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1

ID: 232061

URL: https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/18/23095490/huawei-watch-gt-3-pro-smartwatch-trade-ban

Date: 2022-05-18

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro is a nice smartwatch many of us can’t buy

Last year, as Google and Samsung were upending the Android smartwatch space, Huawei also announced it was launching the Huawei Watch 3 on a new proprietary operating system called HarmonyOS 2. It then followed that up with the Huawei Watch GT 3. So its not a huge surprise that Huawei is back again with the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro. Last years Watch 3 was a good attempt and reminded me a lot of Samsungs Tizen smartwatches. And while I havent had the GT 3 Pro for very long, what Ive seen so far continues that overall vibe. The GT 3 Pro comes in two versions: a titanium model and an all-ceramic model. The former features a 46.6mm case with a 1.4-inch OLED display while the latter is smaller at 42.9mm with a 1.3-inch display. Both also feature sapphire glass, have IP68 water and dust resistance, and are swimproof up to 5ATM (164 feet). Battery life is estimated at up to 14 days for the titanium model and up to 7 days for the ceramic model. Spec-wise, both watches also sport all the sensors youd expect to see on a premium smartwatch. That includes an optical heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensors, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope. It also features a barometer, temperature sensor, and magnetometer. As far as new capabilities go, the watches have a new free-dive workout mode and built-in GPS. It also has EKG capability — though only in countries where Huaweis received the appropriate clearance from regulators. Huawei is in a weird spot when it comes to its consumer tech. Thanks to an executive order issued by former President Donald Trump in 2019, the company is banned from using US tech in its gadgets. That includes Android and Wear OS — hence, the proprietary OS. So, while I can test out the Watch GT 3 Pro, its not a smartwatch that I can actually buy in the US. (You can, however, if youre living in Europe.) Its a shame since Huaweis been in the wearables space for a long time and made some excellent smartwatches along the way. Ive been playing around with the titanium version of the GT 3 Pro, and its a nice smartwatch. The display is vivid, apps load quickly in HarmonyOS 2, and, while the watchs aesthetic isnt my thing, itll appeal to folks who like a more masculine, traditional-looking watch. That said, Id get an alternative strap for working out. Metal link straps dont handle sweat well and tend to be looser, which isnt great for heart rate accuracy. Also, the links are a pain to adjust, and it took me an absurdly long time to get the watch down to a size that fit my wrist. But I can also tell it has some of the same issues as when I tested the Huawei Watch 3. Namely, I can see the bones of a good smartwatch, but, because of where I live, I cant make use of its best features. For instance, I cant use the voice assistant. Thats because HarmonyOS 2 doesnt use Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. It uses a proprietary assistant called Celia that requires you to have a Huawei phone — which I also cant buy. Likewise, Im stuck with proprietary Huawei apps since theres no real third-party app support, making this more of a fancy-pants fitness tracker than a true smartwatch. It sort of feels like an elevated Fitbit with a much more premium build quality and a snazzier OS to boot. Hell, I imagine if Fitbit did come out with something similar, itd be popular. However, a lot of this wont matter once Fossil and other third-party watchmakers get on Googles Wear OS 3. Like Samsungs Tizen watches, Huaweis wearables are locked into its own ecosystem. When Wear OS 3 becomes more widely available, other third-party watchmakers will get access to Google services and popular apps like Spotify. Thatll be great for Android users overall. But Huaweis watches will still be best for people with Huawei phones. In a nutshell, Huaweis watches are stuck in limbo. I could see plenty of people digging the watchs snappier performance, health tracking, and analog aesthetic — even if the third-party app ecosystem is nonexistent. But, at the same time, none of its watches are so revolutionary that it triggers wearable FOMO. At the end of the day, youre not missing that much.