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The New Huawei Watch GT 3: Elegant, Solid And Supersmart

The beautifully designed, very high quality, all-purpose, feature-rich ladies’ smartwatch we’ve all been waiting for

Huawei Watch GT 3 Elegant Edition

We’ve been wearing smart tech on our wrists for the last decade. From the Nike Fuelband in 2012 through numerous iterations of FitBit,  along with Garmin, TomTom, Polar and others along the way. We always longed for a design classy enough to wear all the time, at the gym and at cocktail parties (remember those?), while delivering all the most important fitness tracking and key modern smartwatch functionality. A couple brands started to head in the right direction, but Huawei has really pushed through, perhaps quietly, to the front of the pack.

The second generation of Huawei smartwatches really began to impress design-wise, but unfortunately the slimmer 42mm version notably lacked Bluetooth calling. Meanwhile, the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro, as we noted, was the first mainstream smartwatch that truly looked “like it could be a $1000 modern fashion watch.” However, that was essentially a man’s watch, and as gorgeous as it was it didn’t really translate to a woman’s wrist, even with one of numerous third party replacement bands available on Amazon. So we kept looking around, but nothing rose to meet us. Fossil had some nice feminine designs but lacked the quality and functionality we demanded.

Huawei Watch GT 3 46mm and 42mm

At a global Huawei launch event late last year in Vienna, Austria, the latest generation of Huawei smartwatches was revealed–and this time there was definitely something exciting for the ladies. While there were also a couple stunning models for the guys (the 46mm Huawei Watch GT 3 and the higher end Watch 3 Pro) it was the 42mm Huawei Watch GT 3 with a beautiful metal band that really caught our eye.

We eventually got our hands on a 42mm review model ahead of the holiday season, here’s what you need to know.

On the outside

High marks go to the Huawei design team again on the third generation, building on the winning ways of last year’s models. The lines are elegant with all its curves and edges precise, our favourite women’s smartwatch design to date. The build quality is excellent, and the materials (stainless steel front and plastic back) look and feel premium.

We went with our favourite colour-band combo, the classiest of three choices: the “Elegant Edition” rose-gold casing and gold metallic Milanese strap. This combo is stunningly stylish, timeless and easily comparable visually to very expensive fashion watches in look and feel. Other combos include a similar gold steel version with a nice white leather strap, and the all-black “Active Edition” with matching black fluoroelastomer strap.

Huawei Watch GT 3 42mm 46mm

The GT 3 42mm is marginally up in size (42.3mm x 10.2 mm) and weight (35g), but it looks great and feels comfortable, right in the goldilocks zone. We’ll assume the extra 11% volume and 20% weight bump over the previous gen is thanks to added Bluetooth calling, a temperature sensor and a larger screen.

The AMOLED 466 x 466 pixel colour screen is very legible, bright with rich colours, again a nice upgrade from the previous gen. The touchscreen is very responsive, and features a new grid layout to access apps, which works better and faster than the previous stacked list configuration of apps and functions.

New to this year’s Huawei smartwatch lineup is added rotating functionality for the top (of two) side button, providing a nice extra navigation/selection function. The buttons themselves look and feel high quality, adding to the overall high-end luxury vibe of the watch.

On the inside

The Watch GT 3 runs on a rather modest ARM Cortex M processor, and a surprisingly light 32MB RAM/4GB ROM combo. This perhaps underwhelming core combo doesn’t seem to slow any of the functions of the watch, in fact everything moves along as quickly as other competing watches.

One benefit of Huawei’s processor/memory choice (as well as lower cost) is lower battery load, helping achieve Huawei’s signature exceptionally long battery life. Like nearly all of Huawei’s mobile devices, the Watch GT 3’s battery life blows away the competition, with the 46mm model reaching up to 14 days between charges. The smaller case, and thus battery, of the 42mm women’s model cuts this in half, to 7 days of use, but this is a real world spec, we have easily been achieving this with normal use.

Also new on the battery/charging side is wireless Qi charging, a nice addition–we’ve tested this using our smart phone to transmit a charge to our smartwatch and it works effortlessly and well.

The Huawei Watch GT 3 is packed with an array of sensors, including new and enhanced ones. These include a standard accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, geomagnetic sensor, an improved optical heart rate sensor, air pressure sensor and a new skin temperature sensor.

The upgraded heart rate sensor has doubled to eight measurement photodiodes and two sets of light sources, with an improved algorithm to provide better heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) readings. The new temperature sensing feature works nicely, and for the ladies, also provides data to an app that records your menstrual cycle and gives updates on where you are in it, e.g. an alert that your period starts tomorrow.

Huawei Watch GT 3 42mm fitness tracker

The Watch GT 3 case and design continues the line’s solid waterproof rating, at 5 ATM, good for dives up to 50m. Like most devices however, it’s strongly recommended to avoid or limit exposure to high temperatures or hot water (e.g., hot showers, hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms) and high impact water contact such as platform/cliff diving or high pressure rinsing.

Finally, the Huawei Watch GT 3 runs on Huawei’s Harmony OS, itself a fork of open source Android. As with previously watches this year’s collection is designed for pairing with Android and iOS mobile devices via Bluetooth. Much of the functionality, longer term data presentation and customization of the watch is available on the well-laid out Huawei Health app that runs on your mobile device.

What does the Huawei Watch GT 3 do?

We’ve mentioned the Watch GT 3’s improved body monitoring, with heart rate, blood oxygen (SpO2) level and temperature monitoring, with the last two particularly important during the last two years of COVID-19 monitoring. You can choose to have these functions run 24 hours (each eating modestly into your maximum battery life) and review your data either on the watch or on your paired device in the Huawei Health app.

We’re happy with all the monitoring, and particularly enjoy the in-depth sleep monitoring which is excellent, even though we constantly realize we’re not getting enough of it. The watch, and the more detailed reporting on your mobile device, provide sleep times, stages of sleep (deep, light, REM, naps, awake) and gives you a score immediately upon waking. There is also a stress monitoring function that can also track and chart on a 24 hour basis.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Sleep Tracker

The Huawei Watch GT 3 is an excellent fitness tracker, as good as Apple or Garmin in this regard, with a surprisingly wide variety of customized sport and fitness activities, including all sorts of walks, runs, hikes, winter sports, golf driving range, squash and about a hundred others.

The improved heart sensor helps here, as does the improved GPS system on this year’s models. The GPS coverage has increased from two satellite systems to five (GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS) which improves the strength and accuracy of outdoor positioning and tracking.

The Watch GT 3 also has offline navigation, and while we’re yet to test it out, it also boasts of “route back navigation” that guides you back while you’re out on a hike or run, or even lost. It gives “voice suggestions on estimated arrival time, remaining distance and recommending routes”. During and after each run/walk/hike the watch (and with more detail in the Health app) gives you your travel route on a mini map. Note: as the Watch GT 3 doesn’t have access to the Android Store/Apps, certain popular tracking apps, such as Strava, are not available for the Huawei lineup.

Huawei Watch GT 3 42mm swim waterproof

We regularly check the weather and temperature, but equally find ourselves looking at the sunrise/sunset and moon phases. Less frequently we’ll take a look at the barometric pressure during weather changes (especially common living in the Pacific northwest) and altitude readings (especially when hiking in the hills and mountains here).

In an important upgrade for the slimmer, feminine Huawei Watch GT series, the new 42mm model now has Bluetooth phone, notification and messaging capabilities. You can choose the apps on your phone that send messages and notifications to your wrist. You can receive, with call display, phone calls on your watch and equally select contacts to call (that you’ve added in the watch app on your phone), or call people back based on your on-watch call log even if they haven’t been specifically added to your contact list.

Huawei Watch GT 3 42mm bluetooth calling

The quality of audio is good, and people on the other end have been consistently happy with the quality of the microphone for our voices. We do wish that we could answer and make WhatsApp voice calls on the GT 3, as we use that app regularly, particularly while traveling. Perhaps this will appear in a future software upgrade, or at least in the future Gen 4 lineup.

The GT 3 has a slew of other excellent functions we use regularly such as alarms, flashlight, stopwatch, find-my-phone (love this) and many we haven’t (music player, radio, calculator, compass).

Final Verdict

We love this watch, it’s hard not to. The Huawei Watch GT 3 is the most attractive smartwatch on the market, and the build quality is exceptional. From seeing it initially at its launch in the autumn, to our first impressions out of the box, and now after a few good weeks of serious use, this is the smartwatch we’ve been waiting for. The perfect marriage between elegant, sporty (especially with a fitness oriented third party watchband you can easily find and purchase online), high quality sensors, a deep selection of functions and a wonderfully long battery life.

While there are indeed a couple functions we’d really love to see in the future, this is definitely the smartwatch we want on our wrists this year. Combine this with the fact the price point is very comfortable ($328, and $429 for the premium metal-band models)–we would highly recommend the entire lineup of WATCH GT 3 smartwatches to take up the valuable real estate on your wrist.

For all the details and specs visit the in-depth Canadian Huawei Watch GT 3 website.

Available at some of our favourite retailers, in-store and online: Canada Computers, Amazon, Newegg & more…

Huawei Watch GT 3 42mm 46mm

As someone on our team quipped:

“When looking at the Apple Watch, one wonders who would ever pay up to twice as much for a fraction of the battery life, a tired design and, in our opinion, a lower quality build, albeit with a few extra apps and functions. Perhaps those more interested in hearing someone say “Oh, you have an Apple Watch” instead of the “Wow, that’s a beautiful watch, is it a smartwatch too?” comments you’ll likely get with Huawei Watch GT 3.”

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