2018 hasn’t exactly been a busy year for the Smartwatch. There was Fitbit’s Versa, the best we’ve seen from Fitbit. It showed that the company had made a successful transition from a fitness tracker to a smartwatch with a few tricks up its sleeve. And then there was the fourth generation Apple Watch, Apple’s finest yet. In September, Samsung showed off the Galaxy Watch during the launch of its Galaxy Note 9 flagship. But it’s taken a couple of months for the wearable to reach stores. After various smartwatch iterations like Gear, Samsung keeps the nomenclature simple for its 2018 smartwatch. If you’re an Android user or own a Samsung Galaxy device, this watch makes for a compelling proposition. Read on to find out why.
Just like the Apple Watch, Samsung doesn’t make any radical changes to the design. It’s circular unlike its key rivals like the Versa and yet it feels lighter on your wrist than it looks. There are two iterations – a 42mm version and a larger 46mm version that I spent quite a few days with. We’ve said this before, Samsung’s displays are truly vibrant and the Galaxy Watch reaffirms this. The 1.3-inch Super AMOLED circular display (360 x 360 pixels) packs an impressive 278 Pixels per inch. The colours are sharp even under sunlight.
The Galaxy Watch’s circular design mimics a conventional circular watch. In fact, you can use conventional 20/22 mm watch straps for the 42 and 46 mm sizes. This is a key win for the watch and allows you to accessorise without a fuss. Our favourite feature of this watch is the Tizen UI that uses intuitive navigation driven by the dial. You won’t miss your conventional watch with this circular navigation that allows scrolling effortlessly through menus and submenus. And then, there are the watch faces that take you closer to an old-school watch experience – you could opt for the always-on display (at the cost of battery life). There’s a range of free watch faces that include dials modelled on real watches like Tissot. While you will be spoilt for choice on the store for watch faces, there are not a tonne of apps available for the watch in comparison with the Apple Watch.
The watch’s fitness creds more than makeup. From step counts to heart rate tracking to sleep tracking the Samsung Galaxy Watch is quite loaded. The companion app is thoughtfully designed, setting up and pairing the watch is a breeze. The Galaxy Watch never stutters, thanks in part to a zippy Exynos dual-core 1.15 GHz processor, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of Internal memory. The LTE version is not currently available in India but the Bluetooth version pairs easily with Android smartphones (I tested it with the Google Pixel 3XL and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro). Call volume and call quality are quite good – Callers didn’t realise that I was speaking into my watch.
Battery life has been one of the biggest deal breakers for the smartwatch category and one reason why many Android smartwatches have floundered. It’s hard enough to keep track of your primary gadget (the smartphone). This is one area where the Galaxy Watch triumphs. The 472 mAh battery on the 46mm version managed four days of battery life in our test. This dropped with the ‘always-on’ display mode. The 42mm version which is slightly lighter comes with a 270 mAh battery. The choice might boil down to battery life vs. a lighter form factor. We think the extra heft is worth the trade-off for arguably the best battery on a smartwatch. That’s one of the many reasons the Samsung Galaxy Watch along with the Fitbit Versa are the best smartwatches that Android users can snag right now.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch costs Rs 24,990 (42 mm) and Rs 29,990 (46 mm)