- Offers Many Features
- Comes in two Sizes
- Good Build Quality
- IP 68 Certified
- Built in Memory and Better Connectivity
- GPS and HR Works Well
- Samsung Pay works on non-Samsung Android Phones
- Limited Selection of App
- Uses MicroUSB for the Charger
- Rotating Bezel still feels a bit Fragile
One thing happened last year was Samsung ditching the Gear title and replacing it with the Galaxy family to make it a lot more included in the ecosystem of Smartphones and Smart Wearables. The first product to make its way with the Galaxy title was the Samsung Galaxy Watch, their new smartwatch. Presumably the successor to the Gear S3 Classic | Frontier. Now, that we have taken the watch out for a spin, it’s time for us to share our final verdict in this Samsung Galaxy Watch Review.
Design and Build Quality
If you look at the design, it has not changed much with the previous Gear S3 except for a small tweak in design like the rotating bezel to control the interface has finer but smaller jagged designs but other than that, it looks much of the same as the previous Gear. The Galaxy Watch comes with this nice Silicon band which gives it a sporty look and if you’re not a fan of it, you can opt in for their Leather Straps which has a professional look to it.
In terms of build Quality, this Galaxy Watch is the thickest smartwatch I’ve ever reviewed and there’s a reason why – which we will talk about it later. The feel of the whole Watch without the strap is very solid and well put if you ask me. The two buttons on the side has nice clicky feel to it and the rotating dial to navigate around is possibly my personal favorite way to interact with the display. But just like the Gear Sport we reviewed (exactly a year ago), the Galaxy Watch has a similar issue. That is the dial sometimes tend to get stuck and it’s hard to rotate it. Not sure what’s up with that but I really think, Samsung should look into it.
Just like the previous Gear Sport, the new Galaxy Watch runs their very own – Tizen OS. They have been using Tizen for their Wearables for a longer time right now and other than Wear OS which has so much features because of its Android roots, the other OS that has equally enough potential would be Tizen OS. It runs Tizen 4.0 which is the latest OS version for the Galaxy Watch. It has tons of features under the hood and good thing is that the Galaxy Watch can be paired with any Android Smartphones and of course works the best if it’s paired with a Samsung Phone. As much it’s fun to use. The apps that it offers falls short. But personally, I had all the apps I wanted on my wrist so that was fine. But like I said with the previous Gear Sport, the app selection needs to be improved.
Unlike the Gear, the Galaxy Watch does not have S Voice but instead comes with Bixby. I wouldn’t say I am surprised because Bixby is now on every device Samsung has to offer. But the interesting thing about the Galaxy Watch is the fact that it has both Microphone and Speaker built inside. So, you can talk and hear from your watch rather than using your phone. This feature is particularly handy especially when your hands are tied up – be it at work or driving or wherever. Interacting to Text messages on the Galaxy Watch is fun because you can reply with the default template messages, via voice or use their keyboard. It uses a T9 Keyboard which is smart because having a full layout is hard and it can be hard to maneuver around. That’s a good thing.
One other thing that I personally liked about the OS in this Galaxy Watch is the fact that it supports Samsung Pay, independently. The last time when we used the Gear Sport, it didn’t allow me to use the Watch for Samsung Pay as it required a Samsung Phone but this time around as I was using a non-Samsung Android Phone to review, it gave me the option to add my card and use it for Samsung Pay which is straight up impressive to me. Got to give them that. Do take note, it doesn’t work on Apple Device.
Other than all those Productivity stuff under the hood, one thing we all would be doing right after the moment we grab our hands on one Smartwatch is to change the Watch face. Samsung already has a bunch of pre-loaded watch face that comes in various types – Sporty, Classic, Professional – you name it. There is support for third party watch faces as well and you can download then use it. In my time, I used Facer and Samsung has some really cool Watch faces like Peanuts and much more which is cool too. Not to forget, the display on it is an AMOLED based and it looks vivid even under bright sunlight.
The other thing about the Galaxy Watch is that, it comes with a Hypoallergenic strap out of the box. We were using a 22mm Strap that was already inside the box but there is also a smaller version for those who prefer smaller straps inside the box as well which is a nice inclusion. Removing and replacing the strap is easy as a cupcake as it has a tiny pull latch at the back that can help you remove the Strap with no issue at all.
In terms of connectivity, the Galaxy Watch can connect via both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As we are in Malaysia, the Galaxy Watch does not have the support for eSIM. Normally it pairs with your phone via Bluetooth and that’s how it pretty much communicates. The Galaxy Watch takes the saved Wi-Fi data off your phone and stores it in the watch so the moment it recognizes an internet connection, it will connect automatically. Pretty neat if you ask me. What makes the whole thing better is the fact that, you can connect your Bluetooth headphones directly to the Galaxy Watch and listen to music from your wrist which is very convenient if you as me.
Charging and Battery
The Galaxy Watch uses the same charging method as the predecessor – that is through the Wireless dock and it’s one of the smartest and easiest way to charge a wearable. All you have to do is place it in the dock and it gets the juice up and running. It takes about 2 hours (or less) for the Galaxy Watch to charge from Zero to 100. It’s decent enough. They have included a power brick with the charger and the huge bummer with this is that – it still uses a Micro USB port. Now, this really needs to be changed.
The Gear Sport had an underwhelming battery life whereas the Galaxy Watch does have the same kind of battery life. Under normal usage, the watch can last for two days and when the moment the GPS is being used or if you choose to listen to songs via your watch then the battery life takes a huge hit.
But since it’s not something we do on a day-to-day basis, it’s something I can forgive but Samsung should take a look at it again with their next watch because there are other brands who has surprisingly did a better job with the battery life. Good thing is that the Galaxy Watch didn’t go through any of the heating or charging issues I faced with the Gear Sport, so that’s nice.
Its no surprise that Samsung does it best with their features. The Galaxy Watch has almost 39 modes for every single fitness centric smartwatch users out there. Under the hood, it has an Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, HRM and Ambient Light. These sensors will allow you to track your fitness goals and it keeps it in track which I like about it. The Galaxy Watch also has a 5ATM IP68 Water proofing with a MIL-STD-810G certification for protection against shock and impact. I don’t think you’ll find this much of features on any other smartwatch. By default, during my time using it tracked all my movement and it took my heart rate automatically to keep a log of it. Also, even if you forget to turn on your running or walking mode to record your progress – the watch has the capability to detect what you do and start automatically. A feature that I highly appreciate. It does really well as a fitness watch.
On to the productivity side of things. The Galaxy Watch has some nifty trick up it’s sleeves. These are some small features that makes a huge difference. Starting off with a tool that I never thought I’d need it – that is the PowerPoint Controller. All you have to do is pair it with your PC and then turn the dial to control the slides. It’s easy and simple to use. And we have other features like the Galaxy Health that records all your stats. But the Mobile app gives a better explanation over the Watch app.
Galaxy Watch App
The App on the phone allows you to control the watch as well. It offers the same settings as the watch but if you want a bigger room to play with things, then the Smartphone app is the one to go for. It divides the app into three segment – Info, Watch Faces and Settings. Under info, you’ll get a summarized version on the Watch’s status, Payment, Recommended Watch Face, Apps and much more. Watch faces shows all the Watch faces you have on your Galaxy Watch and you can customize the colors to your liking. Finally, the Settings is where the important aspect hold. There’re tons of them.
The Galaxy Watch is now beefier than ever because it really packs one too many features for such a small package. The Watch does things good in both counterpart – that is Fitness and Productivity. But Samsung has to look into making the Battery life better with the next generation and also have better app selection for their Watches.
If you are looking for a wholesome smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch works the best and I personally like it. The only thing that you need to consider is that it comes at a hefty price tag. So, it’s your pick.