Honor Watch GS 3 Review: It looks great but isn’t as smart and sophisticated as its rivals.
The Honor Watch GS 3 smartwatch is a solid choice if you want a smartwatch with long battery life and looks great. It is a niche option due to its lack of NFC or software restrictions, which makes it more expensive.
Honor’s new smartwatch, Watch GS3, is a fitness-focused watch with many widgets that can track your heart rate, blood-oxygen levels, and other important information. It has a large AMOLED display that’s perfect for looking down mid-workout while still looking fashionable.
There are some serious drawbacks to this app, however. One is that Honor’s OS lacks third-party support from WearOS and Fitbit’s trackers. This makes it difficult to access your health data in any other app than Honor’s.
It won’t work on any iPhone because it’s Android-only. This immediately excludes a large portion of potential buyers.
Design and Build
- Design inspired by analog
- Two physical buttons and a touchscreen
- You can choose from multiple watch faces
The Honor Watch GS 3 looks great and is a great fitness tracker. The design is closer to an analog watch than the round corners of a Fitbit Sensor or an Apple Watch. It has a large circular AMOLED panel that dominates the design with some bezel.
The display will be covered in more detail shortly. Even though the body is quite large, the 44g weight (body only) makes it comfortable to wear for long periods. You’ll find one button on the right side. This acts as a launcher, which I set to default to a workout. The other opens a menu that is specific to the OS.
You’ll accidentally push both buttons if you use your Watch for a workout, such as a pushup. We recommend pointing the buttons up rather than downward.
There are many watch faces available, but there is no customization. You need to set it up and go.
As you would expect, the straps can be swapped. The Midnight Black version has a fluoroelastomer structure, while the Ocean Blue or Classic Gold versions have leather straps.
You get a 5ATM waterproof rating, meaning it can survive to 50m. Honor states that it is suitable for “swimming pool, seaside swimming, and other shallow-water activities,” but not “underwater diving, dive, hot showers and saunas, or other wading and deep water activities.”
Screen and Speaker
- 1.45in AMOLED display
- It is easy to see in the sunlight
- Amazing speaker
The Honor Watch GS 3’s display is an AMOLED panel. This means that colors pop against the black background. It is easy to read even in direct sunlight and brings out some watch faces.
It is also crisp and clear with a resolution of 466 x 466 pixels. This gives it a pixel density. Apple would be proud of 326ppi.
The GS 3’s most impressive feature is its speaker. It supports Bluetooth calls (and a microphone) and can also play music. Although it won’t be as good as a dedicated speaker or phone for sound quality, I was impressed with how clear the audio from it is.
Specs and Performance
- The untitled OS is great for tracking your health
- Everything else, barebones
- Music playback via onboard storage
The operating system of the Honor Watch GS 3 is not named, which is perhaps the most obvious sign that it is still in development. It doesn’t have a catchy name but offers quick access to important health metrics. Swiping on any page will show your heart rate, stress level, or blood oxygen tracking.
These all link back to Honor Health, but it is worth noting that the branding in the Play Store remains the same as the Huawei Health app. This could lead to some confusion. As I mentioned, the app does not have iOS functionality. If you do have an iPhone, you will need to search elsewhere.
Once you are in, you will be presented with a handy dashboard that displays the Watch’s data. The SpO2 sensor can take measurements at rest and during sleep, while your heart rate can be measured over time. You can also view the app daily, weekly, or monthly.
The app also includes sleep tracking. Users are encouraged to fill the purple ring with enough rest and get enough. Anyone who has used an Apple Watch will recognize the rings for standing, steps, exercise, and standing.
The performance is excellent, with no noticeable lag when browsing screens with health data or working out. Although Honor does not specify the processor inside, you have 4GB of storage.
The Honor Watch GS 3 has no integrations with Fitbit, Strava, or Google Fit. This could be frustrating for some and make the Watch difficult to use.
You won’t be discouraged by this list of workouts. There are 13 courses with running that cover everything, from fat-burning to long-distance goals to newcomer-centric programs. There are also swimming (the Watch has a 5ATM rating for waterproofing, as I mentioned earlier), snow sports, and many other activities.
This is a solid list, and Honor may add to it in the future. However, because everything runs through one app, you won’t be able to install additional functions. You won’t be able to install additional apps on an Apple Watch.
This may disappoint music lovers who like to stream music while exercising, but the internal storage is approximately 2GB (after the OS), which is more than the Fitbit Charge and Sense. You will need to manually transfer playlists or songs to the Watch from the Honor Health app.
The Honor Watch GS 3 was great for long walks. I found GPS tracking and step tracking reliable after a few uses. The less impressive part was the vague notifications. I couldn’t tell who was texting me and didn’t have to pull out my phone.
The biggest oversight is, however, the inability to use an NFC chip to pay for the Watch. It’s a huge oversight that almost all modern phones and most fitness trackers, including the cheaper Fitbit models, offer the ability to pay for shopping using NFC chips. This means that anyone who works out will have to bring their phone with them if they need it to make payment.
Battery Life & Charging
- 451mAh battery
- Battery life is excellent
- One of the most efficient fast-charging systems we have ever seen
Honor Watch GS 3 smartwatch is durable and not easy to wear out. When I use the Honor Watch GS 3 with my smartphone to receive notifications and work out regularly, I can easily last six days on a single charge.
This is a huge improvement on the Apple Watch’s 24–48 hours battery life, and it matches up well with Fitbit Sense. You’ll be able to reach seven days with fewer workouts.
The wireless puck you use to charge your phone can provide around a day’s use with only five minutes of charging. It’s magical to drop the Watch GS 3 for a few minutes and know it will be charged for the rest of the day. This is especially true if you’re running errands in the rain.
You can also connect the puck via USB-C, so you likely have one. The honor includes one in the box (without an adapter).
Price and Availability
The Honor Watch GS 3 is available in Midnight Black at PS189.99/EUR199.90. Ocean Blue and Classic Gold versions are available for PS209.99/EUR199.90. (My review unit was the Classic Gold). This is likely due to the leather strap you get along with the Watch’s classier look.
The GS 3 is available in Europe, China, and Latin America. There are no indications of when it will be available in the US. It can be purchased from Amazon.
The Honor Watch GS 3 may aspire to be the next great Android smartwatch, but its interface is not perfect. It becomes a solid fitness tracker with limited flexibility.
While you can track your workouts, sleep, vital metrics, and other data, you will feel frustrated that accessing the data in any other services or add apps is impossible.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is more feature-rich but not as elegant.
- Honor Watch OS
- 1.43in AMOLED display with 326ppi
- The internal storage of 4GB
- Monitor heart rate
- Sp02 monitor
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 451mAh non-removable battery
- 5ATM waterproof rating
- 44g with no strap
- Launch colors: Midnight, Classic Gold, Ocean Blue
Note: This news has been published from tech advisor with some modifications to the text and title.