Best Buy Blog

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro smartwatch review

You may not come across a Huawei phone too often around these parts today, but wearables like the Huawei Watch 46mm GT 3 Pro smartwatch and it’s 43mm version with ceramic strap, still look good as solid alternatives.To be clear, you don’t need a Huawei phone to use the Watch GT 3 Pro. You certainly could if you have one, but this device is also designed to work with other Android phones. It’s even compatible with the iPhone, though I’ll get into the trade-offs on that further down.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro design

One thing Huawei continues to demonstrate is that it has taste for this sort of thing. I’ve seen its smartwatches going back several years, and have tested a few along the way. They’ve always stood out for their elegant designs, coming off as both smart and sophisticated.

That’s easy to notice with both sizes in the GT 3 Pro. The 46mm comes with varying bands, though my review unit had a titanium band. The matte finish fits in just fine in a casual setting on a patio, or a more formal event. Its 1.43-inch AMOLED watch face stands out for more than just its sheer size; it’s also the vibrancy. Icons and text look nice and refined on the watch, complementing the physical build in a way that felt fluid to me.

I would argue the same is true of the 43mm model and its ceramic band, which shouts out luxury more than the larger one does. Not because of the gold trim, or that the 46mm doesn’t offer a ceramic variant, but rather the shiny veneer it comes with. This is the kind of watch that should draw some attention from a discerning eye, given how much that white finish stands out. Honestly, my first impression when seeing and holding it was that it might be too effeminate for a man to wear, but I wasn’t so sure after wearing it for a short time.

It is possible to adjust the size of the bands for either model. The titanium model doesn’t require any tools, though I found it a bit of a struggle to get it right. The ceramic model comes with a small screwdriver in the box to pry the pins loose to adjust the overall size. You have to be careful with it because the screw is super tiny and splits off from the pin. If it drops to the ground, you will have a hard time finding it. Best to do it in close quarters hovering over a table.

Setting up the Watch GT 3 Pro

The setup process differs quite a bit between iOS and Android due to restrictions placed on Huawei by U.S. regulators. That means you have to sideload the Huawei Health app onto your Android device. Even if you download it from Google Play—which you still can—that version hasn’t been updated since 2020. You would have to sideload all of the app’s updates as well.

Thankfully, Huawei tries to streamline the process by presenting a QR code you can scan with your phone’s camera. The initial link takes you to an AppGallery page, but you should also see the option to download an APK file, which is the one you’d want to download on your phone. It’s easy enough to install, so long as you clear the way to do so. Go to Settings->Apps->Special app access->Install unknown apps to allow your chosen web browser to download the APK. The pathway might differ a little based on which Android phone you’re using. For instance, on a Samsung phone, it falls under Settings->Biometrics and Security->Install unknown apps. Once that’s done, it’s a fairly straightforward process to get the watch paired and set up with your phone.

It’s much easier on iOS because the Huawei Health app isn’t restricted in the App Store. You download it, pair your Watch GT 3 Pro with your iPhone, and you should be good to go in minutes. Now, regardless of Android or iOS, firmware updates do take a long time over Bluetooth, so I recommend installing them while you’re showering or don’t need to use your watch or phone for a while.

Watch GT 3 Pro OS integration and features

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro isn’t going to heavily integrate with phone apps the way an Apple Watch does with iOS, or how a Galaxy Watch might with an Android one. Running on its own Harmony OS platform, Huawei’s latest smartwatch lies in an interesting middle ground. It doesn’t tap into the Google Play Store, nor Apple’s App Store. You can only try downloading and installing other apps onto it from Huawei’s AppGallery, which is paltry compared to the behemoths Google and Apple built. That limits integration with the most popular phones, so the company had to make up the difference in other ways.

Not surprisingly, you get more out of this watch on Android than you do with an iPhone. You can see notifications come through as an iPhone user, but you can’t really take action on them. You can’t respond to messages, take calls, or otherwise effectuate things from the watch to the phone. In that sense, it’s very much a one-way street to the watch. You’ll have to pull your iPhone out to take it from there.

With Android, the layers cut a little deeper, albeit with restrictions you have to keep in mind. For example, it’s just not possible to pay for anything from the watch. I could never find a way to store a debit or credit card onto it, so that’s out. On the health side, you won’t get access to the electrocardiogram feature. The watch has the goods to track that, but it’s tucked away from view until or unless Health Canada approves it. The blood pressure monitor requires another device to work, and that won’t include anything you probably have access to.

Huawei’s own app marketplace can’t readily replace the apps and services you’ve probably come to rely on. It’s Petal Maps instead of Google Maps. No voice assistant. No WhatsApp or, in all likelihood, whatever health or fitness app you like most. The Watch GT 3 Pro is filled with compromises like these, which is why you may have to look at it as a fitness smartwatch with some lifestyle features.

Exercise and workouts on the Watch GT 3 Pro

Here is really where the Watch GT 3 Pro starts to show its versatility. There are over 100 different workouts listed within the watch for it to track. Not to mention the watch’s 5ATM and IP68 waterproofing lets you swim and dive with it on. It even measures and tracks diving—something not as common on smartwatches these days. Whether you’re a full-time yoga practitioner or hardcore gym rat, it will offer something for you.

You can set goals, training reminders, and even learn some fitness terminology based on exercise regimens on the app. Those are then reflected in the watch, so you stay on track when training. You can also navigate the watch through the touchscreen or the crown on the top right. The bottom right button defaults to the exercise section of the watch, though you can also reassign it in the watch settings.

The only thing missing in the box is a silicone strap to exercise in. You could do it with the titanium and ceramic bands, but I’m not sure you’d want to. Changing bands is easy, and well worth it if you plan on breaking a sweat often wearing this. Golfers will also appreciate Huawei didn’t leave them out. You won’t get course information, like on a Garmin watch, for instance, and it won’t go as deep as the Chinese version does, but at least it can track some of what you’re doing while playing.

Watch GT 3 Pro health tracking

I already touched on the ECG and blood pressure monitor missing in action, but not everything is AWOL. The heart rate monitor is reliable, as is the SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygen. Even the skin temperature sensor is good for what it does. The stress test is fine and a nice addition, too.

All the data they collect syncs over to the app, which gives you a nice dashboard to look over your numbers. There just isn’t a great deal of insight or context as to what the numbers mean. If my skin temperature falls a few degrees, is that any cause for concern? Is there any correlation between blood oxygen results and anything else the watch tracks? It doesn’t say.

Sleep tracking at least takes a stab at it, using a point system to break down how well you slept in a given night, week, month, or year. Note that what the Watch GT 3 Pro does is not all that different from other wearables that track sleep, but it does present the data in a way that’s easy to understand.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro battery life

Huawei has been good at keeping its smartwatches running for longer stretches, and the Watch GT 3 Pro doesn’t stray. With modest usage, you can easily go past a week, whereas if you’re really pushing it every day while working out, you’ll knock that down to four or five days. Still, it’s better battery life than I’ve seen from competing watches, so you won’t be charging this as often. The included wireless charger is good at topping it up, and you also have the choice to charge it on any Qi-enabled wireless charger.

Final thoughts

It’s hard for me to recommend the Watch GT 3 Pro if you don’t plan to use it for workouts. If you’re looking for a lifestyle-centric watch with fitness capabilities, you’ve got plenty of options for that. This watch isn’t it. Huawei’s watch is at its best when tracking your activity. Given how much it updates the firmware, I do expect improvements and new features to arrive over time, but for now, its exercise content drives the rest of the watch’s performance. That you’ll look good wearing it is a nice bonus for the lifestyle part of the equation.

The Huawei Watch 46mm GT 3 Pro and 43mm GT3 Pro are available now at bestbuy.ca.

Exit mobile version