Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Brother from another mother

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 is the company’s new smartwatch focused on fitness. This smartwatch managed to raise a lot of dust when it started leaking out, for a good reason. It resembles the Apple Watch a lot. There’s no tiptoeing around it, and Huawei was probably well-aware of what it was doing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Huawei already offers a great number of smartwatches with round displays, some of which are outstanding. So why not offer something with a square display to its users, and if this is the best way to go about it design-wise, users won’t complain. In fact, this smartwatch could appeal to Android users who like the design of the Apple Watch. Perhaps that’s what Huawei was aiming for, at least partially.

Just to be perfectly clear, it’s also compatible with iOS, but it works much better with Android, as do all other non-Apple Watch smartwatches. With that being said, the Huawei Watch Fit 3 is here, I’ve been using it for a while now, and this is our review of it. Spoiler alert, it’s a compelling product, that’s for sure. It may not be for everyone, but it sure is worth considering. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Table of contents

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Hardware / Design

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 has a square display and a square body. Huawei doesn’t really release smart wearables with that shape all that often, the company prefers to offer smartwatches with a round face. We’ve already mentioned that the Watch Fit 3 resembles the Apple Watch in the introduction, there’s no denying it. The experience using the Huawei Watch Fit 3 is entirely different, though, mainly because of its software. More on that later.

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 is made out of aluminum and resembles Apple’s offering

This smartwatch comes with a body made out of aluminum. At the bottom, a heart rate sensor is placed, and you’ll also notice one button on each side, near the connection points for the watch band. That’s because the Huawei Watch Fit 3 uses proprietary connectors for watch bands, unfortunately. That may be odd for some of you, as Huawei smartwatches usually have standard watch bands on them. Well, this is more of a cross between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch, and it goes the route of its predecessor, the Huawei Watch Fit 2.

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It has a speaker and two physical buttons

On the left-hand side sits a speaker, while a microphone is located on the right with two buttons. The top button doubles as a rotating crown, and the bottom one is customizable. By default, it’s set to open sports modes, for quick access. The buttons are plenty clicky, and feel like quality implementations, like they did on previous Huawei smartwatches. I don’t expect issues with them. What you may find a bit odd when it comes to this watch is the fact its bezels are not uniform, but we’ll talk more about that in the display section, actually.

It’s actually very light and comes in several different versions

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 is only 9.9mm thick, and it weighs only 26 grams. It’s actually the thinnest and lightest square-face smartwatch the company launched. I didn’t feel it on my wrist at all, though do keep in mind I’m used to heavier smartwatches, so… that’s not exactly surprising. It was immensely comfortable to wear, at all times, that includes sleeping. As you can see in the provided images, we’ve received the model with a Gray Nylon Strap, which is also quite comfortable, though it’s not my first preference for a watch strap. I tend to shower with my watches, so I do prefer silicon watch bands. There’s nothing wrong with this one, though, it’s perfectly fine if you prefer something like that.

Huawei will offer you a chance to buy different watch bands on the side, of course. Overall, the build quality of the watch is really good. It is light, but it feels like a solid piece of tech. I don’t really have a major complaint when it comes to this design, other than the extreme resemblance to a watch from the competition.

What’s in the box?

The Huawei Watch Fit 3’s retail packaging includes the watch itself, with pre-installed watch band. You’ll also find a magnetic charging connector on the inside, which has a USB-A connection. Other than that, only paperwork is located in this rather compact retail box. That’s it.

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Display

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 includes a 1.82-inch AMOLED display with 2.5D curved glass on top of it. The screen-to-body ratio here is 77.4%, and the watch is offering a 10% increase in display area compared to its predecessor. This panel goes up to 1,500 nits of brightness max, which is not too shabby. This display is plenty sharp, let me just get that out of the way. The display is also really nice, though I’ve used better, of course. It’s not bad by any means though, and it does get reasonably bright when it needs to. The viewing angles are also good, as is its touch response.

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The bezels are not uniform, but that’s not a big problem

The first thing I noticed when I powered on the display was the bezels around it. Not because they’re particularly thick or anything like that, but because they’re not uniform. We’ve all gotten used to seeing uniform bezels on wearables, at least most of them, so that was definitely something that jump in front of my eyes. The top and bottom bezels are a bit thicker than the side ones. That’s not a big deal at all, though, as the bezels in general are not thick. Other than the first impression, I stopped noticing the difference really fast, almost instantly. The edges of the display are not sharp either, thanks to that 2.5D glass, so it’s really satisfying to use/swipe from the sides. It’s a good display overall, that’s for sure.

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Performance

Right off the bat, the performance on this watch is great. That’s something we’re used to at this point when it comes to Huawei smartwatches. We’re not really sure what chip Huawei used. It could be the Kirin A1 again, a chip that Huawei tends to use in its wearables, but we don’t know for sure. You’re getting 4GB of storage on the inside. If you’re not planning on playing music straight from the watch, that won’t be much of a limitation, but it’s considerably less than on some more premium Huawei smartwatches.

The device did a great job in the performance department

The performance of the watch was very smooth. One thing that I did notice is that button presses were a bit slower to register than on some other Huawei wearables I’ve used in the last year or so, but that could be due to software. Huawei could still iron things out in that regard, as it’s possible yet another update is planned before the watch ends up in the hands of consumers. I also noticed that some notifications vibrated the watch on two separate occasions, but that happened only twice during my use, and once again, this is likely a tiny bug that will get ironed out. That was the case on some previous wearables from the company.

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Other than what I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a great time using the device. The UI keeps on getting better and better when it comes to Huawei smartwatches, and that’s nice to see. We’ll talk more about HarmonyOS, which comes pre-installed on the device, later on.

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Battery

This smartwatch has a 400mAh battery on the inside. Huawei says that you can get 7 days worth of battery life under ‘typical usage’ and 10 days of “maximum battery life” under certain conditions. Conditions for both are indicated by Huawei on the official website. The same goes for the estimate of a 4-day battery life with AOD enabled. This would be great as it is, but Huawei has a tendency of underestimating the battery life of its wearables, and the same happened here, at least from what I’ve experienced.

The battery life was even better than Huawei suggested

After 10 days of use, with usage more intense than what Huawei indicated, I still stood at around 22-23% of battery charge left. Most people will end up charging this thing after two weeks, I reckon, unless you’re pushing it really hard. I could have, of course, killed the battery sooner if I wanted to, but there was no need. If I disabled some aspects of the watch, like continuous heart rate tracking or auto SpO₂ measurement, for example, the battery life would be even better. There are a ton of such settings considering all the features that the watch offers, and I reckon most of you will disable some of them, because you won’t need them. I usually do it for my personal use, but I was in the testing phase, so… this watch certainly delivered in terms of battery life.

This device offers magnetic charging via pogo pins

In terms of charging, Huawei said that it takes 10 minutes of charging in order for the watch to provide a full day’s worth of battery life. That’s easily true, easily. The watch charges via an included charging cable, which has pogo pins on one end, which magnetize to the bottom of the watch. So the charging is not truly wireless, as it is on some other watches from the company, but that’s not really a problem. You may have to clean those pogo pin connectors from time to time, depending on your usage.

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Software

The Huawei Watch Fit 3 comes with HarmonyOS pre-installed, of course. Over the years, Huawei kept improving HarmonyOS, and it’s actually an OS that fits smartwatches beautifully. If you’ve used any of Huawei’s more modern watches, you’ll be right at home here. There are a bunch of watch faces to choose from on the watch and tons more to grab from the Huawei Health app. Many of them are actually free, so you’ll have a lot of choices. The variety is wide, and some of them even signalize when you have unread messages, and so on. Many watch faces are focused on health info, which may seem the right fit for the Huawei Watch Fit 3.

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HarmonyOS has improved a lot over time, it’s very compelling at this point

HarmonyOS worked beautifully, I didn’t notice any lag. Your notifications are accessible via a simple swipe up, while the opposite brings down quick toggles. To the left, you’ll find a vertical list of widgets, while to the right you’ll be able to scroll between your customizable widgets (horizontally). You can stack up a bunch of pages of them, if you need to do that. Even if you haven’t used a Huawei smartwatch, such a setup will seem familiar, as a number of other smartwatch OS’ use something similar.

The notifications work great, though in a specific way

In terms of functionality, this HarmonyOS build offers everything you may need. The notifications are prompt and easily readable. You can also reply to them via quick replies, emoticons, and so on. One thing to note when it comes to notifications is that your actions on the watch won’t mirror to your notification shade on the phone the watch is connected to. So if you dismiss all your notifications, they’ll still be there on the phone. That is my preferred way of handling things, otherwise I forget to address the notifications that have arrived. If you’re used to mirroring on both sides, well, this is not a device for you.

This watch allows for app installations, but that’s not the focus here

All the standard apps come pre-installed. They range from a compass and a stopwatch, to a flashlight shortcut and a music player. Speaking of apps, don’t expect to get access to apps for well-known apps here. There are some apps included in Huawei’s app store, but not many. I never had the habit of using third-party apps on my smartwatches, but this is definitely worth noting. Many of you probably need access to some apps directly on the watch, and this is out of the question here (for many services). Your music player, be it YouTube Music, Spotify, or whatever else, will register nicely on this watch (via the integrated player), though, for example. So there’s no need to worry about that sort of thing.

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HarmonyOS is one of the best options out there, as far as smartwatch OS’ go

There’s not really much to complain about. HarmonyOS worked beautifully on this watch. Just remember that installing apps directly on the watch is possible, but chances are you won’t find many you’re looking for. If you don’t really care about that, HarmonyOS is a great option and one of my favorite (if not my favorite) smartwatch OS. Huawei will also be bringing HarmonyOS to its global smartphones (it’s already running on the company’s phones in China), that move is expected to happen next year, though it remains to be seen when exactly.

Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Health/Fitness

The name of this smartwatch suggests it’s focused on fitness, and thus health in general. And yes, that is the case, but it’s the case with other Huawei smartwatches from the past years too. Huawei usually places plenty of sensors in its smartwatches and offers tons of health and fitness features as part of the package. The same is the case here. There is an optical heart rate sensor placed at the bottom of the watch, while an ambient light sensor is also included. On top of that, you’ll also find a 9-axis IMU sensor, which includes an Accelerometer, Gyroscope, and Magnetometer sensors. The watch is also 5 ATM rated, so you can technically go diving with it to a certain level (50 meters).

You have over 100 sports modes at your disposal

The watch offers over 100 sports modes that you can use. So chances are you’ll find your workout whatever it may be. We could not test all of those sports modes, of course, not even close. I did, however, delve into indoor and outdoor walks, a short run, a bicycle ride, and some weight lifting on the side. I was more than happy with the watch’s delivery. Yes, it does have GPS built-in, and it did a nice job keeping up with my bike ride. Do note that I didn’t wear another watch on my wrist in order to directly compare. I did, however, notice that the results are close to what my usual watch, the Huawei Watch GT 4, shows.

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I didn’t experience any disconnects while health tracking (or in general, to be accurate). That is always good to know. The heart rate tracker has been quite accurate. Huawei is offering ‘multi-channel signal enhancement algorithm’ for hear trate tracking. It is boosted by AI in order to offer more accurate heart rate readings. I’m sure this had something to do with it, but the results were actually spot on.

Sleep tracking was very, very good

What about sleep tracking? Well, first and foremost, thanks to TruSleep 4.0, you’ll be getting more information than ever before. You’re getting sleep stages info, sleep quality, and sleep health, along with additional information, of course. The watch even supports nap detection now. It can also detect breathing interruptions and much more. I found that sleep tracking was quite accurate, actually. That was one of my complaints in the past when it comes to Huawei smartwatches. Lately, however, the company improved in that regard, quite a bit. I’m not sure about naps, as I don’t take them, but it did a great job of tracking my night’s sleep.

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Huawei Watch Fit 3 Review: Audio

I don’t really like talking about the audio aspects of smartwatches for obvious reasons. Some of you are always interested in this aspect, though. That’s why we always include it. Yes, there is a speaker on the Huawei Watch Fit 3. Yes you can use the watch for voice calls thanks to a built-in microphone. Should you do that? Well, probably not. The speaker is not bad considering what it is, you can only expect so much from a smartwatch speaker. Generally speaking, though, of course, it’s not good. The people I talked to knew that something was off about the sound too. I sounded “distant” and the experience was not the best. Granted, the situation improved when I was in a quiet environment. Still, you’d be better off using your smartphone or headphones/earphones to conduct voice calls.

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Huawei Watch Fit 3: Should you buy it?

Should you buy the Huawei Watch Fit 3? Well, I’ll tell you one thing, it’s an easy watch to recommend. The price is not bad at all considering what the watch has to offer. It offers a really good display, which is also quite touch-responsive. The battery life is excellent, while the fitness/health aspect is commendable as well. There’s not much you can criticize the Huawei Watch Fit 3 for, to be quite honest.

If you like the Apple Watch design, but you’re an Android user, this is easily the best alternative you can get for your Android smartphone. It’s a great smartwatch, and it actually performed even better than I expected it to. It’s easily rivaling even the best offerings from Huawei. The same goes for various other offerings outside of Huawei’s ecosystem. I’m still more of a round smartwatch kind of user, but if you like square ones, this is one of the best ones out there. As I said at the beginning of this section, it’s an easy recommendation.

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You should buy the Huawei Watch Fit 3 if you:

…like the design of the Apple Watch, but are an Android user
…want a watch with top performance, but don’t want to pay the premium
…prefer square smartwatches
…do a lot of exercise and want a fitness-focused watch
…plan to do light diving

You shouldn’t buy the Huawei Watch Fit 3 if you:

…like using your standard watch bands
…like round smartwatches