Huawei’s first official smartwatch running Harmony OS is here, but is the new software a hard sell?
What we love — Great screen, smooth software, solid sports tracking
The Huawei Watch 2 came out all the way back in 2017, so this marks a welcome return to this space from the brand. There have been a few changes, including an elevated price, and the inclusion of its own-brand Harmony OS software for the first time. We found that it runs slickly, without any pesky slow loading times, and the smart assistant Celia is handy with basic queries.
While the design is reminiscent of something like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, there is also a rotating crown bezel that might owe something to the Apple Watch Series 6. The screen within that circular frame is one of the highlights of the device, as it’s a pin-sharp AMOLED with very accurate colours and a maximum brightness level that only struggles under the strongest sunlight.
This watch’s functions focus on fitness, so there’s a total of 100 workout modes, plus heart rate tracking, spO2 monitoring and even a skin temperature sensor, along with emergency features like fall detection and SOS mode.
What we don’t like — Not much app choice, some muddled monitoring, and a battery life compromise
One of the downsides of Harmony OS, at least at this point in time, is that the associated App Gallery doesn’t have the same vast range of choice that’s available on its premium rivals. The store itself is well-presented and easy to navigate, so if some big names climb on board then it will be a force to be reckoned with.
While the watch offers a huge amount of fitness features, we found that the tracking could sometimes be inaccurate; the heartrate monitor tended to overestimate the BPM, while the sleep tracker would downplay the amount of shuteye we’d really been having.
A compromise you’ll have to consider is that the watch offers around three days of battery life under normal conditions, but when “ultra long life mode” is employed then it can last around ten days of usage even though a few apps and features are disabled.
The Huawei Watch 3 is a good smartwatch for users of Android phones, thanks to its wide range of fitness features combined with smart tech, though it doesn’t look versatile enough to trouble the Apple Watch at this stage.