Huawei Watch 3 launches with Harmony OS 2 – and a beefy price tag

Updated: Pricing and release date are now in
Huawei Watch 3 launches with Harmony OS
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Huawei has launched its Huawei Watch 3, and is the first smartwatch to run on the company’s Harmony OS.

There are four editions, the Active (rubber strap), Classic (leather strap) and Elite (metal link bracelet) versions and then there's the Huawei Watch 3 Pro that boasts a titanium and ceramic case and sapphire glass. We have the Classic version with a stitched leather strap, but they are easily swappable with a quick-release clasp if you want to change things up.

Price and availability

The Huawei Watch 3 will launch on 18 June in the UK and Europe. As usual there's no official word on US availability, and we can only assume this will follow in due course – just as it hard on previous Huawei wearables.

It will cost £349.99 for the standard models which works out to around $500. The Watch 3 Pro in titanium will cost £499, which is $700.

Obviously this is a big step up in price and given the similarity of the core features to the GT 2 range – one that will put many off. Few iOS users will likely opt for the Watch 3 over the Apple Watch Series 6, but for Android users looking at a Galaxy Watch 4 – the Huawei Watch 3 will be a tempting proposition.

Huawei Watch 3 specs

Huawei Watch 3 specs

And it’s a looker. A huge visual step up in quality from the Huawei Watch GT2 range, and older Huawei Watch designs that ran Wear OS, the Watch 3 features a sumptuous 1.43-inch AMOLED screen punching out at a vibrant 1000 nit. The panel has a 466 x 466 resolution a 326ppi, making it ones of the best panels going.

It's iOS and Android compatible – but as per previous Huawei devices, Android users will get access to more features including music and calling.

It’s not quite the “bezel-less” design that was shown off to us in press materials, and in use there’s still a significant black rim that runs around the edge.

There’s a rotating crown positioned at 2 o’clock that controls on-watch menus and features, and a secondary button too. This means it can be controlled while wearing gloves and handy for those that find small touchscreens fiddly.

The Huawei Watch 3 also supports LTE, and boasts a serious array of sports and health features.

Health features

Health features

There’s a temperature sensor onboard, in addition to the Huawei TruSeen 4.5 heart rate monitor that’s also got SpO2 abilities.

It also has GPS – and if you opt for the Watch 3 Pro edition, this will be two-channel GPS which will massively boost accuracy.

There are 17 “professional” sport tracking modes that offer extra insights including running, cycling and HIIT. And there are 85 standard workout profiles that just offer standard heart rate and calorie burn information. It also features automatic workout detection, which will kick in when it detects walking, running, elliptical or rower activities.

Health is still a big focus and in addition to the stress and heart rate monitoring, there's also tracking of fatigue levels, as you can see below. That recovery status has been triggered by a morning run, so it's nice to see many of the features working in harmony.

Battery life

Battery life

There’s a complex battery management mode on the Huawei Watch 3 that we’re still trying to get our heads around.

As standard Huawei says the Watch 3 offers three days of battery life, which includes a 4G connection and an always-on screen. That’s obviously quite a step back from the Watch GT2 series that offers closer to two weeks.

However, there’s a battery saver mode that will offer 14 days away from the charger, while still offering 24/7 heart rate tracking, sleep monitoring and access to 14 sport modes.

In our testing so far we’re seeing about 20% drain per day with a short workout in full power mode, without an LTE connection.

Quite a major part of this update is Harmony OS. This usurps Lite OS that was found on the Huawei Watch GT2 models, although the design and feel of the OS is largely the same.

There’s a grid style app launcher rather than the menu, which looks very Apple Watch, but due to the lesser familiarity with the Huawei design, it's difficult to figure out which app is which. Like the Apple Watch, this grid will grow as you install more apps from the Huawei App Gallery – and this is the biggest upside of Harmony OS.

Unsurprisingly, the app selection is quite bare and we didn't recognise many of the brands that are launching onto the platform. We did spot Komoot among the list, which hints that navigation could be a feature of the Watch 3. This is confirmed by Huawei to be something that will be explored post-launch.