I’ve reviewed many different phones this year and consistently the theme has been this: Phone prices are rising; and there are no exceptions. A faster display, multiple cameras, 5G — it all adds up. If you don’t need all of these extras on a flagship smartphone, what options are there for you?
Instead of launching a revolutionary new phone meant to blow your socks off, LG sought to fill that void with a new breed of flagship smartphone with just the essential features: the LG Velvet.
I’ve closely followed the evolution of LG smartphones for more than six years now. In the second half of 2020, the Korean company is shifting gears — from a new design ID to a new name.
The first phone out of the gate is simply called Velvet, which is a drastic change from their last phone called the LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen.
LG says that starting with Velvet they are moving away from the G and V Series and adopting more expressive names that better fit each smartphone. Instead of offering similarly designed smartphones with marginally better specs, which is basically what everyone else in the industry is doing, they want to create differentiated products with a clear character.
The Velvet isn’t meant to be the successor to last year’s G8; neither is it a midrange version of the V60.
Who then is the Velvet for? What consumer need does it address? And is it your GadgetMatch?
Evolved design language
If I were to describe LG phones released over the last few years, several words come to mind: uninspired, unexciting, boring, bland. They looked okay but let’s just say they would never have won a smartphone beauty pageant, so most folks did not pay attention.
With the Velvet, LG set out to focus on its design. Versus last year’s G8 and the V60, immediately you can tell that LG made an effort. From curves on both its front and back, to what they’re calling a raindrop rear camera — with modules that get smaller as they reach downward. I especially appreciate the clear intent to avoid a huge camera bump.
Did they hit the mark? I’m not sure; I’m finding it hard to make an emotional connection with my review device.
After all the rich vibrant phones that have become my daily drivers this year, my LG Velvet is a bland shade of grey. Although, it is available in a host of other colors: Illusion Sunset, Aurora White, Aurora Green, Aurora Silver and something they’re calling New Black.
I am also not sure the curved displays were the best choice and overall it doesn’t necessarily look original.
There is, however, a lot to like about the Velvet. There is a certain subdued sophistication about the phone. I appreciate that it’s not too wide so you can hold it securely with one hand and that it’s light enough so that when you use it with the Dual Screen Case, it doesn’t get significantly heavy.
I also like that the Dual Screen case for the Velvet also comes in matte white. It’s refreshing, and it doesn’t pick up smudges like the mirror finish of the V60’s Dual Screen case.
I love that there are well-designed third party cases available for the Velvet at launch. LG partnered with Korean accessory manufacturer Design Skin. I would go as far as saying that these are some of the best designed cases we’ve seen for any phone.
This case has two card slots, comes in an olive shade and a croc skin finish.
This emerald green one is my favorite. It has an elastic leather strap just like a designer clutch — a stylish way to keep your phone secure when you’re out and about. Hidden underneath is a slot for a card or two.
There are plenty of other case options for the LG Velvet on Amazon ahead of its European and North American debut as well.
A flagship that doesn’t blow your socks off
There are many ways to tackle this next section. It can be about addressing why this phone has a 700-series processor, usually reserved for midrange smartphones, which I feel is the elephant in the room. In the US, the T-Mobile variant is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000C chip. I want to take this opportunity to challenge the status quo and encourage a new way of thinking.
Silicon technology has improved so much over the last few years that it’s gotten to a point where most people don’t necessarily need a phone with a top of the line processor.
This next statement might come off as controversial, but the everyday user does not need a phone with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865.
Snapdragon 765, which powers the LG Velvet, is a very capable processor that can handle the needs of the average consumer. If doing so allows a phone company to pass on savings to you the consumer, I’m all for it.
In essence, I believe that is what the LG Velvet is all about: giving users what they need instead of making them pay for high tech extras that prosumers and tech nerds have come to expect.
It’s a well-rounded smartphone and it comes with support for 5G networks. This is despite the lack of a fast display and out of this world telescopic camera.
In the time that I spent with the LG Velvet, I didn’t experience any hiccups in terms of performance. The phone has enough RAM to handle all the apps that I juggle on a daily basis, and the Snapdragon 765 processor handled everything I threw at it.
Of course Pokemon Go and Raid Shadow Legends might not qualify as graphics intensive games, but my buddies Joshua Vergara and Booredatwork also played a lot of Call of Duty and PUBG, respectively, and they didn’t have complaints either.
Its P-OLED display is bright and vibrant and was a pleasure to consume content on. Like the V60, it has a tear drop notch on the top center of the screen.
Dual Screen, dual fun
Cementing the company’s commitment to this form factor, the Velvet is compatible with its own Dual Screen case. Depending on where you live, it either comes bundled or is a separate purchase.
In our exhaustive review of the LG V60, we explored all the things you can do with this form factor and why it makes sense as an accessory. If you want an in-depth guide on how you can maximize the dual screen experience, read that review here, or watch it here. My thoughts there apply to the Velvet’s Dual Screen experience as well.
I love being able to use it as a controller to level up my game play, tickling my retro bones using Drastic DS to emulate my favorite Nintendo games from my childhood, and using it as an e-book reader using Librera, which is closer to the experience of reading an actual printed book than.
Of course there’s multitasking: having two documents open at the same time, or a web browser in one and Google Docs in the other. Having that second display for a chat app, a video, or my twitter feed is great and makes a lot of sense for someone like me. You can also save shortcuts for apps that you frequently open together: Spotify and Google Maps when you’re driving for example.
One of my favorite use cases, pun unintended, is flipping the case all the way around and using it as a monitor when photographing others. I also love that I can easily prop the phone up when watching videos or even when I’m on a video call.
Just like the V60, there’s support for any Wacom AES pen on the Velvet. If you’re the type who likes being able to jot down notes the old school way, you can purchase a stylus like Wacom’s Bamboo Ink and use it to take notes, sign documents, or draw on your Velvet.
Some will argue that the Galaxy Note comes with a bundled pen and that you can store it in the phone, but old-school note-taking isn’t for everyone. The experience also isn’t as close to pen and paper as the Apple Pencil and the iPad.
What I like about the Velvet, just like the Dual Screen case, is that the extra cost is your choice to make depending on your needs.
Exceptional audio lineage
When it comes to audio the LG V60 is the best phone I’ve reviewed this year. Given its lineage I was curious to see how well the Velvet performed in this department.
The phone comes with stereo speakers, LG’s 3D sound engine, and a headphone jack. The only thing it doesn’t have is Quad DAC support which both the G and V series had been known for. Even in this more affordable segment, LG is still the gold standard when it comes to phone audio.
When reviewing the Velvet, I did my usual blind test by listening to songs I know by heart. Its speakers aren’t as loud as the V60 but they are tuned very well. They sound leaps and bounds better than last year’s G8X. It’s also much louder and richer compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20+.
For even better sound you can toggle ON LG’s 3D Sound Engine via the quick settings panel.
Acceptable camera performance
The LG Velvet has three cameras: a standard 48MP wide angle lens, an 8MP ultra-wide angle with a 120 degree field of view, and a 5MP camera dedicated for measuring depth.
This is an important category so I spent a lot of time putting the Velvet’s camera through its paces. Take a look at these sample shots I took around Brooklyn.
With the sun shining overhead, against the light, or even when the sun started to set, the Velvet’s main camera does the job of capturing good photos.
Night Mode also does a decent job when it got dark.
Its ultra-wide angle camera doesn’t perform as well. It was alright during the day, but poor as the sun started to set. Details become fuzzy when there’s not enough light.
The third camera dedicated to creating background blur does a good job cutting subjects out. Phones usually struggle to separate Chay’s hair from the background but the Velvet managed to do it pretty well.
It’s important to manage our expectations based on how much the Velvet costs. I compared it to the similarly priced OnePlus 8, and the pricier Samsung Galaxy S20+.
During the day when the sun is out, the sky blue, and the model straight off the Paris Fashion Week runway, you’d be hard pressed to pick one photo over the other. All phones did great, captured details well, and produced similar colors.
I’d say the same about this ultra wide angle shot. The only difference is that the S20+ has a wider field of view.
It’s a similar case with these photos taken with 2x zoom. Both the OnePlus and Velvet use digital zoom as they do not have dedicated telephoto cameras.
This ultra-wide angle shot is interesting — a test of how all three phones handle backlit subjects. The S20+ and the Velvet handled the harsh lighting conditions very similarly. The OnePlus 8 did the best job at managing highlights. In some cases, it just boils down to camera software, like in this example.
We spent a lot of time comparing the phones after dark. First, this artsy photo of the Manhattan Bridge shot through some fencing.
Next is of the Brooklyn Bridge. I did a poll on Twitter and most of you picked the S20+’s photo, with the Velvet coming in second and the OnePlus 8 third. It’s a tough call and really depends on what people are judging for. Some voted for presumed color accuracy, some for detail, some voted based on which one fits their aesthetic best.
When you switch to the ultra-wide angle camera, this is where the Velvet suffers. Just like in our daytime photos, the Velvet didn’t capture enough detail for it to be usable.
We took more comparisons this time without night mode. For the most part the results were pretty similar across the board.
In this last comparison photo, we didn’t use night mode as well. All three phones handled this back lit shot differently, but I think all of them are post worthy.
Overall it’s no surprise that people chose the S20+’s photo in my Twitter poll. It does after all have the best camera hardware of the trio, but the Velvet’s main camera held its own. It produced accurate colors in low light while being the cheapest phone in this shootout.
Its ultra-wide camera is just a let down, especially considering LG was pioneered this feature on smartphones many years back. Maybe they shouldn’t have included it, that might have brought down the price even further.
The LG Velvet comes with a 4300 mAh battery. It lasts me a full day of average use with a little bit left over for the next day. It’s not as long lasting as the V60 but overall its battery life is great.
Charging speeds are also respectable considering its battery capacity. Using the bundled fast charger, I got to 10% after 10 minutes and 70% after an hour. A full charge took just one hour and 52 minutes.
The Velvet also supports wireless charging, and it works even with the Dual Screen case on.
If you get the Dual Screen case, it comes with a USB-C adapter that magnetically latches into place. I think is a great idea. Once you plug it into the bundled USB-C cable, you’re not going to lose it. In case you do, you can buy a replacement online.
Pricing and availability
The LG Velvet was announced in South Korea earlier this year with a KRW 899,800 (US$ 700) launch price. In Europe, pricing vary per country: In Italy, it was going for EUR 650 (US$ 757), bundled with the Dual Screen case and LG’s Tone Free wireless earbuds.
In the US, it starts at US$588 if you get it from T-Mobile, US$599 from AT&T, and US$699.99. Just note that the T-Mobile model has slightly different specs than the unit we reviewed.
Is the LG Velvet your GadgetMatch?
Despite not offering the coolest features smartphone nerds rave about, there’s something interesting about the LG Velvet. It’s a much needed class of device for right now. 2020 is the year when brands known for making flagship killers have all but abandoned that calling.
Prosumers who need more computing power, better cameras, and a faster display should definitely look elsewhere.
The LG Velvet is a solid phone. It’s built well, performs great, and most importantly it comes with a price tag that doesn’t break the bank. For that we give it the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval.
Redmi Note 10S review: The all-rounder you want
Great, long lasting performance with less compromises
Picture this: it’s 2021, you’re still stuck indoors and in need of something to pass the time. Also, with all the time you’ve spent indoors, you have enough savings to get a new smartphone. Maybe you’re looking for a phone that lasts long, or a phone that feels fast and performs well for any use.
Within the midrange space, smartphone companies manage to give you a product with everything you’re looking for. However, as is the case with most budget smartphones, they gave up some features and functionalities that dampen the experience a little bit. You want a smartphone that caters to everything you throw at it.
Enter the Redmi Note 10S, the latest midrange smartphone that hopes to do just that. In my initial impressions of the device, I was impressed by all facets but I wanted to see how it would fare with prolonged use. I think my exact words were that it “ticked all the boxes,” but is it impressive enough for you to consider?
Here’s what you’re getting with the Redmi Note 10S:
It comes with a 6.43” FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay
Also, it has a rear quad camera setup with a 64MP main sensor
There is also a USB-C charging port and headphone jack at the bottom
It comes in three colors: Onyx Gray, Pebble White, and Ocean Blue
Handles anything you throw at it with ease
If I could sum up my overall take on how the Redmi Note 10S performs, I’d do it in three words: “bring it on.” I mentioned in my initial impressions that everything runs smoothly on this device, and that’s still my main takeaway with prolonged use. A lot of credit obviously goes to the hardware this device rocks inside it.
The Redmi Note 10S comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset inside, along with 6GB of RAM. There are models that come with 8GB of RAM, but I would argue that 6GB is actually quite enough. I mean, it’s enough for the things you normally do when you use a smartphone, along with multitasking apps if you feel like it.
What also helped the performance just a little bit for me was the AMOLED DotDisplay. Whether it was watching Queens Archive or Netflix TV shows, it was quite bright and color accurate. Honestly, I had the brightness set to around 40 to 50 percent and I could still see what I was watching.
A great mobile gaming device for most games
The other performance aspect I wanted to touch on was how well you could game on the device. With 6GB of RAM inside, it’s a no-brainer that a phone like this can handle most games. For the most part, I didn’t really have too many problems running more graphically-intense games on this device, and Game Turbo helped out a lot.
See, within MIUI’s settings, you have access to Game Turbo that optimizes gaming performance. Throughout my entire usage of the device, I managed to play games quite smoothly, with only a handful at around 60 FPS. I mean, if the game came with a 60 FPS setting, I would rather play that way, right?
What’s pretty great about this is that you can even use Game Turbo to finetune performance per individual game. At the time, I noticed that PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang were supported by this feature, so I tinkered with it a little bit. The resulting performance ended up a little better, but I’d still opt to just let Game Turbo do its thing.
Decent photography and selfie machine
When you hear that a smartphone has a quad-camera setup, you would assume that image quality would turn out great. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it turned out alright with its version of a quad-camera setup. Also, the 13MP selfie camera on the DotDisplay fared just as well as the rear cameras.
I tried taking pictures in both preferable and less than ideal lighting conditions, and the results were mixed. Under great lighting conditions, the images turned out quite nice, showing accurate colors and great detail. Also, I finally got through the wonky auto-focus I experienced in my initial tests, so just give it some more time.
However, the cameras don’t fare well when there’s not enough light around the area. I don’t just mean taking pictures at night, but even when there’s little brightness in the room. When I checked the photos, they didn’t particularly scream “super-detailed” but the rear camera tried its hardest.
Keeps you going, whether you’re bored or not
You might be wondering how the device keeps going with all of these activities you’re throwing at it. Inside this machine, you will find a 5,000 mAh battery, which is honestly a standard for most budget to midrange smartphones. With such a big battery, I expect it to last for maybe a day or so, with regular use.
Instead, the Redmi Note 10S took nearly two days worth of regular usage for it to reach zero percent. In one instance, I even managed to extend the run time by about five to six hours when I kept the brightness from 40 to 50 percent. Basically, on a full charge, this phone will keep you going even if you lose electricity because of a storm.
The craziest thing about this is that it doesn’t take that long to fully recharge the device. Through my battery tests, I managed to fully charge the phone with its 33W fast charging charger in over an hour and 20 minutes. Furthermore, charging the device to 50 percent took around 35 minutes. Honestly, this kind of battery and charging setup is everything you could ever ask for.
Is the Redmi Note 10S your GadgetMatch?
At PhP 11,990, the Redmi Note 10S provides you with everything you could ask for in a smartphone. From the performance to the battery life, it’s an all-rounder type of device that you will appreciate through and through. Also, the fact that it comes in three colors means you have more options that suit your tastes.
Again, it still has its hiccups in the camera department despite producing decent image quality in general. I think they’re pretty great, but honestly you’re better off using the phone under better lighting for the best selfies. Other than that, the phone itself poses as a potential daily driver for most people.
The Redmi Note 10S is a great example of a smartphone that gives you everything, without sacrificing too much. If you want something that caters to your every whim, give this one a chance!
Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6: A worthy pro tablet
Even more if you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem
Recovering from their dark past of being cannibalized by the growing sizes of smartphones, tablets have once again secured their spot in the market. From what had just seemed to be a bigger smartphone, tablets have gotten overhauled into a somewhat capable and more portable laptop replacement.
This is thanks to the few determined brands that persistently kept looking for innovative uses for these large devices.
Among the few is Huawei who once again brings us something very promising this year as they introduce their most powerful tablet yet – the new Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6.
Faithful to the MatePad series’ design, the MatePad Pro is built with an aluminum body with a Matte Grey finish. On its front, we have the 12.6-inch OLED display framed with its sleek looking ultra slim bezels.
While the design isn’t something to marvel at, the incredibly thin 5.6mm bezels still manages to carry in it the front facing camera which makes it look a bit cleaner than the punch hole design seen on its predecessor.
For a 12.6-inch device, the MatePad Pro is relatively lightweight as it is lighter than Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch at only 609g. Though you would still probably prefer to use this on your desk as hand holding it like you would with a smartphone would still feel tiring for your arms after a while. After all, you’re still carrying more than half a kilo.
Snappy performance with capable hardware
Running on flagship specs, the MatePad Pro is powered by a Kirin 9000E 5G SoC, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. If you’re unfamiliar with this chipset, this happens to be Huawei’s contender that goes head on with the also very powerful flagship from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 888.
So how does it perform? Well, just as you would expect from a flagship – everything felt snappy fast. From gaming on graphically demanding games, like Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends to some light video editing with FilmoraGo, the MatePad Pro handled everything like a charm. It was a struggle playing FPS games because of its size though, but its hardware is more than capable rendering everything even at the highest graphic settings.
Vibrant yet accurate OLED display
There’s plenty of room to play with in this 12.6-inch OLED display as its screen resolution of 2560×1600 and the 16:10 aspect ratio makes it perfect for multitasking apps side by side.
I understand that many creative professionals are probably eyeing on using this for creative work. And here I say, this display is also perfect for such use. With its DCI-P3 color gamut, colors appear closer to what they would actually look like in real life.
That being said, taking breaks and watching videos on this screen is also a pleasurable experience as the deep blacks and the high contrast produced by OLEDs really makes images pop.
The screen brightness is also more than enough for indoor use but much like any other OLED device, viewing under direct sunlight is a struggle.
A multifunctional keyboard and the new M-Pencil 2.0
A magnetic keyboard that doubles as a protective cover isn’t something new for tablets. I do like how the keys are widely spaced, the relatively long key travel and its professional look. However, do take note that this does not come close to the same user experience as Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad rather it is similar to their Smart Keyboard Folio.
For one, it doesn’t have a trackpad which is a bummer and the keys are placed near the edge of the frame. This leaves us no space to rest our palms on if we were to use this on smaller spaces.
The M-Pencil 2.0, on the other hand, is really good. With its 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, this new version of the M-Pencil is capable of simulating different strokes that artists do if they were using a brush or a pencil. It also has handy shortcuts like Double-tap Toggle which allows you to go back and forth selecting different tools.
When left on its docked position, the M-Pencil 2.0 seamlessly connects to the tablet and automatically charges itself leaving it always fully charged and ready to use.
Powered by HarmonyOS 2.0
I had mixed feelings with HarmonyOS going into this review, and I can say, I still do. Yes, it does feel very polished and similar to Android but the app compatibility is still what keeps me away from fully investing myself in it.
While Huawei’s AppGallery may have a growing library of apps, it still lacks many of the familiar apps that we use. The good news is most of these apps are ones that can be accessed through the browser like Facebook, Youtube and Netflix.
And here’s the thing. You’d probably use this tablet like how you’d use a laptop anyway and on our laptops, that’s exactly how we access these — on our browser.
I’ve also realized that most Android apps will actually work with HarmonyOS 2.0, you’d just have to install them manually. That’s where the new Petal Search feature comes in handy. You can simply type in the name of a third party app you’re looking for and it would look for an appropriate APK file for you from different sources.
Multi Screen Collaboration with Huawei devices
A feature you get access to if you’re living in Huawei’s ecosystem is the Multi Screen Collaboration. It’s also what I enjoyed most with this MatePad Pro. Paired with the MateBook D15 that I’m currently using, I was able to mirror and extend the laptop’s display to the MatePad as well as drag and drop my files between the two devices.
It certainly feels like you’re getting more out of your device as it opens up more possibilities of what you can do with this tablet. I was able to use the MatePad as a drawing tablet controlling the laptop as well as use it as an additional desktop workspace. This gave me much freedom for multitasking and an accurate reference monitor for photo editing.
Battery that’s built to last
Back in the earlier days of tablets, I remember owning a tablet which struggled to last two hours on web browsing. That isn’t the case here. Huawei rates this device to last up to 9 hours straight web browsing with its large 10,050mAh battery. Long enough to last you a whole work day or even longer if you plan on doing work offline.
The included 40W fast charger should get you all juiced up for about a little over two hours which is pretty decent for such a big battery capacity. I also charged this with the charger that came with the MateBook D15 and that worked well too so less things to pack in case you happen to have both devices with you.
Cameras that may come in handy
Kind of unique for a tablet, the MatePad Pro 12.6 comes packed with three cameras. A 13MP main shooter, 8MP wide angle and a 3D depth sensor.
You may kind of look weird doing mobile photography on such a huge device, but if that is really something that you prefer doing, the MatePad Pro can definitely get the job done.
I’d say decent enough image quality, but more than enough for a tablet since you’ll just probably use this to take photos of documents or references for work.
Exquisite audio quality for a tablet
A total of eight speakers have been loaded into this body. With four woofers and four tweeters tuned by Harman Kardon, I was blown away by how good this sounded. This may just be the best sounding speaker setup I’ve experienced on a portable device.
Without exaggeration, this beats even most laptops I’ve used. I could really hear the details and the full range of instruments I’ve listened to. With deep kicks and crispy snare drums, nylon guitars and orchestrated string instruments sound heavenly.
Is the MatePad Pro 12.6 your GadgetMatch?
If you’re just planning on getting something bigger than your phone for browsing and media consumption, the steep price tag of the MatePad Pro makes it hard to recommend.
This changes however, if you’re a graphic artist looking for an iPad Pro alternative especially if you consider that the competition is priced even higher.
The solid specs, great display, large battery capacity and that stellar sound quality is absolutely worth the price. Even more if you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem, adding the MatePad Pro really unlocks a range of handy features. It’s a very definite yes for me.
I’m really excited to see what’s in store for the MatePad Pro in the near future as more apps become available and grow more stable running on the HarmonyOS.
The MatePad Pro 12.6 retails at PhP 55,999.
Huawei Watch 3 review: Apple of my eye, err, wrist
The Apple Watch of Huawei’s smartwatch lineup?!
Huawei continues to mold its product lineups — particularly its wearables — shaping it to fit into the lives of its beloved consumers — Huawei fans and alike.
Of course, there are still factors to consider before deciding on a smartwatch. So let us help you figure out by tackling matters that you might be dying to find out.
In this review, we’ll detail my experience wearing this watch — the hiccups and the wonders encountered after wearing it for a few weeks. Together, let’s find out if the Huawei Watch 3 is really your GadgetMatch.
Comfort is key
The Huawei Watch 3 is beautifully designed, no doubt. While it exudes a classic appeal, the watch can suit different occasions. And it has a plethora of straps to choose from so you can mix and match. Although the availability depends on the region.
In my case, I didn’t have a choice aside from the black and plain fluoroelastomer strap. What I did was find a way to ship straps from China to get more designs that are apt for my style.
Anyhoo, let’s talk comfort. Regardless of the straps, comfort is key when it comes to smartwatches. It’ll be wrapped around your wrists for a long time, and it’s important to never have any issues with its heft and your skin.
Thankfully, the Huawei Watch 3 doesn’t feel heavy despite having a bigger watch case. What I find worrisome is how bulky it is for both my wrists and daily activities. It gets in the way sometimes — accidentally brushing metals, walls, and other furniture.
I appreciate not feeling any weight while wearing it, but it looks too big for me. Nonetheless, if you have thicker wrists, the watch case size won’t matter. And there are workarounds on how you can prevent your smartwatch from bumping stuff and from getting scratched.
Leave your phone behind
Like most smartwatches, you can connect the Huawei Watch 3 to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Just pair your devices and you can receive notifications, text messages, and calls.
But you can also connect the Huawei Watch 3 on a WiFi connection or a data hotspot. The smartwatch runs on HarmonyOS and comes with several apps; some are built-in and some are downloaded via AppGallery. Personally, I enjoy navigating Petal Maps — Huawei’s very own Maps — because frankly, it’s pretty much the same as Google Maps.
Wearing the Watch 3 made me use my phone less, seeing how I glance at my wrist to check who messaged me. And from those moments, I decide if the person is important enough to stop whatever I’m doing and pick my phone up to respond.
Receiving calls is also fun if you want to act like you’re a spy sent on a mission in whatever Sci-Fi film. Except, I don’t like it when people near me can hear the person on the other line.
If you’re looking for a different way to leave your phone and rely only on your smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 3 supports eSim technology.
Unfortunately, eSims are only available to postpaid plans on select carriers in my country, which I don’t have because I use a prepaid sim with large data allocation. If you’re a postpaid subscriber, just ask your carrier for an eSim and they’ll help you set it up. That way, you can use your mobile number simultaneously — on your watch and on your smartphone.
If you still need more understanding of how eSim technology works, you better read our explainer.
Matches with everyone else
No, I’m not talking about how the smartwatch can match anyone in terms of style, appearance, and personality. Although, that could be the case because it could. But that’s not the point here.
The Huawei Watch 3 is perfectly compatible with all kinds of smartphone users — whether you’re a Huawei loyalist, a Samsung fanboy, a die-hard Xiaomi bunny, or an Apple-ogist.
Thing is, even though the Huawei Watch 3 runs on HarmonyOS, all you need is the Huawei Health app. And it’s downloadable on AppGallery, Play Store, and the App Store.
I paired the watch with several devices in my arsenal. From the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, and even the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2. It easily syncs important data from your watch, and then you can preview it through the Health app.
More importantly, it’s uncomplicated to navigate even if you use a different ecosystem. As an Apple-ologist pointed out, the Huawei Watch 3 looks the same as the Apple Watch with only minor iterations from its design.
Although, we’re not surprised. Huawei openly expressed how they look up to Apple for inspiration… and probably imitation. But, whatever. Apple’s products are always user-friendly and won’t fry your last three brain cells — perfect for himbos like me.
As long as Huawei makes their products user-friendly too, I’m down with all of it. Based on experience, they make fantastic hardware and it’s a sweet treat if their software and user interface follows one of the best.
From swag to sweat
The Huawei Watch 3 can be a smartwatch for any occasion, assuming you have the perfect strap to suit different settings. During my stint, I used my China-bought Milanese strap when I met with friends and hop on a date. A silver accent works for me since I wear silver rings and earrings.
I have a fashion savant in my life who’s always advised me to match my metals. And I wore that principle to my heart. You don’t need to wear expensive jewelry and accessories to look expensive. Your watch should just go well with every other metal on your body.
On Huawei’s official website, the Steel and Leather straps work perfectly for your casual settings. You might want to consider those when you try to mix and match your outfits.
Coming home, I switch to my black, fluoroelastomer strap. It’s a durable yet comfortable rubber apt for physical activities and humid weather.
As I’ve said earlier, comfort is key and that’s the case for the Huawei Watch 3. Despite the bulky size, surprisingly, it doesn’t get in the way of my workouts. Not once did I feel anxious about my watch brushing off with my weights and other metals.
Speaking of weights, the Huawei Watch 3 accompanied me in my strength and conditioning training. All the essential tracking and features helped me complete my program, prompting me to change my habits to make fitness a sustainable activity and eventually, a lifestyle.
From sweat resistance that pushed me to continue with my routines, timers and stopwatches that aided me in measuring my tempo, the sports tracking mode that helped me understand my patterns, to all-day monitoring with blood oxygen, heart rate, temperature, and even sleep — the Huawei Watch 3 has it all.
Packed with salient health features apt for the current era, the Huawei Watch 3 might make you wonder: Do they really work? And do we even need them?
At first, I was cynical with all the mumbo jumbo presented in smartwatch campaigns. But after my experience, I had a change of heart. Wholeheartedly, I would say yes — they work and we need it.
Starting with the basics, it has the usual features found on any smartwatch. You can track your step count, calories burned, and your heart rate. It also reminds you to get up and move after a period of inactivity.
There’s also a feature where you can track your stress levels, and probably help you cope and manage your stress. As for me, it didn’t particularly help but maybe someone out there can benefit from it. The important thing is there’s a tool that could possibly help.
What I loved the most is the sleep report I receive every morning. Tracking my sleep helped me understand my patterns — which is a key factor I consider before going on my day or performing an exercise routine.
Checking my reports helps me decide if I’m going for two cups of coffee throughout the day, if I’m well-rested enough to execute intense forms during training, or if I need to take more naps.
While all of these reports are summarized and can be previewed using your smartwatch, the intensive details are listed on the Huawei Health app.
Since it consistently tracks and monitors various data, the Huawei Watch 3 constantly consumes the battery life, just like any device that’s connected to Bluetooth, WiFi, and performing background activities.
True to its promise, it has a 3-day battery life that accompanies you in your daily activities. Switching it to ultra-long battery life mode extends it up to 14 days, except I don’t really see myself using this mode in the future.
Charging it is fairly quick. I left it charging after an hour of napping, and when I woke up, I saw it fully charged — ready to be slapped on my wrist again.
Is this watch a match?
But then again, I wish it had a longer battery life like the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro. If the Huawei Watch 3 can last up to two weeks, it could’ve been my GadgetMatch.
It’s a versatile smartwatch that you can add to your collection of watches. So well-rounded and user-friendly, it works without any tinkering involved. All you have to do is wear it and watch how it performs feats that might elevate your lifestyle.
The Huawei Watch 3 retails for PhP 18,999 — a price tag befitting a premium smartwatch. If anything, Huawei found itself its very own Apple Watch.
Brazenly, I would say the Huawei Watch 3 felt like the Apple Watch of all Huawei smartwatches. It simply works, and it’s beautiful, powerful, and functional in its own right. Complete with an ecosystem that you can enjoy for a seamless AI life.
It’s also user-friendly, stylish, and leaning towards yuppies with a balanced lifestyle than geeks and techies basking in gadgets and other forms of technology.
The Huawei Watch 3 is available on Huawei Store and authorized platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, as well as Huawei Experience stores and other retail partners.
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