Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro review: Luxuriously limiting

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro on man's wrist in pocket.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro

MSRP $540.00

“The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a truly luxurious smartwatch packed with proven, reliable fitness technology, but it’s missing that something special, and the platform lacks wide appeal.”

Pros

  • Choice of size and design
  • Luxury materials
  • At least a week’s battery life
  • Fast and accurate GPS
  • Comprehensive activity tracking and app

Cons

  • Some features are Huawei-only
  • ECG feature is not ready
  • No neutral design for the 43mm model
  • Very limited app support

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a new product, but its features make it a bit of a “greatest hits” model in Huawei’s smartwatch range. It’s not drastically different from the Watch GT 3 in terms of technology, it has styling that harks back to the Watch GT 2 Pro, and it takes plenty from the Watch GT 2 Porsche Design smartwatch too. Plus, it has the new health tech that made the Watch GT Runner special.

Can soaking up the best of previous models make this a truly great smartwatch, and can the luxury design make up for the limitations of HarmonyOS?

Design

We are concentrating on the 46mm Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Titanium for our review, but also talk about the smaller 43mm Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Ceramic, which is also pictured. The design, screen size, and battery capacity separate the two models.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch GT 3 Pro abandons the open lug design of the Watch GT 3 and adopts the solid, built-in lug design taken from the Watch GT 2 Pro and Porsche Design models. The contours and shapes used are very similar to the Porsche Design Watch GT 2, right down to the type of clasp and its design. Even the use of titanium for the case and the bracelet recall the Porsche Design version.

The built-in lugs make the 46mm Watch GT 3 Pro look and wear like a very large watch. Put it alongside the G-Shock MTG-B1000, and there’s little to distinguish between them. It is also considerably larger than my 43mm Oris Aquis GMT. I have a 6.5-inch wrist, and as you can see in the photos, the lugs extend to its edge.

The titanium bracelet on this top model makes the smartwatch lightweight for an all-metal design at 97 grams, and although it’s cool against the skin, it has caught on my arm hair quite often. It’s also not the best choice for wearing overnight, or to keep the heart rate sensor tight against your wrist either. The quick-release method for adjusting its length was more of a pain than on the old Porsche Design Watch GT 2 Pro, which also shared the same system. If you don’t want the titanium bracelet, the watch is also available with a leather or a silicone strap.

On the front is a sharp, bright, and colorful 1.43-inch AMOLED screen with a 466 x 466-pixel resolution. It’s a good-looking smartwatch, and the materials used — titanium for the case, ceramic on the case back, and sapphire crystal over the screen — mean it’s up there with some luxury traditional watches, but you can’t get away from how large it is and the statement it makes on your wrist.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei also has a smaller 43mm version of the Watch GT 3 Pro, which it says is designed for women, and sure enough, there’s a scalloped bezel and some gold or silver accents instead of the hard, sharp lines of the 46mm model. It has a 1.32-inch screen, but it’s dramatically different in style. The unusual all-ceramic case and fantastic bracelet design really set it apart from other smartwatches. Ceramic is hardwearing, skin-friendly, and beautifully smooth and warm, making it ideal for use on watches.

The ceramic bracelet looks and feels exquisite. Each link has a polished sheen, the solid lugs are compact and subtle, and the butterfly clasp is not only visually ideal, but it feels strong and high quality when you lock and unlock it. I could do without the gold accents — I think they cheapen it slightly — but otherwise the 43mm ceramic Watch GT 3 Pro is the better-proportioned, more stylish of the two models.

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Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with G-Shock MTG B1000 watch.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with a G-Shock MTG-B1000 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with Oris Aquis watch.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro with an Oris Aquis GMT Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Elite with smaller Ceramic version.Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Elite and Ceramic versions Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s a shame there isn’t a 43mm Watch GT 3 Pro with a more neutral design. The size is more appropriate for my wrist, and I suspect it will be for others, too. I prefer it over the 46mm model, which, despite the beautiful materials, is just too big.

Sensors and fitness

What makes the Watch GT 3 Pro pro? The biggest change comes from the heart rate sensor, which has been upgraded to feature eight photodiodes and uses the TruSeen 5.0+ system with improved heart rate monitoring that we recently saw on the Watch GT Runner. It also uses the same onboard AI software to help clean up the signal when measuring heart rate in difficult situations.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei says the golf workout mode now has a swing measurement feature, and there’s a freediving mode that operates in 30 meters of open water. Several of the watch faces will dynamically change between night and day, and these are exclusively for the Watch GT 3 Pro. Otherwise, it also has the dual-band, five-system GPS seen on the GT Runner, Bluetooth calling, music control, IP68 and 5ATM water resistance, and up to 14 days battery life for the 46mm model and seven days for the smaller 43mm smartwatch.

Wondering where the special feature is? It’s missing in action. It should be able to take an Electrocardiogram (ECG), but this is not available on global Watch GT 3 Pro models due to the feature not yet being approved by regulators in Europe. Huawei couldn’t provide an idea of when that would happen, but said it hoped for approval to come this year.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch GT 3 Pro brings what made the Watch GT Runner interesting into a less sporty design, but it’s questionable whether this makes it truly “Pro.” It’s also no different in operation from the GT Runner or the Watch GT 3, so if you own either of these, the GT 3 Pro should not be considered an upgrade. Similarly, if you looked at either of these in the past and dismissed them, don’t expect the Watch GT 3 Pro to change your mind.

Software

The Watch GT 3 Pro features HarmonyOS 2.1, and I’ve been using it connected to an iPhone 13 Pro. To use the smartwatch, you need to download Huawei Health, which comes from the App Store on iOS, or through the separately downloaded Huawei App Gallery on Android. It’s the same process as on the Watch GT 3 and is quite long-winded on Android, but a little easier on the iPhone and easier still if you connect to a Huawei phone. My Watch GT 3 Pro required a software update of about 400MB, and it took an entire morning to complete.

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HarmonyOS looks great. It operates like a mix of WearOS and WatchOS, with a main menu that can be a grid or a list, plus a slide-down quick settings menu and a notification list that takes a swipe up to access. The crown on the side of the watch can be used to scroll through lists, and the lower button opens the workout mode by default. It’s all very fast and very smooth.

If you don’t use a Huawei phone, you do lose some features. For example, notifications are interactive if y

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