The Galaxy Watch3 is the latest flagship smartwatch from Samsung.
Successor to the Galaxy Watch (there’s no Watch2 but there was a cheaper Watch Active2), the Watch3 comes in two sizes, with both available in cellular (LTE) and non-cellular versions.
The 45mm models come in silver and black colours, while the 41mm models are available in silver and bronze. We tested the 41mm bronze non-cellular version.
The 41mm models, which have a 1.2-inch circular touchscreen display, are ideal for those with smaller wrists (the 44mm models have a 1.4-inch display). Apart from the size differences, they are identical in design.
With its classic timepiece design, the Watch3 looks similar to the Galaxy Watch, though the former has slimmer lugs. It retains its predecessor’s unique rotating bezel and the two buttons on the watch case’s right.
The review model looks gorgeous, with its leather strap matching the colour of the bronze stainless steel case. It looks even better after I used a colour-matching analogue watch face to give it an all-bronze shine. During the lunch meetings when I was wearing it, several acquaintances mistook it for a real watch.
I have always been a fan of the rotating bezel, as it lets you navigate the smartwatch’s interface without blocking the display. You can easily scroll through the smartwatch’s Tizen operating system (OS) by turning the bezel. Plus, the Tizen OS’ user interface puts apps in a circular arrangement, so you can go to the app you want quickly.
When connected to an Android smartphone, notifications appear as tiles that you can tap on, to read the entire e-mail or reply to messages. It probably offers the best smartwatch experience outside of the Apple Watch.
But it is not optimised for iOS. There are notifications that I cannot reply to and e-mails that cannot be scrolled.
On the health-monitoring front, the Watch3 has several new features, including one that measures SpO2 level, or the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. There is also a feature that detects falls using the smartwatch’s accelerometer, similar to the feature offered by the Apple Watch.
Two other new health features of the Watch3 – electrocardiogram measurement and blood pressure monitor – are not available in Singapore yet, as they are pending the authorities’ approval.
Like its predecessor, the Watch3 supports the Samsung Pay contactless payment. This is great, as I can pay for my post-run drinks easily with a tap of the watch.
It is water-resistant to a depth of 50m. So, you can wear it all the time and whether you are running or swimming.
It also tracks sleep. But I do find it a tad bulky to wear to sleep. Nonetheless, it will give you a score of your sleep quality based on how much time you spent in each sleeping stage. It pinpointed the time I went to bed and woke up, as well as noted the periods when I was in light or deep sleep.
In terms of step tracking, the Watch3 is really accurate. It registered only 1.5 per cent more steps than my calibrated Apple Watch Series 4.
On my usual 5km jogging route, the watch’s GPS function tracked only 50m more than the actual distance.
In terms of battery life, the Watch3 – when constantly connected to a Note20 Ultra – had around 30 per cent battery life left at the end of two days in which I did a 5km GPS-tracked jog and used it to record a night of sleep data.
The Watch3 has a fairly hefty starting price tag of $648. This is more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 5 base model ($599), and the Oppo Watch ($399 for the 46mm version), the latest Wear OS smartwatch in the market.
– Classic timepiece design
– Intuitive rotating bezel
– Many new health features like SpO2 measurement
– A tad expensive
– Works best with Samsung Galaxy and Android smartphones
Price: From $648 (41mm Bluetooth, version tested) to $848 (45mm LTE)
Compatibility: Smartphones running Android 5.0 and newer or iOS 9.0 and newer
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communications
Water resistance: 50m
Weight: 48.2g (41mm without strap)
Battery life: 3/5
Value for money: 4/5
This article was originally published in The Straits Times.