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The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a new product, but at the same time, it manages to feel like a “greatest hits” model in Huawei’s smartwatch range. It’s not drastically different to the Watch GT 3 in terms of technology, and it has styling which harks back to the Watch GT 2 Pro and takes plenty from the Watch GT 2 Porsche Design smartwatch. Plus, it has the new health tech that made the Watch GT Runner special.
Can the greatest hits approach make this a truly great smartwatch?
The Watch GT 3 Pro abandons the open lug design of the Watch GT 3 and adopts a 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 used 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 choose 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 Elite model is comfortable and cool, but the quick release method for adjusting the length was more of a pain than on the old Porsche Design Watch GT 2 Pro, which also shared the same system.
On the front is a sharp, bright, and colorful 1.43-inch AMOLED screen with a 466 x 466-pixel resolution. If you don’t want the titanium bracelet, the watch is also available with a leather or a silicone strap. 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.
Interestingly, I was also sent the smaller 43mm version of the Watch GT 3 Pro to see. Huawei says this is designed for women, and sure enough, there’s a scalloped bezel and some gold accents instead of the hard, sharp lines of the 46mm model. It has a 1.32-inch screen but is dramatically different in style. The unusual all-ceramic case and bracelet design is fantastic and really sets it apart from other smartwatches. Ceramic is hardwearing, skin-friendly, and beautifully smooth and warm, making it ideal for use on watches.
The 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 too. I could do without the gold accents — I think they cheapen it slightly — and there is a silver version available as an alternative, but otherwise the 43mm ceramic Watch GT 3 Pro is the better proportioned, more stylish of the two models.
It’s a shame the 43mm version hasn’t been given a more neutral design, as 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.
What’s new inside?
What makes the Watch GT 3 Pro pro? The major change comes with the heart rate sensor array on the back of the watch. It has been upgraded to feature eight photodiodes and uses the TruSeen 5.0+ system with improved heart rate monitoring, which we recently saw on the Watch GT Runner. There’s also the same AI software onboard to help clean up the signal when measuring heart rate in difficult situations.
Huawei says the golf workout mode now has a swing measurement feature, and there’s a free-diving 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 it would happen but said it hoped for approval to come this year.
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,” or significantly different from the regular Watch GT 3 due to the inactive ECG feature.
The Watch GT 3 Pro uses 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 it’s 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.
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 you swipe up for the notification list. 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. Notifications are interactive if you own a Huawei phone, but are limited to just text on iOS, where they did, at least, reliably arrive.
If the Watch GT 3 Pro’s design is a greatest hits of Huawei smartwatches, the software is the greatest hits version of Google’s WearOS and Apple’s WatchOS. It can’t match the wonderful simplicity and power of WatchOS, but it’s more pleasurable and logical to use than WearOS.
The Watch GT 3 Pro is certainly the most feature-packed of Huawei’s Watch GT smartwatches, but it’s unfortunate that the ECG feature has not been approved in time for launch, as it therefore lacks something special to make it worthy of the Pro name. Instead, what you get is an alternative to the GT Runner, should you prefer a more traditional design and luxury materials. It’s not a bad thing; it’s just not really Pro-level. That said, even if it had the ECG feature available, it’s not something many will use on a regular basis.
Despite this, the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is shaping up to be a very interesting smartwatch. I prefer the software over WearOS. It works well with the iPhone and Huawei phones, and it ticks the right luxury boxes with the materials used. I haven’t tested the activity tracking yet, but I expect it to be very similar to the GT Runner and Watch GT 3 and very competent. You definitely shouldn’t overlook the Watch GT 3 Pro when choosing your next smartwatch.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the price and availability haven’t been shared, so it’s hard to compare it directly with the obvious competition: The Apple Watch Series 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. We’ll be updating this to a full review soon after all the final details are released.