Samsung's Gear line from Tizen Smartwatches has impressed me since the Gear S2 debuted for the first time, and the Gear S3 Frontier sat well over a year after its debut on my wrist. Now Samsung has thrown away this branding with the new Galaxy Watch, but also revived the same hardware with a killer function. Should you buy it? Spoiler alert, yes you should – here's why.
The best gifts for Android users
The Galaxy Watch continues a trend of killer smartwatch hardware
Above all, Samsung's hardware was one of its most impressive features on wearables. The Gear S2, S3 and even Gear Sport are all good-looking watches that contain tons of technology, and the Galaxy Watch is no exception.
The Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes, 46mm and 42mm. While none of these is particularly small, it's nice to see that Samsung is at least trying to cater for those with smaller wrists. Personally, I spent my review period with the larger 46mm model, and I was impressed with this hardware.
For one thing, the rotating bezel never gets old. This ingenious method of typing on your wrist works great, is super tactile and feels natural in minutes.
What I especially enjoyed about the Galaxy Watch is how Samsung styled the bigger version. Instead of giving us a boring single color, the silver 46mm Galaxy Watch has a bi-color design with black on the bezel and buttons and a polished stainless steel for the rest. I think it's great and it's going great, regardless of the band that I use. I spent quite a lot of time on Samsung's standard silicone strap, which is good, but ended up changing to a custom leather strap, which I think really fits the design of the watch.
As far as the rest of the hardware goes, the Galaxy Watch 5ATM is as waterproof as the Gear Sport, which means it will have no problem taking a dunk in the pool with you. It also charges wirelessly (but still does not work with any charger), has a heart rate sensor and also has a built-in speaker for calls and / or music apps. Samsung's display on both models is an OLED panel, and thanks to DX + Glass, I had no problems viewing it outdoors in bright sunlight.
Samsung understands how a smartwatch should work …
One of the key aspects of a smartwatch is its software, and Samsung's software, at least if you ask me, is the king of the hill at the moment. Sure, Tizen has some glaring issues, but the end product is something that does the user ridiculously well.
The first thing you can do with the Galaxy Watch is the dial, and there are many options here. Samsung offers several integrated interfaces that are analog and digital. I personally love that Samsung also uses the built-in speaker with a "ticking" sound when you use certain analog dials.
The new "My Day" space is super clean, but it can show at a glance the upcoming dates through the day. Other watchfaces have customizable complications that can show things like other time zones, health information, number of steps, and more. Of course, there are also a lot of third-party display icons that do a good job of doing that, and you can switch between them by holding down the dial and selecting a new one
Scroll down the bezel On the left, you'll be able to get your notifications , For me this has long been one of my favorite parts of a Samsung watch. Notifications are organized chronologically, provide a wealth of information at a glance and can even be edited with a few taps.
On the other hand, scrolling to the right displays a collection of customizable widgets. These can cover everything from health data to your calendar and it is fully customizable to your needs. For me, the first two pages are health and weather, and both give me useful information during the day that I do not have to think about. I just look at my watch, slide over and I have the information I need. Samsung's software is incredibly simple in that way, and it's a big part of why I enjoy it as much as I do.
Samsung has also improved the health features of the Galaxy Watch. It can, as usual, track your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and even water / caffeine intake, but better, Samsung has added even better sleep and stress tracking. However, I did not find that much in my personal life.
Apps are still a bit of a sore point for Tizen if you ask me. With third-party apps, there are some really good ones like Spotify that supports offline downloads and local playback. However, there is a much wider selection of Wear OS and especially the Apple Watch.
Watchfaces are also a bit harder to find compared to the selections found on Wear OS, but there are plenty of options, as well as options like Facer, that you can use to create your own. Better still, Samsung's own software is getting better, apps are less and less needed.
In my view, Samsung not only understands what features people want on their watch, but like these functions should work. Tizen may not be for everyone in looks, but when it comes to how it works, I'd argue that there's almost nothing better – at least nothing better, that connects to an Android phone.
19659009] There has never been a genuine smartwatch with battery life like this |
Where the Galaxy Watch really shines, lies in the battery life. It is phenomenal considering what we see here. A smartwatch with a full-color display, apps, and health features just should not take more than a few days. Apple impressed by the delivery of about 2-3 days for a fee. A typical Wear-OS watch, on the other hand, can be lucky to endure a long day.
For all these reasons, we were all skeptical when Samsung announced that the Galaxy Watch could take a full 6 days for a fee. Well, I'm happy to report that Samsung was right, if not without conditions.
On my first full charge with the 46mm Galaxy Watch, I took about 4.5 days of use, something I wanted to test extra system update in the mix. In lap two, however, I managed to use 5.5 days before throwing it onto the charging station. That's not quite except for Samsung's claim, but it's damn close.
One thing I have noted in another cycle is that the third party surfaces have a massive impact on results. Without changing anything other than my dial, I only had a charge just under three days. Another important thing to keep in mind is that turning on the always-on clock will destroy the life of your battery.
Continued use over the last few weeks has seen results that are just as good. The Galaxy Watch gives me, depending on my use, constantly about 4 days with some cycles that take up to 5.5 days.
Really, that leaves everything else out of the water. Although the 42mm Galaxy Watch only lasts 4 days, these numbers are still impressive. This is a watch that you can actually take with you for a weekend without changing anything. It can safely manage up to 15-20% of its battery through a day, before power-on modes are turned on. It is really impressive and alone a reason to buy this watch.
Final Thoughts |
As an Android user, there are a lot of options for a smartwatch. Wear OS is overflowing with hardware, there are offers from Fitbit and more. However, Samsung's Tizen is one of the best options, and with the release of the Galaxy Watch, I think the title is all locked – at least for the moment.
Google has just given Wear OS a fresh, promising look, new hardware is on the way, and Qualcomm's new chipset is making some significant improvements. The future looks good for Android smartwatches, and Samsung is the king of the hill for the time being, and everyone else will try to beat it.
At least it's on the Android side of things. Unfortunately, there is still nothing as good as the Apple Watch.
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