Samsung smartwatch 3 review

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: the new king of Android smartwatches

Samsung’s latest, the Galaxy Watch 3, is an all-round refinement of its previous excellent smartwatch efforts – slimmer, lighter and with a larger screen.

The £ Galaxy Watch 3 comes in two sizes (41mm or 45mm), two colours and with or without 4G, aiming to be the Apple Watch of Android, here reviewed in black with a 45mm case. It sits alongside the smaller, fitness-focused Galaxy Watch Active 2 and works with any brand of Android with access to the Google Play Store as well as an iPhone running iOS 9 or newer.

The Watch 3 takes the design of ’s Galaxy Watch – there was no number two – and slims down its stainless steel body in all dimensions while adding a larger screen. The result is a thin, attractive traditional-looking circular watch that’s only mm thick and g in weight.

The in screen is large, crisp and bright. It copes well with low and bright light, adjusting brightness accordingly, including a super-bright outdoors mode that comes on automatically. You can set the screen to be on all the time with a large array of attractive watch faces available, most of which are customisable. There are thousands more in the Galaxy Store, too.

The rotating bezel around the screen acts as a jog controller for navigating the interface. Two buttons take care of back and apps functions. Press and hold the top apps button to activate Samsung Pay and the bottom back button to activate Bixby or your choice of app. Double press the bottom button to see recently used apps.

The Watch 3 is water resistant to 50 metres, the screen is covered in scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX and the straps are standard 20mm or 22mm bands with quick-release pins. It ships with a high-quality leather strap that is much more supple and nicer than those that come with most watches.


  • Screen: in or in AMOLED ( ppi)

  • Case size: 41 or 45mm

  • Case thickness: or mm

  • Band size: standard 20 or 22mm

  • Weight: g or g

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos dual-core GHz

  • RAM: 1GB

  • Storage: 8GB

  • Operating system: Tizen (One UI 2)

  • Water resistance: 50 metres (5ATM)

  • Sensors: barometer, gyro, HR sensor, light sensor, microphone, speaker, NFC, GPS

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC

Slick performance, days battery

Samsung has used the same in-house Exynos processor in all of its recent smartwatches to great effect, including Watch 3. It has slightly more RAM at 1GB and double the storage at 8GB compared with the Watch Active 2 but performs very similarly.

The interface is slick, snappy and lag-free. Screens and widgets whizz by as fast as you can turn the bezel. It is very close to the performance you get out of Apple Watch and far, far better than any Wear OS watch.

Battery life is also solid but slightly less than the two days of the previous Galaxy Watch, mainly because of the lower-capacity battery. With the screen on all the time I routinely made it from 8am to midnight with at least 40% left. On some lighter-use days I made it to bed with 50% left. The original Galaxy Watch would end the day with closer to 60% battery left.

A minute run with high-accuracy tracking consumed 6% of the battery, while sleep tracking for eight hours drained the battery by 9%. That meant the watch lasted just under 36 hours of constant wearing between charges.

Fully charging the watch takes about two hours, 10 minutes with the wireless charging puck, reaching 40% from dead in an hour.


Samsung does not provide an expected lifespan for the battery in the Watch 3 but provides a one-year warranty. Similar batteries typically last at least full charge cycles while maintaining at least 80% capacity.

Unlike many smartwatches the battery in the Watch 3 can be replaced by authorised service centres. The Watch 3 is also one of the more repairable smartwatches available, scoring a seven out of 10 with repair specialists iFixit, but Samsung did not comment on the use of recycled materials in the construction of the watch.

Tizen with One UI

Samsung uses its own operating system on its smartwatches called Tizen, here in its latest form with One UI The firm offers software updates for its smartwatches for extended periods, which has resulted in watches four years old or more receiving updates recently and bodes well for the Watch 3.

Tizen is based around a rotary interface, taking full advantage of that rotating bezel and circular screen, but it can also be swiped and tapped with fingers on the screen.

It operates exactly the same as the Galaxy Watch Active 2 with minor improvements and slicker animations. Notifications appear as tiles to the left of the watch face and can be tapped to expand, actioned or replied to from your wrist. Widgets for various things are to the right.

Swipe down from the top for quick settings or press the apps button for a list of apps. There are only a handful of good third-party apps, but they include Strava and some other fitness tracking apps, plus Spotify with offline music downloads and playback.

Samsung Pay and Bixby

The Watch 3 has Samsung Pay for contactless payments, which works well if a little clunkier than Google Pay, but UK bank support is limited. I use a Curve card, which is supported by Samsung Pay, to bind my unsupported bank cards and use them through it. Samsung recently launched its own version of the Curve card called Samsung Pay Card, too.

Bixby is Samsung’s smart voice assistant. It works fine for simple tasks such as setting timers and other bits but can be a bit slow to activate and understand what you have said. It is more reliable than the previous version but is still the least polished bit of the Watch 3.

Samsung Health

Samsung Health has the same comprehensive health and fitness tracking features as it does on the Watch Active 2. It is one of the most complete suites of general health and fitness related monitoring on a smartwatch, including sleep tracking with blood oxygenation, stress and heart health, rivalling that from Apple and far better than Wear OS or rivals.

Running tracking has new dynamics analysis, giving you a breakdown of your form, including asymmetry, foot contact time, flight time, regularity, vertical motion and stiffness. I’m not sure they will convince hard-core runners but it’s an interesting feature to have. Vo2 Max – a fairly common measure of cardiorespiratory fitness – matched my long-term readings from various Garmin devices on first run, which bodes well.

The one negative is that it’s difficult to see when the watch has a GPS lock when preparing for a run, as it just tells you to set off. That resulted in it missing out on metres of a run compared with a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar.

The Watch 3 has the hardware to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) and to monitor blood pressure but it has yet to be activated in the UK pending regulatory approval, which was recently granted in the US.


  • Occasionally the watch would get stuck in outdoor screen mode for a bit on max brightness

  • The short, sharp vibrations for notifications are some of the best outside of the Apple Watch.

  • The Watch 3 can be used with an iPhone but there are significant limitations around Messages notifications and replies, lack of Samsung Pay, some Health and other functions.

  • Pairing and set up is faster on a Samsung phone but all the functions work just fine with any modern Android phone.


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes in 41mm versions with a RRP costing £ or 45mm versions costing £ Versions that support 4G networking as well as Bluetooth and wifi cost an extra £

For comparison, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has an RRP of £, the Fossil Gen 5 costs £, the Fitbit Versa 2 costs £ and the Apple Watch Series 5 costs £


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the best smartwatch for Android by some margin, taking the crown from the already excellent Watch Active 2.

It combines a slim, light and attractive traditional watch design with the excellent rotating bezel controller, a slick software experience, solid battery life and a bright, crisp and gorgeous always-on screen.

Its health-tracking features are up there with the best. Notification handling on Android is good. There is an enormous selection of watch faces and while third-party apps are slim on the ground, they do include some key ones such as Spotify and Strava.

Samsung offers long-term software support, the watch is repairable and the battery can be replaced if needed. But the Watch 3 isn’t perfect. Bixby still isn’t great, Samsung Pay support is limited in the UK and while it has the hardware to support them, the ECG or blood pressure functions are still pending approval.

I also wouldn’t wholly recommend using one with an iPhone as there are significant limitations compared with an Apple Watch of a similar price.

It is relatively expensive but if you want a great smartwatch for your Android phone, the Galaxy Watch 3 is it. If you want something cheaper, the Watch Active 2 is almost as good.

Pros: slim and attractive traditional watch design, big and bright screen, bezel control, slick performance, solid battery life, excellent fitness and health tracking, metre water resistance, standard 20mm/22mm straps, long software support, battery can be replaced, cross platform.

Cons: few UK banks support Samsung Pay, Bixby is weak, cannot display animated images in smart camera notifications, limited functionality with an iPhone, cannot use ECG/blood pressure yet.

Other reviews


Two-minute review 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the sequel to TechRadar’s best smartwatch since mid, and it improves on the original in a variety of ways.

The Galaxy Watch 3 isn’t the perfect smartwatch, but it has a dazzling design, a vivid display, and a variety of new fitness features to help you track your progress across a wide range of activities, and stay motivated.

Samsung has stuck with a traditional-looking circular display shape, and a rotatable raised bezel that enables you to physically cycle through on-screen menus. It’s tactile, and that click, click, click as you navigate the round interface feels satisfying.

It looks better than the first-generation device as well - the design is slimmer (and lighter), making for a more svelte-looking device that could compete with the likes of the Apple Watch 5 in a beauty contest.

The new fitness features improve the activity tracking that you expect to get from a smartwatch in but also introduce a variety of new tools such as an electrocardiogram (although this isn’t activated at launch - Samsung seems to believe it'll be coming soon) and fall detection too.

The battery life on the Galaxy Watch 3 could be better, but it’s not disappointing if you’re happy to put your smartwatch on charge for a few hours after a couple of days. If you’re expecting a device that can last weeks, however, you probably won’t want to read on any further.

If you’re looking for the best smartwatch to pair with the Android phone, this could be it - and if you own an iPhone, this may even beat the Apple Watch if you’re looking for a circular device rather than Apple’s trademark squared design and you like what you see. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was unveiled alongside the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra at the company’s virtual Unpacked launch for That took place on August 6, and you’re either able to buy or pre-order the Watch 3 now.

Those in the US can now buy the device, while if you live in the UK you’ll be waiting until August The watch will be shipping in Australia from August

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 price is $ / £ / AU$ for the smaller 41mm model, and $ / £ / AU$ for the larger 45mm version. LTE connectivity raises the price further, to $ / £ / AU$ for the 41mm version, and $ / £ / AU$ for the 45mm variant.

Compare that Watch 3 base price – $ / £ for the 41mm size – to the original Galaxy Watch base price of $ / £ for the 42mm size. That’s quite the hike, especially if you’re in the UK, and we see a similar price jump for all versions. Samsung’s smartwatch has gotten expensive in the intervening two years.

The company can claim that its watch is still cheaper than the Apple Watch 5 at most price points, however, with Apple’s device starting at $ / £ / AU$ for the most basic model.

Design and display

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s design is more refined than the original Galaxy Watch, and the design team has engineered another smartwatch masterpiece here. It’s slimmer, lighter, and more comfortable to wear than the original device.

You have the choice of two sizes, with a 41mm being the smaller option, and a 45mm model for those who prefer a larger watch on their wrist. For the purpose of this review we’ve tested the 45mm variant, so elements of the user experience with the smaller model may differ slightly.

The core features are the same across both models, with just a couple of small differences in the specs.

You’re getting a inch (41mm) or inch (45mm) Circular Super AMOLED panel, with a full-color always-on display. From our time with the larger watch we’ve found this to be the perfect size, as it was on the original 45mm device.

The display has a resolution of x , which at this size is perfect for looking at stats and swiping through the menus. The device is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass DX; for some reason it’s not DX+ as on the original Watch, and we’re not sure why, or what it means - we’ve reached out to Samsung for an explanation.

The display is bright and easy to read in all types of light, so you shouldn’t struggle to see this screen even when you’re exercising outdoors.

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The Galaxy Watch 3 is 14% slimmer than the original Galaxy Watch, yet keeps the same attractive circular screen shape and size. The ornate rotating bezel that doubles as a way to navigate the on-screen menus also remains, albeit in a less chunky state.

Both variants of the watch come in stainless steel, with the 45mm weighing g and the 41mm g. There’s also a new extra-light titanium model, which is only available in the 45mm size and weighs 43g. This isn’t currently on sale yet, but we’re expecting it to cost extra. 

We found the Galaxy Watch 3 to be comfortable to wear casually as well as during workouts - it’s not going to be as trim as a fitness tracker, but if you’re looking for a smartwatch this is going to be a comfortable choice.

So what colors can you get? You can see the Mystic Black finish pictured throughout this review, and the 45mm Watch 3 also comes in a Mystic Silver version that’s slightly lighter. Both variants come with black leather straps.

If you opt for the smaller 41mm device you’ll have the choice of Mystic Silver or Mystic Bronze colors. Both of these also come with leather straps, so whichever size and color combo you opt for you’ll have to spend extra on another strap if you want a more fitness-friendly silicone material.

The 45mm is compatible with all 22mm straps, and the 41mm device is designed for use with 20mm straps.

Performance and software

The Galaxy Watch 3 is running on the same chipset that powered the original Galaxy Watch from Samsung, which may disappoint some, although we didn’t find this to be an issue when using the smartwatch.

Apps loaded as quickly as we’d expect them to, and that’s partly due to the 1GB of RAM included here, which seemed to be enough. An odd element is the LTE version of the original Galaxy Watch sported GB of RAM, but the company has seen fit to drop that here.

Processing power isn’t often a major thing on a smartwatch though – there’s less to run here than on a typical phone – and we found that the Galaxy Watch 3 continued to perform well throughout our entire time testing it.

All versions of the device come with 8GB of storage, and we found the OS and pre-loaded apps were already using GB of this space, so if you want to fill your watch up with apps and music you’ll have around 4GB to use.

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After a brief stint with Wear OS (then Android Wear), Samsung ditched Google’s smartwatch platform for its own. This resulted in a stunted app ecosystem and some compatibility issues, but over time helped Samsung’s smartwatches blossom into the well-rounded wearables we’re familiar with today. The latest Samsung watch exudes premium hardware and a wealth of features you can really only get from one other company.

Read Android Authority’s full Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review to find out why it’s one of the best Apple Watch alternatives you can buy, if you’re looking for a cheaper smartwatch.

A newer version of this device is now available. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 brings new fitness and health tracking features, a refreshed physical design, and Wear OS 3 to the table. Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review for full details.

About this Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 for six days running One UI Watch version , Tizen version , and software version RXXU1BTG6. The 45mm Wi-Fi Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review unit was paired to my Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for the duration of this review.

Update, July We have updated this Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review with new software and pricing information.

A fashionable Samsung smartwatch

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The main aesthetic criticism of Samsung’s original Galaxy Watch is its chunky design. It has big bezels and an in-your-face look that many people either love or hate. Samsung really turned things around with the Galaxy Watch 3. It’s thinner and lighter than the original, and certainly not as chunky. Be warned, though: the 45mm variant is almost too big for my average-sized wrists. If you’re concerned at all about size, you might want to go for the 41mm version.

I know why you’re all here, and that’s to talk about the rotating bezel. It’s great. Truly. It’s smaller on the Galaxy Watch 3, but not any more difficult to use. It offers a satisfying click when it’s rotated, and I’ve actually found myself rotating it just… because. It beats the pants off the rotating crowns we see on Wear OS watches, and it’s approximately 1,x better than the touch-enabled bezel on the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

I’m using the 45mm model with its inch AMOLED display. You already know what I’m going to say here: this is a Samsung product, so it has a fantastic display. It’s super easy to see outdoors in direct sunlight.

That display is pretty power-hungry, though it shouldn’t stop you from getting around two days of battery life on a single charge. If you keep the always-on display turned off and don’t use it to work out too often, you might be able to make it stretch to day three. I’ve been getting about days of battery life with the always-on display turned on, sleep tracking enabled, and recording a GPS-enabled workout every day. A five-mile run drained about 20% of my battery life, for reference.

Read more:Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 buyer’s guide, specs, FAQs, and more

Also, keep in mind this is the 45mm model with a bigger battery. If you buy the 41mm model, expect slightly shorter battery life.

The charging situation is not great. The magnetic charging puck packaged with the watch is fine, but it’s not very powerful. It’ll take over two hours to charge the watch up to %. That means you might actually need to plan out when you charge your device if you know you’re going to want to use it to track your sleep or during a workout. Luckily you can top it up via Wireless PowerShare if you have a recent Samsung phone.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

All Galaxy Watch 3 models are made of stainless steel, save for one titanium variant that’s far too expensive for us to recommend.

The watch comes with a “genuine leather” strap in the box. It’s a nice strap — comfortable, and it seems durable. I’m not a huge fan of contrast stitching on straps, though, so I swapped it out for another silicone strap I had lying around. (It’s compatible with 22mm straps, by the way, while the 41mm version works with 20mm straps.)

This leads me to a gripe I have about smartwatches in general. For as much flack as the Apple Watch gets, I think Apple made the right move to ship silicone watch straps with the base model watches. These are meant to be workout watches for a lot of people, and only including a leather strap in the box means a lot of people will need to buy a third-party strap so they can work out. This isn’t a complaint I have with, say, $ watches. But the Galaxy Watch 3 is expensive! You’d expect to get everything you need in the box.

The watch face selection is abundant. Samsung says “over 80,” watch faces are available for the Galaxy Watch 3, and a wide variety of them are free. Most of the first-party watch faces featured in the Galaxy Wearable app are customizable. The My Style watch face makes a return, allowing you to snap a photo of your outfit and apply those colors to your watch face.

Fitness and health tracking: Held back by hardware

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

A disclaimer before we continue: Our Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review unit originally did not have ECG or blood pressure monitoring enabled. Samsung has since rolled out ECG functionality to the watch, so we have updated our review to reflect the new feature. Blood pressure monitoring is still pending FDA approval and is only available in one country.

Samsung is touting the Galaxy Watch 3 as the more lifestyle-oriented smartwatch in its lineup, but it has pretty much all the same health and fitness features that come with the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

It can track 40 different sport profiles, from running and swimming to cardio-based exercises like mountain climbers. 33 of those activities need to be tracked manually, while seven of them can be auto-tracked.

I’ve found automatic tracking to be slightly unreliable. The Galaxy Watch 3 tracked a minute walk around my neighborhood but didn’t stop recording my activity even though I’d been sitting in a chair right afterward for about 10 minutes. There’s no way to manually stop these exercises, either; it just stops when it stops.

Also read:The best fitness trackers you can buy

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung stuck with the same GPS and heart rate sensors that it put in the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which is unfortunate considering I found those to be the most inaccurate parts of the watch. So, how do they fare on the Galaxy Watch 3?

Not so well. The Galaxy Watch 3’s heart rate sensor struggled to keep up with major highs and lows during a five-mile run through my neighborhood compared to the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and Wahoo Tickr X chest strap. While the average beats per minute for all three devices were similar ( for Fenix, for Galaxy, and for Tickr X), the Galaxy Watch 3’s readings were often bpm too high during major lows in my run. Roughly 24 minutes into the run, the Fenix 6 Pro and Tickr X recorded a low of ~90bpm, but the Galaxy Watch 3 only dipped down to about bpm.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Top to bottom: Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Wahoo Tickr X

Unfortunately, Samsung still doesn’t allow Galaxy Watch devices to connect to external heart rate sensors, so there are no easy workarounds if you want accurate heart rate data.

I feel the same way about the Galaxy Watch 3 as I feel about the Active 2. Samsung gets an A for effort with many of the fitness features it attempts to implement, but the sensors just fall short for those looking for the most accurate stats. This watch will absolutely suffice for casual athletes who want to keep an eye on their activity overall. Users who are interested in minute details should look elsewhere.

GPS performance is so-so. It seems to stick to my running paths pretty closely, actually, though it often over-reports my running distance by a quarter mile or so. This happened on nearly every run I took with the Galaxy Watch 3, despite my mile markers lining up closely with my Fenix 6 Pro.

Related:Why you should take fitness tracker accuracy with a grain of salt

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Perhaps my favorite new feature on the Galaxy Watch 3 is its running analysis. During and after your run activities, you’ll get advanced running metrics like asymmetry, contact time, flight time, regularity, vertical, and even stiffness. Each of these metrics is scored on an “improve” to “great” scale, and Samsung Health does a fantastic job of displaying this information in charts after your run.

These metrics are usually only offered by devices with integrated foot pods. I don’t have any foot pods or smart insoles in my possession, so I’m not able to compare results. I do think some of the metrics are spot-on, while others seem to be over-scoring on things that need work. I think my contact time and asymmetry are solid, so I’m happy to see the results come back as “great.” However, I felt extremely stiff on one particular run, even though I also scored “great” on that one.

Samsung does sleep tracking really well, and the Galaxy Watch 3 adds even more improvements thanks to the company’s work with the National Sleep Foundation. Overall, sleep tracking has been accurate for me. It’s been able to pick up when I fall asleep and wake up in the night. Samsung Health makes it super easy to see this information, too, and provides ample insights on your sleep quality that might help you improve.

New to the Galaxy Watch 3 is a sleep score feature, which scores your sleep quality on a scale of based on total time asleep, time in sleep cycles, movement, and physical and mental recovery. I haven’t been sleeping so well lately, and I’ve woken up in the middle of the night for a few minutes. Samsung actually splits this into two periods of sleep — not just one sleep period with an interruption in the middle — which means I’m scored separately on each short sleep. As a result, my sleep score is only at 30/ On any other device, it’d probably be much higher than that.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Stress monitoring and breathing exercises are still offered on the Galaxy Watch 3 if you need some help cooling down in the middle of the day.

All Galaxy Watch 3 models come with a built-in pulse oximeter for measuring blood oxygen levels, or SpO2. Manually recording blood oxygen data from the watch is pretty seamless, though I’ve noticed it does take a few seconds longer than my Fenix 6 Pro. It’s also very touchy in regards to movement. The recordings on both Samsung and Garmin devices have been pretty spot on for what it’s worth, usually hovering around 97%.

Samsung isn’t trying to detect signs of sleep apnea like some of its competitors, so the pulse oximeter only works for on-demand readings. It can’t run at night while you’re sleeping.

You’ll also get VO2 max estimates after each one of your activities with the Galaxy Watch 3. The numbers from my Samsung watch usually lined up pretty well with the Fenix 6 Pro. Interestingly, though, they fall on different parts of the scale. For instance, my VO2 max number during a run with the Galaxy Watch 3 says I’m at a “good” level and in the top 35% of my age range, which only appears to be in the middle of Samsung’s scale. My Fenix 6 Pro gave me a 54 score, though, and says my VO2 max is “excellent” for my age range.

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung is taking another swipe at the Apple Watch with its new fall detection feature. If you’re in the middle of an activity (running, walking, etc.) and the accelerometer senses that you’ve fallen, your Galaxy Watch 3 will send an SMS to up to four emergency contacts. I tried fake falling about a dozen times with the watch, and I was never able to get it to trigger. Hopefully, that’s just the Galaxy Watch sensing that I’m faking it.

Samsung warns that this feature may falsely trigger during high-impact exercises, so it’s best to keep an eye on your wrist when you’re working out a little harder than normal. Also, it’s important to keep in mind this isn’t a safeguard for an older person shuffling around the house. You have to be engaging in an activity for the watch to sense that you’ve fallen.

If you happen to own a Samsung television, the Galaxy Watch 3 might make it easier for you to exercise at home. You can pick a workout video from Samsung Health, cast it to your TV, and it’ll display your heart rate in real-time. There are over workout videos to choose from, which can all be played on your phone if you don’t own a Samsung TV. I don’t, so I couldn’t test this feature.

In July , Samsung rolled out software version RFXXU1DUE4 to the Galaxy Watch 3 which brought improvements to its blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) measurement. Improvements to voice guidance, which was initially added to the Watch 3 in November , also arrived in this update.

Finally, Samsung rolled out ECG functionality to the Galaxy Watch 3 in September It works just like how ECG readings work on the Withings ScanWatch or Fitbit Sense. Recording an ECG only takes 30 seconds, and you can start it right from the watch itself. Once the recording finishes, the watch will let you know if it sensed any potential signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib).

A better Android watch than Wear OS

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Setting up the Galaxy Watch 3 on a Samsung phone is easy — just install the Galaxy Wearable app, connect your device, and you’re good to go. However, the setup process is more cumbersome if you’re using a non-Samsung phone. You need the Galaxy Wearable app, Galaxy Watch 3 Plugin, Samsung Accessory Service app, and of course Samsung Health.

After you jump through all those extra hoops, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best smartwatch experiences you can get with Android. For me, Samsung’s smartwatch software has surpassed Wear OS as the go-to Android watch operating system — even if it has some major restrictions.

First, the good. The Galaxy Watch 3 can handle all the standard smartwatch stuff we’ve come to expect. You can receive smartphone notifications and reply to them from your wrist. You can even view your chat history on your watch for certain messaging apps. There’s offline local music support and offline Spotify support — a surprisingly rare feature on wearables. There’s 8GB of internal memory for holding your music, apps, and photos (if you really want that).

Offline music support is available on all Galaxy Watch 3 models. You can stream music via Wi-Fi on all variants, but of course, you’ll need one of the LTE-connected watches while you’re away from Wi-Fi. The LTE version also lets you send and receive messages and calls when you’re not connected to your smartphone. Since I don’t have the LTE version, I can’t comment on LTE connectivity.

Paying for things with your wrist is pretty easy with the Galaxy Watch, thanks to Samsung Pay. However, you’ll have to go the standard NFC route for contactless payments — MST technology isn’t supported here. We would really like to see the return of MST for Samsung Pay. It’s just too convenient not to have on a smartwatch.

Third-party app support is still not great on Galaxy Watches. You have access to a handful of the most popular fitness apps, like Strava and MapMyRun, but overall app selection pales in comparison to Wear OS or Apple Watch devices. You just can’t find as many official third-party apps in the Galaxy Store, meaning you might need to download a hacky unofficial app to get certain services up and running.

On-device performance is OK. The Galaxy Watch 3 is powered by Samsung’s Exynos SoC, which has powered every Galaxy Watch device. There’s 1GB of RAM here, up from MB from the Active 2. I can’t say I noticed a huge difference in performance. Navigating around the software is fine, but internet-enabled apps such as Bixby and Spotify can be slow to launch.

Samsung Health is great, but get rid of the ads

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

We’ve talked in-depth about Samsung Health in the past, so I’m going to point you towards our Galaxy Fit review for a general overview of the app, how to navigate around it, and more.

In summary, I like it! It reminds me a lot of the Fitbit app, if you’re familiar. Samsung Health is clean and easy to use, and provides lots of social features and challenges to keep you motivated. There are also a variety of workout programs, videos, and health resources if you want to dig into yoga and meditation or learn more about the latest diet trends.

Samsung is putting advertisements in Samsung Health. There’s a big banner ad on the top of the Home screen, advertising things like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (which is annoying to see while you’re using a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra), promotions from the Galaxy Store, and more. There’s a dedicated Notifications tab that also gives you ads for related products like vitamins.

Samsung, get out of here with those ads. It’s not something anyone wants to see after they buy a $+ smartwatch from you.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 specs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
45mm: inch AMOLED
41mm: inch AMOLED

Corning Gorilla Glass DX
Dimensions and weight
45mm: 45 x x mm
g (stainless steel), 43g (titanium)

41mm: 41 x x mm

Colors and materials
45mm: Mystic Black (stainless steel or titanium), Mystic Silver (stainless steel)

41mm: Mystic Bronze (stainless steel), Mystic Silver (stainless steel)
45mm: mAh
41mm: mAh

WPC-based wireless charging
Samsung Exynos
Dual-core, GHz
LTE (available in select models)
Wi-Fi b/g/n
Optical heart rate sensor
Ambient light sensor
5ATM + IP68
Tizen OS
Android: Android or higher & RAM GB or above
iOS: iPhone 5 and above, iOS or above

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Value and the competition

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is usually available on Amazon, Samsung, Best Buy, and other retailers starting at $, but you can regularly find it on sale at most retailers. LTE models are available from Verizon and AT&T starting at $

That’s a lot of money for a smartwatch, no matter how good it is. That starting price is over $ more than the Galaxy Watch Active 2 sold for at launch, and $70 more than the original Galaxy Watch. But is it $$ better? I don’t think so. Samsung improved the hardware over the original watch, so that’s a bonus, though I don’t think the software has improved enough for the company to charge this much. It’s like Samsung saw how much Apple was charging for its Series 5 watch and thought it’d do the same. These points are nullified when the Galaxy Watch 3 can be had on a ~$ discount, but keep this in mind if the price goes back up.

Apple’s latest smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 6, is the Galaxy Watch 3’s biggest competitor. Each device offers a similar feature set and comes in various sizes and connectivity options. The Galaxy Watch 3 is compatible with Android and iPhones, but you’ll get the best experience if you’re using a Samsung phone. The Apple Watch is only compatible with iOS.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series is also available now, which adds more sensors and has better hardware than the Galaxy Watch 3. There are limitations, but odds are if you’re looking for a recent Galaxy Watch, you’ll find something to like in the Galaxy Watch 4 series.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: The verdict

Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung’s watches have always tried to do everything. Think of a modern smartwatch feature and the Galaxy Watch 3 probably has it. Throwing in too many features often results in a lot of missed opportunities, but I think Samsung actually delivered in most areas here.

Outside of hardware and design, I don’t think the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the best wearable you can buy in any one particular category. Garmin and Fitbit watches are more accurate with fitness and health, and Wear OS has a better app ecosystem. But the Galaxy Watch 3 is so well-rounded overall, I won’t hesitate to say it’s one of the best smartwatches you can buy for your Android phone.

Maybe the bar for acceptable Android watches is just so low that it leaves me to gush about a watch that simply doesn’t fall flat on its face. Even so, I think well-roundedness counts for something when we’ve had so many watches attempt and fail to be the be-all, end-all Apple Watch killer.

It certainly has its shortcomings, but I think many people will be really happy with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 — provided they can stomach the high price tag.

ReviewsSamsung, Samsung Galaxy Watch, smartwatches, Wearables


Let's face it, Google's smartwatch strategy still has a lot of catching up to do relative to the Apple Watch. While WearOS has improved over the years, it has been let down by poor hardware. Hopefully, things should take a turn for the better with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear SoC in future smartwatches, but that's yet to be determined. Companies such as Samsung and Huawei have gone their own way, using in-house hardware and software solutions.

Today, we'll be reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, which was announced alongside the Galaxy Note 20 series earlier this year. The successor to the original Galaxy Watch from , the new Galaxy Watch 3 features a fresh design, plenty of fitness tracking options, and a built-in blood oxygen monitor. The latter feature will be handy in keeping a check on your SpO2 levels, especially with respiratory illnesses such as COVID around.

Our past experiences with previous Samsung Galaxy Watch models have been fairly positive, and it's time to see whether Samsung has another winner on its hands.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 design

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 features a tweaked design but is still meant to look like a classic watch, similar to the previous model. It has a circular dial with a rotating bezel, but instead of two flattened buttons on the right, you get traditional-looking cylindrical stubs. The Galaxy Watch 3 is available with a 41mm or 45mm dial, and both variants are built using stainless steel. You can also opt for Bluetooth or LTE models in each dial size. LTE variants have a thin red band on one of the physical buttons. Samsung doesn't offer any choice of watch straps, and all variants ship with a leather one. These can easily be swapped for other straps if needed.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 looks classy and is well-built


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 uses a inch Super AMOLED display with a x resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass DX for scratch protection. The display is excellent, with good brightness, punchy colours, and sharp text. The watch casing is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance, and also boasts of military-grade durability with a MIL-STDG certification.

The 45mm version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is only available in Mystic Black and Mystic Silver. If you fancy the new Mystic Bronze colour that Samsung is advertising heavily, you'll have to settle for the 41mm variant.

In the box, you get only the watch, a wireless charging cradle, and some documentation. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 clings to the charger using magnets, but the base of the charger can also magnetically stick to metal surfaces.

From a build quality and design perspective, I think Samsung has done a fantastic job with the Galaxy Watch 3. It feels premium and looks great, and the 45mm version is surprisingly not as heavy (g) as I expected it to be. I just wish Samsung offered more options for watch straps at the time of purchase, instead of forcing you to buy the one you really want separately.

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There are sensors on the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 for things like heart rate tracking and blood oxygen measurement


Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 specs

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is powered by a dual-core Exynos SoC, and has 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage (GB usable). There's Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi n, built-in GPS, NFC, and sensors such as an accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, ambient light sensor, and heart rate sensor. There are red LEDs and an infrared sensor on the bottom of the watch, which are used for estimating your blood oxygen (SpO2) level. The LTE version that I have for review supports an eSIM for 4G connectivity, so you can receive notifications and calls when you're away from your phone.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has a mAh battery which is said to offer a little more than two full days of “typical” usage. The watch can also be charged using standard Qi wireless chargers, including smartphones that support reverse wireless charging, for example Samsung's Wireless PowerShare feature in phones like the Galaxy S20+.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can also monitor blood pressure and take an ECG (electrocardiogram), but these features aren't available on the devices sold in India at the moment. Even Samsung Pay is missing on Indian models which is odd considering that Samsung's phones have full support for it.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3's software is clean and responsive


Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 software

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 runs One UI Watch Edition (v), which is based on Tizen rather than Android. It's easy to get a hang of the interface, even if its your first time using it. A downward swipe brings up toggle buttons for things like Wi-Fi, Do not disturb mode, etc. The two physical buttons on the right of the frame are also useful when navigating the interface. The upper one is used for going back a level in an app or the interface. A single press of the second button (Home) takes you to all your apps, a long press wakes Bixby, and a double-press shows your recent apps. The latter two actions can be customised via the Wearables app.

Rotating the bezel to the left on the homescreen lets you cycle through all your unread notifications, while turning it to the right shows you all your widgets. New widgets can be added directly from the watch and you can reorder them through the Galaxy Wearable app. You can change the clock face by long-pressing the homescreen and selecting a new one. There's a good selection preinstalled, and you can get lots more from the Galaxy app store.

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The Samsung Wearables app is feature-rich and lets you control various aspects of the Galaxy Watch 3


Most of these customisations are easier to perform via the Galaxy Wearable app. You'll need this for the pairing process. There's also the Samsung Health app, which you'll need to see and understand all the health-related data measured by the watch. Both apps are available on iOS and Android, but the experience is far from ideal with an iPhone, which we'll get into in the next section.

The Galaxy Wearables app lets you choose which apps should send notifications to your Galaxy Watch 3, reorder the layout of app icons, customise the widgets, etc. You can also enable fall detection, which sends a call and SMS to your chosen contacts in case you take a hard spill and don't respond for a minute. You can press use the Home key quickly three times to send an SOS alert. The Wearables app also lets you sync locally stored photos and music to the watch.

The sheer number of watch faces, both free and paid, is maddening, and there are some really good-looking ones to choose from. Most of the watch faces can be customised, including the colours, design elements, and complications (battery status, step counter, etc) that you want displayed. Each watch face also has its own unique always-on display face.

samsung galaxy watch 3 lte review watch face s

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 supports a wide selection of watch faces 


Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 performance

I initially began using the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 with an iPhone 11 Pro but quickly realised that this match was simply not meant to be. Even though it works, I found the experience to be very poor. Notifications were pretty much always delayed on the watch, the native Spotify watch app refused to work, and while I could accept an incoming call on the watch, I had to use the iPhone to actually conduct a conversation. After switching to the Samsung Galaxy S20+, things were a lot better. I was receiving notifications in a timely manner, and I was able to answer calls straight from the watch.

The interface is very responsive, whether you're using the display or the bezel for navigation. I found colours and brightness to be excellent. Even outdoors, under sunlight, content on the watch was legible. There were very few instances in the month that I used this smartwatch when an app or system animation got sluggish and slowed down, but other than this, it was smooth sailing.

I enabled the eSIM on my unit using the Airtel network in India, which was a simple enough process. Once set up with a data plan, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 will automatically connect to your mobile network when it's disconnected from your phone. If you haven't set up 4G, it will try and use any saved Wi-Fi network to stay connected. Call quality was good in my experience, and the speaker got loud enough for me to hear callers, even outdoors. It does look like you're talking to your wrist, if you don't have a Bluetooth headset connected, but it's worth the convenience.

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The LTE variants of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 let you make and answer calls even when not connected to your phone


You can reply to incoming notifications from most apps such as Gmail, WhatsApp, Slack, etc, which is nice considering there are no native Samsung smartwatch apps for any of these. You can choose a reply from a list of presets, make your own preset, speak your text and have it transcribed, send just an emoji, or even type a response on the screen. Samsung's smartwatch app store is still sparsely populated. It's devoid of even popular Google apps but there are some alternatives such as HERE maps for navigation. Sadly, other than this and a few notable ones such as Uber, Strava and Endomondo, there's very little to choose from.

Spotify is present as a standalone app, which means you can stream music straight from the Internet to your watch. If you've signed in with a Samsung account and happen to use other Samsung products such as a Galaxy phone and the Galaxy Buds+ earphones, these should appear in your paired devices list, ready to be used.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is loaded with fitness tracking features, similar to what the Galaxy Watch Active 2 offers. The Galaxy Watch 3 can automatically detect up to six activities and begin logging data such as heart rate, steps taken, etc, without needing any user intervention. This worked pretty well in my experience, and the device managed to log a fairly accurate step count and distance on evening walks, even down to the number of floors I climbed. When counting steps manually, the Galaxy Watch 3 was quite accurate, only missing a few strides on average.

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The Samsung Health app lets you makes sense of all the data collected by the Galaxy Watch 3


When you start a workout manually, you can have a virtual coach motivate you, although I think the voice could have been less robotic. The Samsung Health app on the watch also lets you measure your stress and keep track of the calories in food you're consuming as well as your water intake. There's also a women's health feature for keeping track of menstrual cycles.

You can use the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 to track sleep. Samsung has partnered with the National Sleep Foundation to better understand readings taken by the watch. Surprisingly, I didn't find the Galaxy Watch 3 to be too uncomfortable to wear to bed, and I ended up using this feature much more than I initially anticipated. It tracks various aspects of your sleep such as REM cycles, awake time, deep sleep, and light sleep. In my experience, even though I was averaging around eight hours of total sleep time, my sleep score was still below the recommended average, mostly due to very little to no deep sleep which was an interesting discovery.

The other highlight feature is blood oxygen monitoring. Unlike sleep or fitness tracking, this is something you need to manually engage on the Galaxy Watch 3, and it requires your attention. Blood oxygen monitoring devices typically take measurements using your fingertip, since it's the quickest and generally more accurate. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Watch 3 tries to check SpO2 levels through your wrist, which almost always gave me a highly inaccurate result. It also takes a while to get a result, and unless your hand is placed in the designated position, it usually failed to give a reading.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can measure SpO2 levels in your blood, but the readings aren't always accurate


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 perpetually gave me a SpO2 reading of around percent, which if accurate, meant I would need immediate medical assistance. The problem is not with the sensor, but the way in which it takes readings. When I took the watch off my wrist and placed my finger on the sensor instead, the result was delivered quicker and was a lot more accurate; in line with what a medical device was able to report. It seems that measuring SpO2 via the wrist is far from ideal, so it will be interesting to see how other recent smartwatches that attempt the same thing, such as the Apple Watch Series 6, will perform.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 battery life

I was pretty happy with the battery life I got with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 during the review period. With LTE and the always-on display disabled, I averaged just shy of two full days of active use. This was with the 'Goodnight mode' turned on before I went to bed, which still monitors your sleep and heart rate, but doesn't wake the display till you press one of the buttons.

When I forcibly enabled LTE on the watch, battery life dropped to just about a full day. Typically, most people should have LTE and Wi-Fi set to kick in automatically, and in such cases, with the always-on display enabled, I was able to get one full day's worth of use on a single charge, which I think is pretty decent.

Charging the Galaxy Watch 3 is a bit of a pain, only because it takes well over two hours to charge fully, which in , feels like a lifetime. The watch itself is rated to charge at just 5W, which leaves no chance for improvement using a faster wireless charger.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can be charged wirelessly by supported smartphones 



The 45mm LTE variant of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 with LTE currently costs Rs. 38,, while the 41mm variant costs Rs. 34, The non-LTE variants are priced lower, coming in at Rs. 32, and 29, for the 45mm and 41mm variants respectively. While these devices are a bit pricey, it's still a lot less compared to what you'd be paying for a stainless steel LTE version of an Apple Watch Series 6.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is an excellent smartwatch if you're an Android user, and builds upon the success of the original. The slimmer and lighter design and the vast assortment of fitness and health features makes it a very good all-round smartwatch. Battery life is decent for the LTE variant, the display is crisp and responsive, and the software is clean and user-friendly. However, there are a few things that need improving, in my opinion. The selection of third-party apps is still pretty lacklustre, charging is painfully slow, and blood oxygen measurement is fairly unreliable in my experience.

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Further reading: Samsung, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 price, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 4G, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 price in India, Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 specifications

Roydon CerejoEmail Roydon

Roydon Cerejo writes about smartphones and laptops for Gadgets , out of Mumbai. He is the Deputy Editor (Reviews) at Gadgets He has frequently written about the smartphone and PC industry and also has an interest in photography. With over a decade of experience covering the consumer technology space, he is also an avid sci-fi movie and TV show geek and is always up for good horror flick. Roydon is available at [email protected], so please send in your leads and tips. More

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Smartwatch 3 review samsung


  • Premium design with a physical rotating bezel
  • Advanced sleep tracking
  • Running tools that go beyond the basics
  • Measures blood oxygen levels and VO2 max

Don't Like

  • Missing blood pressure feature
  • Battery life on the smaller watch is disappointing
  • Uncomfortable to sleep with
  • Bixby is slow to register voice commands

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 3 has a lot working in its favor. It's one of the best-looking smartwatches out there, with a physical rotating bezel and bright, circular AMOLED display. It also brings new health and fitness tools such as a running coach, better sleep tracking than earlier models, blood oxygen monitoring and an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). But at $ (or higher) it's on the pricier end of the smartwatch spectrum, and battery life on the smaller version is disappointing. 

Read more:Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Samsung aims for the ultimate Android watch

Now playing:Watch this: Galaxy Watch 3 stands out from the rest

Looks go a long way with this watch 

I was already a fan of the original Galaxy Watch with its round face and physical rotating bezel, and the Watch 3 looks even nicer. It has a bright, beautiful AMOLED screen that's easy to read even in broad daylight. It's also useful if you're on a run and need to quickly check your stats during a workout. The screen can always be on if you need it, although it'll cost you in the battery department (more on that later). I like navigating the interface with the rotating bezel instead of smudging the screen with my fingers. 

Gazing at the Watch 3 on my wrist, I think it could almost pass for a traditional analog watch thanks to its classic design. The smaller bezels mean the screen is bigger than the original's even though the body of the watch has gotten smaller. It still bulges out from under the stainless-steel frame, however, making it thicker than I'd like and not as comfortable to wear at night as the Galaxy Watch Active. 

I tried out the bronze 41mm version (the watch also comes in a 45mm size), with the tan-pink leather straps -- a welcome step up from the silicone straps on the original Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch Active series. The bronze is a lot less flashy than the gold of the original Galaxy Watch, and it looks softer and more flattering on my wrist. If you're planning on using it for working out or swimming (or, in my case, bathing small children), you may want to invest in a sports strap as well. I can see the leather getting worn after a while due to frequent contact with water.

A staggered rollout of its health features

Aside from its looks, what really made the Galaxy Watch 3 stand out for me was its impressive list of new health features. It has ECG, an SpO2 app that measures oxygen saturation in the blood, a blood-pressure monitor, fall detection, advanced sleep tracking, period tracking and a detailed post-run analysis. But I have to admit I was a little skeptical as to whether Samsung could deliver on all of these promises. The Galaxy Watch Active 2, for example, also launched with an "ECG feature" which is still pending over a year later. The blood-pressure feature from the original Active was unreliable at best when we tested it and calibrated it against a blood-pressure cuff. 

Samsung has since received FDA clearance for its ECG feature which can also screen for signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib), and rolled out the feature to both the Watch 3 and the Active 2. But blood pressure that's still pending FDA clearance in the US. (Blood pressure is only available in South Korea at the time of writing.) 

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Tracking blood oxygen levels on the Galaxy Watch 3 

Samsung has had SpO2 tracking on past Galaxy devices like the S10, but I was excited to test it out on the watch to see how it had improved. Apple's new Apple Watch Series 6 also tracks blood oxygen levels on demand,  while other smartwatches from Fitbit and Garmin use blood oxygen levels for sleep analysis or to determine VO2 max during exercise.

Tracking blood oxygen has become especially important during the coronavirus pandemic. People with COVID can experience shortness of breath and serious dips in blood oxygen. 

Doctors and hospitals use pulse oximeters placed on the tip of the index finger to measure blood oxygen levels, but these have become a hot commodity during the pandemic as many patients experiencing shortness of breath have turned to these small sensors to determine whether or not to head to the emergency room. 

To test accuracy of the SpO2 app on the Galaxy Watch 3, I took a side-by-side reading using a medical-grade pulse oximeter and both gave results within a few points of each other (98 and 99). It also took a few minutes more to get a read on the Watch 3 and you have to position it correctly on your wrist for it to work. 

Because my oxygen levels were within the healthy range, it's hard to know whether the Watch would be as accurate as the pulse oximeter in the lower ranges as well. It's also important to note that any watch or consumer tech device should only be used as a starting point, never in place of a physician and medical care. 

Like its predecessor, the Watch 3 can monitor stress levels using your heart-rate data. The test takes a few seconds and requires you to keep your arm still. Once it has the information it needs, it'll grade levels on the stress spectrum and give you the option to go through a minute of breathing exercises to help get your rating down.

I took my stress test while on deadline writing this review and it detected very low levels, so I'm a bit skeptical about its accuracy. 

It's also added menstrual cycle or period tracking: You enter the data in your watch and it syncs with the Samsung Health app, which can give you information about your next period and predicted fertility window. The feature isn't native to Samsung and is powered by the Glow app, which was already a relatively established name in the menstrual health tracking category and one I'd used before. 

The other big health feature exclusive to the Galaxy Watch 3 is the trip-detection feature, which I hope I'll never need. If the watch detects that you're not moving after a hard fall, it immediately calls your emergency contact and shares your location. It's not on by default, so you'll have to set it up from the advanced settings option on the Watch 3 and designate an emergency contact. I tried activating it by falling on my bed a few times but I was unsuccessful. The Apple Watch (Series 4 and later) has a similar feature called fall detection that's actually saved lives.


New ways to work out with the Galaxy Watch 3 

Despite its dressed-up exterior, the Galaxy Watch 3 doubles as a fitness tracker. It tracks 40 different workouts, including swimming (both indoors and outdoors) and will automatically detect and track seven of those workouts. Within about 10 minutes of my starting my walk, I received a notification to start a workout and it gave me credit for the 10 minutes prior. 

A heart-shaped dashboard shows you a breakdown of your active minutes, calories burned and stand time during the day compared with your target. 

I took it on my usual 3-mile run alongside the San Francisco Bay without my phone, and I found it to be fairly accurate at displaying my distance, pace and heart rate. 

You'll have to tweak the settings to display the information you want at a glance during your run, because the default doesn't include heart rate, which I personally like to have on hand. But I liked that it showed me a map of my run and a breakdown of my heart rate zones at the end of the run. It told me I had sustained my maximum heart rate for 2 minutes during the uphill portion of my run. You can also access this data after the fact on the Samsung Health app.

It also has a few bonus features for runners. The first is a running coach, the same one that debuted on the Active 2, which provides real-time feedback about pace and form during a run. Instead of starting a normal run, I selected the running coach on the watch and plugged in my earbuds. A robotic female voice told me to start my warmup. The voice gave me pace alerts throughout the run and generic tips about lengthening my stride and landing on the front of my feet instead of the heel. Be warned that using the running coach will drain the battery a lot faster than if you are tracking a regular run.

What's new to the Galaxy Watch 3 is a post-run analysis, with details including flight and contact time, asymmetry and stiffness to help identify areas of improvement. It's not as comprehensive as the data you'd get on a dedicated running watch such as the Garmin Forerunner, but it could help if you're training for a race or just looking to get more out of your usual route. 

Apparently my "stiffness" needed improvement. Good to know, but it'd be nice to get this feedback live from the running coach so I could have adjusted during my run. It can also calculate your VO2 max, or maximum oxygen consumption during exercise, to give a sense of your overall fitness and tells you what your percentage is within your age group. This is the same metric you'd get if you were doing a VO2 max test in a lab on a stationary bike or treadmill, wearing a mask that measures oxygen exchange. I'm yet to compare them to determine whether or not the reading I got on the Galaxy Watch 3 was accurate. 


Another first on the Galaxy Watch 3 is a feature that lets you sync it with home workout videos you can control from your wrist. I wasn't really a home workout videos kind of person before March, but I think the global pandemic has made us all rethink how we exercise and I've since been doing a lot of Pilates and yoga classes on my TV. Having the workout on my wrist was a big step up from my usual routine. 

I selected an abs program on the Health app, which consisted of three minute workouts during the week, and was able to cast the first of the series on my Samsung TV and and follow along with my watch. The watch vibrated to let me know when it was time to move on to the next exercise and let me pause with a press of the button when I had to readjust my position. Plus it gave me the appropriate calorie credit at the end of it (or at least what I think is appropriate based on similar previous workouts). 

This is not the first watch to offer training prompts from your wrist: Fitbit's Premium account gives workout videos that sync with the Versa, and there are third-party workout apps for the Apple Watch. But it's nice that Samsung offers it natively and for free. My one complaint is that the workout I chose had the same robotic woman's voice as the running coach guiding me through the workouts -- and let's just say she's not exactly motivating when you're trying to hold a plank for 60 seconds. 

Sleep tracking finally makes sense on the Galaxy Watch 3

One of my biggest complaints about the sleep tracking feature on the original Galaxy Watch was that it provided little context about your sleep habits, especially for if you don't know much about sleep to begin with. 

The Watch 3 has learned a lot from the mistakes of its predecessors, and now gives a more comprehensive look at your night. It gives you a full breakdown of the stages of sleep (light, REM, deep), and compares yours with a normal range. It also gives you a score based on these factors. 

I've never found the score to be helpful, but having the context of seeing my data compared with a normal range helped me figure out how to get the most out of my sleep. While my total sleep time was good, I found I wasn't spending much time in "deep" sleep compared with what's typical. I tried going to bed an hour earlier, and though my total sleep time didn't change, I was able to extend my deep sleep time and felt more rested in the morning. 

The basic smartwatch features, but no MST for Samsung Pay

I tested the Galaxy Watch 3 with an iPhone 11 Pro and a Galaxy S20 Ultra and, while it worked well on both, some of its features, which include text responses and mobile payments, are only available for Android users. The Watch runs on Samsung's own Tizen operating system, which is easy to navigate and offers a lot more customization than some of its competitors. You can set widgets and rearrange apps right from the watch screen.

You can type, scribble, dictate or doodle a response and take calls from your wrist. It doesn't have a huge selection of third-party apps (Spotify and Strava are among the few), but it does receive notifications from most of them including Facebook, WhatsApp and even CNET news alerts.

With Spotify you get full music control, offline listening for Premium subscribers and streaming over LTE (you'll pay about $50 more for the cellular version of the Galaxy Watch 3). 

The Galaxy Watch 3 has Samsung Pay, but sadly it's NFC-only and the feature will only work at NFC-enabled terminals. The Galaxy phones and Gear S3 have MST technology so you can use them for contactless payment at nearly all credit card terminals with a magnetic strip. 

Battery life is disappointing

Samsung says the battery on the Galaxy Watch 3 will last for up to two days, which it can, but there are a few caveats. For starters, this claim only applies to the larger 45mm version of the watch. I tested the smaller, 41mm version and Samsung says this size will last closer to a day and a half with "normal use." As always, mileage may vary depending on how you intend to use it. 

With the always on display set to auto brightness, tracking a full night of sleep and taking it on a minute jog (without my phone) I only just made it to the hour mark. 

The watch offers some battery-saving tips including turning off the always-on feature, limiting the screen timeout and turning off location data. I made those changes and the watch lasted a day and a half when I didn't have time for a run and had the always-on screen off, but I feel like those features should be factored into Samsung's claim.

I was also disappointed to find that the watch doesn't come with its own USB wall adapter, just a cable with the magnetic charging puck, but the upside is that you can charge it on any Qi compatible wireless charger, or get a quick boost on the go using the Power Share feature on Samsung's Galaxy phones (S10 or later). 

A good-looking smartwatch with great potential

The Galaxy Watch 3 has come a long way in terms of its features and user experience. Starting at $ for the base 41mm model, you're getting a premium-looking smartwatch that can finally keep up as a fitness tracker. But the Watch 3 won't feel fully finished until it can deliver on all of its health features.

If you're not too attached to the design, or the physical bezel, you might also consider the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which shares a lot of the same features for about $ less.

First published Aug.

Galaxy Watch 3 Review 6 MONTHS LATER - The BEST Smartwatch!?

Samsung has been cobbling smartwatches for some time now and due to some trial and error (with a lot of hits but many misses over the years), the brand now has a suite of wearables it can be proud of. 

The latest Galaxy Watch 3 is exemplary of this. Boasting some top-end specs that make it one of the most powerful smartwatches out there, alongside some robust and innovative design features, we’d not blame you for thinking this is one of the best smartwatches out there. But is it? That’s what we’re about to find out.

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was launched in mid-August this year () and is available to buy now from all major UK and US retailer.

Costs increase depending on the size you go for and extra you want. For example, the smaller 41mm model starts at £/$, while the larger 45mm version will set you back upwards of £/$ 4G connectivity also raises that price further, up to £ for the smaller offering and £/$ for the 45mm model.

Those who bought or were thinking of buying the Galaxy Watch 3’s predecessor, the Galaxy Watch, when it launched back in will notice just how much Samsung has hiked up the prices of its flagship smartwatch over the past few years. The annoying thing is, not all that much has changed since the last Galaxy Watch model, so we’re not quite sure it can be justified. 

However, since the Galaxy Watch 3’s initial release, we’ve noticed you can find the watch much cheaper than the RRP if you dig around online. Check out the best prices to buy the watch online, below.

As for colour ways, the smaller 41mm device comes in either a choice of Mystic Silver or Mystic Bronze colours while the larger 45mm model is available in Mystic Black or Mystic Silver. 

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Design And Hardware

Okay, so we’re well aware that style is a subjective topic, but one thing we just can’t help but feel the Galaxy Watch 3 misses the mark when it comes to design. 

Yes, it is spectacularly well made. It feels robust and sturdy in all the right places, all while feeling lighter, slimmer and more comfortable to wear than the original Galaxy Watch device. It also has very elegant features. But. (And that’s a big but), we just don’t think it’s as stylish as it could be. It has some great design elements, don’t get us wrong here. But overall it looks a little cheap. That’s definitely not something you want with an expensive smartwatch, especially when it costs upwards of £ 

The leather strap is probably what lets it down. The contrast stitching feels dated, aging it in a way that’s far from cool. While this can be easily swapped out, Samsung only has a silicone sport strap alternative available - there aren’t an endless array of different style straps available like the Apple Watch. While you are likely to find compatible straps online, this isn’t something you should have to shop for in addition to the £ asking price. Another annoying thing to make note of is that the different sized watches require different straps, so be careful when you’re shopping around. The 45mm is compatible with all 22mm straps, while the smaller 41mm device is designed for use with 20mm straps.

The display and rotating bezel do make up for the above, however, with the latter being complete design genius. Working in the same way as the Apple Watch’s digital crown, the rotating bezel allows you to swipe through different menus in a breeze by simply spinning to the left or right. It works like a dream, and is actually a very satisfying and quick way of finding the options you need, such as checking the weather, initiating fitness tracking or checking your connected phone’s notifications. 

In terms of weight, the larger 45mm model comes in at g and the 41mm g. There’s also a new extra-light titanium model, which is only available in the 45mm size and weighs just 43g. However, it does cost almost double the amount.

When it comes to the display, you’ll find either a inch Circular Super AMOLED screen on the 41mm edition or the same but slightly larger inch panel on the 45mm model. Our review device was the latter of the two.

From our time with the larger watch, we’ve found this to be the perfect size display, boasting a x resolution, which displays text and images with a good level of detail. It’s not quite on the same level as the Apple Watch 6’s x resolution Retina display, though. Small text will appear a little blurry on close inspection but nothing you’ll notice day-to-day. Generally, everything appears bright and vibrant, even in direct sunlight.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s screen is also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass DX meaning it’s super robust against all the elements and any accidents. However, it does attract finger smudges quite easily, which take some wiping off - as you’ll see from some of our on-test photos. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Features And OS  

Surprisingly, the Galaxy Watch 3 runs on the same chipset that powered the original Galaxy Watch from two years ago. While this might sound disappointing, we actually encountered zero performance issues while using the device. “If it ain’t broke,” etc. 

On that chipset runs Samsung’s latest Tizen OS software. This works an absolute charm. It’s fast, it’s responsive and it’s pretty intuitive, too. Navigating through different menus, for instance, is fluid and reliable. Android’s Wear OS doesn’t come close. 

There is a big downside here, though. Tizen has little third party support, meaning it will only run Samsung's built-in apps, such as the companion Samsung Health app. While this can be very frustrating to some - especially for a £ watch - the Korena firm has ensured there’s enough crammed in so you don’t feel like you’re missing out. 

In true smartwatch style, health is a massive focus for the Galaxy Watch 3. While it isn’t a sequel to the more fitness-centred Galaxy Active 2, there are still a plethora of activity tracking features available, from running and swimming to hiking and yoga, which all work very nicely. 

Our favourite feature has to be the super clever automatic activity detection. Working for running, walking, swimming, cycling, rowing, elliptical workouts, and dynamic workouts such as aerobics, the feature will trigger the activity tracking without you having to scroll through the menus to do it yourself. 

It works a treat, and will even pause the workout tracking if you stop, for instance it did this very accurately when we stopped at a traffic light while on a run. GPS also proved very accurate during our run tracking, detailing our route immediately after hitting the stop button. 

These are great functions if you’re a casual user working out now and again, but don’t expect it to give you the same level of data from activities as, say, a Garmin or Suunto smartwatch. 

When it comes to battery life, the Galaxy Watch 3 will give you a couple of days of use between charges. This could be better, with rivals such as Huawei offering a couple of weeks. However, it still beats the Apple Watch, which should probably be charged every night. 

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Verdict

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 offers one of the best smartwatch experiences out there. With a reliable and nippy interface boasting a host of health, fitness and lifestyle features, there’s little to complain about here. All this greatness is bundled into a solid design, which - unfortunately - lacks the air of sophistication we were looking for at this price point. 

Nevertheless, if you’ve got the dosh to spare you’re unlikely to be disappointed with this wearable. Unless third-party app support is a deciding factor for you, that is. 

Overall, it’s an exceptional smartwatch letdown only by a few minor things that most people won’t care about. 

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 price and availability

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 specs

Starting price: $
Display:  inches/ inches
Colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White
Size: 41 x x mm/45 x x mm
Storage: 8GB
Battery:  mAh / mAh
Durability: 5ATM + IP68
OS: Tizen
Features: HRM, SpO2, VO2 Max, ECG, blood pressure monitoring

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 went on sale on August 6, Those interested in picking the new smartwatch have a few sizes and variations to choose from.

The starting Galaxy Watch 3 price of $ will get you the 41mm model in either Mystic Silver or Mystic Bronze. (The latter option is Samsung’s signature color, matching the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, which launched at the same time). 

The larger, 45mm model starts at $ and comes in Mystic Black or Mystic Silver. It’s offered in a titanium variant as well, though that will come at a premium. And if you want your Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 with LTE so it can make phone calls and respond to messages when your smartphone is out of Bluetooth range, expect to add $50 to the base price.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Design

The bezel is back, baby. When we tested the mechanism during our original Samsung Galaxy Watch review, we found the physical bezel useful and fun. Spinning the dial worked well with both side buttons and offered a great alternative to swiping or trying to poke at the circular display with our finger. 

The bezel holds up a second time around, but feels even better because Samsung slimmed down the Galaxy Watch 3. It’s 8% smaller, 14% thinner and 15% lighter than the first Galaxy Watch. We’re talking millimeters here, but when it comes to something you wear on your wrist, the difference is noticeable. 

Still, the ounce, 41mm Mystic Bronze model I tested looks chunky compared to my Apple Watch 5. The trade-off is that it looks more like a traditional watch than a high-tech one. Whereas I might ditch my Apple Watch for a nice dinner or date night, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 holds its own as a stylish accessory. 

Better yet, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 comes with genuine leather straps that match the casing’s color and contribute a more elevated aesthetic compared to the fitness-focused Samsung Galaxy Watch 2. But the leather doesn’t fare well against sweat or water, so I’d swap them for sportier ones if I were to continue using the Galaxy Watch 3 as my daily driver.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Display and watch faces

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s x pixel screen is sharp, bright enough to see in direct sunlight and always-on, but that's not what caught my interest.

I'll admit, Apple Watch complications stress me out. I feel forced to use a combination of five different faces at once to see everything I could need throughout the day, and even then I wish there were more options. Enter the Galaxy Watch 3 with 80, different watch-faces and 40 complications from which to choose.

It took me some time to figure out which combination of design and data brought me comfort on the Galaxy Watch 3, but I'm a sucker for the weather-centric backgrounds. I can't explain why I never check the forecast before leaving the house, so if seeing rain animations on my wrist doesn't help, nothing will.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Performance

Samsung’s Tizen software still trails behind Apple’s watchOS, but is a significant improvement from Google’s fickle Wear OS. Not only are the Galaxy Watch 3’s various menus highly customizable and packed with useful apps, but launching and switching between them feels sharp, too.

Thanks to the bezel, navigation is intuitive, and I relied on it along with the dual buttons to get where I wanted to go. The motion gestures, on the other hand, didn’t really do it for me. When I could get them to work, I felt a little foolish in the process. 

What didn’t feel silly is the Galaxy Watch 3’s T9 keyboard, which I relied for texting more often than I thought I would. I know, typing on such a small screen sounds ridiculous, but I appreciated the ability to send messages in cases when I couldn’t use talk to text. I wish the Apple Watch would replace Scribble with a modified, miniature keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Fitness and health features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can track 40 total activities, and seven can be tracked automatically, meaning you won’t always have to select what kind of exercise you’re doing beforehand. I needed this when my sprightly pound black lab didn’t want to stop for me to launch a walk tracking on our routine treks around our town.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s on-board GPS measured my daily course accurately enough (it's roughly miles, depending how many times the dog wants to go in circles). I had the same experience when I took the watch biking and running, the latter of which was informed by on-demand VO2 Max readings. I’m far from an endurance runner so I didn’t trigger any warnings, but I imagine more dedicated athletes would appreciate this feature during training.

But they might not appreciate the leather straps. I certainly know I didn’t. It felt odd getting them wet with sweat, and I didn’t even consider taking the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 near a pool despite its 5ATM rating for water resistance. I’d recommend getting silicone bands if you plan to use the Galaxy Watch 3 for anything more than light exercise, or taking a look at one of the best fitness trackers instead.

Still, no matter where you are, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s trip detection sensors will call emergency services on your behalf when it senses you took a hard and sudden fall. Apple Watch has had this feature for a few years, so it's good to see Samsung catching up.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: ECG readings and blood pressure monitoring

The Galaxy Watch 3 has a FDA-approved ECG monitor, meaning the new smartwatch will be able to detect signs of atrial fibrillation just like the Apple Watch. 

While the Apple Watch’s FDA-approved ECG sensor is old news (it debuted with the Apple Watch Series 4), Samsung has been slow to get its version approved, first earning clearance for the technology on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 in South Korea.

Now, both those smartwatches can administer ECG readings.

Samsung has also earned clearance for its blood pressure monitor in South Korea. For now, the sensor will sit dormant in The Galaxy Watch 3 until it’s approved by the FDA. If it receives the green light soon, it would be the first smartwatch from a big-name tech brand with a working blood pressure monitoring system. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 sleep tracking

In bed, the Galaxy Watch 3 benefits from Samsung’s partnership with the National Sleep Institute to provide wearers with insight on their REM cycle, plus a morning report on quality of sleep and tips on how to improve sleep. 

In the nights I wore it to bed, I simultaneously tested the Apple Watch sleep tracking. Apple’s native sleep tracking app credited me with a bit more sleep and knew when I woke up in the middle of the night during monstrous thunderstorms, whereas Samsung responded with more actionable data.

Some of these insights are provided by the Galaxy Watch 3’s SpO2 sensor, or pulse oximeter. An SpO2 sensor can inform breathing disturbances while sleeping, which is a prevalent symptom of sleep apnea. I, for one, don’t have much trouble sleeping, but someone who does could learn how to take action on changing their sleep cycle with the Watch 3. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Apps and storage

Tizen OS has a more limited library of third-party selections than the native Apple Watch App Store, but there are enough major programs like Uber and Spotify at your disposal. 

And, with the Galaxy Watch 3’s 8GB of music storage, you can save tunes for offline play black with a Spotify Premium subscription. I'm not using an LTE model, so I look forward to having a few of my playlists available when I leave my phone at home for bike rides. I appreciate this feature about my Apple Watch 5, which has a larger 16GB storage capacity. I’ve already used up about half my Galaxy Watch 3’s storage with a few of my favorite playlists, though, so I’ll need to be mindful of offloading audio I don’t need anymore.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 battery life

Where the new Galaxy Watch seems to fall short of the previous model is battery life. Unlike the 4-day stamina of the original Galaxy Watch, the Galaxy Watch 3’s mAh battery is rated for 2 days. That’s fair for smartwatch standards (the Apple Watch 5 only gets 18 hours) and likely contributes to the slimmed-down design. 

The Galaxy Watch 3 lives up to Samsung's battery estimates. Even with hour-long workouts and sleep tracking in the first two days I wore it, the watch lasted about 2 days. However, when I enabled the always-on display setting, the battery life dropped to 24 hours in its second cycle. Still, this is better than my Apple Watch 5.

When it needs more juice, the Galaxy Watch 3 can be charged with its proprietary charge or via wireless power share with a compatible Samsung phone. I tried out this charging cradle dock from Amazon for the sake of keeping my bedside table organized, too.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 stands out in a crowded wearable market. There are plenty of stylish smartwatches and excellent fitness trackers to choose from these days, and Samsung managed to strike a balance between the two. It brought the best health features of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 to a bezeled design that rivals offerings from timepiece savant Fossil. 

But this convergence came at a cost — the Galaxy Watch 3 is more expensive than the Galaxy Watches and Wear OS Fossil options before it, and leans more towards lifestyle than fitness. I can’t say I’d replace my Apple Watch with an Android one at the same price. But if you’ve picked up an Android phone—in particular, one made by Samsung—and want an extension of it on your wrist wherever you go, you won’t find anything more polished and powerful than the Galaxy Watch 3. Or anything with as satisfying of a spinning mechanism, at least. 

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at [email protected]


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