Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: The Squarer The Better

Much has been made of the impact that the United States government’s sanctions against Huawei, with it having a serious effect on the smartphone side of its business. One product segment that has remained unaffected, however, is wearables.

While Apple still dominates the space, Huawei has over the past few years, carved out a nice space for itself when it comes to smartwatches.

In particular, the Chinese brand has excelled in two areas – breadth of options and battery life. In fact, the latter has been an element that few other competitors have been able to match, and when the margins are this fine within the wearables landscape, it has proved a real difference maker.

Does the same ring true of the Huawei Watch Fit 3? It is the latest smartwatch that the company has launched in South Africa, sitting neatly between the fitness band and smart chronograph models that the company has released with regularity over the past five years or so.

We were recently seeded a Huawei Watch Fit 3 for review, to see just how well it can perform as an in-between device, as well as weigh in on the recent redesign which sees Huawei opt for a squarer aesthetic on the Watch Fit 3.

With more than two weeks under our belt (or on our wrist), here are our thoughts on the Huawei Watch Fit 3:

Sincerest Form Factor

So we start with design, and this is a little more interesting than other reviews as the Watch Fit 3 has an inescapable comparison to the Apple Watch thanks to the introduction of a more square shape and a rotating crown on the side.

While Huawei has said that it has been making the Watch Fit devices more square with each new iteration, quite frankly we’re not buying it, especially as the queries about whether the device on our wrist that we’re reviewing was an Apple Watch were simply too much to ignore.

Debate about whether it’s a facsimile aside, the Watch Fit 3 still feels like a premium device. The squarer shape also yields slightly more screen real estate than before, with content 1.82″ AMOLED screen being a little better to read too.

As for navigation outside of swiping on the screen, there are two buttons on the right side of the watch’s body – a pill-shaped button for quickly launching into the workout modes and the aforementioned rotating crown.

The latter is used to bring up the applications on offer on the smartwatch in a very similar way to the Apple Watch, and while HarmonyOS is running on this device, there is certainly an air of Cupertino about it.

Other elements worth discussing with the design include a new easier-to-use mechanism for swapping out watch straps, although the lack of a longer strap in the box (which is an industry-wide omission) means you probably won’t be making much use of this aspect straightaway. While the fit is good, we would have liked to see a longer strap option included, as we had to adjust the Fit 3 to two holes before we ran out of strap.

There are five other strap options being sold in SA outside of the Black one for our review model, so changing up the look is a possibility down the line.

All in all then, whether Huawei copied Apple on the design of this smartwatch or not, the general outcome is a very solid device indeed that is a welcome change to the slightly bulkier round chronograph options on the market.

The full specifications for the Watch Fit 3 are as follows:

Huawei Watch Fit 3
Display1.82″ AMOLED (480×408)
Dimensions43.2 × 36.3 × 9.9 mm (height, width, depth); 26g
RAMNot disclosed
SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Optical heart rate sensor, Ambient light sensor
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2
DurabilityIP68-rated (water, dust)
RRPR2 999

HarmonyOS only goes so far

Now for performance and here the Watch Fit 3 excels in some areas, and is just okay in others.

First where it shines, and as expected, battery life will prove difficult to match for competitors. Huawei claims up to 10 days with limited use and up to seven days with heavy use. Our review period bore similar figures, and while it is not the two weeks that some of Huawei flagship GT models offer, it is still several times more than the Apple Watch and other devices of a similar form factor and specification.

As such, Huawei has done a great job once again of eking out as much power from its wearables as possible, and that is a real difference maker.

In terms of measuring physical metrics, the Watch Fit 3 performs ably and accurately here too, handling steps, distance, heart rate, calories, and general cardio activity well. Once again moving is a key metric for Huawei with this device, and if we are to critique it, the prompts can become a bit much after a while, especially when working during your nine-to-five.

We understand that Huawei wants its user to remain active, but being able to toggle the sensitivity of this feature would be nice, or at least set it to time parameters.

Some of the other aspects we enjoyed about HarmonyOS is the level of customisation for watch faces, although some are more customisable than others, and the general setup of the Huawei Health app (compatible with iOS and Android) is solid, provided you have a Huawei ID ready and active, which without can prolong the process.

As for the less-than-satisfactory elements, HarmonyOS has its shortcomings, with applications being one of them. There is a native Music app for example, but it is rather limited in terms of the media it supports, likely prompting someone to opt for Spotify. This app is supported, but only for Android devices, which is odd given the Huawei Health app works on iOS.

There are other instances of this, and perhaps this is a symptom of being in SA where HarmonyOS is not as developed as it is in China, but the number of options on this front can prove a little vexing at times.

It may seem a small issue for some in the greater scheme, but with Huawei trying to shine in an ever-competitive field, being able to fully support multiple ecosystems is a must.

Final verdict

Yes, the Huawei Watch Fit 3 is more expensive than its predecessor at launch, which means expectations are higher for its performance and the type of value it offers. In our experience though, it has met those expectations, and is a great option for those who do not want the form factor or price tag of a larger chronograph-style smartwatch.

The fact that it supports both Android and iOS (with a handful of shortcomings) is notable too, as this is not as standard in the industry as one may think. Added to this is the exceptional battery life that puts most competitors with similar devices to shame.

Lastly, the design, which clearly was inspired by the Apple Watch despite what Huawei might say, does not stop it from being an improvement from the previous generation.

In every aspect then, the Huawei Watch Fit 3 comes highly recommended.




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