Reviews

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite review: Feels like a space frontier

Lite in price, definitely heavy in features

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It’s been a while since I last tested a Xiaomi phone. I previously reviewed the Xiaomi Mi 9T and its Pro sibling, which both received outstanding marks. After almost a year, I finally have another chance to play with a Xiaomi device — this time it’s the Mi Note 10 Lite.

Don’t be confused. This isn’t the 108-megapixel-touting Xiaomi Mi Note 10. Instead, it has a lower but still respectable 64-megapixel Sony IMX686 sensor.

However, at less than the price of its big brother, you get the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chipset with the option to get more RAM. But is it a smarter purchase? Just keep following the star trails to find out more.

A design that reminds me of the cosmos

The Mi Note 10 Lite (obviously) got its design cues from the Mi Note 10. The left-justified camera placement plus the gradient, flashy back are both familiar to other Android smartphones out there — but this phone still stands out on its own.

Upon seeing the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite for the first time, it reminded me of a nebula that can be seen from a distant galaxy like ours. Cool enough, Xiaomi named this as the Nebula Purple colorway.

Those shimmering streaks that blend well with its dominantly purple gradient body are little details that remind me of my astronomical fascination since I was a kid. If this isn’t your cup of tea, you can get a more basic Midnight Black or a cleaner Glacier White option.

How come people love curved displays but not people with curves?

The inclusion of a 3D curved edge display is a nice design highlight for a smartphone that’s priced lower than most of its flat-display midrange competitors. Most might think of a waterfall when you see that “overflowing” display but for me, it’s more of a continuous flow of space — just like the universe.

Unlike the motorized pop-up cameras and newer punch-hole cameras, you get the old Dot Drop notch found on the Mi Note 10 and older Mi smartphones. It’s honestly not the best thing in the universe but that single piece of front camera for your selfies still gets the work done (more on that later).

Also, you can find another “old” feature which is the IR port that’s responsible for making this phone a universal remote.

They now use the new Xiaomi logo instead of the old “Mi” logo

It’s not the lightest phone you can hold as it’s literally hefty. In fact it felt heavier than my iPhone XR. Over time, I just got used to it as the “thicc” body serves its purpose. Overall, the Mi Note 10 Lite’s design is cohesive — a perfect balance between aesthetics and ergonomics.

The illusion of an ever-expanding display just like the universe

What a perfect time to watch Cosmic Girls’ new music video

Just like the Mi Note 10, it has the same 6.47-inch 3D Curved AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution. Other than that, you also get an Always-On Display feature for better information and notification support.

What trims down the display quality is the level of brightness nits. The Mi Note 10 has a maximum brightness of 600 nits while the younger sibling only has 430 nits — which is enough for indoor usage but looks washed out when you’re outside with direct exposure to sunlight.

For display nerds, this isn’t equipped with a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The standard refresh rate may look normal to most consumers though. But, it’s still disappointing as the Poco X2 is equipped with a high refresh rate display even if it’s a lot cheaper.

When a dialogue in Hospital Playlist is more relevant than my whole existence

Anyhow, watching on its big display still delivers vibrant colors with whiter whites and deeper blacks — as dark as the center of the black hole.

Other than enjoying the colorful and visually-stunning music video of Cosmic Girls’ “Butterfly” on YouTube, there’s also a certain level of viewing pleasure when you watch Netflix series, especially that this phone supports HDR10 for most titles.

As someone who has big hands, there’s a palm rejection feature which is flawless as it doesn’t touch screen items even when I grip the edges of the display.

Performance as fast as a rocket launch

As fast as falling in love with the wrong person

The moment I heard that the Mi Note 10 Lite packs the Snapdragon 730G chipset coupled with 6GB of RAM (which is the same as the Mi Note 10), I immediately tested its processing power.

Surprisingly, it’s decent enough for graphically demanding games. In my case, I tried playing my favorite racing game, Asphalt 9. I experienced no lags while playing it. For sure, most of your mobile game favorites will run on this phone.

It runs the latest Android 10 with Xiaomi’s heavily-skinned MIUI 12. This version gives you most of the security and performance patches you need for the phone.

Best of all? It has Google Mobile Services (GMS), specifically Google Play for most of your app needs.

The optical in-display fingerprint scanner is fast too. Though it has a face unlock feature, using your fingerprint for biometrics is more secure rather than a 2D image scan that can quickly unlock your phone even when you’re asleep.

Don’t get your hopes up though for an expandable storage as it doesn’t have a microSD card slot.

Battery life that’s light years ahead

This phone lasted longer than the the conversation you’ve had with your ghost đź‘»

The heading might be an exaggeration but this is truly one of its superior features. If you’re the type of user who consumes a lot of media, plays hardcore games, and even scrolls through social media feed or does online shopping for hours, the Mi Note 10 Lite can withstand all of that for a day or so.

Just like its older sibling, it has a 5,260mAh battery paired with an efficient processor, which are both ideal for long-term power and blazingly fast performance — like an ice-cooled comet.

Large battery and turbo charging should be mutually inclusive

Check the label first 🥴

Large battery capacity in future smartphones should be equipped with fast charging technology — just like how the gravitational force between the Earth and the moon are correlated to each other (or how LOONA and Orbits are connected to one another).

Luckily, the Mi Note 10 Lite supports Turbo Charge with a 30W USB-C charger right out of the box. True to its words, it was able to fill up the phone from zero to 100 percent in just a little over an hour. That’s fast considering its gigantic battery.

If you’re into wireless charging, it doesn’t support that by any means.

Audio jack is still in orbit

I miss the pleasure of plugging

Unlike most of today’s gizmos, Xiaomi still decided to keep the 3.5mm headphone jack in the Mi Note 10 Lite. Although I personally don’t use wired earphones anymore as I’ve transitioned into a more wireless lifestyle, it’s still surprising to see a rounded port in 2020 smartphones.

Day6’s Zombie is my current anthem. The lyrics best describe my life right now.

Although it may not have the Quad DAC support from the LG V60 ThinQ, I was still able to enjoy the sound delivered by my old pair of earphones with its extra heavy bass.

This reminds me of my college years where I used to listen to music even with the hassle of tangled wires. A lot of audiophiles will surely love this smartphone.

Odd placement for speaker grilles

Going Nonstop (for Arin)

Just like Uranus’ weird axis, the Mi Note 10 Lite has a weird speaker placement. As I tried playing some music videos, I noticed that my hands cover and muffle the speaker grilles. It’s unfortunate that this phone only has one speaker (I mean having two speakers is TWICE the fun, right?).

It’s hard to avoid blocking the speaker grilles especially when you hold your phone like this while trying to consume media in loudspeaker.

When I hold a phone in the usual portrait orientation, I use my pinky as support. If you do the same thing, you’re gonna block the left speaker placement, too. This may not be a big deal for left-handed or ambidextrous people, though.

Telescope-like camera quality

Don’t be silly! I’m not talking about the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s more like the generic telescope. It’s not that bad as it still gets the job done of seeing objects from afar. But still, it’s not the best viewing experience either, considering you bought a telescope with less fancy glass elements within.

Ultra-wide | Wide | Telephoto

As stated earlier, it packs a 64MP f/1.9 main camera. Other than that, you’ll get an additional 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens with a 120-degree Field of View (FoV). Moreover, there’s a 5MP depth sensor and 2MP macro sensor, both in f/2.4 aperture.

Three of those lenses are downgrades from Mi Note 10’s setup: 108MP f/1.7 main, 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, and 8MP f/2.0 telephoto with 7x optical zoom. The Mi Note 10 Lite can only zoom up to 2x.

It doesn’t have a telephoto lens but zoom is still clear

Wide | Telephoto

For most part, HDR and AI produce quality photos

…but large megapixel count doesn’t mean better photos

Although the Galaxy S20+ and Mi Note 10 Lite aren’t totally similar in terms of price range and hardware, I still tried to test how both of their 64-megapixel sensors perform.

Galaxy S20+ (64MP) vs Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite (64MP)

Unlike Galaxy S20+’s processing technique, the Mi Note 10 Lite failed to lessen the image’s highlights in favor of a “better” dynamic range that shows lighter shadows on most dimmed objects in the photo.

Don’t be fooled! These samples obviously show that better image quality isn’t based on how large the megapixel count of a phone is. If you’re really into photography, you should know that sensor sizes matter, as well as aperture, the phone post-process techniques, so on and so forth.

Galaxy S20+ (low light) vs Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Lite (low light)

Mi Note 10 Lite’s sample might look fine from afar but if you closely look at the details, it failed to deliver sharper details and whiter highlights. Even shadows in low light weren’t exempted in its image processing. To make it worse, the main camera lacks optical image stabilization (OIS) which resulted in a blurry, shaky output.

Vlog mode might be handy for some of you

This only works on rear camera, though

I’m not totally a fan of vlogging but the Mi Note 10 Lite has a special camera feature called “Vlog mode” which lets you shoot videos with eight vlog templates. This can save you time and hassle from stylizing your vlog from scratch. Although there’s no sample video, I tried testing it on my sleeping cat and it worked wonders!

Selfies are just right

Beauty Mode (Off) vs Beauty Mode (On + AI)

Not a selfie fanatic either but I think selfie camera quality is preferential. I just find it odd that it still smeared some parts of my face even when Beauty Mode is completely turned off.

This feature might work for aspiring “Instagram stars” and “influencers” though. But who knows? That feature might totally entice the person you like the most.

Is the Mi Note 10 Lite your GadgetMatch?

You can get the 6GB/64GB variant at just PhP 16,990 (US$ 340). Meanwhile, there’s another 128GB/8GB option priced at PhP 18,990 (US$ 380).

By the time you reach this line, you’ve probably passed through the phone’s pros and cons. To simply put it, this is a phone meant for power users who don’t demand a flagship-grade processor and heaps of RAM.

Having the right amount of punch paired with long-lasting battery that can last you more than a day are already enough for most consumers out there.

If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world camera performance in a midrange smartphone, this isn’t your best option. Unlike the previous Xiaomi devices I’ve reviewed, I can immediately tell this lacked the outstanding camera performance that those two midrange phones possessed.

Don’t be too disappointed, it can still be a great camera companion if you’re into vlogging, selfies, or maybe for someone who’s just not into the nitty-gritty of manual photography. The camera is ideal for those who mostly rely on Auto Mode and just need to upload photos and videos on their social media accounts.

But if we’re talking about the price tag, it’s definitely a bang for your buck even if it doesn’t have the excellent camera setup of the Mi Note 10. After all, you can’t have it all (just like the person you desperately like).

Reviews

Redmi Note 10S review: The all-rounder you want

Great, long lasting performance with less compromises

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Note 10S

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

Editor’s Note: MoChaeng best girls đź’•

Also, it has a rear quad camera setup with a 64MP main sensor

Note 10S

There is also a USB-C charging port and headphone jack at the bottom

Note 10S

It comes in three colors: Onyx Gray, Pebble White, and Ocean Blue

Note 10S

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.

Note 10S

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.

Note 10S

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.

Note 10S

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.

Note 10S

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.

Note 10S

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!

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Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6: A worthy pro tablet

Even more if you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem

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MatePad Pro 12.6

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.

Sleek design 

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.

MatePad Pro 12.6

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.

MatePad Pro 12.6

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.

MatePad Pro 12.6

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 

MatePad Pro 12.6

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.

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Huawei Watch 3 review: Apple of my eye, err, wrist

The Apple Watch of Huawei’s smartwatch lineup?!

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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.

In a previous story, I listed a few reasons why the Huawei Watch 3 deserves to be on your wrist. Nearly a month later, I still stand by what I said about the Chinese company’s flagship wearable.

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.

Health features

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.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro review: Swanky and smart | Apple Watch Series 6 Review

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