Review: Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro and FreeBuds Pro 2

Huawei's Watch GT 3 Pro and FreeBuds Pro 2.
Huawei's Watch GT 3 Pro and FreeBuds Pro 2. Photo credit: Newshub.

Huawei recently released its latest smartwatch and earbuds in Aotearoa to compete with the likes of Samsung, Apple and Oppo.

The Watch GT 3 Pro starts at NZ$699 while the FreeBuds Pro 2 has a RRP of NZ$359, putting them at the higher end of their respective markets, although both are cheaper than some 'Pro' or 'Ultra' models from rival brands.

But how do they stack up?

I've been using the devices for the past couple of weeks and here are my thoughts.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro

This is probably the smartest looking smartwatch I've yet tried. It's gorgeous.

Depending on what display face and strap you choose, it will go better with formal wear than most smartwatches, with a more premium, classic look than many of its competitors - even those that cost a lot more.

The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro, Titanium Edition.
Photo credit: Newshub.

It has a circular, 1.43-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 466x466. It's beautifully clear, offers vibrant colours and a great brightness level that makes it easy to read under direct sunlight on a sunny day.

As is the Huawei way, the battery life on this watch is incredible. It's honestly bizarre how much better it is than the likes of Apple and Samsung.

I went nearly two weeks before I needed to recharge it the first time, with almost all of the monitoring features enabled 24/7 during that time. I had it on raise-to-display mode rather than always-on, which extended the battery life, but didn't hampen the user experience for me.

If you have all the monitoring functions enabled, the always-on display mode on and you do a lot of GPS-tracked exercise with it, make a bunch of phone calls using the watch and subject it to other heavy demands, apparently you can run its battery empty after four days - which is still better than a lot of its competitors.

I'd say for most people, giving it a charge once per week is more than enough and very easy to manage.

This new Pro model has a fair few upgraded health and fitness features, with over 100 workout modes including an improved golf mode and, yep, belly dancing mode is back.

But the flagship new functionality is support for freediving. If you fancy getting 30m deep on a single breath, this watch is said to be a great tool to help - something I've been unable to try during my review period, although I did test it under 30cm of water and it was sweet as.

Huawei emphasises 'freediving' with it, specifically advising against scuba diving, but I'm pretty sure it'd be OK for that too so long as you didn't go deeper than 30m. 

The GT 3 Pro complies with the engineering standard EN 13319 and its freediving mode provides real-time diving information, an apnea training feature and other stuff to help people getting into the sport.

It's also got dual-band five-system GNSS, like the GT Runner did, for accurate tracking of your runs.

Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.
Photo credit: Newshub.

It's hard to know exactly how accurate the health monitoring functions are as there is differentiation with other smartwatches I was using at the same time. The sleep, heart rate and steps per day are my most-used health functions and they were close enough to each other that I'm comfortable they're giving a good idea of what's going on.

The one that seemed quite off, however, was body temperature. The GT 3 Pro reckoned my skin temperature was between 31 and 32C, but I was nice and warm with no signs of hypothermia at all.

The ECG analysis and blood oxygen reader seemed spot on though and I know they're very important to a lot of people.

As well as the monitoring features, there are also a bunch of tracking elements you can record yourself in the Huawei Health app, including water intake, medication reminders, menstrual tracking and so on.

Altogether it's an impressive health package, especially considering how stylish a wearable device it's housed in. 

As with previous Huawei smartwatches, getting it to work well with an iPhone is really quite clunky, and it's not much better on an Android. After the initial pairing and app installation and firmware updates (yes, plural), it gets better, but that inconvenience isn't an issue with other devices.

Thereafter, a few other issues continue to plague it, especially when it comes to installing apps. If you're using it with an iPhone you can't access its app store at all, but you're not missing out on much; AppGallery is available via Android and HarmonyOS phones but it's just a list of a few dozen average apps, not all of which work, with no way to filter the list or even search it. 

It's a shame this otherwise premium smartwatch comes with such a low level of quality control with its third-party app store. Thankfully there's plenty of functionality in the device itself and companion app that you simply don't need to consider the shoddy third-party apps at all.

Apps and initial setup are clearly not Huawei's smartwatch strong suit. But the design, display and battery life certainly are, with fitness features in the GT 3 Pro that will definitely appeal to many people - especially freedivers. 

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2.
Photo credit: Newshub.

FreeBuds Pro 2

Huawei has been making good earbuds for relatively cheap for a few years now and this is the best model the company has yet produced.

Co-engineered with French audio company Devialet, the sound quality is very impressive. There's good range in these and not just a boost in bass to disguise average quality - it's genuine quality.

I have listened to a bunch of different genres using these and everything sounded rich and full.

The noise cancelling is also solid, as far as noise cancelling in earbuds goes.

I like the look of these buds, but the gloss finish might not be for everyone.

The one thing stopping me from wholeheartedly recommending this product is how they compare to the latest Airpods Pro release from Apple. That has better noise cancelling with audio quality that is about the same or slightly better, and far superior compatibility with an iPhone, of course.

Huawei's earbuds have a few advantages over their American rival - like an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance over Apple's IPX4 - and are cheaper. But that better noise cancelling and superior functionality with other Apple devices give the second generation Airpods Pro the edge for me.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2.
Photo credit: Newshub.


Perhaps if Huawei phones are able to make a comeback in New Zealand then these compatibility issues will evaporate for people willing to go all in and get a bunch of Huawei devices.

As it is, Oppo devices work better with other Oppo devices, Apple with Apple and Samsung with Samsung. We may not like the 'ecosystem' model of tech companies as a way to mine more money out of us by getting more of their devices, but you can't deny the convenience of having a suite of products working together.

Compatibility issues aside, there is a lot to love about these latest Pro model earbuds and smartwatch from Huawei, especially as they come for a lower price than some of their Pro rivals.

If you're in the market for some new gadgets, you might want to keep an eye out for deals on these as we approach Black Friday and the Silly Season.

Newshub was supplied a Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro and FreeBuds Pro 2 for this article.