Presented at the same time as the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei Band 3 Pro is the new connected bracelet from the Chinese manufacturer. The successor to the Band 2 Pro has new welcome features and is intended to be the ideal companion on a daily basis, but also for regular sports activity. Does Huawei manage to find a place for itself among gender specialists like Fitbit? Answer in our full test.Summary
- Price and release date
- Design and screen
- For Sport
Originally intended for a mass audience, the connected bracelet quickly became the companion of athletes. Many brands have abandoned the idea of investing to appeal to a niche audience. But in the face of growing consumer interest in sport (just look at the jumping number of gym registrations), some brands continue to believe in it.
Huawei is one of them and regularly renews its “wearable” products. In November 2018, at the same time as the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the Chinese manufacturer unveiled the Huawei Band 3 Pro, its new connected bracelet. Huawei presents it as a daily companion, but also an accessory for athletes, and not just Sunday athletes. We had the chance to test the Huawei Band 3 Pro for several weeks, discover our complete test.
Price and release date
The Huawei Band 3 Pro is already available on the market. Announced at the same time as the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro in November 2018 at 99 euros, it is sold (at the time of writing) around 80 euros. Huawei offers it in three colors: Obsidian Black (our test model), Space Blue or Quicksand Gold.
At this price, the Huawei Band 3 Pro competes with a big name in the wearable market: Fitbit. Its connected bracelets Flex 2 and Ace are offered respectively at 80 and 100 euros. The Xiaomi Mi Band 3 remains the most affordable bracelet. Sold for less than 30 euros, it is also less complete than the Huawei Band 3 Pro.
The Huawei Band 3 Pro has rather limited connectivity. No 4G or Wi-Fi, enough to reassure the most resistant to the multiplication of waves. Huawei's connected bracelet is in fact only equipped with Bluetooth 4.2 and a GPS c chipCompatible with Galileo (European guidance system) and Glonass (Russian guidance system).
The lack of 4G or Wi-Fi didn't bother us at all during our test. The wristband syncs with the Huawei Health app in the smartphone and that is more than enough. On the other hand, we regret the absence of Bluetooth 5.0. This standard would have made it possible to benefit from better range and better stability even if in use the Huawei Band 3 Pro is doing very well on these two points.
Design and screen
The Huawei Band 3 Pro looks like two drops of water to its predecessor. Same rectangular shape, metal case and silicone strap (slightly ridged) are the main aesthetic choices of the brand. It's pretty basic, but effective. The attachment system similar to that of a classic watch is simple. The multitude of holes on the bracelet allows the bracelet to be well adapted to all wrist sizes. However, we regret the impossibility of adapting a bracelet of a different color. If you choose a black Huawei Band 3 Pro, you will have to be satisfied with it. That's a shame.
The case is made up of a screen (surrounded by black bands) and a touch button below acting as a return to the home page. Below, the multiple sensors are united. The bracelet is thin (11 mm) and light (25 grams) so much so that we sometimes forget that we are wearing it. This is a real strong point, especially for athletes.
The main attraction of the Huawei Band 3 Pro is its screen. Huawei has chosen a 0,95 inch AMOLED panel with a definition of 120 x 240 pixels. This allows the bracelet to display information in a resolution of 282 dpi, almost twice as much as its predecessor (146 dpi).
The other major advantage of this new version is the color display. Compared to the Xiaomi Mi Band 3 and its monochrome screen, this is a real plus. Especially since AMOLED technology makes it possible to display bright colors and excellent contrast. Not to spoil anything, the screen is very bright and therefore perfectly readable even in direct sunlight. Huawei also offers three levels of brightness, depending on the conditions of use, in order to optimize autonomy.
If it does not revolutionize the genre, theand Huawei Band 3 Pro is a joli bracelet. Our black test model is probably the least sexy of the three. The white/gold version is much more attractive.
The Huawei Band 3 Pro features a 100 mAh battery. The brand does not venture into autonomy estimates, the use of the bracelet being far too variable from one user to another. During our test, on average, we recharged the bracelet every 4 days.
We specify that we used the bracelet intensively. He accompanied us on a daily basis, but also during our sports activities (running, fitness, swimming, cycling). The GPS chip, although particularly energy efficient, has an impact on autonomy. But Huawei has done a remarkable job. More moderate users or for whom sports activities are more punctual can reach 5 to 6 days of autonomy.
If the autonomy is excellent, the charging system is not the most practical. Huawei provides a small base to attach the bracelet for charging. Sadly, the USB to micro-USB cable (we would have liked USB-C in 2019) is very short and impractical. No mains unit is supplied. We are therefore instinctively tempted to connect the charger to a computer, via USB. It's a shame, because we would have liked to be able to recharge the bracelet overnight, on the bedside table.
Huawei promises 100 minutes of charging to go from 0 to 100%. This is the average duration that we noted during our various recharges. We specify that we recharged the Huawei Band 3 Pro via a USB-C adapter for MacBook. 1h30 to 1h45 of recharge time for 4 to 5 days of autonomy, it is simply excellent.
The Huawei Band 3 Pro does not shine with the originality of its everyday functions. Like any connected bracelet, you have to go through a companion application to fully exploit the data. At Huawei it is called Huawei Health. The Band 3 Pro is only a data collection and information relay tool. For the price, it's not bad.
Like any good connected bracelet, that of Huawei displays the number of steps walked as well as the percentage reached in relation to your goal (predetermined in the app). On the screen of the bracelet you can also read and consult your heart rate (this is much more reliable than with the Mi Band 3), the number of hours of sleep from the previous night, access exercises sports (we will come back to this) as well as a series of parameters in the menu called “More”. In this menu, it is possible to customize the “Faces” (the dial), but only three formats are offered, that's not much. This menu also includes all the following functions:
- find your phone
- switch off
- Legal Notice
- about us
Finally, the Huawei Band 3 Pro allows you to consult the messages and notifications received on the smartphone associate. Please note that it is not possible to reply to messages. On the other hand, you can hang up when a call comes in at an inopportune moment (a meeting for example), but you cannot pick up. Of course, it is possible to filter the applications for which you wish to receive notifications. This requires going through the Huawei Health app.
Generally, the bracelet is very comfortable to wear and to use on a daily basis. However, we have noted a rather disturbing defect: interactions with the screen are not always fluid. Sometimes you have to try several times to scroll through the menus or even take the bracelet out of standby. In the same way, the bracelet is supposed to light up to indicate the time and some third-party information as soon as you raise your wrist. However, it must be turned at a very specific speed and angle for it to work systematically. This is probably due to the fact that the Band 3 Pro's technical data sheet is not dazzling: Appolo 3 processor, 1 MB of ROM, 16 MB of flash and 384 KB of RAM! It's unfortunate, because turning your wrist several times in the middle of the street to display the time makes you look like a… redneck.
The function that appealed to us the most during our daily test was sleep monitoring. The precise data provides information on the hours of deep or light sleep. We can configure the alarm to wake us up at the most convenient time. The bracelet can even warn us that it's time to go to bed if we want to respect our sleeping hours. It's classic, but still effective.
If the Huawei Band 3 Pro is not amazing on a daily basis, it becomes much more interesting for sports activities. First good point, it is not mandatory to launch the Huawei Health application to access the activities. They are available in the “Exercises” menu of the bracelet. And they are very numerous:
- outdoor running
- indoor running (on a treadmill)
- outdoor walk
- ?outdoor cycling
- indoor cycling (exercise bike)
- indoor swimming (pool)
- outdoor swimming (sea, lakes, etc.)
- free training
For each activity, it is possible to set objectives and configure levels: the bracelet can for example vibrate every 2 km. During outdoor activities, a countdown is triggered. You have to wait a few seconds before you can start. This allows the GPS to fix the location. This waiting time may seem disturbing to some, but these few seconds are necessary to obtain our location with impressive precision. The Huawei Band 3 Pro records the route of the courses and the margin of error is one or two meters maximum. The best!
When an activity is completed, the bracelet transfers a whole lot of data to the Huawei Health app in seconds: number of steps, calories burned, kilometers covered, duration of the activity, heart rate and, for runners, the stride length.
All of this data can either be stored in the Huawei Health app or (good news) exported to other such services. Runners, for example, use Strava a lot. Be aware that data may be transmitted there. PFor trail runners and mountain bikers, the Band 3 Pro is not recommended since it does not take into account the difference in height or altitude. A real regret.
Swimmers will however be delighted to learn that the Band 3 Pro can accompany them in pools, seas or lakes. The bracelet is waterproof up to 50 meters promises Huawei (we could not verify it) and above all is able to calculate the SWOLF score. For those who don't know, the SWOLF score is a swimming performance indicator. It is calculated on the basis of a time to cover a distance, but above all on the number of strokes. For example, a swimmer covering 50 meters in 45 seconds with 42 strokes has a lower SWOLF score than a swimmer covering 50 meters in 48 seconds with 38 strokes.
The Huawei Band 3 Pro is not as accurate as the basic SWOLF calculation (time + number of strokes). This is due to the fact that the bracelet only registers the movement of one arm. For example, if you start your swim with the arm not wearing the bracelet and finish it with the same arm, you lose two strokes on the SWOLF calculation. Hence the fact that Huawei speaks of an average SWOLF score. In itself, during our tests, the score was reliable, the principle being anyway to see the evolution of training.
In all sporting activities, the Huawei Band 3 Pro has proven to be reliable and accurate. The Huawei Health app is excellent, and the ability to export data to third-party services is the icing on the cake. We only regret not being able to use it if you are a trail runner or mountain biker. But most of the time, these sports profiles turn to more advanced technologies such as those of Garmin for example.