While the smartphone world is essentially dominated by two ecosystems – Android and iOS, the scene is slightly different for smartwatches, a newer product category in comparison. There’s Apple’s Watch OS that has almost evolved into a mature platform with a five year plus legacy. Then there’s Fitbit, Google’s Wear OS and the Tizen platform that powers Samsung’s wearables. We’ve also seen a wave of brands like Amazfit and Huawei work with their own custom built solutions. We still haven’t seen the impact of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in the wearable space, Wear OS hasn’t quite kept up with Apple. It’s one reason Samsung has opted for Tizen over Wear OS for its wearables. The Galaxy Watch 3 becomes the newest talisman for this OS and we’ve always been fans of its intuitive navigation.
It all starts with the rotating bezel. I’m torn between Samsung’s circular form factor and the square shape that Apple and Fitbit have opted for. But if there’s one feature that makes a case for Samsung it’s this rotating bezel with its reassuring click sound. It’s particularly comforting for those who’ve made the switch from a conventional heirloom or fashion watch to a smartwatch. Samsung has hit all the right notes with the form factor of the Watch 3. Last year’s Galaxy Watch Active 2 ditched the physical rotating dial for a sleek form factor. This one is a best of worlds. It boasts of the same military grade build of the first Galaxy Watch and yet feels really light on your wrist. I tested the larger 45mm variant and it weighs just above 50 gm.
Samsung’s wearables have always scored with their vibrant displays. This one is no exception. The 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display (360 x 360 pixels) is gorgeous; it’s one of the brightest on any wearable. The Mystic Black variant (that we checked out) is probably the best colour option for those seeking a refined style statement and it’s kitted with a soft leather strap. You can swap it for conventional watch straps without a fuss. I paired it with a Samsung smartphone but it works effortlessly with other Android devices; you can also hook it up with an iPhone. Samsung offers a tonne of watch faces with multiple ‘complications’ including a cool customisable option that matches with your outfit of the day.
2020 has seen smartwatch brands upping their wellness game. The Galaxy Watch 3 used LED and infrared rays to estimate your SpO2 levels. Blood oxygen measurement is a big part of the pitch for the new Apple Watch series 6 and has become a critical metric in these post-COVID times. Samsung also announced at its global launch that this watch also includes blood pressure and ECG monitoring capabilities. It’s unclear when these features will be available in India and other markets given the pending regulatory approvals. The Watch also offers advanced sleep tracking. I slept with the Watch 3 and the Fitbit Versa 2 and there were slight contradictions that could be attributed to how both brands analyse sleep stages.
Samsung is offering both LTE and Bluetooth (that we tested) versions of the Watch 3. It’s fully loaded on the fitness front with drill down data on multiple workouts. The GPS sensor allowed me to map my outdoor slow run with intensity breakdowns for every kilometre. There’s a bunch of workouts including specific gym routines like arm curls or arm extensions that I will leave to try out when I’m comfortable to go back to my gym. The Watch 3 brings quite a few handy apps – like Flipboard’s News Briefs and Spotify, and yet Tizen doesn’t offer the same number of Apps as the Apple Watch. That brings us back to wearables for Android users. The Galaxy Watch 3 ticks some key boxes – elegant design, fitness creds, decent battery life (we managed two days on average) and offers the best premium smartwatch experience for Android users.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch comes in Mystic Silver, Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black. It starts at Rs 29,990 for the 41mm variant.