The Huawei Watch 3 is the first smartwatch to run HarmonyOS, and it’s a fantastic demonstration for the new OS. The incredibly sharp AMOLED display really shows off all the software has to offer, and the performance is extremely fluid. The Watch 3 comes with an excellent set of workout gear pre-installed, but it still can’t compete with Apple and Google when it comes to additional apps. It’s a shame there aren’t more third-party tools, but that should change in the coming months. This is a smartwatch with a lot of promise, even if it can’t yet deliver on all of it.
Price and availability
The Huawei Watch 3 will be available in certain regions in June 2021, with a starting price of £279.99. That works out to around $390 / AU$530, although no US releases are planned, and no Australian release date has been set.
We tested the normal Huawei Watch 3, but there’s also the Huawei Watch 3 Pro, which has a few extra features including dual-band GPS for better accuracy and a longer battery life. It also comes at a much higher price, starting at £499.99 (about $690 / AU$940).
With a huge, glossy face, low bezels, and glass that curves towards the corners to meet the case, the Huawei Watch 3 is a significant change from the hefty Watch 2. Instead, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the Watch GT.
The Huawei Watch 3 active edition (tried here) has a 46mm casing and a black silicone band that isn’t as soft as the Apple Watch 6, but is still comfortable. The band is secured with a traditional buckle rather than the loop-and-tang style fastening that is becoming increasingly common with smartwatches and fitness trackers, and it features quick-release pins so you can simply convert it to something a little more attractive.
The Huawei Watch 3 is largely fitness-focused (which we’ll get into later), but it also offers a good range of tools that make it a useful everyday wristwatch, especially if you have an Android phone and an Apple Watch isn’t an option.
Without an active Bluetooth connection to your phone, you can make and receive calls, play music, and download apps with an eSim installed (great for working out without your phone), but even without that, there’s a lot to admire – especially when it comes to time savings.
The major focus of the Huawei Watch 3 is fitness tracking. There’s a set of Apple Watch-style rings that you should try to finish before bedtime for daily encouragement. With the usual inactivity notifications, you’ll be reminded to get up and move around on a regular basis (complete with a nice little animation of a man having a stretch).
There’s a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities available for workouts (including a triathlon mode that allows you to track swimming, cycling, and running stages all at once), but you don’t have to scroll through the entire list every time because you can customize the menu to prioritize the ones you use the most.
Like the Apple Watch 6, the Watch 3 is charged with a magnetic puck. Huawei’s charger, unlike Apple’s, uses a USB-A port rather than USB-C.
Huawei claims the watch would last 14 days in power-saving mode and three days in smartwatch mode with all capabilities activated (again, similar to the Apple Watch 6), but in our tests, it only lasted about two and a half days when recording a daily workout in addition to everyday steps and heart rate.