Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on October 10, 2020 Published on October 10, 2020

If you own a Samsung phone or anyother Android phone, and are looking for a capable great looking smart watch, look no further than the Galaxy Watch 3.

The Watch 3 is designed around the conventional watch style and can look good both formally and casually. It’s available in 45mm and 41mm sizes and in three mystic colours: black, silver and bronze. Our review unit was a 45mm Mystic Black LTE edition.

If one were to compare with previous generation of Samsung watches, it is just a minor bump up in features and specs. On its own merit it is a very good all-round watch packed with features and one that would satisfy many a wearer.

The most striking and best feature of the watch is the rotating bezel. With a distinct click to every rotation, it makes navigating the watch a total breeze. In fact, one of the things that I have complained about in smart watches in the past is the amount that one lands up touching the screen which is quite unnecessary and only leads to smudges on the glass face. The Watch 3 very cleverly makes use of just two buttons and the bezel and reduces the overall need to interact with the face by touching it. No other watch comes close to this.

As is to be expected from a smartwatch these days the Watch 3 handles all the basic watch functions quite well: telling the time, the weather, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, an alarm clock, etc. The operating system of the watch is the now fairly mature Tizen OS, but that is also one of its biggest limitations. There are very few apps truly worth downloading. While the watch does have an App Store it’s mostly filled with watch faces. After scouring the store for several hours the only additional app I actually landed up downloading and using was Spotify. I couldn’t find anything else truly useful.

Staying healthy

On the health side, the Watch 3 has all the bells and whistles and a newly added SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen level measurement. Fall-detection also seems to be part of the upgrade. Otherwise, the usual host of workouts supported by the Samsung Health app do a very good job to get you fit. I do like the fact that it can autodetect start and stop workouts so if you forget to track, it will still do it for you. One nice addition to the fitness is the idle time detection, not only does it remind you to stand up, walk around or stretch, it even suggests a quick torso twist, squats or stretches and keeps count of the reps. Once you do five reps it rewards you with a “Great!” useful for lazy folks who just can’t leave their other screens.

Health does seem to be a big focus this time and when you look at even a simple task like customising the watch face, there are over 40 complications to choose from and many of them are health related. It definitely entices you to get active. It also includes dual-time for the global worker and many other options including matching your outfit for a casual evening out.

When paired with a phone you will be able to take complete control of your notifications. You can select which apps you want to notify you and block others that you don’t want. Some of the notifications are even actionable though to a limited extent. You can for example respond to text messages and even to WhatsApp directly from the watch either with canned messages which you can customise or with voice and an on-screen keyboard. Quick emoji responses are there as well.

The Watch 3 is a standard Bluetooth watch and you also get WiFi for transfers of larger files and media. The LTE edition currently requires a Samsung phone in India and works only with Airtel. Interestingly, the watch can even be set up without a phone but India is not listed for the LTE option — maybe that will change at some point.

One of the cribs on the Watch 3 has to be battery-life. In normal use, with the screen set to low brightness, a low set of notifications, about an hour of activity tracking and other bits of monitoring, the battery seems to deplete at about 2 per hour per hour. If you are lucky you can just about get through 2 days. The challenge is if you also want to track your sleep, then finding the right slot to charge the watch becomes an issue. I found the best times for me were once in the morning when I have finished with my morning routine and settle down to work I do get about two hours (which is the time it takes to fully charge the watch) when I am more or less sitting in one place and working. The second slot I found was right after an evening walk. The walk does use GPS and heart-rate and if you use it for media as well then it will be fairly low on battery by the time you’re done. But if you compare with the Apple Watch, that has even lower battery life.

Watches these days come with storage but the challenge is how to use that.. Rather than transferring media from the phone to the watch, you can use an app like Spotify and actually download your playlists for offline use. Much more useful and usable than trying to manage media on the phone and then syncing it to the watch, The Watch 3 has close to 4GB of storage which is used by apps and media and is plenty.

Overall, the Watch 3 is a great smartwatch and something that would satisfy many an Android user. While the watch does also work with an iOS device, the functionality is very limited. It actually just does best with a Samsung phone so if that is what you have, then grab it.

Price: ₹38,990/- (45mm LTE) | ₹32,990 (45mm Bluetooth) | ₹34,990/- (41mm LTE) | ₹29,990/- (41mm Bluetooth)

Pros: Light, Smart-looking, packed with features, encourages fitness and good health

Cons: LTE requires a Samsung phone, battery-life only 2 days, Lack of good apps, Bixby assistant may not suit all

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Published on October 10, 2020
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