China Smartwatch Shipments Rise 5% YoY in Q2 2023

  • China’s smartwatch shipments rose 5% YoY in Q2 2023 to mark the market’s gradual recovery.
  • Huawei remained the best-selling brand with a 39% market share.
  • imoo (BBK) surpassed Apple to rank second in market share.
  • The $500 price band’s share increased significantly, while the ≤$50 price band’s share decreased significantly.

Beijing, New Delhi, Seoul, Hong Kong, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego – August 30, 2023

Marking a gradual recovery in Q2 2023, China’s smartwatch shipments increased 5% YoY, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartwatch Model Tracker.

Senior Analyst Shenghao Bai said, “The YoY rise in Q2 came on a low base of the same period last year. At the same time, the holiday travel in Q2 and the 618 e-commerce festival also boosted consumer demand for smartwatches. The market has recovered slightly better than we had predicted.”

Source: Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Model Tracker

Note: Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Market summary

Huawei recorded a 58% YoY growth, maintaining its good reputation among consumers. The newly launched Huawei Watch 4 and Huawei Watch 4 Pro series models were popular with consumers, while old models such as the Huawei Watch GT 3 series still sold well. Another newly launched model, the Huawei Watch Ultimate, contributed to the brand’s performance in the ultra-premium segment.

imoo (BBK) benefited from the demand in the first full back-to-school quarter after the pandemic lockdown was lifted in China. Its multiple offline retail stores also contributed to the brand’s growth.

Apple recorded a 15% YoY decrease in Q2 2023. Although the Apple Watch Series 8 was the best-selling model family in China during the quarter, its shipments decreased 25% compared to that of its predecessor Apple Watch Series 7 in Q2 2022. With new product launches expected in Q3 2023, Apple is likely to increase its market share in the quarter.

Xiaomi recorded a decrease of 15% YoY but an increase of 7% QoQ. The brand still took the biggest share in the ≤$50 segment. Waning consumer interest in entry-level products contributed to the decline in Xiaomi’s market share.

OPPO achieved a 28% YoY increase in Q2 2023. Promotions during the 618 e-commerce festival helped the OPPO Watch 3 and OPPO Watch 3 Pro’s sales.  

Source: Counterpoint’s Global Smartwatch Model Tracker

Note: The price refers to the wholesale price

In terms of wholesale price bands, the ≤$50 band’s share significantly dropped compared to the same period last year. This price band’s share has been recording YoY drops in the past several quarters. On the other hand, the ≥$500 segment’s share rose significantly to 11% from almost negligible in Q2 2022.

Research Analyst Alicia Gong said, “The entry-level products with simple features are not as popular with consumers as they once were. A growing number of consumers are gravitating toward smarter devices with more health monitoring, sports tracking and guidance functions. Since the Apple Watch Ultra’s release last year, the share of premium segments has been growing. The promotions during the 618 e-commerce festival also contributed to these segments’ growth.”


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

India Smartwatch Market’s 121% YoY Growth Restricts Global Decline to 1.5% in Q1 2023

  • The global smartwatch market continued to contract in Q1 2023 following an 8% YoY decline in Q4 2022.
  • Fire-Boltt surpassed Samsung for the first time in the global smartwatch market, capturing the second spot.
  • All regions except India witnessed a YoY decline in shipments in Q1 2023.

Seoul, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego – May 25, 2023

Global smartwatch shipments contracted 1.5% YoY in Q1 2023, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. The 121% growth in India’s shipments managed to restrict the decline. This was the second consecutive quarter of a YoY decrease in global shipments, which were hit by the seasonal decline in demand for products from major players like Apple and Samsung, along with consumer sentiment dampened by global financial pressures.

Research Analyst Woojin Son said, “The global smartwatch market, which had been experiencing steep growth for several years, has entered a period of stagnation since the end of last year when it declined 8% YoY in Q4 2022. Amid a global slowdown in demand for tech devices, the smartwatch consumption trend has also undergone a transformation. The market share of high-price and high-performance HLOS smartwatches*, primarily released by Apple and Samsung, decreased from 60% in Q1 2022 to 53% in Q1 2023. On the other hand, the market share of Basic smartwatches* significantly increased from 23% to 34% driven by rapid growth in the Indian market. Although the overall smartwatch shipment volume declined slightly compared to last year, affordable products that offer a certain level of performance generated substantial demand based on their price accessibility. These low-end smartwatches are also absorbing or replacing the existing smartband market.”


Global Top 3 Smartwatch Brands’ Shipment Share, Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022

Global Top 3 Smartwatch Brands’ Shipment Share, Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Shipment & Revenue Tracker, Q1 2023

Market summary

  • Apple’s shipment volume fell 20% YoY in Q1 2023. This was the first time in three years that its Q1 shipments fell below 10 million units. As a result, Apple’s market share, which was 32% in Q1 2022, dropped to 26%. This can be attributed to the ongoing macroeconomic crisis, which has led to decreased accessibility to relatively higher-priced Apple Watches. Despite the Apple Watch Series 8’s release about a month ahead of its predecessor, it did not achieve the same level of success as the previous model.
  • Indian brand Fire-Boltt surpassed Samsung for the first time and reached the second position in the global market. Its shipments increased by approximately three times compared to the previous year and saw a 57% growth compared to the previous quarter. This reflects the rapid growth of the Indian market, just like other local brands such as Noise and boAt.
  • While Samsung experienced a 15% increase in shipments in its key market North America, it witnessed a decline in shipments in other major markets. As a result, its overall global shipments declined by 15% compared to the previous year and 21% compared to the previous quarter.
  • Huawei, the most influential Chinese OEM, saw a 14% YoY decline in its shipments in the Chinese market, which is a key market for the company. However, Huawei saw increased shipments in India, LATAM and MEA, limiting its overall decline in global shipments to 9%. Huawei has been employing a strategy of relaunching models previously released for the Chinese market in the international market.


Smartwatch Shipment Share by Region, Q1 2023 vs Q1 2022

India smartwatch market share

Note: Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Tracker, Q1 2023

In terms of the regional markets, India surpassed North America, reclaiming its position as the top region with a 27% share of global smartwatch shipments. Senior Analyst Anshika Jain said, “India’s smartwatch market grew 121% YoY in Q1 2023 driven by affordability, rising customer demand and availability of a wide variety of options in the budget segment. Around 40% of the total shipments were driven by the <INR 2,000 (<$25) price band, its highest proportion ever. The share of India-based players crossed 90% for the first time as they were quick in terms of upgrading their portfolios and adapting their products to customer needs at a reasonable price point.”

China’s smartwatch market experienced a significant contraction of 28% compared to the previous year, as the country’s economy showed a slower recovery than expected. This decline represents the sharpest contraction among the major regional markets and the lowest quarterly shipments since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Q1 2020.

*Types of smartwatches:

  • HLOS smartwatch: Electronic watch running a high-level OS, such as Watch OS (Apple) or Wear OS (Samsung), with the ability to install third-party apps.
  • Basic smartwatch: Electronic watch running a lighter version of an OS, with no ability to install third-party apps.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


Analyst Contacts

Sujeong Lim

Neil Shah

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Apple’s Device Ecosystem Multiplies its Brand Strength and Stickiness

  • A recent consumer survey from Counterpoint found that nearly 80% of iPhone users who own a smartwatch own an Apple Watch.
  • Over 98% of smartwatch users said they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their device.
  • Health and fitness tracking was reported as the most used feature among respondents, followed by notification checking.
  • According to Counterpoint’s Smartwatch Tracker, Apple grabbed 56% of shipments in the US in 2022.

Counterpoint’s most recent consumer survey shows that nearly 80% of smartwatch users who own an iPhone report that they own an Apple Watch. This was the highest share of any brand. Google Pixel users come in second with 71% of Pixel smartphone users who own a smartwatch saying that they own the Google Pixel Watch.

These findings help explain how Apple managed to achieve 56% share of the US smartwatch market in 2022 (according to Counterpoint’s US Smartwatch Tracker). Meanwhile, among Samsung smartphone users who own a smartwatch, only 40% use Samsung Galaxy Watches. Samsung’s struggle to get Galaxy smartphone users to adopt its smartwatches is also clear in Counterpoint’s sell-through data. According to Counterpoint’s Smartwatch Tracker and US Sell-Through by Channel Tracker, Apple sold about one Apple Watch for every three iPhones in Q4 2022, while Samsung sold only one Galaxy Watch for every ten Galaxy smartphones in the US.

Commenting on Apple’s success in the US smartwatch market, Research Analyst Matthew Orf said, “Our consumer research survey supports a general premise of ours – consumers generally purchase their devices as part of a broader ecosystem of devices and operating systems. Apple and iOS dominate the US smartphone market and iPhone users are more likely to adopt other Apple products due to their superior interoperability. With Apple’s smartphone installed base share surpassing 50%, it has a huge potential market to target with Apple Watches, while other smartwatch brands are stuck fighting for the rest of the pie. According to Apple Watch users, the most significant reason for selecting their current smartwatch was that they like the brand.”

US Smartwatch Consumer Survey-Key Insights

US Smartwatch Consumer Survey-Key Insights
Source: Counterpoint Research US Smartwatch Consumer Study, 2023

Source: Counterpoint Research US Smartwatch Consumer Study, 2023

The top three smartwatch features according to respondents are health and activity tracking, notification access, and messaging and calling, with health and activity tracking being most popular among older users and notification checking being more popular among younger users. Popular health and activity tracking features include step counter, sleep tracker, heart rate monitor and blood oxygen monitor. Meanwhile, users are also using their smartwatches for connectivity – interacting with notifications from social media as well as messaging and calling friends, family and coworkers. When asked about their overall experience with their current smartwatch, more than 70% of the respondents using Apple, Samsung, Google and Garmin smartwatches reported being “very satisfied” with their device and 82% stated they wore their smartwatch every day.

Commenting on the high overall level of satisfaction among smartwatch users, Senior Analyst Arushi Chawla said, “It is interesting to note that smartwatch users are overwhelmingly satisfied with their devices. Despite Apple’s gargantuan lead in brand stickiness and its brand popularity, users of other smartwatch brands did not report a significantly lower level of satisfaction with their devices. Sometimes we hear from consumers who do not own a smartwatch that there are no strong use cases for smartwatches, and this hinders adoption. But according to our consumer study, smartwatch users are overwhelmingly satisfied with their devices, citing health and fitness tracking, as well as notification access, as central uses. This suggests that there is room to educate consumers on the benefits of smartwatches in everyday life and further drive the adoption of the form factor. OEMs and component players stand to gain if they can educate consumers on how smartwatches can benefit their daily lives.”

In addition to collecting insights into user satisfaction and smartwatch use, Counterpoint’s consumer survey also investigated how long users have owned their device as well as when they intend to purchase their next device. In total, 59% of respondents had purchased their smartwatch in the past year and only 14% had purchased their device more than two years ago. About 50% of the respondents stated they intended to purchase a new smartwatch within the next year, while only 16% said they intended to purchase their next smartwatch in over two years. This points to a holding period of just over two years for most users. Additionally, 77% of the respondents stated that Apple was the most preferred brand for their next smartwatch. The share of respondents willing to pay $500 or more for their next smartwatch was double the share of those who stated they spent $500 or more on their current smartwatch, suggesting rising ASPs for the segment.

For further details, reach out to Counterpoint Research for the full report on our latest consumer survey. This report features insights into current smart device ownership, smartwatch purchase journey, current smartwatch usage, current smartwatch experience, and future purchase preferences.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

Matthew Orf

Arushi Chawla

Follow Counterpoint Research

Related Content:

Global Smartwatch Shipments Market Share Q4 2022

Global Smartwatch Shipments Grow 9% YoY in 2022; Price Polarization Seen in Demand

Smartwatch Market Grows 13% YoY in Q1 2022; Apple Stays First, Samsung Solidifies Second Place

China Smartwatch Shipments Down 8.8% YoY in 2022; Huawei, Apple Dominate Market with Almost 50% Share

‘Made in India’ TV Shipments Grow 33% QoQ in Q3 2022; TWS Leads Electronic Wearables Segment Local Manufacturing

  • Dixon led the Made in India TV shipments, followed by Radiant.
  • Bharat FIH led the Made in India TWS shipments, followed by Padget.
  • Optiemus led the Made in India smartwatch shipments.
  • Samsung, Dixon and Wingtech were the top three tablet manufacturers.

 New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – January 10, 2023

‘Made in India’ TV shipments grew 33% QoQ in Q3 2022 (July-September) to reach over 5 million units, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Made in India service. In the electronic wearables category, the TWS segment led in terms of local manufacturing with almost 34% of its shipments being manufactured in India.

Commenting on the local manufacturing ecosystem, Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh said, “The TV market showed high QoQ growth due to the festive season, which drove the consumer demand, increasing the local manufacturing shipments as well. The top five manufacturers contributed to more than 55% of the locally manufactured TV shipments in Q3 2022. Local manufacturing continues to stay robust for segments like smartwatches, TWS, tablets and neckbands also. The local manufacturing share in the TWS segment increased to 34% in Q3 2022 from 16% in the previous quarter. Bharat FIH, Padget, Avishkaran and Optiemus were the top four brands and cumulatively contributed to almost 90% of the locally manufactured TWS shipments. In the tablets category, Samsung, Dixon and Wingtech contributed to more than 90% of the locally manufactured shipments. However, in the smartwatch category, Optiemus dominated the local manufacturing and contributed to more than 90% of the shipments.”

Counterpoint - India Local Manufacturing Contribution by Product Segment Q3 2022
Source: Counterpoint Made in India Research, Q3 2022

On the Indian government’s focus, Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain said, “Under the Made in India theme, local manufacturing aims to even go beyond smartphones to cover segments like audio products, wearables and EVs. More and more efforts are being made to make the country a significant player in the global value chain. These efforts now also include semiconductor manufacturing. Many states like Gujarat have even come out with their own semiconductor policies and are bringing about associated reforms and policy changes (like labour and land reforms in Karnataka) to harness India’s potential in this space.”

The government’s vision to increase local manufacturing as well as design capabilities in India will impact the local value addition in the wearables segment. We may see many companies increasing their capacities, with the new entrants also opting for local manufacturing.


  • Dixon Technologies’ share does not include Padget Electronics.
  • Avishkaran Enterprises manufactures for Mivi.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts

Prachir Singh

Priya Joseph

Tarun Pathak

Follow Counterpoint Research

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OnePlus Nord Watch Review: Well-rounded Smartwatch on a Budget

OnePlus has been focusing on value-for-money devices with its sub-brand Nord. Following a series of Nord smartphones and TWS earbuds, OnePlus recently launched its budget smartwatch, the OnePlus Nord Watch, to further expand its Nord portfolio. Available for INR 4,999 (about $60), the smartwatch is targeted at first-time users and is a step towards building a Nord ecosystem. After testing the smartwatch for close to a month, we have put together some initial impressions.

Impressive display quality with a sturdy build

  • The OnePlus Nord Watch flaunts a 1.78-inch AMOLED screen with a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • The smartwatch features a zinc alloy chassis with a polycarbonate back.
  • The button on the side is used for waking the watch, accessing the menu and exiting apps.

Oneplus Nord Watch Cover Photo, Counterpoint Research

The OnePlus Nord Watch embodies a basic design, similar to those of its competitors in the segment. The build quality of the smartwatch is sturdy with the outer casing made of Zinc alloy. The back of the smartwatch is made of polycarbonate. In terms of aesthetics, the watch looks beautiful with a two-tone finish and glossy outer casing available in black and blue. The display glass is tough enough to withstand daily wear and tear. Even after about a month of usage, we saw no scratches on the display.

The watch features a large, square-shaped 1.78-inch AMOLED display, which has a crisp 368×448 resolution and solid 326PPI pixel density. The display is bright enough to make information visible even in peak sunlight as it offers 500 nits of brightness. The function of the side button is to wake the watch up or open the app drawer. The touch response of the display is smooth and offers a near lag-free experience.

Watch OS is constricted, but useful

  • Fitness modes are flexible and useful.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking is a good addition to the watch.
  • Inability to customize watch faces is a miss.
  • No Bluetooth calling is a miss.

Oneplus Nord Watch App Drawer, Counterpoint Research

The Nord Watch ships with a custom RTOS, which offers fitness tracking, menstrual cycle tracking, sleep tracking and a plethora of other useful apps. There are more than 100 sports modes to choose from, including walking, running, skipping and hiking. The step counter feature functions quite accurately, while the SpO2 sensor and heart rate tracker take a bit of time to stabilize the readings after the initial setup. The sleep tracking function offers good insights into sleep patterns, including deep sleep and light sleep.

I evaluated the OnePlus Nord Watch using two different Android phones – one from OnePlus and the other from a competing brand with similar performance and compatibility. The watch works equally well with both iOS and Android. The UI is easy to use. An upward swipe opens the latest notification and a downward swipe brings up the quick settings menu. A swipe right to left will show your sleep results, and a swipe left to right will display step counts and other health data. The watch syncs with most of the music apps available on iOS and Android, and the camera shutter app on the watch works well with all devices.

The walking and running modes activate automatically only when you perform those specific activities. Nevertheless, this is a good device for all fitness enthusiasts who include walking and running in their fitness routine. If you are using the watch without your phone, the data will only sync after connecting with the phone.

The watch has display icons for most social media apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. However, Teams, Outlook, Reddit and other apps are unavailable, which I believe can be easily fixed via a small update. The watch does not accommodate quick replies while cancelling a call (e.g. ‘Can’t talk right now’), or quick replies for social media, which would otherwise have been a great addition. 

N Health app offers a good user experience

Oneplus Nord Watch App Interface, Counterpoint Research

Users can access features such as watch faces and log data through the N Health app, which can be downloaded from Android or iOS app stores. The N Health app’s UI is minimalistic and offers easy access to health and sleep cycle analytics. The app offers more than 100 non-customizable watch faces from which up to four can be selected and stored in the smartwatch. The app displays menstrual cycle settings, SpO2 readings and heart rate readings.

During my test, the Nord Watch’s battery lasted for about eight days on a full charge at 40% brightness and minimal fitness tracking. If you crank up the brightness to 100% and use the watch more for fitness tracking, the battery lasts for about five days. The standby battery performance is great. It loses 1% when the device is not connected to your phone and 3%-4% when connected.

Oneplus Nord Watchface, Counterpoint Research

Key takeaways:

  • The OnePlus Nord Watch has a simple design with a decent set of features and accurate fitness tracking.
  • The SpO2 and sleep tracking features offer reliable analytics through the N Health app.
  • The device offers many interesting watch face options to choose from. However, the inability to customize watch faces is a big miss.
  • The watch gives the user more than 100 indoor and outdoor sports modes to choose from.
  • The app gallery on the watch offers three types of layouts. However, the default one looks quite similar to what competitors are offering.
  • The absence of a quick reply feature is a miss. The watch also does not have Bluetooth calling, which is a hot favourite feature in this price segment.
  • The lack of third-party app support, such as Strava and Spotify, is also a miss. However, most competing devices also do not offer the same at this price point. This feature is something to look forward to in future iterations.

Related Research:

Garmin Epix Gen 2 Smartwatch Review: Pretty, Costly

Garmin is a relatively niche player in the global smartwatch market, but it is by far the biggest producer of athletic watches. Its direct competitors include a pair of Finnish companies – Polar, which was the first to offer real-time heart rate monitoring in wearable devices, and Suunto – and US-based Coros. Coros is a relative newcomer in the athletics wearables market having been founded in 2016, but which has already developed a strong reputation that it bolsters by including multiple world champions among a roster of sponsored athletes. Apple has been eyeing the athletic watch market and its recent launch of the Watch Ultra signals its first attempt to muscle in on the scene.

The subject of this review is the Garmin Epix Gen 2 smartwatch. This is not going to be an exhaustive analysis of everything that this watch can do – and it’s a lot – but I will aim to pick out some of the highlights in the way that I use it and what we can learn in more general terms about this particular part of the smartwatch market. As I say, the Epix 2 can do a lot of things and so it should; this is by any measure an expensive watch. So who is the target buyer for the Epix and why would someone buy this watch and what can we infer about the wider smartwatch market?

The Epix feels like a new branch in the Garmin family tree. But as the Gen 2 part of the name implies, it’s actually a re-launch of the Epix range which originally came out in 2015 featuring – back then – a color display and touch control for navigating maps. But Garmin felt that the technology wasn’t ready for prime time in 2015, so back-burnered the model for a few years.

Garmin is clearly happy that display technology has caught up with its vision now, so the Epix Gen 2 features a vibrant, always-on OLED touch display that really makes graphics pop in a way that even the best of its transflective Memory In Pixel (MIP) LCD displays on, for example, the Fenix and top-end Forerunner watches, can’t match.

Where Epix 2 fits into Garmin’s range?

Garmin has been extending its product ranges over the last few years; it sometimes feels like it is creating ever more tightly overlapping circles in a huge Venn diagram. Epix is aimed at dedicated sports enthusiasts – let’s call them athletes. Garmin has two strongly established ranges for athletes. The Forerunner series – that starts from relatively entry-level products through to the Forerunner 955 that retails for around $500 – and the Fenix range, which is targeted at multisport athletes and has a premium ruggedized aesthetic. The Fenix range starts at $700. Epix 2 is essentially a 47mm Fenix 7, but with an OLED display, a somewhat more refined design aesthetic and positioned with more lifestyle messaging. And it is priced at the premium end of the Fenix range, starting at $900.

I chose the Epix in white with the titanium bezel. I did this mostly because the black, that I would otherwise likely have opted for, was not available at the time. However, I have grown to like the white and the colorway works well with the titanium bezel. The 1.3” 416 x 416 pixel display’s cover glass is sapphire, which promises good scratch resistance. I have nevertheless managed to scratch mine already by clattering the metal part of a swimming pool lane marker while doing backstroke – but it’s barely noticeable and it didn’t break!

All its top end watches include detailed topographical maps that can be used for navigating. As the watch was purchased in Europe, it came pre-loaded with 11.5GB of active topo maps that allow me to navigate anywhere in Europe. For example on a recent trip to France, I was able to navigate around the unfamiliar lanes and trails of an obscure part of the Languedoc region with ease. If I travel to another part of the world – the USA for example – I can download maps for free – although they are hefty file sizes and the download process can be long as a result. The titanium Epix models are equipped with 32GB of storage, while the slightly cheaper stainless steel model makes do with 16GB.

The display is attractive. Graphics look great, and the included topographical maps are easy to read. However watch faces are functional but not amazing. Users used to the variety and beauty of, say, Apple Watch faces are likely to be underwhelmed. I am not bothered though – I can tune the face to display what I want it to and if I want to go deeper into any of the displayed data, I just need to tap and hold to access the underlying function.

So, it’s a nice looking watch, but worthy of the $900 price tag? That’s a matter for individual purchasers, but it’s a hefty premium for an OLED display, which is the most obvious point of differentiation over similarly capable watches in the Fenix and Forerunner ranges. And it’s also a $100 premium over the newly launched Apple Watch Ultra.

Garmin gets sports.

Garmin has founded its brand strength on tracking athletic performance. Unlike most other smartwatches, including Apple Watch, it has eschewed following the conventional approach of a touchscreen supported by one or two hardware buttons. Garmin watches are mostly non-touchscreen and have five physical buttons. The Epix has slightly changed the game by including an always-on OLED touchscreen. But it still has the five physical button layout familiar to users of other Garmin watches such as the Forerunner and Fenix series.

Garmin’s user interface presents a steep learning curve when first encountered. But once known, it becomes relatively intuitive. In the case of the Epix, the touchscreen allows for an additional and welcome level of control. But when a training session starts, the touchscreen becomes inactive and the watch is controlled solely by the hardware buttons. This is absolutely the way it should be and I would argue that any watch that relies on a touch interface to manage workouts is not aimed at serious fitness enthusiasts. A control interaction that seems simple when sat at a desk, becomes difficult in the depths of running reps when sweat is dripping from shaking fingers, or doing laps in the pool; hardware buttons are the only interface that makes sense in this context, so Garmin turns-off the touch interface during activities by default. But the user can change this in settings, along with more or less everything else.


And this is another benefit of Garmin compared to most other ‘standard’ smartwatches. It offers almost limitless customisation potential. A user can prioritise those sports they engage in most, change the layout of data screens to show only the data they want to see. And they can even change the functions assigned to the various buttons. This likely means that no two Garmin devices are exactly alike once the user has had time to personalize their device to their own preferences. The value of this capability only becomes fully apparent once you try another watch that doesn’t offer this level of personalization.

And while personalization can be managed on the device, it can be a bit fiddly. So Garmin has made it possible to make the changes in the Garmin Connect app, and then synchronize them to the watch. This is a good and long overdue innovation.

Battery performance – the display costs power as well as $

Garmin watches last a long time. The 47mm Fenix 7 will do 18 days between charges. The Epix manages only six days with the display in always-on mode. Switching to a mode where the screen lights up when you lift your wrist – which works amazingly well (no false negatives) – extends the battery life considerably, up to 16 days. With always-on display, full multiband satellite navigation, full-time heart-rate monitoring it will last up to 15 hours. In my experience, this seems about right. I did an ultra-marathon event in the mountains of Wales, with the display on full time, heart rate monitoring, location tracking and navigation. The event took me 12 hours to complete and I still had 35% battery capacity at the end. In endurance mode, when the GPS is used intermittently, and the display is not on full time, battery life can be extended to many days. Nevertheless, if you really want to maximize battery life, Garmin’s Enduro watch offers up to 77 days in ‘expedition’ mode.

Overall, I find the battery life tolerable. I do on average around an hour of activity per day and up to three hours per day on the weekend. I have the watch set so the display is always on. I have to recharge the watch once every four or five days or so. Recharging is relatively quick – although I haven’t timed how long it takes. For someone used to something like an Apple Watch, recharging once or twice a week might feel revolutionary, but for someone coming off of using one of Garmin’s other watches where you might only charge once in two weeks, it feels like a backward step.

Health and wellness – the (only) killer app for smartwatches

Optimal health is founded on three pillars: good sleep, good exercise and good nutrition. Tracking all three, accurately, is the holy grail for health and wellness applications. None that I have found can do them all well. Most wearables attempt to track the first two, sleep and exercise, but even with these it’s not straightforward.

Garmin has a strong track record in helping users to manage the exercise pillar. It was a long time licensee of First Beat, and then went on to acquire the company outright in 2020. First Beat provides the algorithms that power Garmin’s analysis of not only a person’s exercise and other physical activities, but also how rest and recuperation play a role in building fitness. Fitness improves through stressing the body through exercise and then allowing it to rebuild itself, which it does to a marginally stronger level than before. But the body can only do this through resting. This means that rest is as an important component in building fitness as any workout.

The Epix’s multiple sensors track activities as well as the body’s levels of, for example, fatigue. These are summarized in multiple ways, but the easiest to grasp, at a glance is the Body Battery that shows the level of overall resource depletion and then recovery. Another valuable indicator is Garmin’s Training Readiness index which takes into account sleep and sleep history, recovery time since the last workout, heart-rate variability – which is a key marker of fatigue – training load and stress levels. All are good markers to track. And I have noticed that when I am feeling fatigued or achy following a period of strenuous activities, and I then check, the Training Readiness index shows levels consistent with how I feel. This is good for determining whether to do a planned workout, to shift to something lighter, or skip the workout altogether.

These metrics can be looked at on the device itself, but a richer and more interactive experience can be garnered from the Garmin Connect application that enables a wide range of analyses. It also links to partner apps such as Strava and Training Peaks with which it shares data seamlessly. And the app can also be used to source additional workout and training programs, and more.

The ecosystem benefits also come through in the integration with, for example, Training Peaks. I have a coach to help me with running. She shares my running programme with me on Training Peaks. This automatically syncs with the Epix, so when I select a ‘Run’ on the watch it shows the planned workout for the day and off I go. If I am wearing headphones to listen to music from the watch or through a paired smartphone, I get voice prompts that tell me times and paces for each section of the workout. This is excellent and means I just have to lace-up my shoes and head-out.

After a workout, the watch gives an indication of how much rest is needed. This takes account of the workout intensity as well as environmental factors such as a heat, altitude and how well rested I was before the exercise session. If I take things particularly easy in the hours following a workout, the watch sometimes says that due to my good rest, I am recovering faster and can therefore train again sooner.

Sleep tracking – it tries

Sleep tracking is complex. To do it accurately requires the placing of electrodes on the scalp to carefully monitor brain activity that changes dramatically in different phases of the sleep cycle. A wrist-worn wearable can only approximate what is going on by monitoring heart rate, respiration, movement etc. Garmin wearables do a decent job of this and I can certainly see a correlation between my sense of whether I slept well and what Garmin reports. But it’s not fool proof. A few nights ago I found myself wide-awake in the middle of the night. I didn’t move, but lay quietly until sleep returned – but I was awake for five or ten minutes or so. In the morning the watch didn’t report any wakefulness, presumably because I remained absolutely still. So, as with all wearable devices it provides an approximation of sleep quality, but the Garmin Epix is likely as good as any and better than many.

And to track sleep, the watch needs to be on your wrist, so any watch that needs daily recharging is likely to be useless for sleep tracking as most people will opt to recharge overnight, although, I tend to recharge when sat at my desk during the day so the watch is ready to monitor my sleep.

Nutrition – nope, not really.

While sleep is likely the most important health pillar – actually more like a foundation on which everything else is based – nutrition also has a crucial role in determining health outcomes. However, Garmin’s smart watches are not equipped to track nutrition. The watch will estimate the calories expended during an activity and Garmin offers connected weight scales (Garmin Index) to track body weight and body composition. But for actually tracking calorie intake, Garmin has partnered with MyFitnessPal to exchange workout and nutrition information. MyFitnessPal has a great database and a well-designed app, but it’s tedious and time-consuming to log everything one consumes in a day, especially if making everything from scratch, so I rarely do it. But equally, most people are creatures of habit, so once you establish your own personal database of foods, checking the boxes next to each item can be relatively quick.

And as a smartwatch..?

The Epix delivers notifications from a partner smartphone and includes the ability to respond, albeit with canned messages and then only with Android devices; iOS doesn’t support this capability. The Epix (along with most higher-end Garmin watches) can store music playlists from Spotify and a few other music applications that can be listened to through Bluetooth headphones. It doesn’t support Audible, which is a shame, because I listen to books on longer runs, but I can download podcasts.

Garmin does have an app store of sorts, however few of the apps are particularly inspiring; most only offer variations on watch faces. There are a few professional apps, such as Spotify, Komoot, Amazon Music, Deezer etc, but these are limited in extent. However, the standard core functions are sufficiently complete that I don’t feel like I am missing anything significant.

Garmin Pay is incorporated in the watch, but few banks where I live in the UK support Garmin Pay, so it’s essentially useless.

Summary – goodness, it’s pricey

Apple is coming after Garmin’s market with its Watch Ultra – a do-it-all watch that counters Garmin’s fine-grained and often confusing application-specific offerings. I will be testing Apple’s newly launched contender in the next few weeks and will share my thoughts in due course. For now, I am happily making good use of the Epix to manage my training and recovery. It’s a definite step up from my previous Garmin Forerunner 935. But considering the latest Forerunner, the 955, does more or less everything the Epix can do, but for several hundred fewer dollars, and the Fenix 7 is almost identical, but just lacks the OLED display, and is again quite a bit cheaper – the question of value for money is a difficult one to get over. Were I choosing again, I would think twice about opting for the Epix, but it’s a near-run thing.

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Smartwatch Market Grows 13% YoY in Q1 2022; Apple Stays First, Samsung Solidifies Second Place

  • The market grew 13% YoY and continued double-digit growth for the fifth consecutive quarter.
  • Apple maintained its lead, while Samsung solidified its second place.
  • Xiaomi recorded first Top 4 position with 69% YoY growth, and is breaking its shipment record every quarter.

Seoul, Beijing, Boston, London, Toronto, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Taipei – May 31, 2022

The global smartwatch market recorded 13% more shipments compared to the same period last year, despite concerns over economic slowdown and inflation, according to Counterpoint Research’s recently published Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. Despite -24% QoQ due to weak seasonal demand, Xiaomi performed well with it record-highest quarterly shipments.

Associate Director Sujeong Lim said, “Although the global smartwatch market saw little growth in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19, it has continued to perform well since its rebound last year. In particular, Apple accounted for more than a third of the total shipments last year, and it is further increasing its influence with a market share of 36% in the first quarter of this year. The high brand loyalty of iPhone users is one of the success factors of the Apple Watch. This popularity appears to be higher among the younger generation, making Apple an irreplaceable market leader. Of course, everything was possible because the high performance of the product and the excellent connection among supported iOS devices. We believe that Apple’s market share is likely to rise further by the end of this year.”

Global Top 8 Smartwatch Brands Shipment Share, Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021

Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Tracker

Market Summary:

  • Apple maintained a solid lead and increased 14% YoY in Q1 2022. Some shipments carried over to Q1 2022 due to a month late launch of Apple Watch 7, which helped continue the strength of the brand.
  • Samsung solidified second place with 46% YoY increase in shipments. It grew significantly in the APAC region with the popularity of Galaxy Watch 4 series.
  • Huawei remained flat YoY in terms of shipments. Due to the weak position in the international market caused by GMS restrictions, the proportion of the Chinese market in the brand’s total shipments is gradually increasing.
  • Xiaomi recorded its first Top 4 position with 69% YoY growth and is breaking its shipment record every quarter as it rapidly penetrates globally. A large proportion of its sales come from the low-end segment under $100.
  • Garmin ranked fifth in terms of shipments, but came in third in terms of revenues thanks to its higher ASP. It occupies the majority portion in the premium segment over $500.
  • Amazfit maintained its market share by occupying 6th place thanks to the GTR 3 and GTS 3 series that launched in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the meantime, it has been working to expand outside of China and has had some success increasing its presence in Europe.
  • With the China Kids Watch market sluggish at -7% YoY, and as Huawei and Xiaomi expanded their presence in this segment, imoo suffered a double-digit YoY shipment decline.
  • After the merger with Google, Fitbit appears to be undergoing an internal reorganization. As a result, there were no new models released last year, and the transition to Wear OS was delayed, so its sales decreased compared to the same period of the previous year.


Smartwatch Shipment Proportion by Region, Q1 2022 vs Q1 2021

Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Tracker, Q1 2022


By region, while most major regions grew YoY, only Europe recorded flat growth. Although Apple and Samsung continued to grow year-over-year, other major brands such as Garmin and Fitbit performed weakly in the European market during this period.

Ms. Lim said, “We initially expected the war between Russia and Ukraine to have minimal impact on the market in Q1, but the prolongation of the conflict and the resulting logistical constraints have begun to affect the European region. The impact of the war will become more serious in Q2”.



Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


Analyst Contacts:

Sujeong Lim


Neil Shah

Follow Counterpoint Research


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Smartwatch Market Grows 24% YoY in 2021, Records Highest Ever Quarterly Shipments in Q4

  • The market grew a healthy 24% YoY, thanks to strong demand for sub-$100 smartwatches.
  • Samsung, Amazfit and Garmin recorded a higher growth than the market average, although Apple remained the undisputed leader.
  • The Indian market quadrupled YoY thanks to the notable growth of local brands such as Noise.

Seoul, Beijing, Boston, London, Toronto, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Taipei – March 14, 2022

The global smartwatch market shipments hardly grew in 2020 due to COVID-19, but they recorded a healthy 24% YoY growth in 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s recently published Global Smartwatch Model Tracker. The fourth quarter alone saw shipments of more than 40 million units, the highest quarterly shipments ever.

Associate Director Sujeong Lim said, “The global smartwatch market’s good growth in 2021 is meaningful in itself, but it is more meaningful in that it makes us look forward to future growth. With their ability to monitor important health parameters like blood pressure, ECG and SPO2, these devices are becoming popular. Further, the attractiveness of smartwatches as independent wearable devices will increase if more of them start supporting cellular connectivity.”

Global Top 9 Smartwatch Brands Shipment Share, 2021 vs 2020

Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Tracker

Market Summary:

  • Apple maintained its solid No. 1 position with a 30% market share but fell 3% points YoY due to intensified competition. However, its ASP rose 3% without the release of the SE model in 2021. As a result, Apple accounted for half of the total market revenue.
  • Samsung was one of the most successful smartwatch OEMs in 2021. Its QoQ growth was more than 200% in the third quarter to record the brand’s best shipments ever. This growth retained strength until the last quarter. Moving to Wear OS through a partnership with Google has worked well for the brand in many ways.
  • Huawei launched high-end new models and kids’ smartwatches despite continued US sanctions, but inevitably its shipments would decline YoY. Due to the Watch GT 3 and Watch Fit Mini, which were released in the fourth quarter, Huawei’s shipments more than doubled QoQ in the quarter.
  • imoo did not release a new model in 2021, resulting in a slight YoY decline. However, as it entered markets outside China, such as Europe, it remained the undisputed No. 1 in the kids’ smartwatch segment.
  • Amazfit succeeded in expanding its position in the market in 2021, recording more than 20% YoY growth over the past two years. Its ASP also rose 11% as the proportion of the GTR and GTS, the high-end models of the brand, gradually increased.
  • Garmin performed better than expected in 2021. Garmin had initially focused on introducing high-priced smartwatches for special categories like aviation and divers. But it is gradually shifting focus to bringing attractive consumer products from price and design perspective. As a result, it showed 35% YoY growth and took sixth place by raising its global ranking by one place.
  • Fitbit showed weak performance in 2021. Since the launch of the Sense and Versa 3 models in the third quarter of 2020, there has been no launch of new models, which seems to be due to strategy changes and reorganization due to the merger with Google. Therefore, it showed a YoY decrease of more than 15% in 2021. But it is expected to rebound with the release of the Versa 4 in the second half of 2022.
  • Xiaomi showed strong performance with its Mi Watch Lite in the first half of 2021 and released the Redmi Watch 2 series in Q4 2021. In this series, it launched the ‘Lite’ variant to broaden users’ choices and we expect it to contribute to Xiaomi’s market share gain.
  • Noise, the 1 local king in India’s smartwatch market, was the fastest-growing brand among the global top 9 brands. Leading the growth of the Indian smartwatch market, Noise was India’s No. 1 brand in 2021 and 2020.

Smartwatch Shipment Proportion by Region, 2021 vs 2020

Source: Counterpoint Global Smartwatch Model Tracker, Q4 2021

One of the driving forces behind the growth of the global smartwatch market in 2021 was the expansion of the Indian market. The Indian smartwatch market accounted for only 3% of the global market in 2020, but it grew four times in 2021 to raise its global market share to close to 10%.

Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain said, “Noise is the No.1 Indian smartwatch brand and leads the growth of the local market. It captured the top position in 2021 due to its diverse product portfolio targeting the budget and mid segments, as well as strong partnerships with e-commerce players, financial institutions and celebrities. Noise also focused on community building and slightly shifted its price base towards the lower side to make its smartwatches accessible to a larger group of people, a strategy that proved to be effective. All this resulted in Noise ranking third in terms of shipments after Apple and Samsung in the APAC region except China in 2021.”


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Sujeong Lim


Anshika Jain


Neil Shah


Counterpoint Research

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Infographic: 2021 | Smartwatch

Smartwatch Market Share By Brand, 2021 vs 2020

  • The global smartwatch market reached 127.5M units in 2021, with shipments of 42.4M in the fourth quarter.
  • While Apple’s Watch 7 series launch had been delayed to the fourth quarter, Samsung has boosted their market position in 2021 with the successful launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 series.
  • Similar to its decline in the smartphone market, Huawei  showed weaker performance in the smartwatch market compared to 2020. But it still ranked 3rd in the global market.

​Smartwatch Market Share By OS, 2021

  • Smartwatch operating systems: proprietary OS or RTOS still dominates. These lack the ability to install third-party apps.
  • With the popularity of the Apple Watch, Watch OS holds almost a third of the market.
  • The biggest change in 2021 in terms of smartwatch OS is Samsung’s move from Tizen to Wear OS. As a result, Google’s Wear OS has increased its share from 3% in 2020 to 10% in 2021.

​Smartwatch Market Proportion By Region, 2021

  • The smartwatch market still has room to grow and shipments are yet centered around advanced markets such as North America and Europe.
  • China is the largest market for kids’ smartwatches, and this has helped it rank second in regional markets just behind North America in 2021.
  • The Indian smartwatch market was similar in size to MEA or LATAM in 2020, but recorded explosive growth of four times in 2021, achieving share of close to 10%.

Counterpoint-Research-Infographic-Smartwatch-2021Use the button below to download the high resolution PDF of the infographic:

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Huawei Watch 3 Review: Gorgeous Display, Fluid UI & Reliable Fitness Tracker

With the downfall of Huawei in the smartphone segment, the company had been focusing on other segments for growth and sustenance, with IoT being a key focus area. Huawei was one of the top three smartwatch vendors in H1 2020, but it could not sustain the growth and was the only brand among the top five to see a decline by H1 2021. But this decline hasn’t stopped the Chinese giant from innovating and launching new products. The launch of the Mate 40 and P50 series, Freebuds 4 TWS, foldables, and smartwatches among other devices, shows its resilience. In June 2021, the company launched Huawei Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro models which were the first ones to ship with HarmonyOS 2.0.

With a price of £349.99 (roughly $500/€400), the Huawei Watch 3 brings a stylish new design, health-focused features, eSIM connectivity, and much more. Under the hood, HarmonyOS 2.0 aims to bring a more fluid experience over Huawei’s earlier LiteOS, while also competing with Google’s WearOS and Apple’s watchOS. But has Huawei succeeded? Here is my long-term review of the Huawei Watch 3 after using it for close to six months.

Huawei Watch 3: Premium Design, Sturdy Build & A Great Display

  • 1.43-inch AMOLED screen, 46.2mm case.
  • Features stainless steel and ceramic materials.
  • 3D rotating crown with side button.

With the Watch 3, Huawei hasn’t changed the design philosophy and continues with the circular design from the Watch GT series. Huawei has moved to use high-quality materials, where you get stainless steel case and ceramic back, which not only gives it a premium look and feel but also offers a sturdy build. The black color model which I am reviewing looks classy and goes well with both formals and casuals. Also, the display glass is nicely curved around the edges with a piano black finish, which further adds to its look and feel.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review back

A digital crown on the right is a good addition. A single press opens the app launcher, whereas rotating the crown lets you scroll through the screen, UI, and notifications. The experience is pretty good, especially with the haptic feedback that you get as you rotate the crown. Below the crown is a physical button that works as a shortcut for workout modes.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review crown

Upfront, the Huawei Watch 3 flaunts a 1.43-inch circular AMOLED screen with a resolution of 466×466 pixels. The screen is bright, vivid, and exceptionally sharp. It delivers accurate colors and deep blacks that make everything from widgets, watch faces, and the interface look great. It is also adequately bright offering great visibility indoors and outdoors. The Watch 3 also features 5 ATM water resistance allowing you to wear it in the rain, shower, or even in a swimming pool.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review comfortable to wear

HarmonyOS 2.0: More Refined, But Still a Work-in-Progress

  • HarmonyOS 2.0 is good, but the app-gap issue exists.
  • Compatible with Android, and iOS with limited functionality.
  • Wi-Fi and eSIM connectivity.
  • Celia assistant (limited availability).

The Huawei Watch 3 is the first smartwatch to ship with HarmonyOS 2.0. Since its launch, Huawei has consistently rolled out monthly updates which not only added new features but also refined performance and fixed a lot of bugs. In terms of compatibility, the smartwatch can be paired with both Android and iOS devices. But for the best experience, Huawei recommends using it with their smartphones.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review app interface options

I tested the Huawei Watch 3 with three different devices – Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy Z Fold 3, and iPhone 12. Experience with Android phones was better than the iPhone, which was very restricted. Nearly all features work with Android phones, except for things like a camera remote shutter where you can see a preview of the smartphone camera viewfinder on the smartwatch before clicking a photo.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review app grid


The default app interface is inspired by Apple Watch’s honeycomb grid one, but you can also switch to list view if you prefer. The UI is slick, and the app icons look refreshing too. One area where Huawei is lagging is the app ecosystem. The AppGallery has a very limited number of apps, most of which you may not even end up using. Having at least the most popular ones like Strava, Spotify, and MyFitnessPal type apps would be useful. There is also no easy way to sync fitness data with Google Fit (or other fitness tracking apps), which is most likely because of the lack of GMS in the Huawei ecosystem.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review appgallery

Navigating through the UI is simple. A swipe from top to the bottom brings up Quick Settings toggles for Do Not Disturb, Sound profiles, Settings, Airplane mode, and more. A swipe from left to right reveals a weather widget and quick controls for music playback. Swiping from right to left reveals widgets for health, continuous heart rate and SpO2 monitoring, skin temperature, and more. And lastly, swiping up from the bottom reveals notifications.

Wi-Fi connectivity and eSIM compatibility are other features that make the Huawei Watch 3 a good proposition over most competitor smartwatches. Wi-Fi comes in handy when moving around the house. Even if the smartphone is in the bedroom and you are in the living room or kitchen, out of Bluetooth range, the Watch 3 connects to the home Wi-Fi network so that you continue getting notifications without any interruption. Talking about eSIM (4G LTE) connectivity, it is limited to certain regions such as China, so I was not able to test it here in India.

Counterpoint Research senior analyst Sujeong Lim who tracks the global smartwatch market said “Smartwatch OEMs are still in the process of finding ways to provide users with a better user experience and use case. The Apple Watch is excellent in many ways, but it has its own shortcomings in terms of short battery life and OS compatibility. On the other hand, Amazfit’s GTS and GTR lines have a long battery life of about one week, but they do not support third-party apps, so their usability and functionality are limited.

After using the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro, I found that the Huawei smartwatch was well-balanced, neither more nor, less, in most ways. In addition, the front display using sapphire glass was more robust and luxurious than any other smartwatches. Therefore, I believe that Huawei smartwatches themselves are competitive and have great growth potential, but the lack of GMS and popular third-party apps even on HarmonyOS 2.0, will likely hamper growth in markets outside of China.”

A Reliable Fitness Tracker in Smartwatch Form Factor

  • Over 100 workout modes with automatic detection.
  • Handwash detection, SpO2 monitoring, sleep monitoring.
  • Fall detection and SOS alert feature.

The Huawei Watch 3 is more of a fitness tracker first, and smartwatch later. It comes with over 17 professional workout modes such as basic walk and run modes, fat-burning run, and aerobic endurance run among others. Each of these modes, for instance, basic walk, has pre-defined time and phases, such as alternate speed walk for 3 minutes and jog for two minutes for 22 minutes.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review fitness

Then there are outdoor and indoor runs, cycling, and walk modes where you can pre-define a goal, seven-kilometer cycling, or five-kilometer walk for instance. You can also pre-define time for how long you want to walk or set the number of calories you want to burn during the walk.

Similarly, in the case of swimming, there are two modes to choose from – open water and pool swim. For open water swimming, you can set goals like distance, time and calories burned. And in the case of pool swim, laps, time, or calories.

In terms of accuracy, I compared it with the Apple Watch Series 6, and the readings were similar. For heart rate reading, there was a difference of 3-4 beats per minute max, which I think is good enough. Even for a pedometer, the Apple Watch had a step count of 1136 steps whereas the Huawei Watch 3 logged 1116 steps, which again isn’t a big difference. I also wore both watches while cycling and the GPS distance logged by both barely had a difference of 144 meters, which could be the result of factors like GPS reception, but the reading was more or less similar, thus, offering performance and accuracy closer to the Apple Watch series.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review cycling

Lastly, given the prolonged COVID-19 scenario around, Huawei has added a couple of handy features that make the Watch 3 an interesting proposition. These features include SpO2 and skin temperature measurements, allowing you to keep track of your vitals. I compared the reading taken by the watch with a pulse-oximeter available over the counter and there was barely any difference in both readings, making the Watch 3 reliable again.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review sleep and steps

There are other features like handwash detection, fall detection (which I could not test), and sleep tracking as well. When you are sleeping, the Watch 3 can track different parameters like your bed time and rise (wake-up) time, along with other details like deep sleep, light sleep, awake time, breathing quality, and awake times.

Good Battery Life, But Not as Great as Previous Huawei Smartwatches

  • On normal usage, the battery lasts up to three days on a full charge.
  • Ultra-long Battery Life mode offers close to eight days on a full charge.
  • Reverse charging to charge the smartwatch using compatible wireless charging enabled smartphones.

The biggest highlight of the previous Huawei Watch smartwatches has been the multi-week battery life. When my colleague reviewed the Huawei Watch GT2 Porsche Design smartwatch, he was left impressed as the battery lasted nearly two weeks on a single charge. Unfortunately, the same isn’t the case with the Huawei Watch 3 running HarmonyOS 2.0.

One observation over the years has been that the smartwatches powered by high-level OS do not offer a great battery life. While the Apple Watch battery can barely make it through a day, the Samsung smartwatches with Tizen OS have enough juice to last two or three days. The Huawei Watch 3 offers a similar battery backup for about three days, and sometimes even four, when there are not too many notifications popping in (on weekends). But if you do a lot of fitness activities like running, cycling, outdoor walks, and more, the battery will drain faster.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review battery

Huawei has also included an ultra-long battery life mode, which turns off Wi-Fi and cellular networks, while also restricting access to some features. With this mode turned on, the battery lasted for a little over a week. Talking about restrictions, you will continue getting notifications from apps like Messages and Telegram, but there is no option for replying.

Unlike the competitor smartwatch platforms that fully restrict most functions in power-saver mode, it is good to see that the Huawei Watch 3 offers access to key features. These include a bunch of watch faces, continuous heart rate monitoring, SpO2, and skin temperature measurement. Along with these, you do get access to workout modes like indoor and outdoor walk, running, cycling, and swimming among others. And GPS also gets activated during these activities to track your route. This is a nice differentiation over the competition.

On-board Storage for Listening to Offline Music During Workouts

The Huawei Watch 3 comes with 16GB internal storage to store your music, apps, watch faces, and more. Out of the total space, around 9.5GB is available while the rest is taken by the OS and default apps. Now, while you can transfer songs to the watch for offline listening, it only works when paired with an Android smartphone. Transferring can be done via the Huawei Health app where the songs need to be present on your smartphone, and you need to connect it with Huawei ID. But do note, as it will be transferred via Bluetooth, it takes a bit of time.

counterpoint huawei watch 3 review music

To give you a rough idea, it took five minutes to send two MP3 tracks with a total size of 21MB. So, if you are transferring your entire music library, it may take hours. Ideally, it would be better to transfer 10-15 songs each day, if your library had about 100 or more songs. You can then connect your TWS to the smartwatch, go on a run and listen to your favorite songs without having to carry your smartphone along. There is also Huawei Music built-in the watch, allowing you to stream online music from the library, provided you have a Wi-Fi or eSIM connection enabled.

Huawei Watch 3 Review – Key Takeaways:

  • The Huawei Watch 3 is a sleek and neat-looking smartwatch with reliable and accurate fitness tracking capabilities.
  • It features impressive monitoring tools such as skin temperature measurement, SpO2, sleep tracking, and fall detection to name a few.
  • Lots of interesting watch faces and compilations to choose from, giving a more personalized touch to the experience.
  • The choice of comprehensive workout modes that Huawei is offering is impressive, complete with guided and animated instructions.
  • While the hardware is impressive, HarmonyOS 2.0 is still a work-in-progress with a lot of room for improvement.
  • The lack of third-party apps on AppGallery is a concern, and having apps like Strava for running and cycling, and Spotify for music streaming would greatly benefit the ecosystem.

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