TECH REVIEW – Huawei introduces the Watch GT 3 SE, a more affordable version of the Huawei Watch GT. What compromises has Huawei made and what does this smartwatch have to offer? Dive into our Huawei Watch GT 3 SE review to find out.
The Watch GT 3 SE is Huawei’s latest attempt to offer a low-cost sports variant of the acclaimed Huawei Watch GT 3. Notably, the price of the Watch GT 3 has recently dropped, narrowing the price gap. With only minor differences between the GT 3 SE (available in Graphite Black and Wilderness Green) and the GT 3 Active Edition, it’s interesting to see where the target market for this new model lies in the sea of popular smartwatches.
Exterior and specifications – Lighter and more robust than its Active counterpart
With a unique size option of around 46 mm in diameter, the Watch GT 3 SE may not appeal to those with slimmer wrists. Its design tends to be more robust and defined compared to the Watch GT 3 Sport version, drawing parallels with the Huawei Watch GT Runner in several respects.
The watch features a non-rotating bezel accentuated with red highlights and bold numerals, reinforcing its athletic aesthetic. On the side, there’s a round button paired with a rectangular one. Although the round button or crown is movable, it doesn’t offer any functionality such as scrolling, which is a missed opportunity.
The polymer fibre case keeps the weight of the watch to a mere 35.6 grams without the clasp. With the strap attached, it weighs in at around 54 g. Secured by a 22 mm elastic, interchangeable TPU strap, it fits wrists from 14 to 21 mm, emphasising its sporty design. In addition to the sensors described below, Huawei has integrated both a speaker and a microphone into the case.
Setup and operation – familiar menu via the Huawei Health app
As is customary with the manufacturer’s smartwatches, setup is carried out via the Huawei Health app. The process is well explained in the app, which is available for iOS, Android (with a QR code and not downloaded from the Play Store) and HarmonyOS, and pairs the smartwatch with the smartphone via Bluetooth.
The Huawei Health app allows you to set various preferences for your smartwatch, such as which health data to collect on a regular basis. It also enables firmware updates and access to additional watch faces. Ten of these are installed on the watch out of the box. Conveniently, information on current power consumption is available for each watch face.
Like the Watch GT 3, the SE version has two buttons on the right. The upper round button opens the menu, while the lower one gives access to the sports functions. Swipe left or right on the touchscreen to navigate between different tiles, including heart rate, SpO2, activities, weather and more. You can change the information displayed in the settings.
Calls and notifications
Thanks to the built-in microphone and speaker, the smartwatch can be used to make calls, but only with a paired smartphone. The quality is good.
The watch also notifies you of smartphone notifications within seconds. However, only the first few lines of emails are readable, and emoticons and the like are not displayed correctly. In the app, you can choose which messages are synchronised with the watch and which are not. This was not a problem in our field test.
As with the Huawei Watch GT 3, iPhone owners will have to live with some limitations on the SE model, as some features are not fully available. These include the ability to reply directly to messages on the smartwatch and to import music. The best way to use a Huawei smartwatch is with a smartphone running Huawei HarmonyOS or an Android device.
Health and fitness – lots of features, but no ECG
While the more expensive Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro (from around €290 on Amazon) lacks the ECG function, the SE model with an optical sensor on the back offers a number of important and general health functions. These include 24-hour heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), activity tracking, sleep and stress tracking, and breathing exercises. Assessments can be made directly on the wrist and in the Huawei Health app on the smartphone. Data can be synced with Apple Health and Google Fit.
The smartwatch displays your daily activities in the familiar colour rings. Three of them inform you of your daily goals in terms of steps, exercise and regular standing for sedentary activities.
Heart rate, pulse and blood oxygen saturation
As befits a sports smartwatch, the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE can measure heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. Both health data can be measured manually or automatically on a regular basis, although the latter comes at the expense of battery life.
The SpO2 reading takes less than 30 seconds and only happens when the watch is held still. During our test period, a few attempts at measurement were unsuccessful, but overall it worked reliably.
The accuracy of the heart rate sensor could be a little better, based on our impressions during the test. Compared to the Polar H10 chest strap used as a reference, the watch showed a downward deviation of almost four percent (51-53 beats) in resting heart rate, which is still within limits. The watch also showed significantly lower average power readings, sometimes more than ten beats below the chest strap reading.
The difference of almost ten percent at the end of the measurement is quite large, as the comparison of the curves shows. In our opinion, we would not recommend the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE for accurate measurements during sports.
Those who also wear their smartwatch at night will benefit from Huawei’s TrueSleep 3.0 sleep tracking, which provides rudimentary information such as sleep duration. More detailed information, such as sleep stages, is available in the app.
The smartwatch offers more than 100 different sports. The most popular sports can be selected directly from the menu using the bottom button, and the list displayed can be customised. Thanks to its water resistance of up to 5 ATM, the watch can also be worn during water sports.
Depending on the selected workout, the watch will then inform you of the most important parameters. While your heart rate is always measured, it is supplemented by key figures specific to your sport. For rowing, for example, the number of strokes is shown. For running, cycling, etc., it records distance, speed (current, maximum and average) and duration. After the workout, all relevant data can be viewed in various analyses – both on the wrist and on the smartphone via the app.
The wearable tool also includes the Huawei Running Ability Index (user’s running performance rating), training load rating, recovery rating and VO2max determination.
GPS and navigation
According to Huawei, the wearable has a high-precision GNSS positioning chip that supports five systems. However, like the heart rate measurement, the GPS tracking on the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE is not as accurate as we would have liked. In this respect, it competes with the Garmin Venu 2 as a reference model.
Cycle route measurement is generally good, but the variations are quite large, especially on bends and curves. The data recorded for distance travelled (around 170 m or 2 percent variation) and average speed (0.3 km/h or just under 2 percent) are within the limits.
The elevation profile was not so well done. Huawei’s smartwatch gives a much lower reading of just 10 metres than Garmin’s 75 metres. We also noticed that the initial
GPS connection took quite a long time (over 30 seconds). This can be annoying at the start of a workout.
Display – Large and bright AMOLED
As with the 46 mm Watch GT 3, Huawei has fitted the SE version with a 1.43 inch round AMOLED display with touchscreen. It has a resolution of 466 x 466 pixels and a high pixel density of 326 PPI. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.
The screen is easy to read, even in direct sunlight, thanks to a good 500 cd/m². If you prefer, you can activate the always-on display option in the settings, but you’ll have to make do with a shorter battery life.
Performance and battery life – the smartwatch lasts up to two weeks
Unfortunately, Huawei did not provide any information on the processor and memory. Overall, however, the system runs smoothly and without annoying latency.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 SE has a battery capacity of 455 mAh, so it’s no different from the Huawei Watch GT 3, which is the same size at 46 mm.
Subjectively, the SE edition is even a little better in terms of battery life. The manufacturer promises up to 14 days, which is achievable even with infrequent use. With intensive use, the battery needs to be recharged about once a week, which proved realistic in our test. Charging is done via a USB-A cable of about 80 cm, which is magnetically attached to the watch. The charger is not included.
Huawei’s Watch GT 3 SE is a sporty smartwatch, nearly mirroring the GT 3’s features
The Huawei Watch GT 3 SE masters the basics of sports tracking with over 100 sports modes, but unfortunately it wasn’t always very accurate in our test when it came to heart rate and GPS power measurement.
We would have expected a little more from a sports smartwatch. Nevertheless, the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE performs well in our test in many respects, even without its critics. It has a bright AMOLED screen, plenty of features and impressive battery life.
Ultimately, the question remains: why buy the Huawei Watch GT 3 SE when you can get the more sophisticated Huawei Watch GT 3 Active Edition (in two sizes) for slightly more money, or the similarly lightweight and in many ways identical Huawei Watch GT Runner for even less. Apart from the slightly different but subjectively less elegant design, the SE model in this test offers little to set it apart.