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Huawei Watch Three Evaluation: Horological Dissonance



It is no secret that – on the worldwide stage, not less than – Huawei’s smartphone enterprise was ripped to shreds after the Trump administration’s entity record restricted its entry to US-related applied sciences and firms. However within the face of adversity, the Chinese language tech big has been fast to pivot its focus; investing and growing the opposite product classes it is already concerned with (in addition to branching into new ones), together with smartwatches.

The arrival of the Huawei Watch 3 (and Watch Three Professional) isn’t any coincidence. With the transfer away from Android – after dropping assist for Google Cell Companies on its internationally-released smartphones – Huawei doubled down on its efforts to construct a platform of its personal and what it got here up with was HarmonyOS (a.ok.a. ‘HongMengOS’ in China).

On the launch occasion for HarmonyOS 2.Zero on 2 June 2021, Huawei unveiled a slew of {hardware} set to showcase the platform; together with the Huawei Watch 3. The Watch Three is not only a long-overdue successor to 2018’s Put on OS-powered Huawei Watch 2 although, for a lot of it will probably be the primary style of HarmonyOS that customers outdoors of China will come into contact with, so that you’d hope it makes an excellent first impression.

Design and construct

Watch Three and Watch Three Professional sport distinct kinds
Wonderful construct high quality and hardiness
Interchangeable 22mm straps

Whereas each the Watch Three and Watch Three Professional share in the identical show measurement and design, the usual mannequin sports activities softer strains and extra rounded parts, whereas the Professional mannequin opts for more durable edges and bolder geometry.

The usual Watch Three most intently resembles the rounded 42mm Huawei Watch GT 2, with a pillowed toughened glass entrance and tapered lugs; sharing in its predecessor’s assist for quick-release 22mm bands and 5ATM water resistance.

Regardless of comparable strains, nevertheless, this technology of Huawei would not really embrace a smaller 42mm variant (as with the GT 2 line), which means the ‘Lively’ mannequin of the Watch 3 – with its black casing and matching fluoroelastomer strap – is the bottom profile possibility of the lineup. There’s additionally a Traditional and Elite model of the Watch Three to think about, each of which characteristic a silver casing and both a brown leather-based or chrome steel hyperlink strap, respectively.

You are not beholden to any form of proprietary straps in both case however Huawei does promote its personal line of EasyFit 2 bands that are available an assortment of colors, supplies and kinds, when you’re in search of a spot to start out on the subject of personalising the look of your Watch 3.

Going Professional means you commerce as much as sapphire crystal on the entrance, whereas the 316L chrome steel of the traditional Watch Three is changed by extra premium titanium alloy – not in contrast to 2020’s luxurious Watch GT 2 Professional.

The large addition with this technology of Huawei smartwatch is the ‘3D rotating crown,’ which when you’ve seen or dealt with an Apple Watch, needs to be immediately acquainted. Haptics lend credibility to this new technique of interplay, with exact ticks and faucets in opposition to your wrist when urgent and twisting the crown as a superb technique of sensory suggestions.

The assortment of LEDs, photodiodes and a sapphire crystal lens (collectively dubbed Huawei’s TruSeen 4.5 sensor) on the watch’s again facilitate fixed coronary heart price monitoring, SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) monitoring, assist assist sleep monitoring and even continuously log pores and skin temperature – one thing solely actually discovered within the shopper wearable house on the Fitbit Sense, proper now.

Having lived with the Watch Three for months, maybe one of the spectacular facets of its design is its hardiness. Regardless of repeated knocks, scrapes and drops (on laminate and linoleum, as effectively in opposition to wooden, plaster and glass) the watch appears to be like virtually unscathed; by way of each the steel casing and that pillowed cowl glass, which even repels micro-abrasions with shocking confidence.

For a timepiece that is not marketed with any form of ruggedisation or hardiness past its water-resistance/swim-proofing, the Watch Three weathers extremely effectively, even with every day put on.

Show and audio

Vibrant, crisp AMOLED show
In depth show controls and options
Disappointing microphone efficiency

Behind that cowl glass sits a 1.43in round AMOLED show, which guarantees an equally sharp 326ppi, on-par with the likes of each Apple’s and Oppo’s signature smartwatches. What’s extra, in observe it is clear, vivid and vibrant sufficient to look at in vivid outside circumstances, with out subject.

The watch comes with over 30 pre-loaded watch faces, offering loads of selection, helped by the truth that many embrace animated parts and customisable issues. All of them additionally possess some extent of always-on performance that displays their energetic design however enabling always-on mode does produce a warning that this characteristic can probably minimize battery life in half.

In reality, one of many good issues concerning the show expertise is the extent of transparency and management over its characteristic set; with the varied put in watch faces all coming with energy consumption rankings – so you realize which is able to trigger extra drain at a look earlier than selecting one.

In addition to always-on performance, show settings additionally embrace a tilt-to-wake characteristic (which I most well-liked over always-on mode, even when it initially felt on the sluggish facet), a torch, computerized and handbook brightness management, and the flexibility to lock the display to ‘on’ for a set time period (as much as 20 minutes, in five-minute increments).

Further watch faces could be downloaded from the paired Huawei Well being app, which options its personal curated retailer of each official and user-created watch faces, consisting of each free and paid choices.

Audio

The Huawei Watch Three additionally contains an built-in speaker, which is most helpful when relaying pertinent well being info throughout exercises – together with tempo and coronary heart price – normally each ten minutes, relying on the exercise.

It gives surprisingly good readability that may really deal with music (as long as the tunes in query aren’t too rambunctious), though I might dissuade anybody from utilizing the Watch Three as a reputable means of truly having fun with Doja Cat on the go.

Loudness for a smartwatch is respectable too, however join a pair of headphones through Bluetooth when you really need to take heed to tunes instantly from the watch; whether or not they’re saved domestically otherwise you’ve swung for Huawei Music’s streaming service, which helps offline playback too.

The microphone expertise – which you will probably most frequently use to work together with Huawei’s digital assistant, Celia – is rather less dependable; struggling to parse easy queries, like checking the climate and even recognising the “Hey, Celia” wake command on a constant foundation.

Software program and options

One of many first gadgets to run HarmonyOS 2 globally
Closely apes each Put on OS and watchOS
On-wrist AppGallery app retailer

Simply as HarmonyOS bears greater than a passing resemblance to Android because it seems on telephones and tablets, so too does its guise on the Watch 3; echoing facets of each Google’s and Apple’s wearable platforms by way of each feel and look. The method could also be unoriginal, certain, however some may discover the top outcome richer for it, to not point out the whole lot runs extra easily in comparison with the likes of Huawei’s personal Lite OS-toting GT 2 line.

These aware of Put on OS ought to really feel at dwelling with the format of HarmonyOS 2 on the Watch 3; with the principle watch face serving as a central hub, with options grouped into spokes operating off in 4 instructions.

The Celia assistant is a swipe to the precise (or a button press away), notifications are uncovered with a swipe up, tiles – widgets that present quick access to options like coronary heart price and climate – are introduced in by swiping left (near-identically to Put on OS’s Tiles), whereas fast settings – together with the torch characteristic and Discover my Telephone performance – are hidden behind a swipe down.

The large departure from the Put on OS tropes comes with a press of that 3D rotating crown, which (by default, not less than) brings up an apps grid that intently apes Apple’s watchOS grid view. Twisting the crown additionally means that you can zoom out and in of the grid, simply as on an Apple Watch.

As for the app choice, the Watch Three is completely brimming with options out the field; from a compass to a calendar, Huawei’s personal Petal Maps, and there is even a devoted on-watch model of the AppGallery (Huawei’s app retailer) that helps third-party apps to increase performance additional – one thing the corporate’s Lite OS watches had been typically criticised for missing prior to now.

Whereas most notifications do not permit for any actual interactivity, supported messaging apps – together with WhatsApp – do allow you to reply on-wrist.

Textual content entry is surprisingly competent on the Watch 3, with an on-screen keyboard that impressed with its skill to grasp which letters my sizeable fingertip was aiming for amidst the minuscule keys. Voice enter and fast replies (which you’ll be able to handle from the Huawei Well being app in your related smartphone) are additionally supported when you’d slightly.

As for connectivity, in addition to Bluetooth, the Watch Three connects to WiFi (helpful for streaming music or downloading apps from the AppGallery), in addition to NFC – working along side loyalty playing cards and the like that you just might need added to the Huawei Pockets app (though credit score/debit playing cards aren’t supported within the UK, the place this mannequin was reviewed).

Not like Apple’s wearables, even probably the most modestly-priced variant of the Watch Three comes full with eSIM performance built-in too, which means consumers will not must fork out further (past a suitable contract) in the event that they need to go phone-free once in a while.

Health and monitoring

Over 100 trackable actions
Tracks a formidable variety of metrics
Thought-about in-workout glanceable, pertinent metrics

Nearly all of the Watch 3’s wealthy characteristic set is targeted on health and wellbeing. As talked about earlier, it is one of many solely smartwatches past the Fitbit Sense on the market with the flexibility to watch pores and skin temperature (a helpful metric in stress detection), however it’s additionally outfitted to trace coronary heart price, SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation), sleep and extra.

Normal every day health is damaged down right into a trio of key metrics; represented as blue, orange and pink crescents (they are not fairly the Apple Watch’s rings however they actually look acquainted, regardless).

The Watch Three logs your steps, exercise and energetic hours all through the day, with the intention of filling these crescent-shaped segments earlier than the day’s finish; a simple, glanceable approach to hold tabs in your basic exercise over a 24-hour interval. You possibly can drill all the way down to see much more metrics previous the bottom crescents – like stairs climbed – too (the watch contains a barometric strain sensor to gauge altitude).

On the lookout for extra particular exercise monitoring? There’s assist for over 100 actions, together with superior monitoring for 17 of these (referred to as “skilled” exercise modes). Automated exercise detection additionally is not dangerous; particularly with easy walks, which you’ll be able to specify as indoor or outside and log retroactively.

Relying on the exercise, the Watch Three shows present pertinent metrics, like coronary heart price, tempo and exercise depth, and even throws out audio updates, corresponding to how lengthy you have been figuring out and different key metrics you may prefer to hold tabs on, with out having to look down.

Efficiency and battery

Responsive UI
Promising longevity
Ongoing bugs undermine person expertise

Equally to the likes of the Oppo Watch, the Watch Three depends on a twin chipset structure to steadiness high-end efficiency in opposition to energy effectivity. The Professional mannequin additionally boasts extra correct dual-channel GPS; a rarity within the wearable house and a characteristic the corporate first applied contained in the Kirin 980 chipset powering its Mate 20 sequence smartphones.

From the second you energy the Watch Three up, probably the most evident departure from its direct predecessors (within the GT 2 sequence) is how fast and responsive the whole lot feels.

HarmonyOS 2 on the Huawei Watch Three not solely appears to be like like a extra premium smartwatch person expertise than we’re used to from the corporate’s timepieces, it looks like one. That is thanks, partly, to snappy animations and low contact latency; making for probably the most premium wearable expertise Huawei has put out so far.

The caveat right here is that – in its present state, not less than – there are nonetheless elementary points that even months after launch nonetheless have not been addressed. Bugs embrace alarms failing to go off, tracked exercise seemingly ending with out warning and each timers in addition to the watch face itself all having frozen quite a few through the overview interval, regardless of a number of rounds of updates.

every so often, undermining the elemental performance that the Huawei Watch Three must nail to show HarmonyOS is a reputable smartwatch platform within the area.

Longevity

On the battery life facet, the Watch Three guarantees three days of wear and tear in ‘regular mode’ or 14 in ‘ultra-long battery life mode’ (nearer to that of the corporate’s Lite OS-powered timepieces), whereas the Professional totes as much as 5 days of standard use that extends to 21 days in power-saving mode.

Usually use, I discovered the Watch Three required a recharge each couple of days (slightly than the promised three) however that also surpassed expectations and makes this a extra viable weekend put on away from a charger than Apple’s prime timepiece.

Mileage varies fairly considerably, the place wearables are involved, with even small modifications in utilization probably amounting to huge shifts in longevity. A 90-minute cardio exercise sapped 5% of the Watch 3’s energy, whereas a 45-minute run with fixed coronary heart price and GPS enabled was nearly as demanding on the battery.

For these instances while you merely aren’t going to have the ability to recharge as typically as you normally would, the Watch Three does characteristic an ‘Extremely-long battery life mode’, which disables WiFi and mobile connectivity (if arrange) and modifications the person expertise to one thing extra instantly harking back to Lite OS; not simply visually however on the subject of throttling again UI animations and locking off choose apps, just like the AppGallery.

Even so, the color UI parts and the whole lot that does stay out there make this one of the feature-rich power-saving modes I’ve encountered on a wearable.

Worth and availability

Each the Huawei Watch Three and Watch Three Professional had been unveiled as a part of Huawei’s June 2021 HarmonyOS launch occasion and each went on sale internationally later that very same month: on 18 June for the usual mannequin and 27 June for the Watch Three Professional.

At launch, the Huawei Watch Three value £349.99/€369 (making it one of many model’s costliest smartwatches so far – excluding Porsche Design variants), whereas the Watch Three Professional value from £499.99/€499.

That beginning value locations it toe-to-toe with the present Apple Watch, whereas Samsung’s Put on OS 3-toting Galaxy Watch Four gives a equally aggressive wearable expertise at a notably decrease beginning value.

Each fashions can be found from the Huawei Retailer (UK, France, Germany, Spain) and chosen retailers, together with Amazon (UK, France, Germany, Spain), with frequent reductions and bundles that includes on Huawei’s personal website.

Verdict

There is no doubt that the Huawei Watch Three and Watch Three Professional current probably the most feature-packed and succesful wearable expertise the corporate timepieces have supplied so far.

HarmonyOS transcends Huawei’s present Lite OS smartwatch expertise by constructing on it in (nearly) all the precise methods; resulting in one thing that feels actually aggressive in opposition to premium rivals from the likes of Apple and Samsung. There’s additionally the truth that Put on OS 3’s anticipated lack of iOS assist renders the Watch Three one of many solely worthwhile premium alternate options to the Apple Look ahead to iPhone customers.

The added performance and complexity that HarmonyOS has delivered to Huawei’s wearables does additionally enhance the prospect of issues and a few elementary, ongoing bugs severely harm the Watch Three line’s skill to be an in any other case straightforward suggestion.

Specs
Huawei Watch 3: Specs

1.43in round (466×466) 60Hz AMOLED show

316L chrome steel/titanium casing (customary/Professional)

Ceramic again

2GB RAM

16GB storage

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Geomagnetic sensor

Optical coronary heart price sensor

Ambient mild sensor

Barometer

Temperature Sensor

Speaker

Microphone

100+ exercise modes: 19 ‘professional’ modes, 85 customized modes, computerized exercise detection for six modes

5ATM water resistance

eSIM (LTE)

Bluetooth 5.2 + BLE

WiFi (2.4GHz-only)

NFC

GPS+GLONASS+Galileo+Beidou/GPS-L1+GPS-L5+GLONASS+Galileo+Beidou+QZSS (customary/Professional)

Battery: As much as 3/5 days – Sensible mode (customary/Professional), 14/21 days – Extremely-long battery mode (customary/Professional)

Wi-fi charging

5V 2A magnetic USB wi-fi charger

54/63 grams w/o strap (customary/Professional)

46.2mm x 46.2mm x 12.15mm (customary)
48mm x 49.6mm x 14mm (Professional)

Compatibility: Android 6.0/iOS 9.Zero or later

About the author: SubSellKaro

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