Huawei has been making some of the best looking smartwatches for a few years, and at a launch event in Milan yesterday, the company launched several more. The headline is the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro, which comes in titanium or ceramic versions. I’ve got my hands on both models and they are significantly more premium than the price of a typical Android smartwatch.
The titanium model comes in 42.9mm or 46.6mm variants, with a 1.32-inch or 1.4-inch OLED display, respectively. 466 x 466 screens have a lot of brightness and are perfectly visible under the sun. The screen is covered by sapphire glass, and the rest of the body is titanium as advertised. This model can come with a leather strap or a titanium strap. I’m a huge fan of the titanium band, which looks a lot more premium than the rubber bands that Samsung and Apple shipped with their wearables.
The ceramic model is smaller, with a 1.3-inch screen and comes in white with gold trim. I think the ceramic model looks neat and pretty, but maybe it doesn’t fit my wrist. I prefer the more masculine titanium version, at least on me.
Both watches feature a crown that can be tapped or rotated, and is used to navigate the smartwatch face (swipes and flicks will do, too).
These watches run on Huawei’s own HarmonyOS, but will pair with Android and iOS just fine. They pack all the usual sensors like an optical heart rate, SpO2, accelerometer and gyroscope, plus some not always found in wearables like a barometer and magnetism, the latter allowing the compass functionality to work offline. These watches can track everything from heartbeat to heart rhythm, steps to walking up stairs, jogging to cycling trips. There’s also a new diving mode, though I haven’t been able to try it out and honestly, I might never have (I’m not a much of a water person). What I was able to test was sleep and cycling tracking, both on standby and working at similar levels to the Apple Watch. The steps and heart rate also seem accurate and in line with my Fitbit wearables.
There aren’t any smartwatch features missing here: The Watch GT 3 Pro is rated IP68 for water and dust resistance and resistance to swimming to 164 feet (5ATM rating), and both can take phone calls using a loud speaker and microphone.
One problem I’ve always had with Huawei wearables has been that they can only receive static notifications, not dynamic – which means I can only read an incoming text message but not reply to it.
Huawei finally addressed this by adding “Quick Replies”, which are a series of ready-made messages from which I can choose to respond to messages. This is still close to being able to respond freely the way I can with the Apple Watch, but it’s a step in that direction. These ready responses are customizable, so I crafted five or six phrases I use often (such as “I’ll be there soon”) and it improved my experience. I get dozens of messages a day, and I don’t want to take out my phone every time.
Battery life has always been a strong point of Huawei’s wearables – smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit can last a day or two on a single charge, and Huawei smartphones have been able to work for up to 14 days. The Titanium model maintains that streak, able to last two weeks on a single charge as well. But the ceramic model, due to its small size, has a smaller battery, so it can last up to a week on just one charge.
With the Watch GT 3 Pro, Huawei is clearly aiming for a premium market, and the prices reflect the following: the titanium model is sold in Europe at 369 euros and the ceramic model is 499 euros. These are going to seem high than those used in a regular smartphone (I’m in this group), but after doing some research I’ve learned that ceramic watches tend to be priced well in four figures, so perhaps Huawei’s pricing isn’t unreasonable.
The other two smartwatches that Huawei launched at the event are priced reasonably well. There’s the Huawei Watch Fit 2, which moves away from the traditional watch design of the Watch GT 3 Pro and instead looks like the Apple Watch, but the 1.7-inch OLED display is more rectangular.
The shape of the screen makes it more convenient to read text and view images, and with a resolution of 336 x 480, it is more than sharp enough to view images and text without visible pixels.
The Watch Fit 2 can track most of the things the Watch GT 3 Pro can do, but it lacks a SpO2 sensor to track blood oxygen levels. Battery life is 10 days on a single charge.
One of the improvements in this year’s model is the ability to receive phone calls directly on the watch due to the addition of a microphone and speaker. Priced at £130 in the UK and equivalent in Europe, the Huawei Watch Fit 2 is an affordable option in Huawei’s wearable lineup focused on the increasingly premium market.
All of these watches will go on sale in the UK and other parts of Europe from June, and will likely hit markets like Malaysia and Hong Kong soon as well.