Samsung Galaxy Watch3 – Review 2020

With the latest addition to its line of smartwatches, Samsung is focusing on your health. Starting at $ 399.99, the Watch3 offers significant health-related improvements over its predecessors, including an EKG (electrocardiogram) app, trip detection (also known as fall detection), new insights into sleep, and much more. In that regard, it stacked well against the Apple Watch Series 5. It's gorgeous too, with a thin and lightweight design, a rotating bezel for easy navigation, and a classy leather strap. It offers a great SMS experience, a great Spotify app and support for contactless transactions with Samsung Pay. It's one of the best alternatives to the Apple Watch that we've come across. The latter, however, remains our editorial team's choice for the superior selection of high-quality third-party apps.

Design, price, battery life

Galaxy Watch3

The Galaxy Watch3 follows the Galaxy Watch 2018 and the Galaxy Watch Active 2019 and the Galaxy Watch Active2. There never was a Galaxy Watch2; Samsung jumped straight to the Moniker Watch3 because it released a second generation Active last year and this new model is based on it.

The Watch3 is available in two sizes, 41 mm and 45 mm, with or without LTE. Priced at $ 399.99 for the 41mm Bluetooth model and $ 449.99 for the 41mm LTE model. The larger 45mm version costs $ 429.99 for the Bluetooth-only model and $ 479.99 for the LTE version.

The 41 mm watch is available in bronze or silver, the 45 mm version in black or silver. All models come with a leather strap with a traditional watch clasp. However, you can swap the supplied bracelet for any standard 20mm bracelet of the 41mm version or a 22mm bracelet of the 45mm model.

For this test, Samsung sent me the 41mm Bluetooth model in bronze. The bronze color is more of a rose gold hue than bronze. While it's beautiful, it's not as versatile as the silver and black variants that go with pretty much anything. Even so, the Bronze Watch3 is one of the most beautiful smartwatches I've ever seen, and it competes with the gorgeous Garmin Vivoactive 4s. I prefer the design of the Apple Watch, also because I generally prefer a round dial.

The Galaxy Watch 3

As a vegan, I wouldn't normally wear a leather strap watch, but I have to admit that it looks classy. I wish Samsung had offered a similar looking vegan leather strap or even a textured silicone strap instead. Ethical concerns aside, the leather strap isn't handy for sweaty workouts, showers, or my Florida beach lifestyle.

The Watch3 has a classic round watch design with a slim, physically rotatable bezel for navigation. The original Galaxy Watch had a rotating bezel, which Samsung got rid of with the Galaxy Watch Active. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 included a digital rotating bezel, but I'm delighted that the physical rotating bezel from the original Galaxy Watch is making a return here. You can rotate the faceplate to access apps, control music, browse notifications, and switch between widgets.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy Watch3 is 14 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than its predecessor, but has a larger screen thanks to a slimmer bezel. Without the bracelet, the 45mm stainless steel version weighs 1.9 ounces and the titanium counterpart weighs 1.5 ounces. The 41mm version, available only in stainless steel, weighs 1.7 ounces. The 41mm model feels light and comfortable on my wrist.

Apple Watch Series 5 and Samsung Galaxy Watch3Left to right: Apple Watch Series 5, Samsung Galaxy Watch3

On the official datasheet, Samsung says that the 45mm version of the watch is 0.43 inches deep and the 41mm version is actually a touch thicker at 0.44 inches. However, according to my tape measure, the 41mm is actually closer to 0.5 inches. The Watch3 is significantly thicker than the Apple Watch Series 5 with a depth of 0.42 inches.

Measurement of the Galaxy Watch3

A large, graduated black back panel contributes to the thickness of the Watch3. I wish Samsung had made the back of all models the same color as the rest of the device because when you look at the bronze version from the side, you notice the black bottom. This isn't a problem with the black model, of course, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Back of the Galaxy Watch 3

Aside from changing the band, you can customize the look of your device with many options for the watch face. There are more than 80,000 watch faces available in the Galaxy Wearable app and the Galaxy Store, but you have to pay for many for them.

On the right side, the Watch3 has two physical buttons in the form of a back button at the top and a power / home button at the bottom, as well as a small hole for the microphone. There is an inconspicuous loudspeaker on the left.

The 41mm has a 247mAh battery and the 45mm version has a 340mAh cell. According to Samsung, both models should have around two days of battery life, which is disappointing given the original model's five-day battery life. When testing, I was unable to replicate Samsung's battery life estimate for two days, even when the lighting was dim and the constantly-on display was disabled. Under these circumstances, the clock lasted almost two days but died in the middle of the second night. With normal to heavy use and the display activated, it took less than 15 hours. The Apple Watch also has a battery life of around 18 hours on one charge. It takes about three hours to charge the Watch3 from dead to 100 percent.

The 360 ​​by 360 Super AMOLED display is bright, vivid and easy to read. The Always On option is a nice feature that a lot of users want to use (myself included; it's off by default and turning it on was the first thing I did when setting up the watch), but it drains quickly the battery life. The good news is that when the battery is running low, you can simply turn off the constantly-on display using the quick panel, which you can access with a swipe on the watch face.

Weather on the Watch3

Technical data, setup and navigation

The Watch3 has 5ATM and IP68This means that it is waterproof to a depth of 164 feet for 10 minutes and can also withstand dust, dirt, and sand. It has also passed military specification tests to ensure it can withstand 4.9 foot drops, temperature extremes, bumps, vibrations, low pressure, and high altitude. I swapped the leather strap for a water-friendly silicone strap and wore it in the bathtub, pool and shower without incident.

Galaxy Watch3 near a pool

The Linux-based mobile operating system Tizen 5.5 runs on the inside of the Watch3. It is powered by an Exynos 9110 dual-core processor at 1.15 GHz, has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. It also has an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, heart rate monitor, EKG, and ambient light sensor.

In terms of compatibility, the Watch3 works with Android phones version 5.0 and higher with at least 1.5 GB of RAM. It also works with the iPhone 5 and newer Apple phones with at least iOS 9.

After you have unpacked the Watch3, you must first place it on the charger and let it be completely juiced. It's partially charged so it only took about 30 minutes to reach 100 percent. When you press the bottom button to turn it on for the first time, you'll see a yellow screen that says "Let's go!" Displayed. Just swipe up and the watch will tell you to open the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone to get started.

Samsung sent me the new Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to pair with the Watch3 for this test. Before I could even open the Galaxy Wearable app, a notification was displayed on the Note 20 Ultra that the wearable was detected. This is a benefit of using the watch with a Galaxy phone. It then asked permission to allow the watch to access my contacts, location, photos, media, files, and make and manage calls.

From there, a tick appeared on the clock and asked me if I wanted to plug in the devices. I pressed it and the watch told me to check my phone to complete the setup. I then put a check mark on my phone and they finished pairing. After that, the app asks if you want to have the watch send and view SMS messages and access your contact, calendar and phone call logs.

As with any highly sophisticated, feature-rich smartwatch, you need to spend some time exploring the Watch3 to find out where everything is and what everything is doing. You can swipe left from the watch face to see your widgets and right to see your notifications. You can rotate the widget bezel clockwise or counterclockwise to return to the watch face and access your notifications.

Galaxy Watch3 widgets

To return to the previous screen, simply press the physical back button (the one above). To return to the watch face, press the Home button (the one below). You can also quickly press the Home button twice to access your open apps, or hold it down to access Samsung's Bixby virtual assistant. After you've set it up, you can also access Bixby by saying "Hello, Bixby" when the screen is on.

Swipe down on the watch face to open the quick panel where you can access Goodnight mode, Do not disturb mode, volume controls and settings, enable or disable the constantly on display, adjust the screen brightness, connect bluetooth headphones and much more. To turn off the screen, you can simply touch it with your palm.

You can also control the clock with some experimental gestures. When this option is enabled (navigate to Labs in the Galaxy Wearable app and toggle the ones you want) you can answer calls by clenching and popping your fist, and mute alarms and incoming calls by rotating your wrist .

After setting it up, the first thing I did was change the dial. There is absolutely something for everyone in the watch face library, but I'll name a few of my favorites. The customizable My Style watch face, also available on Active2, allows you to take a photo or choose one from your library. It offers a choice of designs based on the colors in your picture. For example, you can snap a photo of your outfit to match your watch face. You can also customize the watch type and add up to four complications that show information like your step count, the weather, the battery life of the watch or give you easy access to your frequently used functions like the exercise app.

Samsung also has some nice live wallpaper options that are animated and a My Photo + clock face that you can customize with an image of your choosing. There are tons of watch faces available for purchase and free on the Galaxy Store, including some new ones with MLB themes.

Live wallpaper on the Galaxy Watch3

Smartwatch functions

One of the best things about a smartwatch is that it can be customized with downloadable apps. The Galaxy Store has a variety of downloadable apps for the Watch3 such as Strava (free), Yelp (free), Breathe ($ 0.99), Fruit Ninja Plus ($ 1.00), Galactica ($ 1.00), and G- Maps Pro ($ 2.99). and many, many more. Some popular apps available on the Apple Watch are either missing from the Galaxy Store or not working on the Watch3, including Citymapper, ESPN, Evernote, Facebook Messenger, Runkeeper, Shazam, and Uber.

Weather on the Watch3

As for the built-in apps, one of the handiest things about the Watch3 is that it puts Bixby on your wrist. With Bixby, you can use your voice to set reminders, get contacts, check news and weather, make calls, send and review text messages, set alarms, calculate tips, and more. Remember that if you are accessing Bixby from the Home button, you will need to press and hold the Home button while you speak your request. Before I realized you had to hold the button down, Bixby kept saying, "Hmm, I didn't get that. Please try again." If you access the virtual assistant by saying “Hey Bixby” when the screen is on, you don't have to hold down the home button when you speak your command.

The Watch3 offers a great SMS experience. You can speak to text, handwrite each letter, or rotate the bezel to use the keyboard. The voice input option is definitely the easiest and worked fine during testing. You can also write text with emojis and Bitmoji stickers. An intelligent answer function analyzes incoming texts and photos and offers suggestions for answers.

Suggested text replies on the Watch3

When you get a text, your chat history will show up instead of a single message, so you don't have to manually look back if you forgot what you were talking about. It even shows pictures and emoticons so you can view them right on the watch. Pictures look fine on the Watch3, but you probably want to grab your phone to see them on a bigger screen.

SMS on watch 3

When you receive a call, you have the option to answer it on the watch, decline it, or swipe up from the screen to quickly send a suggested text.

During testing, I was able to make and answer calls on the watch via WiFi, but the reception wasn't always the best. The call function works in a pinch, but I would never use it for a long conversation. With the LTE model, you can leave your phone at home and make calls while on the move from your watch.

If you have a Galaxy phone, you can use apps like Find My Items, Gallery (to view photos from your phone on your watch), and Reminders (to keep track of your to-do list). With the SmartThings app, you can use the watch to remotely control smart home devices such as security cameras, thermostats and lights from anywhere.

With Samsung Pay, you can make contactless transactions right from your wrist. Remember that the mobile payment system is not available on iPhones.

For music playback, I love Watch3's Spotify app. You can play your music directly through the watch's speaker or through bluetooth headphones. Samsung didn't send me a matching Galaxy Buds Live to use with the Watch3, but I had no problem streaming music to my AirPods.

Spotify on the Watch3

You can even stream Spotify over WiFi on the Watch3 when your phone is not connected. The watch's speaker doesn't get particularly loud, but in a quiet room you can easily listen to music and it sounds good. When streaming Spotify on another device, you can use your Watch3 as a remote control to control playback.

The Spotify app on the Watch3 gives you access to your entire music collection, including all of your playlists and recently played tracks. You can also browse selected playlists, charts, new releases, genres and moods and access the Explore section. When you're streaming music, you'll see the cover art in the background with controls on the screen to play / pause, skip forward, or go back. You can also use the rotating bezel to jump forward or backward.

Health and safety features

The Watch3 features automatic activity tracking for seven exercises, a digital treadmill, new sleep analysis tools, support for a home exercise feature called Samsung Smart View, and travel detection.

Watch3 automatic activity trackingAutomatic activity tracking on the Watch3

Before the end of September, Samsung plans to release a software update that will enable on-demand VO2 Max and SpO2 readings. VO2 max is used to measure cardiovascular fitness and refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise. SpO2, a metric used to detect sleep apnea, measures the level of oxygen saturation in your blood. As these two features are not yet available in the US, I cannot test them at this time.

The Galaxy Watch3 also offers blood pressure and electrocardiogram (EKG) apps, but only the latter has been approved in the US. Samsung just got FDA approval for the EKG monitor app, so it's not yet available in my review unit and there's no word on when it will arrive. The Blood Pressure app is only available in the US if Samsung has FDA approval.

Thanks to the support for Samsung Smart View, the watch can be synchronized with exercise videos transferred to your Samsung Smart TV via the Samsung Health app. The app offers more than 120 training videos. Just select the one you want and cast it on your TV. With the Galaxy Watch3 you can pause, play or stop the action. While you exercise, you can see your heart rate in real time on the big screen.

Samsung is taking over the fall protection feature of the Apple Watch with a similar feature called trip detection. If the watch's accelerometer detects that you have suffered a severe fall while exercising outdoors or at home, it will notify an emergency contact and share your location. On the other hand, the trigger detection only detects falls when you are "in dynamic motion", not when you are still. You will also need an LTE or Wi-Fi connection to notify an emergency contact.

Watch3 trip detection

To enable this feature, go to the Galaxy Wearable Mobile App> SOS. Here you can add up to four emergency contacts, one of which can be set as an automatic call contact. You can also enable a feature that sends an SOS message to your emergency contacts when you quickly press the home button three times.

The watch monitors your stress level and offers breathing exercises when you need to relax. I really enjoy the inactive time alarms. After I had been in the zone at my desk for about an hour and had been writing, the clock urged me: "Move!" I ignored the suggestion and an hour later he encouraged me again.

They also asked if I wanted to try a route. I decided it would be a good idea and it offered three options: torso twist, upward stretch, or squat. I chose Torso Twist and it told me to do five repetitions while showing an animation on the screen showing how to do it. When I started doing the route, it automatically counted my repetitions. After finishing the five, I was congratulated for being active. Another time I did the squat workout, which consisted of three sets of 10 reps with a one-minute break between each set.

Squat Training Watch3

Fitness tracking

Samsung recommends that you wear the watch about one finger from your wrist for the most accurate health readings. You should also make sure that it is firm enough so that the back of the device touches your skin and doesn't move.

Activity tracking on the Watch3

The exercise app has tracking options for running, biking, swimming (pool), treadmill, other exercise, walking, hiking, swimming (outdoor), treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical, circuit training, weight machine, and more workouts. In the "Other Training Units" section there are options for arm curls, arm extensions, back extensions, bench press, burpee test, crunches, deadlifts, front raises, jumping jacks, lat pulldowns, side raises, leg curls, leg extensions, leg presses, leg raises, lunges, Climbers, Pilates, planks, pull-ups, push-ups, rowing machines, shoulder presses, sit-ups, squats, step machine, stretching and yoga.

See how we test fitness trackers

The Watch3 automatically detects walking, running, cycling, elliptical training, rowing, swimming and dynamic training. While walking my dog, it automatically recognized the activity and started tracking it. For activities that are not automatically detected, you can simply raise your wrist and say something like, "Hi Bixby, start doing pull-ups."

The Watch3 automatically detects a walkThe Watch3 automatically detects walking and certain other activities

It has a GPS so you can track your walks and jogging without using your phone. Remember that using GPS will drain your battery faster. When you're recording a run or walk, the watch will automatically detect when you are going to stop, stop tracking, and ask you if you are done. After following a workout, all possible statistics are displayed directly on the watch. The statistics you see depend on the type of exercise you are tracking. However, when you walk, it shows your duration, distance, calories burned, a graph of your speed and heart rate, and the time you spent in each heart rate zone.Average pace, average speed, average cadence, average heart rate, steps, outside temperature and a map made by GPS Your route.

Exercise statistics on the Watch3

Upon testing, I found that the Watch3's fitness metrics are accurate. For a mile run, I wore the Watch3 on one wrist and the Apple Watch Series 5 on the other. The Watch3 said I burned 143 calories while the Series 5 said I burned 136. The Watch3 said my average heart rate was 157 bpm and the Series 5 said it was 162 bpm.

Heart rate graph on the Watch3

During this training session, I tested the Watch3's Running Coach function, which offers helpful tips while running. You can hear these tips through connected Bluetooth headphones or the watch's speaker. When I started, the treadmill kept telling me I was running too fast and repeatedly telling me to slow down. When I slowed down, it said, "Looks good." It was later said, "If you use your arms, you can run more efficiently." As I neared the end of my run, it said, "Focus on your breathing and try to keep it rhythmic." According to Samsung, the watch also provides feedback after launch, but this feature is not yet available.

Watch3 Running Coach tells me to slow down

After a run, the watch currently provides insights into six advanced metrics, including asymmetry (the difference in time each foot touches the ground), contact (the time your foot touches the ground and exerts a greater force) than what is needed to support your weight), flight time (when your feet are in the air or touching the ground but applying less force than needed to support your weight), regularity (the consistency of your movements), stiffness (the vertical Stiffness of your body while running) and vertical oscillation (up and down movement of your center of mass). The Samsung Health mobile app explains in detail what each of these metrics mean, and shows you whether you need to improve in any of these areas or if you have done well. With the exception of flight time, I have to improve overall. The app also offers running exercises that you can use to improve your skills.

Advanced running metrics on the Watch3

In the Samsung Health app on the watch and your phone, you can view a log of all your workouts and stats for each one. On the watch, the Samsung Health app lets you quickly see your progress toward your activity, exercise, and hourly exercise goals, and adjust goals as needed. It also shows your number of steps, exercise duration, sleep duration, heart rate zone, stress level and blood oxygen measurements. This is also where you can track your food and water intake, compare your weekly step count with friends, and keep track of your menstrual cycle if you have one.

If you accidentally track a workout, as I did when swapping out the watch strap for a water-friendly alternative, you will not be able to delete it from your log on the watch. You need to go to the Samsung Health app on your phone.

Also note that with an iPhone you cannot sync your fitness data from the Galaxy Watch3 with Apple Health. Instead, it is stored in an iOS version of the Samsung Health app.

Sleep tracking

While the Apple Watch is finally getting a sleep tracking feature this year, Samsung first introduced this feature in 2014 and always offered it on the Galaxy Watch. This year's model generates a sleep value in the Samsung Health mobile app based on your heart rate and your movement data. The app now also features insights from the National Sleep Foundation to educate you about the importance of sleep.

Watch3 sleep tracking

The National Sleep Foundation's tidbits are interesting, but I wish they were detailed. For example, they say, "Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Research suggests that brain toxins are cleared twice as quickly during sleep as when awake." It would be nice to know that there is a little more about it.

At night, the watch automatically tracks your sleep and calorie consumption. In the morning, it shows your total sleep time and the time you were awake, as well as REM, light and deep sleep. It also shows your average bedtime, average wake-up time, and average sleep time. You can view this information on the watch itself and in the Samsung Health app.

Watch3 sleep statistics

I found that the watch is splitting your sleep records when you wake up and wake up at night. The first night I carried it to bed, my dog ​​Bradley, a 50 pound pit bull, lay on my legs at 4 a.m. and woke me up. After he woke me up, I went to the bathroom and fell asleep again. In the morning I had two sleep records: the first for 5 hours, 5 minutes for the first part of the night, and a second for 3 hours, 6 minutes after Bradley woke me up.

For that night there was a sleep value of 30 out of 100. The average for women in my age group is 70 out of 100. Despite this disruption at 4:00 in the morning, I actually felt that I had slept well. The watch said that I had more than 7 hours in total, so a sleep value of 30 seems too low.

Comparisons and conclusions

If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone in the smartwatch market, the Galaxy Watch3 is worth considering. The main attraction is the extensive range of health features, including automatic activity tracking for select exercises, a treadmill, sleep information, and a home exercise feature that works with your Galaxy phone and Samsung Smart TV. The addition of an electrocardiogram (EKG) app and trip detection capabilities make it a compelling upgrade over its predecessors and a strong competitor over the Apple Watch.

Apart from the numerous health functions, the Watch3 offers an excellent SMS experience, a very good Spotify app and easy contactless payments with Samsung Pay. It's also a gorgeous accessory that you'll love to flaunt, and it offers tons of options for customizing the watch face.

Even so, the Watch3 doesn't offer the range of high quality third-party apps that you get with the Apple Watch. If you're an iPhone user, you'll probably want to stick with Apple's wearable as Samsung Pay doesn't work on iOS and Watch3 data won't sync with Apple Health.

Overall, though, the Galaxy Watch3 is one of the best Apple Watch alternatives we've seen so far, and it's definitely worth considering for all Android users, not just Samsung fans. If you're looking to spend less on a smartwatch, we recommend the Fitbit Versa 2. It's not nearly as chic as the Watch3 or Apple Watch, but it costs less than $ 200 and has an AMOLED display that is always on, a microphone für Amazon Alexa, Fitbit Pay-Unterstützung und umfangreiche Funktionen zur Gesundheitsüberwachung.

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