Huawei Watch Ultimate Review: The Terminator

Huawei Watch Ultimate Review: The Terminator
From the first moment I heard that Huawei has used something called Liquid Metal for the chassis of the Watch Ultimate, the Terminator analogy has been planted in my memory like a stubborn weed you just can't pluck up.

The Huawei Watch Ultimate is the T-1000 of terminators. A very tough, sci-fi-looking, sleek gadget that can withstand a lot. I'm sure this watch would've fit just perfectly on the wrist of Robert Patrick, who plays T-1000 in "Terminator 2: Judgement Day."

This watch has a liquid metal exoskeleton capable of withstanding hell and back, but does it have the brains to match? Well, it's time to find out!

What’s new about the Huawei Watch Ultimate?

  • Zirconium-based Liquid Metal chassis
  • 100-meter dive-level water resistance
  • 1.5-inch LTPO AMOLED with 1,000 nits of brightness
  • Expedition Mode
  • nano-tech ceramic bezel
  • 14 days of battery life

Table of Contents:

Huawei Watch Ultimate Unboxing

The Huawei Watch Ultimate comes in a black box, which Huawei fans might be familiar with by now. The company has been using the same design for much of its GT range, as well as some other wearables.

Inside you'll find the watch, placed in the center, a wireless charging pad, one additional silicone band, a second, extra-large Hydrogenated Nitrile Rubber (HNBR) strap, for serious divers (meant to go over your scuba suit), extenders for the titanium band, and some paperwork.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Specs

The Huawei Watch Ultimate looks very similar to the GT3 Pro, at least on paper, but there are a few substantial upgrades. The screen is now a 1.5-inch AMOLED LTPO that can go from 1Hz to 60Hz, and also boasts up to 1000 nits of brightness.

There are now three buttons on the chassis, with the one on the left activating the new Expedition mode. Other than that, the watch feels like a more premium, sturdy version of the aforementioned Huawei Watch GT3, which has its pros and cons, of course.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Design, Models & Sizes

Go big or go home!

There's no way around this - the Huawei Watch Ultimate is quite large. At 48.5 mm, it could be too big for some people with smaller wrists (myself included), but there are pros to this size, and most of them go hand-in-hand with the purpose of the watch - to be a rugged, adventure machine.

The 1.5-inch screen (466x466 resolution) is the highlight of the Watch Ultimate, along with the nano-ceramic bezel. There's a sapphire glass on top of the display, which means it will stay scratch-free (unless you hand around diamonds a lot).

This is the first LTPO screen in a Huawei watch, and it's also a very bright one, capable of going up to 1000 nits, a very useful feature under the bright sun at 10,000 feet altitude, or down there in the ocean at 100 meters depth.

In practice, this peak brightness rating is just about enough to make the watch legible under direct sunlight on a very bright day. It's not as bright as the numbers might imply, but it gets the job done.

There are two color variants: Voyage Blue and Expedition Black. The blue one features a clean metal chassis (which looks like titanium, mostly because there is titanium in the Liquid Metal alloy), with a blue diver-inspired bezel.

The black version is, you guessed correctly, black - and the ceramic ring resembles a compass, with the north direction depicted as a red arrow. The black one also comes with a rubber strap (a high-elastic, lightweight HNBR strap, to be exact), and due to this fact, its price is a tad lower than the Voyage Blue variant.

The back of both variants uses polished ceramic, which is great for people with sensitive skin, as this material is hypoallergenic. Overall, the design looks very stylish, not overly muscular, and resembles some classic diver watches (the Omega Seamaster comes to mind).

If you're worried about the weight, 76 grams might sound like a lot on paper, but in reality, the Huawei Watch Ultimate doesn't feel too heavy, and the weight is evenly distributed, especially if you're using the titanium strap version.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Software & Features

What does this button do?

The subheading is not a reference to Bruce Dickinson's autobiography book (although you should read it, great stuff!), and concerns the additional third button added to the Huawei Watch Ultimate.

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This watch runs on Harmony OS 3.0, and the experience and software are very similar to what we have in the GT 3 Pro series. The one big difference is the aforementioned third button, which takes you to the all-new Ultimate Mode, featuring Expedition mode, Dive mode, as well as other advanced features.

Expedition mode

Huawei has decided that it will be easier for adventurers around the world to track their, well... adventures with a tap of a button, rather than scrolling through some menus. The whole new Expedition mode is activated by pressing the third button on the left side of the watch, and it takes users to a new interface.

On the main screen, you see the distance, your average speed, sunrise and sunset hours, the current time, and your markers. You can place those by tapping on Mark, and the watch will then search for a GPS signal and record your current coordinates. You can also choose a custom color for the little flag that represents those coordinates.

Swiping down shows a second screen with the duration of your adventure, the altitude, heart rate, total waypoint distance, and average speed. Another swipe brings up a compass, and the last one takes you to some useful tools such as the SpO2 monitor, an altimeter, and a flashlight.

If you press the Expedition button once more while in this mode, the screen turns orange (Night mode) to be easier on your eyes during those nighttime jungle runs. It's a useful mode, that's for sure, but does it bring anything new and exceptional over the normal hiking mode? Not really.

What Huawei has done is organize some of the tools and modes already present and give them a physical shortcut button. Placing markers is fun, but you can use the Route Back tool to get back to your position, and it works just as well as the marker thing.

Dive mode

The all new Dive interface and functionality are obviously a big selling point for the Huawei Watch Ultimate. You have Freedive, Recreational dive, Scuba, and Technical dive, along with some Dive tools.

Now, I'm no diver and couldn't test all those features due to some physical limitations (no diving license and the necessary 300-mile trip to the sea to try and dip myself in water with a temperature of around 46 F), but all these features and tools seem pretty professional and robust.

You can calculate your decompression requirements, test for apnea, train yourself to hold your breath for longer, calculate your no-decompression limit (NDL), choose the type of water (salt, fresh, and custom density), set up notifications, etc.

The thing worth noting here is that all of the above is very niche and probably won't appeal to a mainstream audience. I don't know what percentage of human population divers represent, but if I had to bet, I'd say under 1%.

Actually, a quick search returned the following: " In the 18–44 age range, participation for casual divers is between 1.2 and 1.4 percent and for core divers between 0.2 and 0.4 percent. " So, the big asterisk here is that this watch will be amazing for divers, given that they don't use something pro-grade and even better, and also registering the fact that not that many people dive on a regular basis as a hobby.

You can take the Watch Ultimate and do recreational diving with your snorkel and fins, but I feel the potential of the watch will be wasted that way.

Fitness tracking

Fitness tracking is as good as it is on the GT3 Pro series: you can track more than 100 exercises; there's an algorithm for auto-tracking; and your Running courses and Training plans. They are pretty good, and even semi-pro runners can benefit from using them (one of our colleagues runs half-marathons, for example).

Health and sleep tracking

The Huawei Watch Ultimate can measure your heart rate continuously, take down your ECG, evaluate your arterial stiffness, measure SpO2 levels, watch your stress levels, body temperature, and of course, track your sleep.

All these sensors and algorithms are part of Huawei's TruSeen 5.0+ and TruSleep 3.0 packages, and they work really well. The watch can detect premature heart beats and alert you to possible heart conditions; the same goes for the SpO2 levels.

Sleep tracking is your regular Huawei stuff, with sleep scores, suggestions to improve your sleep, goals, sleep zones, etc.

Smart features

Smart features are still pretty basic on the Huawei Watch Ultimate, you get notifications from apps on your phone, but you can only use predefined answers, and you can't open any of them to see what they're all about. It's a bit frustrating not to be able to read your emails, especially on such a large and bright screen, but it is what it is.

You can use the watch to take and make calls (via Bluetooth), and we've already covered that, it works like a charm. You can upload music to the watch and pair headphones to listen to it (thus leaving your phone behind), and there are some cute little apps in the Harmony OS ecosystem, but nothing radically new, compared to the GT3 Pro.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Battery and Charging

Long-distance runner

Huawei smartwatches have always had great battery life, and it wouldn't make sense to expect anything less from a watch called "Ultimate." The Watch Ultimate comes with a 510mAh cell onboard, which should last up to 14 days with moderate usage, and up to 8 days if you really put the watch through its paces.

And while "moderate" usage is a subjective thing, I was able to clock 10 full days on a single charge on my first encounter with the watch. This included a few phone calls, a few tracked exercises, notifications, continuous sleep, heart rate, SpO2, and stress tracking, as well as some manual health measurements. Not bad at all.

Now, in special use case scenarios, such as the 9 km hike I did last weekend, the battery life of the Huawei Watch Ultimate really starts to shine. We did a 4300-foot climb for about 4 hours, and in Expedition mode, the battery lost only about 6-7 percent of its charge.

On our way back, we descended for about 3 hours with continuous GPS lock (in hike mode to compare it to Expedition mode), and the battery was at around 78% when we reached our base camp (from around 90%). All in all, very impressive!

There's a wireless charging pad included in the retail box, and it will charge the watch from 0 to 100% in about an hour. The Huawei Watch Ultimate also works with other QI-certified wireless chargers, and my 15W Anker was able to charge the watch even a tiny bit faster.

All in all, the battery life is solid on the Huawei Watch Ultimate; you'd be hard pressed to drain the battery in less than a couple of days, even if you tried.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Processor & Storage

Huawei has been pretty secretive about the silicon inside its wearables of late; we couldn't find any information about the chipset inside the Watch Ultimate, and we can only assume that it's a tweaked version of the Kirin A1 chip used in the GT line.

The situation with the RAM and onboard storage is the same; it's not listed anywhere, but we have to assume it's at least on par with what the GT3 has, more specifically - 4GB for music and apps (mostly music; the app situation is still a bit sparse with Harmony OS, at least globally).

The real life performance of the Huawei Watch Ultimate is identical with models from the GT3 Pro line, which again point toward similar hardware. The watch works fast enough; there are no big drops in performance, lags, or stutters—all in all, nothing that would drive you crazy over continuous use.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Connectivity

The Huawei Watch Ultimate is a Bluetooth-only device, and it doesn't feature LTE connectivity. Huawai has obviously decided to branch the GT3 Pro line into the Ultimate, rather than use the Watch 3, which offers LTE.

It's also worth mentioning that in China, the Huawei Watch Ultimate was launched with Satellite connectivity. It's marketed in China as the world’s first public smartwatch that supports two-way Beidou satellite SMS, and the feature is activated by holding the Ultimate button for three seconds.

However, there's no mention of this anywhere on the global site, and there's also no roadmap currently for rolling this functionality out globally.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Audio Quality and Haptics

You can use the watch as a Bluetooth calling device, and the call clarity is very good. I was able to hear the other side very clearly, even outdoors, and they reported the same.

This alone is a great achievement for a watch that uses 16 different components to withstand 10 atm of water pressure at 100 meters of depth.

The linear haptic motor inside the Huawei Watch Ultimate is quite powerful, and I actually had to lower the vibration strength, as it was too strong for my taste. It's a good thing, though; more power on tap is always preferable to not enough power.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Competitors

The Huawei Watch Ultra... err, excuse me, Ultimate, aims to be the perfect smartwatch for the adventurers out there. And as the (completely intentional) lapsus linguae shows, it's meant to be the Apple Watch Ultra killer. That's a pretty tough sell, given the price of the blue model, which clocks in at 899 euros, is higher than the said Ultra.

In all fairness, it's apples and oranges, as both watches offer different things. The only overlap is the dive functionality, but let's be honest, how many people are going to use this watch at 100 meters?

The real competitor here is Huawei's own GT3 Pro lineup of smartwatches. They offer 90% of what the Watch Ultimate has in store, but for half the price. And what's more, they do come in two different sizes and two different materials, for that matter.

Huawei Watch Ultimate Summary and Final Verdict

The Huawei Watch Ultimate is a technology masterpiece and another industry-first for Huawei. Its Liquid Metal chassis is stronger than titanium, its display - big, sharp and bright, its battery - long-lasting.

Should you buy it instead of going the more mainstream "Apple Watch Ultra" route, or the cheaper "Huawei Watch GT3" one? That's a difficult question, and the answer is, as always, "it depends." If you want the best materials in a smartwatch, a beefy battery, and you're a diver, then - by all means, go for it. You'd be more than happy with the Huawei Watch Ultimate.

For everyone else, though, sticking with the Huawei GT3 Pro might be a better idea, as you'll be getting nearly the same smartwatch experience for half the price.

Huawei Watch Ultimate pricing - Voyage Blue ~ 899 euros, Expedition Black ~ 749 euros.


  • 100-meter dive-level water resistance
  • Great 1.5-inch LTPO AMOLED with 1,000 nits of brightness
  • Premium materials
  • Long battery life
  • Comprehensive fitness, sleep, and health tracking
  • Great audio quality
  • Fast charging


  • Expensive
  • Expedition mode doesn’t bring much to the table
  • Diving features are pretty niche
  • Limited smart functionality

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