Galaxy Watch3 is a worthy successor, but not without flaws
To say that smart watches have become part of our lives would be cunning, but everything is moving towards this. And we believe that Samsung – one of the pioneers in this area – is doing a lot of things right. The new Galaxy Watch3 is the epitome of the latest technological advances and software optimizations. Despite the biting price tag, there are several reasons why you’ll want to buy them. The Watch3 is one of the best, if not the best, alternatives to Apple Watches.
We reviewed the watch with a diameter of 41 mm, so the display diameter is only 1.2 inches. Using them is not as convenient as the older brother with a screen diameter of 1.4 inches (total diameter is 45 mm). Also on a more compact version is a less capacious battery (247 mAh versus 340 mAh). However, both models have less capacity than the previous generation, but it’s nice that the gap between the 41mm model and the 45mm model is reduced to a minimum: the small version received an LTE module and an external speaker, which allows you to make calls – options that are usually not available on lower models of devices not only from Samsung, but also from other manufacturers.
The Galaxy Watch3 falls into the second category. They run Tizen, can run apps, have Wi-Fi and GPS, and some models can work with LTE. As a drawback, you can cite a short battery life: the maximum that you can count on is 2-3 days.
In terms of hardware, Watch3 has undergone several changes compared to the original version. The processor remained the same – Exynos 9110, but the amount of RAM increased to 1 GB, and the amount of permanent memory – up to 8 GB. The display has become brighter, but the resolution remains the same – 360 x 360 pixels.
The most remarkable thing is, of course, the rotating ring. With the departure of the Galaxy Watch Active and Active2, it seemed that this solution would also go into oblivion. However, the company listened to the opinion of customers, and the improved ring returned to its place.
While the Watch3 hasn’t changed much in terms of hardware, the health and fitness functionality has received a noticeable boost. Now there are functions of ECG, blood pressure monitoring and other monitored parameters. Unfortunately, not all countries can get the most out of an ECG monitor. At least for now.
The watch comes in a classic box, in which, in addition to themselves, there are instructions, a wireless magnetic charger. The watch cannot be charged with a normal Qi charger.
In appearance, Watch3 is very reminiscent of the good old Gear Sport. If you put them side by side, then the difference will be insignificant. Perhaps something needs to be done with the swivel ring. After a week with the watch, it looked more and more like a Gear Sport.
In any case, the materials and the sensations from them do not cause a feeling of rejection – the premium is felt. The watch case is made of stainless steel, while the 45 mm version received a titanium case. Samsung claims that the new watch is 14% thinner and 15% lighter than the old one, while the screen is bigger. This is only true for the 45mm titanium version. The younger model has the same screen, but the overall size has decreased.
As for the build quality, there is no plastic in the assembly. In any case, it is not felt. Most likely, it is aluminum, not stainless steel. This is good news, as we often see “premium” smartwatches with a plastic case.
In addition to more natural navigation, the rotating ring serves to protect the screen from damage. Such a protrusion often takes the first blow if you accidentally touch an object for hours. It is better to scratch the ring than break the glass.
The key difference between the Gear Sport and Watch3 is in the navigation buttons. They are not rubberized and are made of metal.
The only small remark concerns the straps. Samsung claims that they are made of real leather, but it has not been able to get rid of the feeling of cheapness. There is something in the strap that makes it difficult to comfortably wear the watch on the arm, and there is something unnatural in its color. The reverse side is protected from moisture, sweat and discoloration. The good news is that they are easy to change: you can buy any strap with a 20mm clip for the 41mm version and 22mm for the 45mm version.
As for color, the younger model comes in two variations: bronze and silver. They are intended for the majority of the population and go as unisex. The 45mm variant is available in black and silver. He looks more masculine.
In general, the watch looks solid, but at the same time it is light. The touted MIL-STD-810G standard suggests they won’t have issues with accidental drops, extreme temperatures, dust, vibration, and low or high pressures. At the same time, Samsung recommends avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations and high speed operation.
The 5ATM/IP68 rating means the Watch3 can be worn while swimming, but after swimming in sea or chlorinated water, it’s best to rinse it with clean water.
Use and management
We have already described our joy at the return of the spinning ring, so you probably guessed that Tizen is controlled from it. Of course, nothing prevents you from using the good old method through the touch screen, and besides, you can’t do without it from time to time. Still, the ring allows you to navigate through the menu more intuitively without frequently poking at the display.
Needless to say, the control ring feels amazing. Samsung has definitely gone to great lengths to improve the ring that was on the Gear Sport and the original Galaxy Watch. In fact, we often found ourselves thinking that we were just spinning it back and forth.
The bottom button works like a home button, while the top button is more commonly used as a back button. They can also pause your workout.
It is also worth noting that this is one of the few watches that has the “Raise to Wake” function working correctly. In about 9 out of 10 cases, Watch3 wakes up and shows the time when you put your hand to your face. This is very important from a usability point of view, since the Always-On function can be turned off here to save energy.
Galaxy Watch3 has a 1.2-inch round Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 by 360 pixels for the younger 41mm version. The larger 45mm variant has a much larger 1.4-inch display, but the resolution is the same. Both variations are protected by Gorilla Glass DX as opposed to Gorilla Glass DX+ on its predecessor. Samsung does not specify how bright the display is in the specification, but it significantly outperforms the Galaxy Watch in this parameter. Brightness is enough under any lighting conditions, and the colors, as usual, are very bright and juicy. Samsung, as you know, ate the dog on displays.
At the heart of the watch is the Exynos 9110 processor, which is made using 10 nm technology. It consists of two cores running at 1.15 GHz. The chipset is designed specifically for smartwatches. In this regard, the watch does not differ from its predecessor. Of course, I would like to see a more productive processor, but this is enough for the eyes. With 1GB of built-in RAM and 8GB of storage, everything is fast and responsive. It was nice to see an increase in internal storage, since 4 GB on the previous model was clearly not enough.
The heavily optimized Tizen 5.5 operating system feels great on the watch. Any podlagivanie and brakes were noticed. Some will argue that by lowering the frequency a little, it would be possible to increase the battery life, but we like it that way. Take, for example, watches from Huawei and Honor. They have a long run time, but in terms of performance, they suffer. All animations are jerky, navigation slows down. The complete opposite of what is in Tizen OS.
If we talk about the battery, then the watch has suffered a downgrade: its capacity has decreased from 472 mAh to 340 mAh for the older version and from 270 mAh to 247 mAh for the younger version compared to the previous generation.
As for interfaces, the watch has everything you need: Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.
Bluetooth range is impressive. In a 75 m2 apartment with thick walls, we were able to make a phone call even where the Wi-Fi signal quality dropped to zero. The smartphone was on charge in the back room. The only gripe with this concerned the volume of the sound – it was not loud enough. However, given the size of the watch, this is forgivable.
It’s nice that the younger version of Watch3 now also has LTE, which is very rare for small watches.
As for the sensors, there are also plenty of them. There is a real ECG sensor, blood pressure monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope and barometer. Unfortunately, the ECG monitor and blood pressure monitor can only send abnormal health alerts in South Korea and the United States. Certification of similar sensors in other countries is still in progress.
For battery testing, we left all settings as is. This mode was enough for 2 days with one workout and a short bike ride with GPS turned on. In addition, two calls were made.
The watch was on the wrist all the time. Even during sleep, they collect information. The following settings affect runtime the most:
- screen brightness set to 6/10 and automatic brightness adjustment to minimum;
- notifications with sound and vibration;
- automatic heart rate measurement every 10 minutes;
- always-on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi;
- Enabled gesture to automatically turn on the screen when you raise your hand and turn it off after 30 seconds.
Sure, the larger 45mm variant should last longer, but it’s unlikely to hold up like the original Galaxy Watch either. In any case, in terms of autonomy, our copy of the watch is not impressive.
As for charging, there is nothing special. Regular wireless charging will replenish energy from zero to one hundred percent in just over two hours. The bad news is that regular Qi charging is not supported. The only possible way to charge them is to place them on a regular mat.
Tizen is undoubtedly one of the best OS for smartwatches. It is well designed and works quickly without any complaints. The number of applications for them is huge. There are plenty of free skins if you ever get tired of the standard ones.
At first it seems that there are no new ones among them and everything is quite familiar if you had a Galaxy Watch. But then it becomes clear that the key difference lies in the functionality. Almost every aspect can be customized. You can change the color and choose the information you want to see on the screen by default: weather, steps, activity level, and more.
The user interface, however, has not changed much over the past couple of iterations. Only appearance updates have been released to match One UI, which is used in Samsung smartphones.
There is a “Water protection” function, when enabled, the touch screen is deactivated when swimming or taking a shower to protect against accidental touches of water drops. Holding down the power button turns off the function and the speaker makes a sound to clear the water droplets.
When it comes to applications, there is no doubt about diversity. Tizen OS has the most apps of any smartwatch, except of course Apple WatchOS and Google WearOS. Most good apps are paid. There’s a separate map with navigation, a ton of fitness apps, but the best part is there’s integration with Spotify. You can download a playlist to your watch and listen to it regardless of your smartphone on Bluetooth headphones. You can also control the device on which Spotify is playing from the watch.
And one more thing: Watch3 supports Samsung Pay, that is, you can pay for hours.
Samsung Galaxy Watch3 came out at a price of $ 400 for the younger model and a little more for the older one. All the latest technologies have been introduced into the watch. Samsung has made one of the best devices on the market.
It’s nice that Samsung decided to return to the rotary ring, which is by far the best way to control the menu. Also worth noting is the seamless integration of Tizen and Android.
If you want a small watch, then the Galaxy Watch3 is unbeatable in one aspect – even the younger model supports LTE.
There are also disadvantages. The main thing is the short time from one battery charge. The watch is unlikely to last more than two days. Another disadvantage of the watch (more precisely, not even the watch, but the system) is that the certification of the ECG sensor is not yet available in all countries. Let’s hope this is only temporary.
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