It’s been a while since we reviewed one of Huawei’s watches. I really liked the company’s previous offerings and now the Watch GT 3 has been available and has a few updates over the GT 2/2 Pro.
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
The Huawei Watch GT 3 comes in two sizes, 42mm and 46mm. Our review looks at the large of the two with the stainless steel strap, dubbed the Elite Edition. Read on for our full review and find out why it earned a Top Pick of 2022 here at Techaeris.
Table of contents
The Huawei Watch GT 3 has the following features and specifications:
|Display||• 46mm: 1.43 inches Corning Gorilla Glass 3 AMOLED Colour Touch Screen, 466 x 366 pixels, 326 PPI|
• 42mm: 1.32 inches Corning Gorilla Glass 3 AMOLED Colour Touch Screen, 466 x 466 pixels, 356 PPI
|Memory||4GB ROM, 32MB RAM|
|Connectivity||• 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (used for acceleration BT transmission)|
• Bluetooth 5.2 with BR + BLE + EDR
|GPS||GPS + BDS + GLONASS + Galileo + QZSS|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, geomagnetic, optical heart rate, air pressure, SpO2, Temperature|
|Battery||• 46mm: 455 mAh built-in lithium-polymer battery|
• 42mm: 292 mAh built-in lithium-polymer battery
|Battery Usage||• 46mm: 14 days for typical use|
• 42mm: 7 days for typical use
|Charging||Wireless charging via magnetic charging cradle, approx 2h to recharge fully|
|Buttons||Power button + function button, upper button supports the rotatable crown|
|Water resistance||5 ATM|
|Watch Case||Stainless steel front with plastic back|
|Case Size||46mm, 42mm|
|Watch Case Colour||Black or Steel|
|Watch Strap||• 46mm: Black Fluoroelastomer Strap, Brown Leather Strap, Stainless Steel Strap|
• 42mm: Black Fluoroelastomer Strap, White Leather Strap, Gold Milanes Strap
• plenty of watch strap options available separately
|Wrist Size||• 46mm: 140-210 mm|
• 42mm: 130-190 mm
|Operating System||HarmonyOS 2|
|System requirements||HarmonyOS 2 or later, Android 6.0 or later, iOS 9.0 or later|
|Environment||• Temperature: -20℃～+45℃|
• Humidity: 5%～95% (non-condensation)
|Dimensions||• 46mm: 45.9 x 45.9 x 11 mm|
• 42mm: 42.3 x 42.3 x 10.2 mm
|Weight (without strap)||• 46mm: approx 42.6g (without strap)|
• 42mm: approx 35g (without strap)
What’s in the box
- Huawei Watch GT 3
- Charging cradle
- Additional links (stainless steel strap version only)
- User Guide/Safety Information/Warranty Information
The 46mm Elite Edition Huawei Watch GT 3 fitness smartwatch is a very nice watch with its stainless steel casing and matching strap. The size, thickness, and weight of the watch are quite nice, and it’s definitely comfortable to wear all the time. Like the GT 2 Pro, it is classier and less sporty looking than some of the other models.
An inverted triangle indicator is at the top of the dial with silver lines printed on it at the hour positions. Numbers are printed spaced every five minutes apart with small tick marks in between. On the side are two buttons: power and function. The top is a round button while the bottom has a flat push button style. While both can be pushed, the top can be rotated to scroll vertically within various screens. Between the buttons, just below the casing, is where the speaker resides with the microphone on the opposite side. Unlike previous models of the Huawei Watch, you can’t see the sensors. In fact, Huawei has increased the number of sensors from four centered ones to a ring array of eight, allowing for better health tracking. The sensors allow the watch to take your heart rate, body temperature, oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels, measure stress, and more.
As mentioned, our review unit was the Elite Edition with a Stainless Steel strap. You can also order the Huawei Watch GT 3 46mm in a Classic Edition with a black leather strap or Active Edition with a black fluoroelastomer strap. The 42mm size is available in a similar Active Edition or an Elegant Edition which comes with a white leather or gold Milanes strap. Typically speaking, stainless steel link straps can be a bit of a pain to size properly as you have to add or remove links. In the case of the Huawei Watch GT 3, 10 of the links (five on each side) have a quick-release lever on the back, making it super easy to adjust the size of the watch. Once taken out of the box, I was able to remove a link for a proper fit in less than 30 seconds. The band releases by way of two buttons on the clasp on the bottom. Engraved into and centered on the clasp is the Huawei
Like previous iterations of the Huawei Watch, I really like the look of the stainless steel Elite Edition Watch GT 3 smartwatch. I’m not the only one either, as I’ve had a lot of people comment on the design and style of the watch.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 (46mm) has a 1.43-inch AMOLED 466 x 466 HD Corning Gorilla Glass 3 touchscreen display. The 42mm models have a slightly smaller 1.32-inch screen, with the same resolution. As a result, the larger watch has 326 PPI while the smaller has a higher 356 PPI. Honestly, though, the resolution on the larger version is just fine and I had no issues with clarity or crispness in the display. As for the colours, the AMOLED screen is rich and vivid as one would expect. The touchscreen is responsive and I didn’t have any issues swiping left, right, up, or down or while tapping the watch face to launch a workout.
The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the display is also very durable. After a couple of months of daily (and most nightly) wear, I can’t see a single micro-scratch on it. I’ve been a bit careful as I tend to be when I wear a watch, but there has definitely been a couple of times where I’ve heard and felt it whack against something and had an “oh sh$t” movement, only to inspect it and find no damage whatsoever.
Setup\Ease of Use
When starting up the Huawei Watch GT 3 for the first time, you’ll be prompted to select a language. Next, you’ll be directed to download the Huawei Health app for your device and pair the watch to it. Unfortunately, unlike previous Huawei watches, you now have to download the Huawei AppGallery, install it, also install HMS Core, then grab Huawei Health from the AppGallery. It’s not the end of the world and no fault of Huawei’s, but you will have to run AppGallery alongside the Google Play Store.
To pair the smartwatch, open the app, accept the permissions, click on the devices tab, and add the smartwatch. Once paired, your fitness and health data, contacts, and location information syncs between the Watch GT 3 and the Huawei Health app on your device.
You can then enable notification access to receive notifications on the smartwatch as they appear on your phone. In the past, you couldn’t respond to notifications from your watch. With the Huawei Watch GT 3, there is a Quick Replies option in the app. However, I wasn’t able to load that page on the app to modify the quick replies, but I was able to respond to SMS messages on the watch using the default ones.
Once you’re paired, that’s about it. Pressing and holding the top button allows you to power the watch on, off, or restart it. Pressing the same button launches the app picker, giving you quick access to the 25 or so pre-installed apps. When in an app, the settings, or notification screen, pressing the button returns you to the home screen.
Pressing the bottom button gives you quick access to initiate a workout. Workouts include assisted running courses (run/walk, fat burning, aerobic, and more), outdoor run, indoor run, outdoor/indoor walk, outdoor/indoor cycle, pool swim, open water swim, mounting hike, hike, trail run, skiing, snowboarding, cross0-country skiing, triathlon, elliptical, rower, and other. As you can see, it is a pretty detailed and robust list with over 100 workout modes available. Each workout has a settings option that will let you toggle notifications for distance, heart rate, and guided training effect. Once you start a workout, the watch will guide you through different workout stages.
The watch obviously defaults to the watch face screen. Swiping left or right will cycle through the various screens. When swiping left, these include heart rate, SPO2, stress, sleep, and daily activity tracker. These screens are for displaying data only and cannot be drilled down into. On the other hand, if you press the top button and select heart rate, you can also swipe up to get a slightly more detailed look at your current day’s heart rate zone stats. On this same screen, sleep will display the breakdown between sleep and naps, and the activity record has a few further detail screens, and so forth. Swiping right displays the weather, down your settings, and up your current notifications.
While previous iterations of the Huawei Watch ran on LiteOS, the Huawei Watch GT 3 runs on the company’s Android-based HarmonyOS 2. While it runs well, there’s virtually no customization on the watch. As mentioned above, the watch has a watch face screen and screens for heart rate, stress, weather, music, and daily activity record. You can modify the order these are in or add a different tile like sleep or SPO2, and change the order. Given that the watch also includes a barometer, compass, workout, alarm, timer, and other functionality, you’d think you could set these as swipeable home screens as well. Unfortunately, you can’t. Personally, I’d love to add a couple more home screens to the watch. Sure, you can still access the timer or barometer by pressing the top button and scrolling down, but that takes extra steps. That being said, it’s very similar feeling to LiteOS on the previous Huawei watches, and also similar to Wear OS the last time I used it (which, to be honest, has been awhile).
You can customize the watch face itself — but even there, it’s only limited customization. There are default watch faces, some of which are lightly customizable. Some let you display different stats, while a couple only let you select the primary and secondary time zone. It would be nice to customize at least the colour hints on each watch face at a minimum. The good news is that there are downloadable watch faces available as well, something that wasn’t a feature when previous Huawei watches launched.
The Huawei Health app is what you’ll have to install for long-term tracking. The Huawei Watch GT 3 smartwatch is not compatible with Strava or other fitness apps, so you have to use Huawei Health to track your workouts and other health statistics.
By default, the main dashboard shows your daily activity across the top and tiles for heart rate, SpO2, stress, sleep, weight, and exercise records. This can be edited to remove or add tiles you desire. Across the bottom are tabs for Health, Exercise (which lets you start a workout or view the training plans), Devices (for pairing devices, adding or managing music on the watch, firmware updates, and notification settings), and Me, which lets you adjust your profile and other settings.
Health and activity tracking
Like previous versions of Huawei’s fitness smartwatches, the tracking for heart rate, SpO2, stress, sleep, and workout activity is some of the best I’ve seen.
Each tracking feature displays your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly stats. Selecting the heart rate settings cog allows you to set a heart rate warning as well as heart rate zones. These zones include warm-up, fat-burning, aerobic, anaerobic, and extreme. It even breaks down exercise intensity zone levels and affects your body, which is very beneficial.
Each of the other activities also has an info screen that displays some handy information and tips to improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels. Overall, it really is robust in its tracking and reporting.
The app itself has evolved slightly over the years and feels much more cohesive and easier to navigate than previous versions.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 has 4GB of storage and 32MB of RAM, not much different than the GT 2 Pro. While it doesn’t sound like much, it is plenty for the OS and features of the watch. At any rate, the watch does function quite well with quick touch and swipe response. The apps load up quickly, and I never saw any stuttering or other issues while using the watch.
Initiating a workout is straightforward; however, the GPS does seem to take a bit (upwards of 30 seconds to a minute) to lock. Once locked, the workouts seem to be pretty accurate, and the voice coaching/updates are helpful for training plans. As far as fitness functions like step, sleep, and heart rate tracking, the watch performs very well. Daily step counts were in line with other smartwatches I’ve used, and the sleep and heart rate tracking seemed pretty accurate as well.
Like the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro, the Watch GT 3 has music storage capabilities (and can be used to control third-party music apps like Spotify) and can also be used to answer a phone call. The sound quality on that watch was impressive, and it hasn’t changed with the latest version. I was still impressed with the sound quality when playing the default track stored on the device. It gets quite loud and remains clear, and even better than some smartphones I’ve used in the past. Depending on what you’re doing, if you don’t want to run with headphones or take your phone, using the Watch GT 3 to listen to music while you walk or run is totally acceptable. Calls are great as well, which I’ll discuss below.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 smartwatch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It is easy to connect, and it stays connected as long as you’re within a 30-foot range of your phone. As mentioned above, GPS does take a short while to connect. However, once it does, it stays connected for the duration of the workout and is accurate.
With the Huawei Watch GT 3, you can make and answer calls on the watch. The first time I tested this out, I didn’t tell the calling party I was using the watch. During the conversation, they didn’t mention they couldn’t hear me or ask me to repeat myself. Near the end of the conversation, I asked how it sounded and was told “just fine.” When I explained I was using the watch via speakerphone type mode, they were surprised and mentioned it didn’t sound that different than through a smartphone.
In addition to being able to answer calls, you can also place them from the watch itself, as long as you have given the Health app permission to access your device’s contact list. Of course, you’ll have to be in range to your phone, but it works pretty well when you don’t have your phone beside you or in your pocket when someone calls or you want to make one.
Huawei claims up to 2 weeks of battery life under average use for the Watch GT 3. I consistently hit the 12 to 14-day mark between charges during testing. However, when using GPS to track your workouts, I ended up getting 8-10 days with a daily GPS workout activity. I estimate an hour of GPS workout activity takes up about 2-4% battery life. When depleted, the watch takes just under two hours to charge using the included charging cradle.
For a fitness watch, this one definitely has great battery life depending on what you’re using it for.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 starts at CA$328.99 on Amazon. Curiously enough, this price is for both the larger 46mm version and the smaller 42mm version with the fluoroelastomer strap. Given the functionality and build quality, while you can get cheaper smartwatches, the value for the price is there with the latest from Huawei. The Elite Edition with the stainless steel band does cost an additional $100, bringing the price up to $428.99 which is a bit steep. However, I love the look and feel of the more premium edition and, based on past experience, the Huawei smartwatches do last fine for at least a couple of years.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 didn’t disappoint at all. With an excellent build quality, great battery life, 100 assisted workouts, GPS, onboard music storage, and call capabilities, it’s definitely a watch that fitness enthusiasts will want to consider. Given these pros, it was an easy choice for a Top Pick of 2022 Award here at Techaeris.