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 headliner is the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro, which comes in titanium or ceramic versions. I got my hands on both models and they are noticeably more premium than the typical Android smartwatch fare.
The titanium model comes in 42.9mm or 46.6mm variants, with a 1.32-inch or 1.4 inch OLED screen, respectively. The 466 x 466 displays get plenty bright and are completely visible under the sun. Covering the display is sapphire glass, and the rest of the body is titanium as advertised. This model can come with either a leather strap or titanium band. I am a big fan of the titanium band, which looks significantly more premium than the rubbery straps Samsung and Apple ship with their wearables.
The ceramic model is smaller, with a 1.3-inch display and comes in this white color with gold trim. I think the ceramic model looks elegant and beautiful, but perhaps not suitable for my wrist. I prefer the more masculine titanium version, at least on me.
Both watches feature a crown that can be pressed or rotated, and it’s used to navigate the smartwatch interface (swipes and taps will do, too).
These watches run on Huawei’s proprietary HarmonyOS software, but it will pair with Android and iOS just fine. They pack all the usual sensors like optical heart rate, SpO2, accelerometer and gyroscope, as well as some not always found in wearables such as barometer and magnetometer, the latter allows the compass function to work without internet connection. These watches can track everything from heartbeat to heart rhythm, steps to stairs climbed, runs to cycling trips. There’s also a new dive mode, although I haven’t been able to try it and honestly, I may never do (I’m not much of a water person). What I have been able to test was sleep tracking and cycling, and both are on point and perform at similar levels as the Apple Watch. Steps and heart rate also seem accurate and line up with my Fitbit wearables.
There aren’t any smartwatch features missing here I can think of: the Watch GT 3 Pro are rated IP68 for water and dust resistance and swim proof up to 164 feet (5ATM rating), and both can take phone calls with a loud speaker and microphone.
One gripe I have always had with Huawei wearables was that they could only receive static notifications, not dynamic ones—meaning I could only read an incoming text message but I can’t respond to it.
Huawei has finally addressed this by adding “Quick Replies,” which are a series of canned message I can choose from to respond to messages. This is still nowhere near as great as being able to respond freely the way I can with the Apple Watch, but it’s a step in that direction. These canned responses are customizable, so I have crafted five or six phrases I use often (like “I’ll be there soon”) and it has improved my experience. I get dozens of messages a day, I don’t want to have to pull out my phone every time.
Battery life has always been a strong point of Huawei wearables—smartwatches from Apple, Samsung and Fitbit can last a day or two on a single charge, Huawei’s smartphones have been able to last up to 14 days. The titanium model keeps this streak up, able to go two weeks on a single charge, too. But the ceramic model, due to its smaller size, packs a smaller battery, so it can only last a week on a single charge.
With the Watch GT 3 Pro, Huawei is clearly aiming at a premium market, and the prices reflect that: the titanium model retails in Europe for €369, and the ceramic model, €499. These prices will seem high to those used to the average smartphone (I am in this group), but after doing some research I learned that ceramic watches tend to be priced well into four digits, so Huawei’s pricing is perhaps not unreasonable.
The other two smartwatches Huawei launched at the event is priced more affordably. There’s the Huawei Watch Fit 2, which moves away from the traditional timepiece design of the Watch GT 3 Pro and instead looks a bit like an Apple Watch, but the 1.7-inch OLED screen is more rectangular.
The shape of the screen makes it more suitable for reading text and displaying photos, and with a resolution of 336 x 480, it’s more than sharp enough to display photos and text without visible pixels.
The Watch Fit 2 can track most of the things the Watch GT 3 Pro can, except it lacks the SpO2 sensor for tracking blood-oxygen levels. Battery life is 10 days on a single charge.
An improvement to 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 U.K. and about the equivalent in Europe, the Huawei Watch Fit 2 is a more affordable option in Huawei’s increasingly premium market focused wearable lineup.
All of these watches will go on sale in the U.K. and other parts of Europe starting June, and they will likely reach markets like Malaysia and Hong Kong soon, too.