The Samsung Galaxy Watch combines some of the Gear S3’s design language with some Gear Sport fitness features and added a handful of new software. There are two versions of the Galaxy Watch: a 42mm model that comes in Rose Gold (as seen with this issue’s NXT Angel) and a blacked-out one, and the shiny 46mm model. They all use the same dual-core Samsung Exynos chipset and 768MB of RAM and have a crisp and bright screen.
A standout feature of the Galaxy Watch is the rotating bezel for navigation, and it’s still a breeze to use. Scrolling through widgets and installed apps is easy, and little touches – like the subtle clicks as the bezel locks into position – make the watch feel like a premium timepiece. Since you don’t have to swipe all the time to get things done, user-friendliness is an absolute win with this device. On top of that, the spinning bezel doesn’t interfere with the watch’s water resistance either, which means you can dunk them in the water just fine.
The Galaxy Watch does all of the things that you’d expect smartwatches to do over the past couple years, but one of the more useful features might be auto-tracking function, which immediately starts recording an exercise if it detects a spike in your activity and heart rate. It also sends an encouraging notification too, and this works for running, outdoor cycling, elliptical, and rowing.
If you’ve used the Apple Watch before and enjoyed the Breathe App, then Samsung’s got you covered. The Galaxy Watch now has a stress management app that guides you through breathing exercises. It shows the outer edges of a series of light blue concentric circles, like the petals of a flower, pulsing as you inhale and exhale and playing a soothing, meditative tune. Only thing missing is the soothing haptic feedback.
On the whole, this is a big, but sophisticated-looking smartwatch that ends up being great to wear for notifications and exercise. Anyone who wants something even more out of the Galaxy Watch is measuring Samsung’s best up against a smartwatch that won’t exist until 2019 or 2020.
$398 (42mm model), $448 (44mm model)
The Samsung Galaxy Watch is very much the Samsung Gear S4 that never was. It’s an iterative update – one that adds fitness software, new sensors, and extra waterproofing to everything was great in the Gear Sport and the Gear S3.