With an elegant design, long battery life and plenty of health-focused features, the Huawei Watch GT 3 is for those who’ve decided it’s time to get in shape.
There’s no shortage of competition for pride of place on your wrist and it’s tough to stand out in the crowded smartwatch market. Especially when you’re a challenger that’s up against some of the biggest names in tech like Apple and Samsung.
If you’re prepared to look beyond the usual suspects, Huawei’s Watch GT 3 delivers an impressive number of premium features – especially health and fitness features – along with a surprising amount of polish at a budget price. All in a device that actually looks like a premium timepiece and won’t look out of place on your wrist.
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If you’re looking for a watch that looks like a watch, you won’t be disappointed with the Huawei Watch GT 3. The 46 mm face is admittedly a little large for some delicate wrists, but not overly so for a premium sports watch.
The round face with slightly curved glass has an elegant look, complemented by the stainless steel body – at least on the front, it’s actually plastic on the back. There’s a choice of several body colours and a wide range of straps – including silicone, metal and leather – making it easy to find something which matches your style.
Finishing off the design is a rotating crown at the top right, accompanied by a more subtle button below.
You’ll also find an Apple Watch-esque round magnetic wireless charger in the box, designed to live on your bedside table. It’s Qi-compatible, so you should be able to charge the watch with other wireless chargers if you prefer.
While the watch’s design makes a great first impression of the box, unfortunately it’s spoiled by a cumbersome set-up process. On an iPhone, getting the watch to pair with the Huawei Health app is an exercise in frustration.
In Android land, depending on your handset, you may or may not not find Huawei Health in the Google Play App store, due to Huawei’s ongoing troubles with US regulators. Instead, you might be forced to side-load the Huawei App Gallery and find the Health app there.
Even if you find Huawei Health in the Google Play store, as like I did, you might find that the watch still refuses to pair with the phone until you side-load the app from the Huawei App Gallery.
Once you overcome these hurdles, you’re presented with a bright, crisp display which is easy to read in a range of lighting conditions. You can choose from a wide range of watch faces – some free, some paid – and the screen offers good viewing angles so it’s easy to glance at the time.
There’s the option of an always-on screen but, even with this disabled, the watch wakes quickly when you lift your wrist.
Huawei Watch GT 3 specs
42 mm or 46 mm
Stainless steel front, plastic rear
35 g or 42.6 g (without strap)
1.32 or 1.43 inch AMOLED colour touchscreen
466 x 466 pixels
5 ATM, 50 metres
Accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic, optical heart rate, air pressure, temperature
Android 6.0 or later, iOS 9.0 or later
Huawei Watch GT 3 smartwatch features
Huawei’s HarmonyOS interface and watch faces borrow heavily from Apple’s design cues. Very heavily. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and the watch has plenty to offer if you’re looking for a watch which acts as a smart extension to your phone, whether it be Apple or Android. That said, don’t expect the Huawei apps and ecosystem to be as slick and seamless as that of Apple.
The watch’s large, easy to red screen is well-suited to displaying smartphone notifications such as incoming text messages and alerts. Thanks to an inbuilt microphone and speaker, the watch also supports Dick Tracy-style calling where you can simply talk straight into the watch.
Alternatively, built-in Bluetooth allows you to make hands-free calls using wireless earbuds. You can also save your own music files to the watch, or use the watch as a remote to control music playback on your phone.
Keep in mind, unlike some smartwatches there’s no built-in eSIM or Wi-Fi, so the watch can’t independently make calls and access the internet. This means you’ll need to keep your phone nearby, rather than leave it at home while you go for a run or hit the gym.
The upside of this is that the watch offers impressive battery life – around 7 days on the 42 mm model and 14 days on the 46 mm model. That said, the default for the display is always off, with the screen only popping into view when you raise your wrist, so enabling always-on will take its toll.
One surprising omission is the lack of NFC, which means you can’t use the watch for contactless payments – something which has become fairly standard in high-end wearables. It’s another reason why you can’t walk out of the house with just the watch and leave your phone at home.
Huawei Watch GT 3 health and fitness features
When it comes to health and fitness tracking, the Huawei Watch GT 3 has you covered with heart rate, blood oxygen, skin temperature, stress and sleep tracking. One of the few omissions is the lack of an ECG sensor to detect signs of atrial fibrillation.
The watch supports more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, with auto-recognition for those times when you forget to tell your watch that you’ve set off on an activity. This includes walking, running, riding a bike and even working out at the gym.
The GT 3 adopts the Apple-esque concept of on-screen fitness rings. This makes it easy to see how you’re tracking during the day in terms of steps, hours active and moderate-to-high intensity activity. The watch will also tell you when it’s time to get up and move around.
The watch’s on-board microphone and speaker are particularly handy when you’re on the move. Apart from hands-free calls, people who are serious about training will also appreciate that the watch can prompt and coach you as you exercise – handy for things like intense interval training, or just keeping track of your progress.
The ‘AI trainer’ tool lets you set a goal and a deadline, and then creates a training plan which adjusts on the fly according to your performance.
Once you’re on the go, the tracking capabilities include GPS (speed, distance, elevation), heart rate and calories burned. It’s all tracked in the Huawei Health app, but the options are hit-and-miss when it comes to importing or syncing your existing health and fitness data with existing services like Apple Health, Google Fit or FitBit.
In line with many watches aimed at runners, after each session you’re given an estimate of how long it will take you to recover and be ready for your next session.
The watch offers a range of premium features, from sensors to smart tracking, for a mid-range price tag. All with the benefit of a long battery life – especially the 46 mm model – so it doesn’t need to charge on your bedside table every night.
Would I buy it?
Maybe, if I was sure I was happy to embrace the Huawei ecosystem.
Huawei Watch GT 3 smartwatch
There's a lot to like about the Huawei Watch GT 3 if you're prepared to venture beyond the ecosystems of the tech giants like Apple, Samsung and Google. Especially when all of Huawei's advanced features are available free of charge, whereas some platforms lock some high-end features behind subscriber-only paywall.