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HomeReviewsHuawei Watch GT 3 Pro review: Luxuriously limiting

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro review: Luxuriously limiting

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro on man's wrist in pocket.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro
MSRP $540.00

Score Details

“The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a truly luxurious smartwatch packed with proven, reliable fitness technology, but it’s missing that something special, and the platform lacks wide appeal.”

Pros

  • Choice of size and design
  • Luxury materials
  • At least a week’s battery life
  • Fast and accurate GPS
  • Comprehensive activity tracking and app

Cons

  • Some features are Huawei-only
  • ECG feature is not ready
  • No neutral design for the 43mm model
  • Very limited app support

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a new product, but its features make it a bit of a “greatest hits” model in Huawei’s smartwatch range. It’s not drastically different from the Watch GT 3 in terms of technology, it has styling that harks back to the Watch GT 2 Pro, and it takes plenty from the Watch GT 2 Porsche Design smartwatch too. Plus, it has the new health tech that made the Watch GT Runner special.

Contents

  • Design
  • Sensors and fitness
  • Software
  • Activity tracking
  • Battery
  • Price and availability
  • Our takeShow 2 more items

Can soaking up the best of previous models make this a truly great smartwatch, and can the luxury design make up for the limitations of HarmonyOS?

Design

We are concentrating on the 46mm Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Titanium for our review, but also talk about the smaller 43mm Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic, which is also pictured. The design, screen size, and battery capacity separate the two models.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch GT 3 Pro abandons the open lug design of the Watch GT 3 and adopts the solid, built-in lug design taken from the Watch GT 2 Pro and Porsche Design models. The contours and shapes used are very similar to the Porsche Design Watch GT 2, right down to the type of clasp and its design. Even the use of titanium for the case and the bracelet recall the Porsche Design version.

The built-in lugs make the 46mm Watch GT 3 Pro look and wear like a very large watch. Put it alongside the G-Shock MTG-B1000, and there’s little to distinguish between them. It is also considerably larger than my 43mm Oris Aquis GMT. I have a 6.5-inch wrist, and as you can see in the photos, the lugs extend to its edge.

The titanium bracelet on this top model makes the smartwatch lightweight for an all-metal design at 97 grams, and although it’s cool against the skin, it has caught on my arm hair quite often. It’s also not the best choice for wearing overnight, or to keep the heart rate sensor tight against your wrist either. The quick-release method for adjusting its length was more of a pain than on the old Porsche Design Watch GT 2 Pro, which also shared the same system. If you don’t want the titanium bracelet, the watch is also available with a leather or a silicone strap.

On the front is a sharp, bright, and colorful 1.43-inch AMOLED screen with a 466 x 466-pixel resolution. It’s a good-looking smartwatch, and the materials used — titanium for the case, ceramic on the case back, and sapphire crystal over the screen — mean it’s up there with some luxury traditional watches, but you can’t get away from how large it is and the statement it makes on your wrist.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei also has a smaller 43mm version of the Watch GT 3 Pro, which it says is designed for women, and sure enough, there’s a scalloped bezel and some gold or silver accents instead of the hard, sharp lines of the 46mm model. It has a 1.32-inch screen, but it’s dramatically different in style. The unusual all-ceramic case and fantastic bracelet design really set it apart from other smartwatches. Ceramic is hardwearing, skin-friendly, and beautifully smooth and warm, making it ideal for use on watches.

The ceramic bracelet looks and feels exquisite. Each link has a polished sheen, the solid lugs are compact and subtle, and the butterfly clasp is not only visually ideal, but it feels strong and high quality when you lock and unlock it. I could do without the gold accents — I think they cheapen it slightly — but otherwise the 43mm ceramic Watch GT 3 Pro is the better-proportioned, more stylish of the two models.


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Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with G-Shock MTG B1000 watch.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with a G-Shock MTG-B1000 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with Oris Aquis watch.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with an Oris Aquis GMT Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Elite with smaller Ceramic version.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Elite and Ceramic versions Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s a shame there isn’t a 43mm Watch GT 3 Pro with a more neutral design. The size is more appropriate for my wrist, and I suspect it will be for others, too. I prefer it over the 46mm model, which, despite the beautiful materials, is just too big.

Sensors and fitness

What makes the Watch GT 3 Pro pro? The biggest change comes from the heart rate sensor, which has been upgraded to feature eight photodiodes and uses the TruSeen 5.0+ system with improved heart rate monitoring that we recently saw on the Watch GT Runner. It also uses the same onboard AI software to help clean up the signal when measuring heart rate in difficult situations.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei says the golf workout mode now has a swing measurement feature, and there’s a freediving mode that operates in 30 meters of open water. Several of the watch faces will dynamically change between night and day, and these are exclusively for the Watch GT 3 Pro. Otherwise, it also has the dual-band, five-system GPS seen on the GT Runner, Bluetooth calling, music control, IP68 and 5ATM water resistance, and up to 14 days battery life for the 46mm model and seven days for the smaller 43mm smartwatch.

Wondering where the special feature is? It’s missing in action. It should be able to take an Electrocardiogram (ECG), but this is not available on global Watch GT 3 Pro models due to the feature not yet being approved by regulators in Europe. Huawei couldn’t provide an idea of when that would happen, but said it hoped for approval to come this year.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch GT 3 Pro brings what made the Watch GT Runner interesting into a less sporty design, but it’s questionable whether this makes it truly “Pro.” It’s also no different in operation from the GT Runner or the Watch GT 3, so if you own either of these, the GT 3 Pro should not be considered an upgrade. Similarly, if you looked at either of these in the past and dismissed them, don’t expect the Watch GT 3 Pro to change your mind.

Software

The Watch GT 3 Pro features HarmonyOS 2.1, and I’ve been using it connected to an iPhone 13 Pro. To use the smartwatch, you need to download Huawei Health, which comes from the App Store on iOS, or through the separately downloaded Huawei App Gallery on Android. It’s the same process as on the Watch GT 3 and is quite long-winded on Android, but a little easier on the iPhone and easier still if you connect to a Huawei phone. My Watch GT 3 Pro required a software update of about 400MB, and it took an entire morning to complete.


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SP02 reading on the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The weather app on the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro's quick settings menu.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Notifications on the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The main menu on the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Heart rate reading on the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

HarmonyOS looks great. It operates like a mix of WearOS and WatchOS, with a main menu that can be a grid or a list, plus a slide-down quick settings menu and a notification list that takes a swipe up to access. The crown on the side of the watch can be used to scroll through lists, and the lower button opens the workout mode by default. It’s all very fast and very smooth.

If you don’t use a Huawei phone, you do lose some features. For example, notifications are interactive if you own a Huawei phone, but are limited to just text on iOS, where they did reliably arrive. There’s no Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa voice assistant support and Huawei’s Celia requires a Huawei phone to work. You can’t use Google Maps, but Huawei’s decent Petal Maps is there, and if you use an iPhone, then third-party apps aren’t available.

You need to be aware of its limitations app-wise, and when not using it with a Huawei phone.

The lack of additional apps is a problem on the fitness side too, as there’s no support for platforms like Strava or Google Fit, or music apps like Spotify. This reduced functionality can make the Watch GT 3 Pro feel a little like a very nicely made fitness tracker rather than a smartwatch. But the lack of these apps won’t affect everyone, just as long as you know what you’re getting before buying.

HarmonyOS itself can’t match the wonderful simplicity and power of WatchOS, but it’s more pleasurable and logical to use than WearOS. You need to be aware of its limitations app-wise, and when not using it with a Huawei phone.

Activity tracking

The activity-tracking features are identical to those offered on the Huawei Watch GT Runner. There are more than 100 different activities to track, accessed with a press of the lower button on the case. I tracked several activities with the Watch GT 3 Pro and compared it to the Apple Watch Series 7. It acquires a GPS signal quickly and an interactive map is shown in the app, along with all your workout data. The screen shows distance, heart rate, and pace during workouts in a large, easy to read font.


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Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Elite's titanium bracelet seen from the side.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro seen from the side.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic worn on a man's wrist showing the bracelet.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro seen from the side on a wrist.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic's screen on a wrist.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The two smartwatches agree on distance, average pace, and active calorie burn. The heart rate sensor did record a slightly lower number than the Apple Watch, and I put this down to the Watch GT 3 Pro’s titanium bracelet not holding the smartwatch against my skin. Otherwise, the shared results suggest each is accurate. The Health app is logical and neat, although there is a lot of data to sift through and it can get a little overwhelming.

Huawei’s Healthy Living Shamrock (yes, that really is its name) is Huawei’s version of Apple’s ring-based system for tracking daily progress. There are several different motivational plans to choose from, including relaxation, activity, and losing weight. Meet your goals and each “shamrock leaf” will be filled in. It’s quite unusual, and I appreciate how it is doing something different, but it’s not as effortless or as simple as a ring-based system. It’s all optional though, so you don’t have to use it.


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Huawei Health app showing the main activity data overview page.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Health app showing showing the Healthy Living Shamrock data.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Health app showing heart rate data.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Health app showing the device settings page.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Health app showing Sp02 data.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei Health app showing walking activity data.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

When assessed as a standalone system, the Watch GT 3 Pro is an excellent workout partner, helped by the big, clear screen and its sharp text, plus a massive range of workout modes from the usual (walking and running) to the very unusual (freediving). However, Huawei Health operates in its own little bubble, which is important to understand if you currently rely on fitness platforms like Strava.

Battery

Huawei claims that the 46mm model’s battery will last for 14 days and the 43mm’s battery for seven days, but that depends on which features you use. I have used the 46mm model with the always-on screen, 24-hour heart rate, and Sp02 monitoring, as well as logged a couple of GPS-enabled workouts, and it has lasted for 10 days. Add sleep tracking and another few workouts, and this may drop to around a week.

This is superior to the competition, but don’t expect it to reach Huawei’s claimed times unless you don’t use all the included features. The smartwatch is charged using an included plinth. It attaches magnetically to the back of the smartwatch and charging takes about an hour.

Price and availability

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro in titanium with the titanium bracelet costs 430 British pounds, or around $540, but the same watch with a leather strap costs 300 pounds ($377), making it the better value purchase. The 43mm ceramic model costs 500 pounds ($628), with gold accents or 430 pounds ($540) with silver accents. Pre-orders are open now through Huawei’s online store, with deliveries expected in June.

Huawei has not officially announced the Watch GT 3 Pro for the U.S., and is unlikely to do so. It could be purchased as an import.

Our take

Huawei has continued to refine its top smartwatch, and the Watch GT 3 Pro combines everything we liked about the Watch GT Runner’s fitness technology with the everyday appeal of the Watch GT series’ design. Giving it the name “Pro” suggests there’s a lot more to the technology than there is; it’s more of a “Lux” model on account of the high-quality materials used.

It’s still a very high-spec smartwatch, and other standout features include the long battery life and the varied and easy to use activity-tracking features. The quirks around the setup process remain, but once you’re past this, the Watch GT 3 Pro becomes easy to live with, reliable, and very capable. You’ll have to be satisfied with Huawei Health as your sole activity-tracking app though.

All this aside, if you like the design, the Watch GT 3 Pro is a good alternative to a WearOS smartwatch for use with an Android phone, but it can’t beat the Apple Watch when it comes to working with an iPhone. Huawei smartphones today require an “eyes open” approach before buying, and the Watch GT 3 Pro continues the trend for its smartwatches.

Is there a better alternative?

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro has two clear rivals — the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The Apple Watch Series 7 remains the best option for iPhone owners due to its tight integration with iOS, while the Galaxy Watch 4 is the current recommendation for those who want a WearOS smartwatch for Android, again due to the way it integrates with Android. If you own a Huawei smartphone like the P50 Pro, then the Watch GT 3 Pro makes the best sense for the same reasons, as it works perfectly with HarmonyOS on the phone.

How long will it last?

The Watch GT 3 Pro’s design means it’s unlikely to age poorly, and should still look as good on your wrist in two years time as it does today. Both titanium and ceramic are hard-wearing, as is the sapphire crystal over the screen, helping to protect the smartwatch’s finish. It’s water resistant to 5ATM and has an IP68 water-resistance rating. Huawei is committed to HarmonyOS and will continue to support the software. There’s years of use in the Watch GT 3 Pro.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a “greatest hits” smartwatch, but that’s not a bad thing, as the technology it boasts is refined and proven to work, and it’s all wrapped up in a luxurious case. Just be aware of its limitations.

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