Honor Watch GS 3: a stylish watch but not so smart


The evolution of smart watches has been rather slow. The changes or novelties that the various brands available on the market have presented are rather minor: they refer more to updates of software and certain specifications, in addition to some detail related to the design or size.

Despite this, the demand for smartwatches It has been on a sustained increase, mainly after the pandemic. The idea of ​​having a complete health monitoring system on the wrist is something that seems to be extremely attractive to users, beyond the possibility of answering the phone like Dick Tracy or hearing about notifications (and even answering them) without needing to to take the phone out of the pocket.

According to a recent study by Bloomberg, the interest in physical well-being, along with the delivery of information in real time, was one of the main drivers for increased sales of wearables —or “wearable” devices on the body— in North America.

In the rest of the world the trend is similar. In global terms, for players such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Garmin or FitBit (today owned by Google), among others, growth compared to last year was 14%, with amounts that are projected at more than 156 billion dollars by 2030. That is, a not inconsiderable sustained growth of up to 20% per year.

It’s a style thing, of course. There are people who will always prefer the virtues of an analog watch, but it is true that beyond issues of autonomy and battery -still the main problem of these gadgets-, the smartwatches They have become for many users their new inseparable companions, especially for their sports activities but also as practical complements to the cell phone experience.

Honor, as a good technology brand, has focused its efforts on having good accessories, ranging from wireless headphones to, of course, smart watches. Its latest model is the Honor Watch GS3, a not-so-expensive watch with good features, but one that could give a lot more of itself. Let’s get to know it in detail.

  • Size: 45.9mm × 45.9mm × 10.5mm thick.
  • Weight: 44 grams (without strap)
  • Diameter: 46mm
  • Screen: AMOLED 1.43″ touch
  • Resolution: 466 x 466 pixels (326 PPI)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Size: 140-210mm
  • Drums: 451 mAh (with fast charge)
  • Waterproof: 5 AMP (50 meters)
  • Compatibility: Android / iOS (in the coming months)

There are no major surprises when taking the watch out of its cream-colored case. It works immediately when you turn it on, something that is achieved very intuitively, just by pressing the top button of the watch. Along with it comes a charging system with magnets that, we will see, is not the best, much less the most pleasant to use. But after the initial charge, putting it on your wrist is extremely comfortable and light to wear.

The model we reviewed has black finishes (Midnight Black), although it is also available in blue (Ocean Blue) and gold (Classic Gold). The size is unique, 46 millimeters, which for me is an ideal size. Without being bulky, the GS 3 is large enough to capture the look and feel of a stylish analog watch.

The body of the watch is mainly plastic and stainless metal, with a strap made of fluoroelastomer (an ultra-soft silicone), although it can also be exchanged for a leather strap that is sold separately. The fit, at least with the first material, is very comfortable: during the day you feel little on the wrist and, after a couple of nights with it, it doesn’t bother you at all when you sleep, which is ideal for monitoring sleep cycles.

The sphere, unlike models from other brands – such as Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 – does not have a crown. That is, it is a pure screen and only two protruding buttons stand out on the right side, up and down. The first is the power button, which turns on the watch, wakes it up and activates the different functionalities it has; the second, below, is a customizable button to activate the functions that the user wants, which by default are the physical activity routines.

Thanks to its design and look, the display of the GS 3 is impeccable. Its glass screen with rounded edges looks excellent, giving the feeling of being in front of a model that exudes style and even elegance in its appearance.

Curiously (perhaps because of its design), most of the faces that are included to change the look of the watch are oriented towards analog simulators, with the classic hour, minute and second pointers, although of course there is something for everyone. . Regardless, I would like to have seen even more variety in this department.

The artificial intelligence engine that the watch software has —which hides under its sensors— allows you to have up to eight heart rate measurement channels, which translates into real-time notifications at the time of, for example, a sudden change in blood pressure. That works as a very good reminder that, perhaps, it is time to take a deep breath and rest for a moment.

By the way, the system also has a blood oxygen saturation meter —no longer as popular as during the start of the pandemic—, a stress meter —which is also based on blood pressure—, and basic routines of breathing that can be used to enter a state of greater calm. It has to be said: it works, and it is with details like these that one begins to grow fond of the watch.

As we said, the top button wakes up the clock and also allows access to the application and service drawer offered by the system. I customized the lower or secondary button to access and control music, which can be seamlessly streamed from the cell phone or even stored on the device itself.

Instant information readings (date, temperature, steps, stress level, heart rate, battery, etc.) are achieved with easy access from multiple faces, or just a couple of swipes across the watch faces. In the same way, answering the phone from the GS 3 was never a problem, with clear and clean communication. Plus point.

More about Practical Test

The AMOLED screen is a curious case. Its sleek, smooth and rounded design is very nice, but since it does not have protections, it is more susceptible to bumps and scratches than other models. Indeed, unfortunately I had to face a surprising hairline on his face after a few weeks of not even that intensive use. It’s nothing to write home about, in fact it’s barely noticeable, but there it is.

By the way, what it does resist very well is water. Let’s remember that it withstands up to 5 ATM —about 50 meters deep—, which means that we can wear it in the pool, on the beach and in activities in shallow waters, without fear of any consequences. But beware: it should not be used for diving (where these distances could be exceeded), nor in a hot bath, in saunas, spas or activities with humidity and very high temperatures. Everything else holds up very well. In my case, after a heavy downpour, the watch got completely wet but had no setbacks.

The do not disturb button (which can also be programmable) is particularly useful for turning off or “silent” notifications or accidental views of the time.

We definitely have mixed feelings here. On the one hand, the information displayed by sliding your finger looks and reads very well. Better even than other brands. But the information displayed is somewhat static and you cannot interact with it much, which often forces you to take out your cell phone anyway to, from the native application, see in greater detail what you want to delve into.

This is where Honor has an important pending task: to improve its software and user interface. Of all the ones we have tried in recent months, this is the one that most lacks functionalities and improvements in informative viewing.

It also happened to me that when I tried to pair the watch with certain phones, some information was not displayed correctly or simply did not appear on the GS 3. Of course, on an Honor phone everything worked perfectly. Compatibility is understood, but it is not the idea.

Now, the Honor Health app, available for free on Google Play, does the trick. In the main tab (“Health”), it provides the basic information related to cardiac monitoring and body activity, divided into tables that specialize in sleep cycles and quality, stress levels, mobility levels, oxygen consumption and more.

Each box provides detailed information about it but little else, very similar to the style of the Huawei app. Even the whole system is very similar to LiteOS (it was not), the old operating system of the other Chinese brand. It’s not bad, but the feeling remains that the entire system could be used much more, both visually and in the delivery of information. Not to mention being able to install third-party applications.

The rest of the tabs refer to the monitoring of specific activities —such as sports—, another to pairing with the watch, and one to managing contacts and multimedia elements, such as alerts, notifications and other topics. A somewhat cumbersome format, which in pursuit of simplicity and user experience has a lot of room for improvement.

In the notifications section, nothing special: you can only read messages from selected applications and that would be it. Interacting with them is impossible, so it is necessary to take out the cell phone if, for example, it is necessary to respond to a WhatsApp message. Something more is definitely required here.

Where the Honor GS 3 does come out victorious is in autonomy: its battery is very efficient and, with certain configurations of use, it can last more than a week. With all the features “on”—such as continuous heart rate or sleep monitoring—the battery can still easily last five days.

All this is complemented by a very effective fast charging system, despite its charger, which is quite uncomfortable. It does not support wireless charging and the connector (which has a USB-A input) must be arranged in a very specific way for the watch to assemble correctly. It is not too complicated, but a far cry from the simple systems of other brands.

The Honor GS 3 presents a good mix of distinguished design with an affordable price. For audiences not so demanding of detailed information, who only need the basics on their wrists, this is an elegant and striking model, mainly thanks to its curved AMOLED screen without borders. A fantastic look that is powered by its quite generous battery.

But if we consider that this is Honor’s premium model, there are still many details to improve and room to perhaps integrate new features (such as Google Pay, for example, or the possibility of using third-party apps). Its value, at least, is reasonable, which makes the Honor GS 3 an alternative of smart watch for those looking to show it off rather than wear it.

Note: ⭐⭐⭐★★

*The prices of the products in this article are current as of October 11, 2022. Values ​​and their availability may change.


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