Huawei Watch 3 Pro review
The Huawei Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro smartwatches debuted a few weeks ago as part of the big HarmonyOS 2.0 release. We have had the Pro version for review since, and now that we have finished all the tests, we can tell you what went right and what disappointed us over the last two weeks.
The Watch 3 series comes as a proper smart laptop that offers stand-alone calls without the need for a smartphone. The difference between the Vanilla and the Pro is design, building materials and battery life, and we have the more powerful version with us here.
Design and construction
Huawei Watch 3 Pro arrives with a premium titanium body and a 22 mm standard strap. It feels exquisite and looks great. Luxurious watches tend to weigh a lot, but our variant had a nice feel on the wrist without being too much of a burden. The total weight is only 63 grams without the strap.
You get a rubber and a metal strap in the box so you can easily customize the Watch 3 Pro to fit almost any outfit, but if that’s not enough, it means standard straps are really easy to get extra.
However, the 1.43 ”screen and the 48mm case itself are quite large and can be too much for smaller wrists. The frame around the touch screen – is divided into 24 sections (around the clock), but has only a little practical use with most dials.
The crown button on the side is also made of titanium, and we loved the little “Huawei watch” that wrote on the side. It works both as a scroll and a button, but getting used to scrolling with it takes some time. There is a secondary key that can be mapped – the default setting is training, but it can also be music, contacts or even AppGallery.
The big upgrade that Huawei has done with the Watch 3 Pro from the Watch GT 2 Pro is the operating system. It now runs HarmonyOS 2.0 and adds depth to existing features. In terms of design, Huawei has kept it simple and only increased the font to match the larger screen – icons are the same.
Thanks to the integration of the smartwatch into the Harmony ecosystem, it supports the voice assistant Celia – Huawei’s response to Siri and Alexa. To work, you need to have their Watch 3 Pro connected to the Internet – either via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or eSIM inside.
Pre-loaded apps are already familiar to Huawei and non-Huawei users – heart rate, sleep tracking, SpO2 measurements, breathing exercises. The difference comes from the integration with Huawei AppGallery – it offers applications that can run either alone or as a companion to an already installed app on your phone. There are not many apps in the store yet, but the service is fairly new, so we hope to see more in the future.
The Watch 3 Pro can live on its own without a SIM card at all, which is why Huawei moved some features from the Huawei Health app (which you need to use your laptop to the fullest) into the watch – one of them is Alarm. Another cool feature called Drain plays a loud sound to expel liquid out of the speaker cavity.
Finally, Huawei has decided to allow you to have your apps in a grid or list. The former offers multiple apps at a glance; the latter brings a sense of order, although it is necessary to scroll and may be too much if there are many apps installed.
Another big change that Huawei has made in its portable department is how the watch is connected to the world. For the past few years, at least since the company has been using Lite OS, the connection has been limited to Bluetooth and GPS.
Now everything has changed. Watch 3 Pro supports Wi-Fi connectivity, comes with NFC in global markets and can connect to a mobile network only. There is an eSIM module inside that allows you to clone your smartphone’s SIM card through the Huawei Health app – there is a dedicated button in the menu.
The big warning – the carrier must let the change happen through proprietary QR codes so that not everyone gets an independent smartwatch out of the box.
Huawei is famous for the great battery life of its portable devices, and the Watch 3 Pro can achieve up to 21 days with a big star. When Wi-Fi is turned on, eSIM is connected, NFC is occasionally turned on, messages pop up left and right, and AOD is on battery life is just over three days. All the 790 mAh battery was drained.
There is a magnetic 10W wireless charger in the box, but the Huawei Watch 3 Pro can be charged with virtually any Qi charger. Due to the massive battery inside, it takes almost three hours for the cell to charge from 0 to 100% – charging the watch for three hours every three days is not so good compared to previous Huawei watches, but when compared to other proper smartwatches is it actually decent.
And you get the opportunity to get the best of both worlds. The ultra-long battery life transforms the Huawei Watch 3 Pro into more of a classic Huawei smartwatch – no stand-alone calls or Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth and GPS work. That way, the battery can live between 14 and 21 days depending on your usage (mainly if you drive a lot and need GPS often).
We also tried a mix of the two where we would throw the phone away when we had to run out or go out with friends in the evening and use the Huawei Watch 3 Pro alone. The rest of the time it was paired with the phone in its long battery life and we would get almost 6 days of battery life, which is very respectable.
You can go even further if you disable Always On Display because the Watch 3 Pro has the fastest and most reliable journey we’ve seen on a smartwatch.
HarmonyOS has also provided an overview of what drains the battery the most, by dividing it into two categories – hardware and software.
The Huawei Watch 3 Pro offers a compelling set of features that make it a perfect companion for a large number of people. It does everything we loved on the Watch GT 2, but also adds the standalone mode that allows you to leave your smartphone at home. And in both cases, it offers better battery life than its rivals.
The watch looks great, feels like a quality watch, works well and brings long-awaited upgrades to the Huawei ecosystem. And that’s why it’s so expensive – the classic variant with a leather strap costs £ 499, while the Titanium option we had is £ 599, but Huawei UK reduces £ 50 for early birds.
Offers in other European countries are even sharper – when you buy the Watch 3 Pro at full price, Huawei throws a few Freebuds for free, offers discounts on a lot of other smart products and offers a bargain in selected countries. With these deals, the Huawei Watch 3 Pro is a bargain.