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Huawei Watch 3: HarmonyOS smartwatch revealed and it looks great

2021 is shaping up to be a huge year for the smartwatch and Huawei has followed the lead set by Google in going in a different direction with its wearable software. Like many other new products, including the MatePad Pro, the Huawei Watch 3 runs HarmonyOS.

We’ve been consistently impressed by Huawei’s wearables in the past, with its Watch GT line offering strong battery life and a variety of designs. With the Watch 3, it seems like Huawei is going a bit bolder – offering a watch that stands toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Apple Watch Series 6.

This is a good-looking wearable, with slim bezels around the circular display and a smart design that certainly verges more on what we would expect from Samsung rather than Apple. There’s a rotating crown with haptic responses for navigation and a secondary shortcut button.

As you’d probably expect, the Watch 3 is available in multiple finishes including a leather option.

With the switch to HarmonyOS, Huawei has added more of a focus on apps to the Watch 3. Previous Huawei watches have lacked much app support with the only available services baked in from the start. That all changes now and it could, if developers support it, make the Watch 3 a much more tempting choice.

Huawei Watch 3

There’ll be direct support for the App Gallery on the watch and a built-in music player that’ll be able to stream songs directly from the Huawei Music app on your phone.

Fitness is always key for most smartwatches we review and the Watch 3 ticks many of the boxes we look for including continuous skin temperature tracking, GPS, heart rate monitoring and, Huawei said during a briefing ahead of launch, over 100 workout modes. 

There’s fall detection too, and SOS alerts – two features that have become more and more common in the past year or so.

The circular display on the watch is a 1.43-inch AMOLED panel, with a 60Hz refresh rate and 326ppi. Huawei claims up to 1000nits of brightness too, which should make it very easy to read outdoors, even if the sun is particularly bright.

Battery life is where things get a little disappointing. With the move to HarmonyOS, it doesn’t look like the Watch 3 is going to match some other Huawei wearables for pure endurance – at least not without putting it in a specific battery saver mode. Huawei claims you’ll get three days of juice from a charge, with 4G enabled, and there’s an ‘ultra long’ mode that could stretch that to 14.

Of course, we’ll be putting the battery through its paces to see how well these claims match up to reality.

Alongside the regular Watch 3, there’s a slightly different Pro model too. This has beefed up battery life (5 days up to 21 days) and a slightly larger 48mm casing. The Pro also comes with a brown leather strap.

We don’t know the exact pricing or release dates for any territory yet, however, we will update this page when we have that confirmed.

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