Huawei has launched its Huawei Watch 3, and is the first smartwatch to run on the company’s Harmony OS.
And it’s a looker. A huge step up in quality from the GT range and older Huawei Watch designs that ran Wear OS, the Watch 3 features a sumptuous 1.43-inch AMOLED screen.
It’s not quite the “bezel-less” design that was shown off to us in press materials, and in use there’s still a significant black rim that runs around the edge. However, the stainless steel case and gorgeous stitched leather effect strap all make for a surprisingly stylish package that’s been a delight to wear.
There’s a rotating crown positioned at 2 o’clock that controls on-watch menus and features, and a secondary button too. This means it can be controlled while wearing gloves and handy for those that find small touchscreens fiddly.
And the Huawei Watch 3 does boast a serious array of sports and health features.
There’s a temperature sensor onboard, in addition to the Huawei TruSeen 4.5 heart rate monitor that’s also got SpO2 abilities. It also has GPS – and if you opt for the Watch 3 Pro edition, this will be two-channel GPS which will massively boost accuracy.
There are 17 “professional” sport tracking modes that offer extra insights including running, cycling and HIIT. And there are 85 standard workout profiles that just offer standard heart rate and calorie burn information. It also features automatic workout detection, which will kick in when it detects walking, running, elliptical or rower activities.
There’s a complex battery management mode on the Huawei Watch 3 that we’re still trying to get our heads around.
As standard Huawei says the Watch 3 offers three days of battery life, which includes a 4G connection and an always-on screen. That’s obviously quite a step back from the Watch GT2 series that offers closer to two weeks.
However, there’s a battery saver mode that will offer 14 days away from the charger, while still offering 24/7 heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring and access to 14 sport modes.
In our testing so far we’re seeing about 20% drain per day with a short workout in full power mode, without an LTE connection.
Quite a major part of this update is Harmony OS. This usurps Lite OS that was found on the Huawei Watch GT2 models, although the design and feel of the OS is largely the same.
There’s a grid style app launcher rather than the menu, which looks very Apple Watch but due to the lesser familiarity with the Huaweu deisgn, feels a little difficult to figure out which app is which. Like the Apple Watch, this grid will grow as you install more apps from the Huawei App Gallery – and this is the biggest upside of Harmony OS.
Unsurprisingly, the app selection is quite bare. We did spot Komoot among the list, which hints that navigation could be a feature of the Watch 3. This is confirmed by Huawei to be something that will be explored post-launch.
We’re still waiting for price and availability information. Our review is underway so stay tuned for that next week.