Huawei Watch three evaluation: To realize excellent Concord, you’ll have to decide to it

“The Huawei Watch three is a superbly designed, quick, and correct health-tracking smartwatch, however you have to get previous a significantly off-putting setup expertise.”

Nice-looking and cozy to put on

Correct, in-depth well being monitoring

Quick GPS connection

Fluid, quick software program

Brief battery life with all options energetic

Restricted eSIM assist

Poor setup expertise

The Huawei Watch three isn’t simply one other smartwatch — it’s one of the crucial vital merchandise to return from Huawei shortly. The Watch three ditches the previous software program used on the Watch GT2 for HarmonyOS, Huawei’s self-developed working system we’ve heard quite a bit about however till now haven’t had an opportunity to make use of.

The Huawei Watch three is the primary system to formally launch with the software program on board, and whereas it’s quick and effectively designed, it takes quite a lot of effort and dedication to get it working together with your cellphone. Assuming you’re ready to place within the time, is it value it?

Design

The Huawei Watch three is among the best-looking smartwatches you should purchase. It’s thoughtfully designed and really comfy to put on, with a case made out of 316L chrome steel and a ceramic case again that includes a high-quality, luxurious end. Huawei has lengthy proved it is aware of what it’s doing with design in each telephones and wearables, and the Watch three continues that custom. Its clear and understated, but nonetheless thrilling, type is very watch-like and miles forward of most Put on OS smartwatches.

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The 46mm case fits my 6.5-inch wrist, and the 65-gram weight makes it wearable all through the day, though I discovered it too massive to put on in a single day. Using ceramic is vital as a result of it feels so good towards your pores and skin. It reflective nature appears to be like stylish and doesn’t get sweaty or itchy like plastic. On the facet is an offset, neatly textured crown above a single button on the four-o’clock place. Neither dig into your wrist, however I did discover the button is somewhat too low on the case, making it barely awkward to find and press.

You management the Watch three utilizing the touchscreen and the crown. The 1.43-inch AMOLED display screen with its 466 x 466 pixel decision is gorgeous, and is at its greatest when exhibiting off colourful watch faces. It’ll sound unusual to say, however the hardened glass used over the display screen has an exquisite texture, and the two.5D curve across the bezel makes swiping pleasingly tactile, whereas giving the entrance of the watch form and visible curiosity. The crown’s trendy texture has grip and is subsequently simple to rotate together with your finger.

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If I used to be feeling uncharitable, it might be simple to show the Huawei Watch three’s positives into negatives, as many of the features that make it a winner — chrome steel, ceramic, low weight, textured crown, a single button, curved display screen bezel — are the identical ones that make the Apple Watch a winner. If something, the Huawei Watch three is a reasonably shut depiction of what a spherical Apple Watch might be like, and the similarities with the Apple Watch don’t finish there both, however we’ll come again to that.

The sum of the Huawei Watch three’s elements work so effectively, I’m not going to return down on it as a result of the design echoes the easiest smartwatch you should purchase, notably as a result of there are such a lot of disappointing smartwatches on the market and a great mannequin ought to be applauded.

Software program

HarmonyOS is Huawei’s response to being unable to make use of Google Companies on its cellular merchandise attributable to restrictions from the U.S. authorities that make it unattainable for U.S. corporations to work with Huawei. It’s a whole, Huawei-created software program ecosystem, designed to work seamlessly throughout every thing from internet-of-things (IoT) to smartphones.

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The Huawei Watch three is the primary system to make use of HarmonyOS 2, and you may neglect all about Put on OS, or Huawei’s personal LiteOS, which it has used on its wearables prior to now. It’s a world aside and approach higher than each of them. The pace, fluidity, and smoothness is astonishing. There aren’t any pauses and no slowdown, simply instantaneous response, a stunning “bounce” impact when swiping between screens, and significantly quick scrolling. It’s attractively designed with vivid colours, massive icons, clear textual content, and a few fairly watch faces, too.

I rapidly slipped into utilizing HarmonyOS on the Watch three with none interval of adjustment or a necessity to be taught new layouts or icon types. Whereas this can be a good factor, there’s additionally a great motive exterior of the fluidity, pace, and fairly design — HarmonyOS on the Watch three is a a bit like a “biggest hits” of wearable software program.

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

Press the crown to see the primary menu, which is offered as a grid of round icons and appears similar to Apple’s WatchOS. You may even twist the crown to zoom out and in of the grid, full with haptic suggestions. That is the default setting, however it may be modified to a regular listing structure should you’d choose. Dig into different menus, just like the exercise listing accessed utilizing the decrease button on the case, and choices are proven as a vertically scrolling listing that adapts to the round display screen, reminding me of Tizen on the Galaxy Watch three. Swipe left on the display screen and also you get data panels, similar to Put on OS and Huawei’s personal LiteOS on the Watch GT2.

Granted, there are restricted design instructions you may take with software program on such a small display screen, which must be used with one finger, however the similarity to WatchOS particularly doesn’t do it any favors. I modified the launcher to point out an inventory of icons and hung out selecting the perfect watch faces, simply so I might give the Watch three its personal identification, which HarmonyOS 2.zero is barely missing in the mean time.

Huawei Well being app

The Huawei Watch three earns some goodwill by way of being enticing and having speedy software program, and it wants each final little bit of it, as a result of getting it began and utilizing the app might be very irritating. It’s right here the place HarmonyOS 2’s newness is uncovered, and we see the problem forward of Huawei if it desires to draw widespread adoption.

The Huawei Watch three earns some goodwill by way of being enticing and having speedy software program.

To sync the Watch three together with your Android cellphone, you must obtain Huawei Well being, however not Huawei Well being from Google Play. That model is old-fashioned, and doesn’t work with any brand-new Huawei gadgets. As an alternative you must obtain the Huawei App Gallery and get Huawei Well being from there. This implies downloading an APK file, accepting system permissions, signing up with Huawei to make use of the App Gallery, downloading one other new file, accepting different new permissions, offering notification and placement entry, and extra.

It doesn’t cease there. To make Huawei Well being work correctly, you must set up one other app referred to as Huawei Core, although it isn’t actually defined why. To maintain Huawei Well being updated, you must hold the App Gallery — an app that’s not very welcoming, to the purpose the place you’re compelled to take a look at an advert each time you open it — in your cellphone. It’s all very off-putting, and a large barrier for anybody who isn’t aware of sideloading apps and utilizing various app shops.

The worst half is, should you miss a step or don’t activate the precise permissions — which could be very simple to do due to the fragmented, multistep setup course of — the Watch three and the Huawei Well being app won’t work correctly, and it’s very troublesome to work out why. It’s somewhat simpler utilizing an iPhone, as an up-to-date Huawei Well being app is offered immediately by way of the App Retailer. Huawei signifies you’ll worsen battery life linked to an iPhone, plus like all non-Apple Watch, it received’t assist all options, together with Apple Messages.

HarmonyOS 2

The fluidity of HarmonyOS 2 makes navigating the software program pain-free, and there are apps for all the primary options together with entry to the compass, respiration workouts, the music app, and should you activate the eSIM, cellphone features. If you wish to use the eSIM and are within the U.Ok., it solely works with Vodafone’s community. Huawei doesn’t promote the Watch three with connectivity already energetic. Keep in mind, including an eSIM will price additional on prime of your present month-to-month package deal. Even with out the eSIM, calls might be answered on the Watch three with its speaker and microphone, though it’s not notably loud.

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

I acquired notifications with common reliability, though none might be interacted with once they do present up, however they’re no less than formatted accurately and might be expanded to see extra element. Nevertheless, when notifications arrive on the watch, it doesn’t present a preview instantly, which is irritating. I’ve discovered should you depart it for a couple of seconds earlier than elevating your wrist, there’s a far larger probability the preview will present. It’s extraordinarily annoying, as a result of should you occur to lift your wrist too early, you’ve blown your probability of ever seeing it with out waking the display screen and swiping up.

Huawei’s digital assistant, Celia, is offered by long-pressing the decrease button, and it really works effectively for fundamental instructions together with beginning a exercise. There are some apps and options lacking, equivalent to Huawei’s personal MeeTime video name service, which doesn’t work within the U.Ok, There’s additionally no contactless fee system and no onboard maps. Huawei knowledgeable me that its personal Petal Maps service shall be accessible on the Watch three sooner or later.

Frustrations apart, HarmonyOS 2 works effectively on the Watch three. It’s an evolution of the already respectable Watch GT2’s software program and a step past Put on OS, however regardless of the visible similarities with WatchOS, nonetheless approach behind the Apple Watch.

Exercise monitoring

Huawei has packed the Watch three with sensors. There’s a coronary heart charge sensor on the again, a blood oxygen (SPo2) sensor, and a pores and skin temperature sensor, too. Just lately seen on the Mobvoi TicWatch GTH, a pores and skin temperature sensor isn’t actually appropriate for monitoring core temperature, however might be useful in understanding total well being over time. Nevertheless, it’s equally as area of interest as an SPo2 monitor. There are 100 totally different exercise modes, auto-fall detection, and all-day exercise recording.

Andy Boxall/Digital Tendencies

The exercise monitoring screens on the Watch three are clear and really simple to learn, and full of useful data. I discovered the Watch three acquired a GPS sign in a short time, far quicker than the Fitbit Versa three, and its total accuracy concerning step rely, coronary heart charge, and energy burned matched the Apple Watch SE. I additionally favored the immediate to finish a exercise if the Watch three seen I had stopped transferring round.

What I don’t like is the extremely irritating voice-over added to exercise monitoring by default. “WORKOUT STARTED!” the Watch three shouts whenever you faucet the beginning button, letting everybody round what you’re doing. It’ll additionally shout out your coronary heart charge, time elapsed, and different data at numerous intervals, all within the worst accent possible. I despise it to my very core. There’s a quantity button in one of many menus so you may flip the hateful factor off.

That gripe apart, information is rapidly synced to Huawei Well being, the place there’s a wealth of knowledge offered in a transparent, easy-to-understand approach, with loads of depth for the intense sports activities addict. Key datasets are proven on the primary web page, which might be tapped for extra element, whereas on the watch, you may see VO2Max information, coaching load, and restoration time suggestions. The Huawei Watch three total is a really efficient, correct, and feature-packed well being and health tracker. Other than that voice-over, which is among the worst “options” I’ve ever come throughout.

Battery life

Huawei estimates three days of battery life when linked to an Android cellphone, or as much as 14 days with a particular battery mode energetic. Whether or not these estimates are achieved very a lot will depend on how you employ the watch, and to date I haven’t achieved both. When you’ve got the guts charge, SPo2, and pores and skin temperature monitoring energetic, and observe a single exercise with GPS for an hour, the battery will final a day, for instance, and that isn’t excellent in any respect.

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With solely the guts charge monitoring energetic, and a single exercise tracked on in the future for lower than an hour with out GPS, the battery lasted me about two-and-a-half days. That’s higher however not class main. It’s recharged utilizing a plastic plinth, which magnetically attaches to the case again. It’s fairly sluggish, taking greater than two hours to go from zero to 100%.

Value and availability

The Huawei Watch three prices 350 British kilos, which converts to round $483, for both the Traditional model pictured above or an all-black model with a rubber strap referred to as the Sport. It’s bought by way of Huawei’s personal on-line retailer or from Amazon. It’s not formally accessible within the U.S., however might be bought as an import.

Our take

For all its design polish, stylish supplies, and hyperfast software program, the Huawei Watch three’s onboarding course of is lower than excellent, and is a poor introduction to what’s in any other case an excellent smartwatch. Tech novices, or anybody whose expertise ends with linking Bluetooth headphones to their cellphone, will discover the setup course of utilizing the App Gallery and Huawei Well being full of complication and uncertainty, and if it’s not carried out accurately, the watch could not work within the anticipated approach. It’s completely not befitting of a smartwatch that prices this a lot.

Anybody who has used various app shops earlier than, or owns a present Google-less Huawei cellphone for that matter, will discover it far much less arduous, and committing to the Watch three will truly repay. It’s supremely comfy, very effectively made, and filled with accessible well being and health options. Like utilizing a Huawei smartphone right this moment, although, you’ll must get used to doing issues otherwise, utilizing totally different apps, and being affected person as HarmonyOS grows.

Adopting the Huawei Watch three doesn’t require the identical degree of dedication as utilizing a Google-less Huawei smartphone, nevertheless it nonetheless doesn’t really feel like a product that’s completely prepared for the lots. It’s very shut, although, and anybody who does really feel assured in navigating the awkward setup course of and coping with a brand new app retailer going ahead shall be rewarded with a superb smartwatch.

Is there a greater various?

Sure. For those who personal an iPhone the one smartwatch you ought to be shopping for is the Apple Watch. For those who’re contemplating a smartwatch at round 350 kilos (as much as $480), meaning the Apple Watch Collection 6 shall be inside price range. It’s the perfect smartwatch you should purchase, and a very good alternative.

For those who personal an Android cellphone, the scenario is somewhat totally different. The Samsung Galaxy Watch three and the Mobvoi TicWatch Professional three are our suggestions due to their robust efficiency and good battery life, however except you actually must have a smartwatch proper now, we’d recommend ready to see what occurs with the subsequent Galaxy Watch launch, which may have the brand new Google/Samsung Put on software program on board. It’s anticipated to reach through the summer time, and guarantees to ship a much better smartwatch expertise than Put on OS.

How lengthy will it final?

The Huawei Watch three’s chrome steel case, ceramic case again, hardened glass, and 5ATM water resistance ought to make it very sturdy. The strap is connected utilizing quick-release pins and measures a regular 22mm, so replacements shall be simple to get. Huawei is dedicated to HarmonyOS, which means the software program ought to be supported for some time, however because it’s fairly new, some options chances are you’ll count on might not be there simply but, equivalent to Petal Maps.

Having the choice for an eSIM can also be useful for the long run, must you discover such a operate to be useful and are with the precise community. There’s no motive the watch shouldn’t nonetheless be contemporary in design in two years time, and in idea, the software program and expertise ought to solely have improved over that point. For those who’re ready to commit, there’s loads of life within the Huawei Watch three.

Must you purchase it?

No, most individuals will discover dwelling with an Apple Watch or a Put on OS smartwatch simpler and extra according to their smartphone. However should you’re extra adventurous and perceive its drawbacks, the Huawei Watch three is a threat value taking.

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