The Huawei Watch GT 3 is an excellent successor to the GT 2 in many ways. Its more fashionable design makes it a great accessory outside of the gym, while the detailed fitness tracking software ensures that it hasn’t forgotten about its key audience. Unfortunately, with the Huawei Health app being unusable on iOS and Android, it’s a wearable that can only be recommended to those who already own a Huawei smartphone, however.
- New holistic approach to fitness
- Detailed and customisable AI Running Coach
- Revamped design is a lot more fashionable
- Nearly unusable for iOS and Android users
- Features held back for non-Huawei users
- Battery life falls short of official claims
- New design:slimmer bezel and less rugged than its predecessor
- AI Running Coach:set up a tailor made plan to meet your marathon goals
- Bluetooth calling:Take calls right on your wrist
The Huawei Watch GT 3 is the latest mid-range watch to emerge from the company’s wearable division and it marks a notable departure from its predecessors.
Huawei made waves last year when it introduced its all-new HarmonyOS software which came preinstalled on the Huawei Watch 3. The move gave the Watch 3 a fighting chance at standing out in the wearables market, which wasn’t too hard given that at that point, Wear OS 2 was stagnating ahead of the arrival of Wear OS 3.
That same software has now made a return in the Huawei Watch GT 3, but it’s not quite the sequel to last year’s mid-range watch that we expected. In almost every sense, the GT 3 feels more like a pared down version of the Watch 3 but at a cheaper price point, presenting a somewhat tempting offer to consumers.
Of course, the GT name has typically been associated with a focus on sports and fitness, so does the new direction pay off? After plenty of testing, we now have an answer.
Design and display
- Less rugged, more stylish
- Near identical to the Huawei Watch 3
- Stunning AMOLED panel stands out
The Huawei Watch GT 3 looks nothing like the GT 2. The latter, with its two stopwatch buttons, a large outer ring and a tough rubberised watch strap, was designed for the gym and the great outdoors. By comparison, the GT 3 feels more like a fashion-first wearable than anything else – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Instead of two stopwatch buttons, you now have a rotating crown on the top right-hand side acting as a home button and a means for scrolling through menus, and a push button that sits almost flush against the chassis and can be used to start tracking a workout in a matter of seconds. The arrangement is almost identical to that of the Huawei Watch 3, and the GT 3 is all the more stylish for it.
Even the straps that come with the watch have largely moved away from the fitness-first approach. Sure, you can still get a fluoroelastomer strap that’s ideally suited for withstanding sweat down at the gym or during a run, but the other four straps – two of which are comprised of leather – have clearly been made with the intention of wearing the GT 3 as a fashion accessory.
Our review unit was sent with a stainless steel watch strap which, to my tastes, looks incredible and I’m happy to use it when out on the town, but otherwise I quickly swapped it out for a spare rubberised band I had lying around (the last thing you want on your wrist during a workout is stainless steel).
This change in aesthetic can be felt even more so in the smaller 42mm option of the GT 3, which does away with the numbered outer ring completely in favour of an almost bezel-less display that’s near identical to one found on the Huawei Watch 3. Regardless of which one you opt for, you’ll still be getting an absolutely stunning AMOLED display that holds up really well during everyday use.
- Lacks the app variety of other smartwatches
- Features held back to iOS/Android users
- Huawei Health is a mess on non-Huawei phones
As is the case for any Huawei wearable in 2022, don’t expect this smartwatch to compete with the likes of the Apple Watch 7 or the Galaxy Watch 4 where features are concerned. Without the support from the west, bitesized versions of popular apps like Strava, Citymapper and Calm are nowhere to be found here. In fact, HarmonyOS doesn’t really have a wearable-only app store to make the most of this tech, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing of interest here.
The HarmonyOS UI is clean and easy to navigate – feeling not too dissimilar to the Apple Watch app tray. There’s stress testing to keep an eye out on how you’re coping throughout the day, alongside a breathing app for brief moments of mediation. If you’re out hiking then there’s a built-in compass and even an app for looking at the current air pressure.
Huawei TruSleep makes a return here and it’s still my favourite sleep tracking software to date. Providing detailed sleep tracking reports each morning via the Huawei Health app, TruSleep provides written feedback alongside the usual data-driven statistics so that you have a clear and concise understanding of how you can improve your circadian rhythm.
The untethered GPS also works well, connecting in as quickly as nine seconds during my testing, and maintaining a strong connection throughout. The new Route Back feature will also guide you to the starting point of your journey if you’re not quite sure how to get back once a run or a hike is completed. Which happened to me while testing it on unfamiliar routes more than once.
Elsewhere, a firm hold of the push button summons Celia – Huawei’s smart assistant. I’ve gotten into the habit of using voice commands on smartwatches for small tasks like setting timers and checking the weather, but whereas that’s an easy thing to do with Siri or the Google Assistant, the experience is a bit more trying with Celia.
For starters, there are some odd oversights with regards to what Celia can and can’t do. Asking what the date is will bring back befuddlement, but taking a reading of your heart rate is no issue. Celia isn’t as speedy as its competitors either, but the worst part is that the smart assistant doesn’t function at all on the watch unless you have a Huawei smartphone connected – which is just part of a wider problem here.
When I started this review, I connected the Watch GT 3 to an iPhone 13 Mini. Setup was fine but before long, the Huawei Health app – which is essential for managing the wearable – would crash after just a few seconds of use. This would make it impossible to tweak certain features or even download more watch faces (unless I was able to do so at incredible speed).
The issue wasn’t just my own – a colleague was having similar problems in trying to use the Huawei Health app on an Android phone. It was only when I reset the watch and connected it to the Huawei Nova 9 that things ran as they should, but that makes it impossible to recommend the Watch GT 3 to iPhone or Android users until the problems with Huawei Health have been fixed.
- Healthy Living tracker is perfect for beginners
- Tons of customisation in the AI Running Coach
- Strong HRM accuracy
Despite all of the exterior changes to the GT 3, the watch has kept fitness tracking at the core of its software. Running through the list of tracked workouts, it feels as if almost every niche is catered to, with everything from Kendo to belly dancing – very few routines are left out.
The watch also has a handy recovery timer to let you know when you’re ready to take on another workout. It’s nowhere near as detailed as what you’ll find on the Whoop Strap 4.0, but it does at the very least highlight the importance of rest when it comes to achieving peak performance during your workouts.
Previous Huawei watches have used a ‘ring’ format to present an overview of your daily performance (not too dissimilar to the rings on the Apple Watch), and while that still makes a return, there’s a secondary tally that takes a more holistic approach to your health and wellbeing, entitled ‘Healthy Living’.
This new metric takes the form of a colourful clover and, as you can see in the picture below, is broken down into three segments: activity and step count, sleep pattern, and mindful breathing. Hit your goals within each of these categories and all three of the petals will be filled with colour. The goal is to hit a balance between all three, and it’s an easy to see at a glance if, for example, you’ve been prioritising workout goals but neglecting the amount of time you spend resting.
It’s a great addition, and it brings to mind the same accessibility that has made Fitbit wearables an easy recommendation to those taking their first steps towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s just a shame that with the Huawei Health app being near impossible to use on non-Huawei phones that the GT 3 can’t also be recommended to such a wide audience.
The GT 3 does have an extra ace up its sleeve though in its AI Running Coach. With goals starting at a 3K run and going all the way up to a full marathon, the Running Coach can take into account your current fitness level and previous workout performance to develop a personalised plan to help you reach your chosen target.
There’s a fair amount of customisation available here too, as you can let the app know the date of your upcoming competition (if one is on the books), and the amount of time you would like to complete it in. You can then sync the plan with your calendar to ensure that you don’t accidentally skip a training session.
The GT 3’s heart rate monitor also does a great job of tracking your fitness level, with results that were fairly comparable to that of a dedicated chest strap monitor (the Myzone MZ-Switch in this case). In most instances, the max heart rate was spot on with the MZ-Switch, while the average rate had a small discrepancy of around 1-3BPM.
- Battery claims fall short
- Still surpasses the general longevity of smartwatches
- 1 hour 45 minutes to a full charge
Depending on which variant of the Watch GT 3 you buy, your experience with battery life can be considerably different. Huawei quotes a 14-day battery life for the 46mm model, and a significantly shorter seven-day stint for the 42mm option. Having been sent the former for review, our tests were conducted against the 14-day claim.
Unfortunately, that claim didn’t stand up to scrutiny under real world testing. In what I’d consider to be fairly low key use case (four tracked workouts and wearing the GT 3 overnight), I was able to make it through almost 11 days exactly. While this longevity isn’t terrible compared to the far shorter life span of something like the Apple Watch 7, it does fall significantly short of Huawei’s claims, and it’s easy to imagine the GT 3 needing a top-up far sooner under heavier use.
Charging isn’t particularly fast either, as it took roughly an hour and 45 minutes to reach 100% from a dead battery. As a consolation, a 20 minute charge bumped the watch up to about 30% which is more than enough to get you through to the end of a long day.
Should you buy it?
You have a Huawei phone: given that the GT 3 is cheaper than the Watch 3, it’s an easy one to recommend for those already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem.
You’re an iOS or Android user: until the Huawei Health app is fixed, the Watch GT 3 is simply unusable for most people, plus several features are only available if you also hold a Huawei phone.
The time that I’ve spent with the Huawei Watch GT 3 has left me feeling irritated – this is a wearable that should be an easy recommendation, but it’s held back by a non-functioning companion app and the decision to hold several features back unless you have a Huawei phone in your possession.
The GT 3 can’t compete with the best smartwatches where apps are concerned, but Huawei’s fitness software is still great and it’s only been made even better by the new Healthy Living tracker and the AI Running coach.
Until the Huawei Health app is fixed however, the GT 3 will remain a device that can only be recommended to those who have already invested (or looking to invest) in Huawei’s ecosystem.
How we test
We thoroughly test every smartwatch we review. We use industry standard testing to compare features properly and we use the watch as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Worn as our main smartwatch during the testing period
Heart rate data compared against dedicated heart rate devices
Side-by-side GPS comparison with our best scoring smartwatches
You might like…
It does, although our reviewer encountered severe issues with the Huawei Health app on both of these operating systems.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 uses HarmonyOS.
Yes, the Watch GT 3 is waterproof up to 5ATM.
Trusted Reviews test data
Below is a full breakdown of the test data we collected reviewing the GT 3 and how it compares to its predecessor.
You can see a breakdown of the GT 3’s specs and how they compare to other Huawei watches in the table below.