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Pros and cons according to our running expert
- Health alerts and goals in the app create strong healthy habits like drinking water.
- The running data is on par with competitors.
- AI technology training plans
- Poor battery life.
- Is far too large for a female wrist (that leaves smaller wrists the smaller watch option which is reported to have an even worse battery life).
- Many features only work with Huawei phones (for eg music)
- Failed navigation completely.
The Huawei GT 3 has everything to take a runner from couch to 5k and beyond with AI, it’s a very impressive watch for the small price tag. While I wouldn’t say it was a serious competitor to the high-end Garmin, Coros and Polar watches for example.
The Huawei GT3 comes in two sizes, 46mm and 42mm with apparent performance contrasts between the two sizes.
Both are made of black steel which gives it a weighty feel. Without the strap, the 46mm watch weighs 42.6g, 35g for the 42mm, smaller watch. As for the screen, both embody an AMOLD color display. The 46mm watch has a screen of 1.43” compared to the 1.32” of the 42mm.
There’s a curvature towards the edge of the screen on the 46mm which has the analogue display etched in white – a little pointless considering the user can pick analogue or digital display with their own time interfaces so these markings are rendered useless and perhaps part of a design more than anything else.
The screen itself is made of “clean” glass, fingerprint markings are a constant with this watch especially as you need to use the button, crown and touch screen to navigate the watch itself.
The heart rate sensor has a levelled up TruSeen 5.0+ and has 8 photodiodes in a circular layout for more accurate heart rate monitoring, however, this struggled to monitor heart rate through a tattoo.
I had to wear the watch on my inner wrist to pick up heart rate monitoring, get a blood pressure reading etc. which meant it was at a higher risk for scuffs and scratches – especially considering the screen edging making it annoyingly difficult to get a screen protector.
However, the GT3 is only 11mm thick so it sat nice and flush against the wrist and the black steel casing is robust. It hasn’t yet been marked or scratched which is more than I can say for the Garmin 265s for example.
The 46mm watch is clearly designed for a male and the 42mm, female, as the larger watch felt insanely big when wearing. The watch straps are made from Fluoroelastomer and honestly are not very flexible in comparison to silicone straps. You can purchase steel, leather or Nylon and they’re easily changed, should you want to.
But just a note on strap sizes, I had to wear it on the second to last strap hole – so for smaller wrists I would advise opting for the 42mm option.
However, the problem with the smaller 42mm GT3 comes with a significant caveat. Its battery life – which we will dive into deeper below.
The manufacturer also declares a 50m water resistance, however, I have not swam with this watch to test its resistance – I have used it in the rain and there were no problems at all regarding the touchscreen.
There is a feature which clears the watch of water which is rather bizarre sounding so be prepared for that. I didn’t need it for my wet runs, but I tried it out anyway.
The Huawei GT3 utilises three options to navigate the interface -a button, a crown (both on the right-hand side) and a touch screen – and you will need to use at least two of the three to use the watch.
Depending on what screen you go for depends I suppose how you access the information. So with my digital ‘simple clear’ design, I had most of the monitoring to hand which you can tap on at any point and the details come up.
To change the screen, it’s a long touch (which often happens without you knowing so be aware). To get to the menu you press the crown and then scroll up and down either with the crown or swiping on the touch screen itself. To come off the menu you can click the crown or swipe from left to right on the screen.
To select DO NOT press the crown – this took me an annoyingly long time to get to grips with. You have to select via the touch screen. The ‘down’ button can help you scroll down but there’s not much point – it is just a shortcut button and you can personalise it to open anything you set from torch to workout to settings. It’s a bit of a waste to be honest might as well not be there.
The buttons are not stiff nor spongy but have a click quality, again audible beeps and stronger/weaker vibration settings can be changed in the settings to suit your preference.
One thing I was alarmed not to see was a Lock Screen. Throughout the night I would apparently work the watch which is both blindingly bright in the dead of the night, and annoying to wake up to your watch checking stress or something daft.
You will not have to tap the icons on the one screen you can swipe right to left and set up the widgets you want – it offers a cool moon phase widget, alongside heart rate, stress, health rings and weather for example.
It worked a lot like the Garmin 265s with a temperamental arrow however the audible distances from your route were really helpful also, and it was accurate.
The snag? I set up a 4-mile loop around an area I hadn’t been before but found online. Downloaded the route with ease and selected it. As soon as I started it thought I had finished and said navigation finished. Hmm. I moved half a mile up the street knowing I could see my start point from there, and tried again. Still, it said I had reached my destination. I kept moving on and about a mile or so away from the start point I started the navigation again and it kept ending.
I tried this 10 times and 10 times it wouldn’t register so I gave up on the navigation and hoped for the best. On the route back I thought I’d try it again – about 600ft high from my car (the start point) it said I had reached my destination so clearly it struggles with incline too on the GPS reading. It was extremely frustrating!
Other than the navigation I really enjoyed running with the Huawei GT3, it’s comfortable (even the 46mm on a tiny wrist) and light.
The broadcasting of workout details is great however they only work IF you’re headphones are not also connected to your phone and/or you’re playing music. I cannot speak for a Huawei phone user but for an iPhone user, it wasn’t ideal. So I took out one AirPod and had it broadcast out loud and listened to music with the other no big deal really.
What baffled me on the run with the Huawei GT3 was the fact that I locked the screen but every button paused my workout. So what was the point of that?
I could tap the screen or move the crown to pause it – not good! While it didn’t actually stop a workout I was doing, the data screens kept changing and that’s a personal ‘ick’ of mine – if you can deal with that then you’re a better person than I am and clearly, this watch might suit.
When running I compared the metrics to my trusty Polar Vantage V2 and they were absolutely on par with each other.
I can’t express how impressed I was with the data and the amount it offered me post-run from a smartwatch. From map to cadence, mile splits, altitude, heart rate stats, pace, stress and recovery too. There’s even a little hourly countdown on the training widget from the last workout.
You can connect with the Huawei health app for a closer look at the details of your run, like you can with any fitness watch and their app to be honest, but the details are good and accurate.
I did like the recovery heart rate option post-workout although I need to walk a little, especially after a tough run, standing still doesn’t work for me, and the watch wanted me to keep still for two minutes for it to monitor – so we also fell over that for a while.
Huawei declares there are 100 sports profiles to choose from, well there are 18 on the watch and I’m not too sure how to find the remaining 82? It might be through the app but that really isn’t clear.
Although the GT3 can link to the HRM in the gym, such as the treadmill, bike etc. and is compatible with a rowing machine connection which is a nice touch.
The running stats were on par with my favoured Polar Vantage V2 from the distance to the mile splits and even down to cadence, so it is an accurate fitness tracking watch.
I cannot speak for the swimming length count or cycling parameters because I haven’t tested them – I’m going off the availability within the app and watching themselves.
According to Huawei, the 42mm battery life is only 7 days whereas the 46mm watch comes with a 14-day battery life expectancy. I struggled to find out how they’ve come to this conclusion as the 46mm watch did not last more than six days before needing a recharge.
Don’t get me wrong, charging whilst in the shower was sufficient enough but I wanted to test the length of battery life without an always-on display and without heavy training.
So basically in smart-watch mode and it did not last a week. So to say the 42mm would have 7 days battery life may be an over-exaggeration or it could offer the same as its counterpart.
In addition to this, if you have a Huawei phone that supports wireless charging then you can simply charge the watch on the go which is a new phenomenon with its competitors for sure.
However, if, like me, you have an iPhone, well this is not an option.
The first thing to mention here is the music – you cannot use music in conjunction with workout broadcasts if you do not have a Huawei phone. You cannot control your music via the watch either UNLESS you have the Huawei music app on your phone – so a Huawei phone. To be honest it wasn’t a big deal if you take your phone running with you anyway.
The period tracker is competitive with others such as Flow or Clue app. It is visible on your watch too so you don’t need to have your phone with you if you need to check (that’s one up on the Garmin and two up from Polar!) However, to track and review symptoms, moods etc. it is all through the app.
Taking a phone call with the watch was an odd experience the first time around but actually, it became very useful, and I preferred that to using headphones – the caller often struggles to hear with a headset, but this watch call was crisp, loud and clear for both parties – so far so good.
The Huawei Health app itself is a feature – even if you don’t have the wearable, you can still download and use the app to help you make better, healthier decisions like drinking water throughout the day, smiling and steps. I’d advise the wearable because then you have a whole realm of health data at your fingertips.
Sleep data was good however you need the app to actually understand your sleep data. Nothing is given to you like a morning report or recovery stats based on your sleep so that is a bit behind its competitors Polar and Garmin in that sense. But open the app and it’s all there minus the effect on recovery.
Okay, I was so impressed with this AI training plan builder feature. Answer a few details about age, mileage, goal and which days you want to run and the rest is done for you. It doesn’t include resistance workouts but you can’t expect everything, or can you?
My last race was a 50-mile ultra run, and because I had been resting for a significant period of time, the watch assumed I was a beginner which, after about 10 years of running I wasn’t best pleased with but based on my recent mileage… It’s not got much else to go on, I suppose?
You can opt for different plans if your ego is as precious as mine, just disable the one you have and sign up for another in the app, add it to the calendar and then you’re good to go again.
It does offer running programmes, and while it supports cycling measures in the app there are no training plans for it, so if you’re a triathlete, or need to develop your cycling fitness, sadly this watch is not for you – same with walking.
There are no other workouts on the watch available. You can set swimming or hiking, cycling goals such as distance or lengths but that’s pretty much it – so on the training front it’s not a fantastic offering.
For about $200 for the 46mm and $125 for the smaller 42mm option, this watch is fantastic for anyone looking to make healthy habits and adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle. The watch does the thinking for you, so all you have to do is get out and run when it says to, exactly how it says to.
The same goes for the hydration reminders – they might be annoying but they do help get you in a habit. And in the end, I tried to get hydrated before the reminder came – because I’m a tad competitive.
However, as a keen ultra-runner, it was okay to keep ticking over between races or training plans but the training plans on offer didn’t reflect what I needed, and I had an awful time with navigation, plus not being able to read my heart rate through a tattoo… It’s a no from me but I would recommend this watch to beginners to a first-timer marathon for definite.
It has everything to take a runner from couch to 5k and beyond with AI, it’s a very impressive watch for the small price tag. While I wouldn’t say it was a serious competitor to the high-end Garmin, Coros and Polar watches for example.
But its features are not one to be ignored and I recon that with a bit more development, the top dogs better look out!
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