Samsung Galaxy Watch review

The industry is forever chasing the Apple Watch. After all, the smartwatch has been a rare bright spot in a plateauing wearables category. Even Fitbit recently found itself heading in that direction, finding a fair bit of success with the Versa. Samsung’s approach, on the other hand, has always been very, well, Samsung. The company’s […]

The industry is forever chasing the Apple Watch. After all, the smartwatch has been a rare bright spot in a plateauing wearables category. Even Fitbit recently found itself heading in that direction, finding a fair bit of success with the Versa.

Samsung’s approach, on the other hand, has always been very, well, Samsung. The company’s watches are big, hulking things, covering chrome with a kind of Swiss Army knife approach customary of its various other products.

Announced alongside the Note 9, the Galaxy Watch wasn’t the departure many expected. While the name implied a potential shift toward Android Wear, the company is intent on sticking with Tizen. And why not? Samsung’s spent a lot of time making Tizen its own — multiple generations have been devoted to tweaking the operating system to its specifications.

It’s the result of a pretty clear cost-benefit analysis. The biggest drawback of not embracing Wear OS is the relative lack of third-party app support on Tizen. The biggest advantage: support for Samsung’s unique bezel-based navigation. To this day, it’s the best of the bunch, beating the more finicky crown control most of the competition relies on. It was an early choice for the company and continues to be one of the best elements of Samsung’s watches.

That’s as solid a foundation as any, really. Several different models have helped the company fine-tune its watch offerings, including last year’s Gear Sport, which finally found Samsung introducing a much more manageable 42mm model. It was the first such device from the company that recognized not every user is looking to place a massive device on their wrist.

The fact that there’s been a name change here owes much more to branding than it does any sort of radical departure on the hardware side. Instead, the watch is more of a fine-tuning for the line. Multi-day life aside, there’s not enough here to justify an upgrade for those who own a recent generation, but over the course of several years, Samsung has slowly been fine-tuning one of the better smartwatches in the game.

I wore the Galaxy Watch around for a few days, and used every opportunity I could to quiz others on their thoughts about the aesthetics. The results were largely positive. I don’t know that any onlookers were particularly wowed, but in most cases folks said they would consider wearing the watch. That’s certainly something.

Samsung’s among the companies that have subscribed to the notion that smartwatches ought to look like watches — an entirely different school than the Apple Watches and Fitbit Versas of the world. If I’ve had one complaint about the company’s design choices, it’s the push toward over-detailing — all of the numbers and notches. The design language clearly draws inspiration from sport watches.

For me, the pinnacle of the line was the hyper minimalist S2. It was subtle, modern and went pretty well with just about anything else you had on, from work to work out. Samsung, clearly, has gone in an altogether different direction here, targeting those who have a fondness for the classic outdoor style from companies like Casio. That said, the design is thankfully more subtle than past versions (see: the Gear S3 Frontier).

More importantly, in terms of appealing to a wider audience, the watch finally gets two distinct sizes — 42 and 46mm. The groundwork for the decision was laid with the last year’s Gear Sport, which brought a smaller size into the mix. The addition of the 42mm case makes the Sport somewhat redundant, though the company tells me it’s keeping it around for the time being.

It’s a smart move on Samsung’s part. By just going large with the watch, the company was ceding a large potential user base to Apple, including a big portion of female smartwatch wearers. Now that Fitbit is serious about smartwatches, the company clearly needs to do more to appeal to a larger segment of Android users.

The company’s watches have always felt large on me, and I’m around six feet tall. When I asked smaller colleagues to try them out, they looked downright cartoonish. The 42mm version fits much more comfortably on my wrist — though if you have a smaller stature, I’d strongly encourage finding a store and trying one on first. Even the smaller version is by no means compact.

The spinning bezel is back, because of course it is. It’s long been the best part of Samsung’s watches. It’s also the best smartwatch control mechanism in the industry, including Apple’s crown. It’s swift, it’s smooth and it’s much easier to use when exercising. That said, I still find myself using the side buttons with more frequency — they’re a much easier way to get where you’re going quickly.

The bezel is apparently the main reason for keeping Tizen around — Wear doesn’t support that sort of input method. And honestly, it’s a pretty good justification. Besides, Samsung’s done a lot to tweak the operating system to its specifications, and we’ve got a pretty good and well-rounded wearable operating system as a result.

There are a number of good reasons to go with Google’s OS, including better Android integration and a more robust app store, but Samsung’s always been interested in developing its own ecosystem — and besides, Tizen isn’t broken, so Samsung ain’t fixing it, as the saying goes.

Exercise tracking is another bit that’s benefited from several generations of tweaks. Fitness is pretty widely understood as the primary driver of smartwatches’ purposes, in spite of the existence of fitness trackers, and as such, all the major players are constantly attempting to one-up one another.

There’s nothing exceptional here on the exercise side, but the Galaxy watch is a workhorse. There’s autotracking on board and 40 trackable exercises. I’m a runner, and found the tracking to work pretty well, along with plenty of reminders to get off my lazy ass. Not great for my self-esteem, but good for my waistline, I suppose.

There’s sleep tracking on board, as well, though that’s become a pretty standard feature across all of these devices. More compelling is the addition of stress tracking. The feature reads the wearer’s vital signs to paint an overall picture of their mood. I’m sure the science behind all of this is lacking, and it generally read me as “neutral” (which, as anyone who has ever met me will tell you isn’t the best word).

That said, I’m sure there’s something in the psychology of it all. Like Fitbit and Apple’s reminders to breathe, there’s something to be said in the simple act of taking a moment to recognize your mood. Like a meditation body scan that reminds you that you’re constantly clenching your jaw, focusing on your mood and breathing goes a surprisingly long way toward de-stressing.

The Galaxy Watch isn’t the revolution Samsung suggested (but marketers are gonna market). That the company spent so little time on the product during the recent Note 9 event was at least partially a product of the fact that it’s more fine-tuning than anything else. There is, however, one piece that really stands out — and it’s perhaps the largest quibble with the smartwatch category of all.

Samsung says the 42mm’s 270 mAh battery will get you up to three days of life and the 46’s 472 mAh will get you up to four. That’s a bit of wishful thinking in my experience, but it’s not far off. Wearing the watch straight both day and night, I was able to squeeze just over two and a half days — pretty impressive, so far as smartwatches go. It’s also a bit of a necessity for something designed to be worn to bed.

It’s the best addition to the watch this time out. It’s not enough to help the device truly stand out from an overcrowded and underselling category — especially one where a single player is utterly dominating the sales charts. But Samsung’s still got one of the better devices in the game.

The pricing remains, well, pricey. The 42mm runs $329 and the 46mm is $349. It’s an additional $50 to upgrade either one to LTE. That puts the product roughly on par with the Apple Watch. From an Android user’s perspective, however, the real competition is the far cheaper ($200) Versa. Things have shifted a bit since Samsung’s last major watch release, with Fitbit becoming the major player in the Android-compatible smartwatch field. Samsung’s at a bit of a crossroads.

For now, the company seems content to go directly after Apple. Competing on that field is going to take some serious innovating. The Galaxy Watch isn’t that, but it’s a perfectly solid choice for Android users.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch are available now

Need something to put on that new Wireless Charging Duo? Good news — the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch are available now. Here’s the my full 3,000 word review of the Note 9. The TLDR version is, essentially: Good screen Very good camera Decently long battery Interesting new S-Pen tricks Way, way too pricey […]

Need something to put on that new Wireless Charging Duo? Good news — the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Watch are available now. Here’s the my full 3,000 word review of the Note 9. The TLDR version is, essentially:

  • Good screen
  • Very good camera
  • Decently long battery
  • Interesting new S-Pen tricks
  • Way, way too pricey

As for the Galaxy Watch, well, I’m wearing that one as I type this. Expect a review in the near future. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying the experience and am glad the company finally opted for a smaller size — even if that one might still be too larger for many wrists.

Both devices are available in a bunch of places, but it’s different SKUs for different vendors, so here’s the info straight from Samsung:

The 128GB Galaxy Note 9 can be purchased through carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Xfinity, along with Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Straight Talk Wireless, Target, Walmart, Samsung.com and the ShopSamsung app. The 512GB version is available at select retail locations and online at AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, U.S. Cellular and Samsung.com.

And here’s the same for the Galaxy Watch

Starting at $329.99 for the 42mm and $349.99 for the 46mm, is now available at Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung.com in the U.S. The Galaxy Watch LTE version is also available today, at Samsung.com and T-Mobile starting at $379.99 for the 42mm, and $399.99 for the 46mm.

As for the Galaxy Home smart speaker, your guess is as good as ours.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch set to take on Apple Watch

On Thursday, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Watch. Available in 42mm and 46mm models, the new wearable device launches alongside the new Note 9 smartphone.

On Thursday, Samsung introduced its new Note 9 smartphone. At the same time, it announced the upcoming launch of the Galaxy Watch. The new wearable device, which is available beginning on Aug. 24 alongside the Note 9, replaces the Gear S3 watch which was introduced by the company two years ago. ... Read the rest of this post here


"Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch set to take on Apple Watch" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Samsung courts mainstream users with the Galaxy Watch

Name aside, not all that much appears to have changed with the new Galaxy Watch. Samsung’s clearly used the Gear Sport as the jumping off point here. And that’s a good thing. Since the beginning, Samsung’s wearables have been plagued by a size issue. They’re huge — big on my wrists, even, and I’m 5’11. […]

Name aside, not all that much appears to have changed with the new Galaxy Watch. Samsung’s clearly used the Gear Sport as the jumping off point here. And that’s a good thing. Since the beginning, Samsung’s wearables have been plagued by a size issue.

They’re huge — big on my wrists, even, and I’m 5’11. That rules out a pretty massive potential user base right out of the gate. The Galaxy Watches on display appeared to be the smaller of the two, at 42mm, which fit pretty comfortable on my wrist. There’s also a 46mm for those diehard big watch fans. Samsung has yet to introduce a size for even smaller wrists, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Those earlier rumors that the company would be jumping to the more widely used Android Wear operating system were off-base. Samsung’s sticking with Tizen here, with the Galaxy watch running version 4.0. Not a huge surprise, of course. Samsung’s taken ownership over the open OS — moving to Google’s would feel like starting from scratch.

The industrial design is also similar to earlier models, with a well, pronounced metal case and large buttons. There are two color designs, however, so you can opt for rose gold for a bit of a softer touch. And, of course, there are a whole bunch of different band options to further customize it.

LTE functionality is present here — Samsung beat Apple to the draw on that one. The watch is also 5ATM + IP68 water resistant and features a Gorilla Glass face, so it can take a licking, at all.

Like the rest of the wearable world, health is a big feature here. There are six automatic exercises (walking, running, cycling, elliptical, training, rowing, and dynamic workouts), plus sleep tracking and breathing reminder. Speaking of sleeping with the thing on, the company promises “several days of usage,” but that will depend in no small part on which size you opt for. The battery sizes are 472mAh and 270mAh for the 46mm and 42mm, respectively. So that’s certainly a point in favor of opting for the largest one possible.

We’ll no doubt be testing that, along with everything else soon. For now, I’m not seeing any features that really stand out the the rest of the wearable masses.  The 46mm runs  $350 and the 42mm version is $330. Pricing on the LTE models will be carrier dependent (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon are all repped here). The device is launching at some unspecified time later this year.