of its siblings, you’ll feel right at home here. This watch is really comfortable to wear, and the design is excellent. It’s made out of metal, and it comes in three different variants. Active, Classic, and Elite editions are available. We’ve been using the ‘Active’ model, which is black-colored, and comes with a black silicone strap. The Classic variant is silver-colored, and comes with a brown leather strap. The Elite model combines a silver body with a strap made out of metal, which is also silver-colored.
That being said, the silicone strap that comes on this thing is comfortable to wear. The watch itself includes a round display, and it is made in a way that allows you to use basically any other strap on it, as long as it’s the right size. The size of the strap here is 22mm, as this is a 46mm variant of the watch. Do note that a 42mm version is also available, and the strap size may be different on that model.
This is the first “GT” watch to include a rotating crown
Now, when you take a look at this watch, you’ll notice that it has two buttons on the right side. The one on the top is a rotating crown, actually, which doubles as a physical button. That button calls up the menu of the watch, and confirms actions you’re taking in menus. The bottom button is customizable, you can set it to launch whatever you want, from a music player, to a fitness-related task. The buttons are clicky, and well-positioned, though I still managed to accidentally press the top one, which is almost impossible to avoid. The good thing is that Huawei didn’t position it in the middle of the right side of the watch.
At the bottom of the watch you’ll find a heart rate sensor, and yet, the company also included a speaker on this thing. In fact, there’s also a microphone included, in case you’d like to talk by using the watch. We’ll talk more about the sound later on. All in all, this watch feels really sturdy, it’s really well-built, and comfortable, so not many people will find complaints in that department.
The display is big, bright & responsive
The display on the Huawei Watch GT 3 is big, bright and beautiful. Seriously, this is one of the best displays I’ve seen on a smartwatch, without a doubt. The colors are punchy, the viewing angles are excellent, and it gets more than bright enough. Auto brightness is also available, and it does a good job, at least in my experience, I never felt the need to disable it, and manually tweak brightness.
This 46mm variant includes a 1.43-inch AMOLED display, which is flat. That is a large display, and yet the watch is not too large at all. It fits my wrist perfectly, and it’s average in terms of size, for a man. The touch sensitivity of the display has been greatly improved compared to the previous iterations of the watch. I always felt like the software is a bit behind my swipes and whatnot, but that’s not the case here. It’s really responsive, and a joy to use, to be quite honest.
The watch offers really smooth performance
Performance, in the sense of smoothness of operation, is excellent. The Huawei Watch GT 3 doesn’t lag, in fact, it doesn’t even stutter. Everything you do on it feels smooth, from launching different apps, listening to music, fitness-oriented use, to general navigation around the OS. Speaking of which, Huawei included Harmony OS 2 on this watch, and it works great. The experience is similar to what you’d get with the Huawei Watch 3, but the battery life is considerably better. That’s something we’ll talk more about later.
There are some bugs in the software, though
Not everything is perfect on the software side of things, though, it never is. I did notice a couple of bugs during my usage. The most annoying one was with the rotating crown, though it popped up only a couple of times. The crown stopped working at times, though navigating back to the main screen, and shutting off the display fixed things immediately. The second issue I’ve had is with the music player. When I pause music, the watch sometimes forgets what I was listening to on my phone (after a short time), and it reverts back to music on the watch. Needless to say, that was quite annoying. It didn’t always happen, so I’m guessing it’s a bug of sorts.
One thing to note is that you’ll need to download the Huawei AppGallery to your phone in order to get the app you need to connect this watch. The app is called Huawei Health, and even though it’s available in the Play Store, that version is obsolete, you’ll need the one from the AppGallery. This essentially means you’ll need to sideload the AppGallery APK, as it’s not available in the Play Store.
Huawei ironed out some notification-related problems
Earlier variants of the Huawei Watch GT had significant notification issues. I would get double or triple notifications for no apparent reason. You’ll be glad to know that Huawei mostly fixed the issue. It showed me a double notification only twice in the couple of weeks I’ve been using it, in earlier iterations, it was a constant pain. I’m glad that’s no longer such a big problem. Now that we sorted out the issues, let’s talk about the good stuff.
The UI on the watch is functional, and the UI for notifications is as well. You still can’t respond to notifications, you can only swipe them away, but that’s the way it is. Some people may actually prefer that, I kind of do, as I can easily read what is said, and then remove it, while keeping it unread on my phone, so that I can answer later on, and not forget it. I didn’t have any issues with notification syncing, all that was fast and reliable.
All is good in the connectivity department, unless you switch phones often
When it comes to the general connectivity of the watch, everything was mostly fine. The watch stayed connected with my phone without issue, it only lost connection when I put too much space between the two devices. It reconnected immediately after I was in range. Where I did encounter a problem was when I was switching from one phone to the next. That is something I do quite often in this line of work, though that won’t be an issue for the vast majority of people. I had to reset the watch every time when switching, as it simply didn’t want to connect to a new device after I disconnected it from the current one. I don’t know why, but there you go. It’s not like I haven’t tried plenty of times, on several occasions, and I was even logged into Huawei Health on the other phone before doing it, as instructed. If you don’t change phones often, this is a non-issue for you. It is worth noting that it works with both Android and iOS.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is packed with health & fitness features
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is packed with health-related features, and that includes fitness stuff as well. The watch includes plenty of sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, optical heart rate sensor, air pressure sensor, and a temperature sensor. This watch can also monitor SpO2, and it’s quite accurate when it comes to heart rate measuring. Now, many of you are probably wondering if the GPS is any good? What I’ll say is that it’s noticeably more accurate than it was before. I didn’t experience any issues with it. Do note that I’m not really a fitness buff, so the only stuff I tested it for is walking, light running, and bicycle rides. Everything seemed good.
There are over 100 workout modes included
The watch can automatically start fitness workouts, for specific types of activities. There are over 100 workout modes that you can delve into here. I only tried a few, though. The watch did take its time to prompt me and ask if I want it to track a workout. That was especially true when it comes to walking, but it did a good job measuring everything. It wasn’t the most accurate smartwatch I’ve used for that, but do note this is not a fitness-only smartwatch. It offers a lot more features and flexibility than such watches do. Overall, it did a really good job when it comes to fitness tracking. The watch also has a 5ATM waterproof rating by the way. Those of you who are wondering about sleep tracking, well, it’s not the most accurate I’ve used, but it’s up there. It does a good job overall.
It shames the competition when it comes to battery life
One aspect that most smartwatches don’t deliver is great battery life. I simply hate charging my smartwatch every day, or every other day. That’s why I really enjoyed the Watch GT 3. Much like its predecessors, it didn’t disappoint in regards to battery life. Huawei says that you can get around two weeks with typical use, and a week with heavy use. I didn’t quite manage to get to that point. It was more like 10-11 days on typical use for me, I never really heavily used it. I did actively use it, which resulted in about a week of use. I never purposely fired up all it has to offer and went for it, as I don’t think anyone will do that. Compared to 1-2 days of use most popular smartwatches offer, this is excellent.
Wireless charging is supported, finally
The Huawei Watch GT 3 does support wireless charging, much like the Watch 3. This is a great solution, as POGO pins should become a thing of the past. A charger is included in the package, a charging cradle, that is, and it works really well. It can replenish the battery fairly quickly. That is not something you’ll need considering how great the battery life is, though. You can simply leave it to charge overnight or something. Still, it’s a nice feature to have, in case you need a quick top-off.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 has a speaker and a microphone
As mentioned earlier in the review, you can make calls using the watch, as long as it’s connected to your phone. This watch does not come with a SIM card slot, but it does have both a loudspeaker and a microphone. That loudspeaker is as good as it gets for its size, so don’t expect miracles. People I’ve called noticed the difference in quality when I spoke through that microphone. They said that the quality is still fine, though. If you want to feel like you’re in Star Trek, and use this thing to make calls, that is possible, as long as there’s not a lot of noise around you.
That loudspeaker can also be used to notify you when you receive a message, when a phone call is incoming, and so on, of course. You can set that in the settings, or completely disable it for that purpose, it’s up to you. I personally like to use vibration only on my smartwatches, so I used the loudspeaker only for the purpose of this review.
This smartwatch is not difficult to recommend
So, is the Huawei Watch GT 3 worth it? Well, I’d say it is. This is not the most affordable smartwatch in the market. Still, for those of you who hate poor battery life on a smartwatch, this is a great alternative. I’d rather use this than something from Samsung or Apple, mainly due to the battery life difference. Don’t get me wrong, the Huawei Watch GT 3 has a lot to offer in general. It works really well, has tons of fitness functions. The GPS and heart rate monitoring are accurate, while it has a big and bright display. There’s a lot to like here.