Previously, I have reviewed the Galaxy Watch Active2 and I like how light it feels on my wrist and the functionalities of it being a smartwatch. Now the Galaxy Watch3 that I am reviewing is a huge upgrade to the Active2 and a good upgrade from the previous Galaxy Watch.
Sure, a smartwatch is able to notify you of any messages when your phone is not with you and it can be your own personal health tracker. But is that enough to make someone buy a smartwatch? Will it totally replace a traditional not-so-smart watches?
The new Samsung Galaxy Watch3 may be able to change that. Although smartwatches still have a long way to go when it comes to replacing a smartphone altogether, it is still a great companion to your current smartphone. And for an added advantage, the Galaxy Watch3 works brilliantly with any latest Galaxy smartphones out there.
I have the honour of reviewing the new Galaxy Watch3 alongside the Galaxy S20 FE for the past few weeks and these are my thoughts of the Watch3.
First Look & Design
The Galaxy Watch3 comes in a long rectangular box. Opening the box reveals the Watch3, fully extended to its full length. My first impression was, this looks familiar. It does resembles the previous Galaxy Watch version with its round face and the same rotating dial at the front. However, the Watch3 feels a little solid but have almost the same weight as its predecessor.
Around the right side, there are two push buttons at the 2 o’clock position and another at 4 o’clock position. At the back, there is the heart rate sensor with the obvious green LED that lit up as it scans your heartbeat.
The top 2 o’clock position button is actually a back button. So when you’re in an app or you have scrolled deep in the menu, pressing it will simply bring you back one level. Pressing the bottom button will immediately send you home. I mean, back to home page. This is not an e-hailing ride. Long pressing the 4 o’clock position button will activate Bixby while short pressing it from home screen will bring up recent apps page.
The Galaxy Watch3 comes with a leather strap as standard package. However, you can change to another strap if you want to especially for more active lifestyle. You can’t go for a swim with a leather strap without spoiling it. Therefore it is advisable to change to a suitable watch strap for that. Switching straps is quite easy for the Watch3.
With the leather strap, it does make the watch look really exclusive with that extra premium feel. The black leather at the front side and the light brown leather on the inside is really comfortable to wear even after a whole day of use. I barely feel the watch in my wrist too. It is quite light in my opinion. At least it is lighter than my own Kronoz smartwatch.
The watch face for this Galaxy Watch3 review unit is 45mm in size. However, the 41mm variant is also available for those with smaller wrist.
Usage & Functions
First of all, I do need to set it up to sync with my phone. Thankfully at the moment of the review, I also have a new Galaxy S20 FE 5G with me. So what better way to test a Galaxy Watch3 if not with a Galaxy smartphone too, right?
Setting up easy and fast. It took me about 10 minutes to get everything synced up and properly installed. The process is easy. Simply turn on the Watch3, open up the Galaxy Watch app on the phone and it will auto detect a nearby wearable device, in this case the Galaxy Watch3. Pair it up and done.
Once everything is paired and synced, I took a look at the Galaxy Store for any updates. Updating apps for the Watch3 is easy too. You can download from the phone and it will then transfer the newly updated app to the watch immediately.
Another thing that I really like is when I’m selecting which watch face to use. There are hundreds, if not thousands of watch faces available to download from the Galaxy Store. Ok, perhaps hundreds but it’s still a lot. It took me a while to select and download those that I liked and for testing purposes, I simply download those that are visually appealing.
Here. Have a look at the plethora of watch faces that I have downloaded.
These are only some that are available from the Galaxy Store. Imagine there are hundreds more that I have skipped. I love most of the watch face designs. It comes with a few type of themes; digital, analog, informative, lifestyle, collaborations, interactive, sports, art and many more.
Previously I have used and tested the other Galaxy smartwatches and from what I recall, they don’t have as much watch face selections as they do now. Clearly they have included more designs from third party designers out there. That is just awesome. And I actually download a few watch faces every day simply to find the best.
As for it’s main purpose when it comes to notifications, it integrates seamlessly with any messaging apps you have installed on your phone like WhatsApp or FB Messenger. Safe to say, any notifications you have on your phone, can be pushed to the Galaxy Watch3. So with this, you won’t miss any notification especially then your phone is out of reach.
From the home watch face screen, swiping right will show you the recent notifications. You can easily dismiss any new ones by swiping up. When you swipe left from the home screen, you get the see the widgets that are available such as weather, health, apps, workout modes, music player, alarm, reminder and many others that are installed in the Watch3. These widgets and also be arranged in a specific order, up to your own preferences.
Instead of swiping left or right, you can also use the ring dial to rotate between pages. I prefer to use the dial instead of swiping my finger across the screen. I feel that I have more control and precision with it. Swiping the screen tends to leave a fingerprint mark, which I don’t like. The screen has a matte surface, but it still leaves a mark.
Opening an app like weather or Spotify is quite fast. At least the whole experience is responsive and quick. I have used a smartwatch that lags badly that when I swipe on the screen, the delay is very obvious. That is annoying for me. Even the taps have delayed reaction. But with the Galaxy Watch3, it is very smooth and responsive. That’s a plus point.
Other standard functions like calls and voice recording is pretty straight forward. You can actually make phone calls from the phone but you need to have your phone nearby. It will actually dial a number for you but you still need your phone to talk. Simply put it on speaker mode.
Another function that I like is the Samsung Pay. I can set up my Samsung Pay account from the phone and use the function straight from the Watch3. From the home screen, simply press and hold the top button (2 o’clock position) to activate Samsung Pay. When you’re at the counter, you can simply tap the watch to the payment device to make the payment. So now you don’t need to take out your phone to make any purchase with Samsung Pay.
The only thing that I don’t quite fancy is the battery life. Although it did lasted close to 3 days on a single charge for me, there are some other smartwatches out there that lasted a day or two longer.
Final Words & Conclusion
There are so many apps available for you to download and use on the Watch3. I didn’t have the time to try it all but all I know is that the Watch3 is a perfect companion to your smartphone. Better yet, it is a perfect companion to a Galaxy phone.
Samsung Health is a good app to monitor your heart rate on daily basis. And it will also advice you to stand up and start exercising. It is all for your own good. The health app is useful when you want to stay healthy. It able to count your steps, measure your sleep routine, monitor your heart rate, record your weight and many more. It is one of the better health app out there that I know of.
There are many more functions that I didn’t get to try. I just wish I had more time to test and really play around with it to know its full potential. So how can this Galaxy Watch3 converts the non smartwatch believers out there? How many of your friends actually wants to buy a smartwatch? None? Get them to read this review.
Again, smartwatches still have a long way to go in order to fully replace a smartphone. But in terms of its functionality as a smartphone companion, the Galaxy Watch3 just for better. It still maintain the classic look, even with the rotating dial. But what it is capable of is up to you to harness.
It is not a device that shows notifications, it is also your personal organiser. It does not force you to stand up and walk around when you’re being idle, it simply wants you to be healthy. It is your personal trainer, your secretary and your morning partner that wakes you up.
Despite what others have said, I stand to believe that the Galaxy Watch3 is one of the better wearable devices out there especially to compliment your current smartphone.
The new Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is now available for purchase at Samsung’s official webstore, priced at RM1,799.00.