With the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 series, Samsung has also officially brought the new Galaxy Watch 3 GPS Smartwatch to market. A product that collects the legacy of the main alternative to Apple Watch and proposes many of the features of its predecessors. Among the elements that have set the Korean manufacturer’s smartwatch apart for a few generations, or rather a return: the rotating bezel.
As we’ll see shortly in this review, we’re probably facing one of the most complete and best-functioning smartwatches, especially if we look at the extra WatchOS universe.
Design and Build Quality
Since smartwatches are also a means of attracting a person around us, so we are always curious to know about their exterior design. At first, it should be possible to look like a classic watch. This is clearly a subjective opinion, but for this reason, we like to see them mostly with round dials, but nowadays they also appear with a somewhat square display.
So you will understand why we have particularly appreciated the design of the new Galaxy Watch 3, which fully incorporates the appearance of a chronograph and improves some important aspects in terms of ergonomics compared to the first watch. We’re talking about the thickness, which is 14% less than the first generation, and the weight, which stops at 54 grams against the 63 grams compared to the model launched in 2018.
The case is made of stainless steel, while the front glass and the one protecting the sensors on the back are in Gorilla Glass DX. It is not the DX + of the first version, but the resistance to shocks and scratches still seems to be very good. In these days of use, we accidentally slammed it on the corner of the desk and lightly crawled against a wall without causing any damage.
In the box, Samsung includes a standard 22mm leather strap. A strap that is not really super soft, it takes two or three days, but then fits well with the shape of your wrist. If you intend to use the Watch to track physical activity as well, we still recommend that you buy a second silicone strap, which would certainly be more appropriate. Of course, Samsung could have added another strap to the package since Watch 3 is not given as a gift.
There is IP68 certification, which guarantees resistance to dust and water up to a pressure of 5 ATM. Additionally, we also find a military certification aimed at guaranteeing resistance to extreme temperatures and atmospheric conditions.
And here we are talking about the rotating bezel, the element that, as expected, allows you to make the user experience extremely enjoyable and intuitive. In this era, among other things, Samsung has built a really solid and firm bezel on its seat. It doesn’t wobble at all and the rotation produces a fast and accurate click without being too noisy. The sensation is that of haptic feedback, but the click is mechanical.
Thanks to the rotating bezel, we can then go into the interface by browsing the menus and switching from one screen to another without ever having to put our fingers in front of the display in addition to selecting elements, thus always having an eye on all the contents. This is an extremely important plus point, but you will only understand it after trying it. The Apple Watch uses the rotation of the side buttons to achieve the same result, although the larger diameter of the Galaxy Watch’s bezel makes a difference in the selection is accurate.
In short, if you don’t understand it, we consider this element to be one of the added values with the software of the new Samsung Galaxy Watch3, and also one of the reasons why you should choose it instead of the many options on the market.
Display and Hardware
But the rotating bezel is certainly not the only component to have a certain relevance, indeed, among the elements that we definitely appreciated we cannot fail to include the display. It has a 1.4-inch diagonal panel and a 360×360 pixel resolution. The result is good and being an AMOLED screen the blacks are very deep and the contrast extremely high.
This last feature is certainly made possible by the depth of the blacks, but also by a very high brightness. We believe this is the most spectacular display we’ve seen on a GPS Smartwatch and we can assure you that this feature makes all the difference in the world. Also, because it will happen many times that you want to read the time even under direct sunlight. Here, we can assure you that you will never have any visibility problem with this Samsung Galaxy Watch3.
Like the previous generations, here too we have Always-On display feature which we keep inactive. However, because rotating the wrist and switching on the panel is accurate and reactive, so that we don’t feel the need to activate AOD and consequently allow us to save battery.
The chipset is similar to the first Watch and comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, of which 4GB are available for the applications and download Spotify playlists locally. There is obviously no shortage of GPS, Bluetooth V5.0, and 2.4GHz WiFi. There is also a version with LTE connectivity and finally, there is also NFC for contactless payment via Samsung Pay.
But how does the hardware behave? Okay, actually, we’ll say very well. This is nothing new and it should not surprise us that it always runs the smartwatch interface in a fluid and reactive manner. After all, we are talking about a product specifically designed to simplify our lives, and so it is right that this is so. Connectivity and pairing with the smartphone are also good and synchronization happens quite quickly.
Have we already mentioned how seamless the interactive system is through the rotating bezel and how the interface of the ergonomic Tizen OS (here in version 5.5)? Probably yes, but at the cost of repetition, we say it once again. It is a pleasure to use this watch, there is no WearOS that takes.
Rotating bezel is actually the killer feature of an operating system designed to be displayed on a round screen and which for this reason adopts ad hoc stylistic solutions in the dial as well as app widgets that allow you to better customize the interface in this form. Solutions that at the same time seem to entice you to just turn the ring to browse and select the elements on the screen.
A mode of interaction that provides two main benefits. The first is given by the more precise one with which you can select elements and scroll through the text, however, the second, in most cases, is the fact of being able to control the watch without touching the screen.
The interface is then basically divided into two sections, one to the left of the main Watchface, where we find the notifications in chronological order from the most recent, and one to the right with the application widgets.
The top physical button is used to return to the previous screen, while the bottom takes us home directly from any point of the interface, or in the list of applications if we press it when we are on the Watchface. The display still remains touch and therefore it is possible to select the elements and move around the interface by touching the screen as we would do with any other product.
There is also a sort of control panel that can be accessed with a swipe down and that allows, a bit like on Android smartphones, to have quick access to some functions. These include do not disturb mode, power saving, volume control, airplane mode, and a quick link to the setting. In short, it takes a few hours to get used to all this and start moving in the interface with naturalness and ease.
The interaction with the notifications is really complete: they always arrive on time, we can read them, archive them, delete them, or even respond. In this regard, it is possible to operate in different ways: we have preset answers, or we can send emojis, or it is possible to dictate our answer or write it using a T9-style keypad or drawing the letters on the surface.
Obviously it is still possible to connect your Spotify account to the new Galaxy Watch 3 through the appropriate app and thus use the sportwatch as a support on which to download our playlists locally to be able to listen to them during physical activity without having to bring the smartphone with us. A tool that we think is really interesting since most of us don’t like to carry a smartphone in hand!
There are microphones and speaker and therefore we can also answer calls hands-free without taking the smartphone out of the pocket. The audio is good both in and out and is a tool that we have used more often than we thought, for example in the car or while cooking. Obviously everything always within the Bluetooth range of the smartphone because our Watch 3 version does not have the eSIM.
As for the connection with the smartphone, however, everything happens through the Galaxy Wearable app, which allows you to activate and configure the smartwatch for the first time, as well as subsequently to intervene on the settings or install applications and new Watchface directly from the Samsung official store. In addition, we can also connect the Samsung Health app to our Galaxy Watch 3, so that all data relating to daily physical activity and, more generally, to our lifestyle, are always synchronized with the smartphone.
There are two sore points of this Tizen OS. The first is Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, which has never grown as predictable and is still almost unusable, or at least not very useful. The second lack concerns the applications. The Samsung store is struggling to take off and the situation is not very different from 3-4 years ago. In short, a few more investments in terms of app development would not hurt at all, indeed. Moreover, the Strava application has also disappeared from the store, which is certainly an important lack for a product that still focuses a lot on tracking activity.
Tracking and Battery
The tracking of physical activity can be done in two ways: automatic or manual. What changes? In the first case, when the GPS tracking watch recognizes a physical activity such as a walk or run, it automatically starts recording and will show all the necessary information on the screen. A useful function in case you forget to manually start the activity recording.
With the second mode (manual) we can choose in advance the activity we are going to perform to allow the clock to make more accurate tracking. Sports available for registration are plentiful and include various body movements such as squats, weightlifting, lungs, and so on.
We have tried this Watch 3 in different situations: walking, running, and MTB. As always happens, the results obtained are very good. Our MTB ride was correctly traced, both in distances and in speed. The heart rate sensor also seems to work as it should. Obviously this is not a medical device and the wrist sensors are not 100% accurate in any case.
In addition to heart rate detection, Samsung has added sensors this year to measure blood oxygen saturation or SPO2. The measurement takes place in a few seconds and compared to that of a classic finger oximeter it seems to be quite accurate. Obviously, the smartwatch is not a medical device and it is still good to always rely on a specialist to identify any anomalies.
Technically the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is also capable of measuring blood pressure, but this new feature is not currently active outside the Korean market. In fact, in the USA, as in other countries, the necessary certificates for activation have not yet been issued.
And we close by talking about the battery. Galaxy Watch 3 offers a 340mAh battery which is around 130 less than the original model. Despite this, the duration of the charge is quite good. If you do not use the GPS to track physical activity, you will reach 3 days of use 24 hours a day. You do not go beyond two and a half days by incorporating a recording of about one hour of activity in the GPS into the routine. Consider that one hour of GPS consumes about 15% juice. In the package you will find a small magnetic base with wireless charging: from 0 to 100% it takes about 2 and a half hours.
Let’s talk about price. How much does the Galaxy Watch 3 cost? The list price is $429 for the 45 mm version and $399 for the 41mm version; it can be purchased via the Bhphotovideo.com and Amazon.com websites. It is certainly not a cheap GPS smartwatch, indeed, the price is important and is very close to that of the Apple Watch, which is considered by many to be a reference in the category.
As we told you in the beginning, the Galaxy Watch 3 probably represents this time, which is the best alternative to the Apple Watch, and therefore, from this point of view, the price could also make sense. However, the truth is that it is a very high figure for all the intentions and purposes that we still have to consider as an accessory.
Would I buy it? Although we really liked it and it remains one of the most complete products within its category, most likely at this price. However, within $300 we get the first Watch and the most recent Watch Active, which is still trending. Precisely for this reason, in our opinion, the Galaxy Watch 3 will be attractive with only a slightly lower price. If you do not have budget problems, the link for the purchase is above.
- Rotating bezel
- Very bright display
- Materials and Build quality
- Tizen OS
- Precise activity tracking
- Few third-party apps
- The strap in the box is uncomfortable
- High price