(Cybertech) – Huawei is continuing its drive in the fitness and wearables market with the first watch built on its own HarmonyOS software. As you can tell from the naming and lack of ‘GT’ anywhere in the moniker, Huawei sees this as a brand new direction.
Like its predecessors, the Watch 3 features a completely round face, but crucially also a super slim bezel around it. One big improvement over the Watch GT series that came before it is the display.
It’s a large 1.43-inch AMOLED screen that can reach up to 1000nits peak brightness and – more importantly – also 60Hz refresh rates. That means you won’t see the same battery-saving stuttering animations on this watch. It’s sharp too at 326 pixels-per-inch.
The Stainless Steel case is topped with curved hardened glass on the regular model, while the larger ‘Pro’ version features tougher Sapphire glass and a ceramic underside.
One new addition is the rotating crown on the right edge. It’s similar in appearance and function to Apple’s Digital Crown.
You can turn it and press it in to control various elements of the on-screen interface, which means you don’t need to use the touch screen if it’s not convenient.
Huawei calls this watch a ‘standalone communicator’, which means you can use it away from your phone thanks to the built-in eSIM.
This will allow you to stream music using Huawei Music as well as take calls, without your phone having to be nearby. We’re unsure which carriers in which market will support this eSIM functionality at launch, but that picture should become clear soon.
As you’d expect there’s built-in Huawei Health capabilities too. You can track 17 workouts in ‘Professional’ mode, offering thorough data tracking, with 85 so-called ‘custom’ mode that are a little more vague in data capture.
You also get 24/7 heart-rate, stress and spO2 tracking, sleep tracking plus automatic fall detection and SOS calling.
Best smartwatch 2021 rated: Top smartwatches available to buy today
A round up of the best smartwatches available to buy today, covering various platforms from Wear OS to watchOS and numerous styles.
As for the software, HarmonyOS, it brings with it a whole new interface. Huawei Watch 3 comes with AppGallery pre-installed so you can install apps directly on your wrist. Those apps are then displayed in a grid rather than a list, and will offer third party apps at launch.
All this additional smartwatch features and the higher refresh rate display do mean you don’t get the same Huawei battery life in regular smartwatch mode.
That said, the three days of use in this normal mode is still better than what’s offered by the likes of Wear and Apple watches.
Plus, in ‘Ultra long mode’ you can increase that to 14 days. This mode essentially restricts the new, power-sapping features, making the Watch 4 feel much more like the Watch GT watches. So you can still see the time, take it to track a run and use it.
The Huawei Watch 3 will be available in Active, Classic and Elite modes which come with leather, metal, nylon weave and silicone straps (depending on which you choose).
There is an additional ‘Pro’ version too. This comes with a larger 48mm case made from Titanium but also features dual channel GPS for more accurate GPS tracking.
It can also last up to 5 days in its regular smartwatch mode. Like the predecessors, the Watch 3 will compatible with both Android and iOS phones through the Huawei Health app.
Writing by Cam Bunton.