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Two-minute review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a sequel to one of our favorite smartwatches ever, and it’s the first time in a while that we’ve seen the company embrace Wear OS software. It’s not your typical Wear OS watch though; it’s called One UI Watch 3, and it’s been built by Samsung with Google’s help.

On paper, the overall upgrade is limited in software and hardware, but the Watch 4 is suitable for anyone who’s looking for a top-end smartwatch that can track workouts, as well as offer a lot of other smart features that many alternative wrist companions can't.

That said, the Galaxy Watch 4’s compatibility is inexplicably worse than prior Samsung watches. If you own an iPhone, this won’t work with it, and while it’s compatible with all modern Android phones, you’ll need to own a Samsung smartphone to access some features, such as blood pressure or ECG measurements.

It's certainly disappointing given Samsung’s previous smartwatches are some of the best in terms of compatibility. We’d still say the Watch 4 is worth picking up even if you own a non-Samsung Android phone, but you should note that there are limitations.

Given those caveats, there's plenty to like about the watch's design. There’s a virtual rotating bezel – a returning feature from the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 – which, in conjunction with two buttons on the right-hand side allows for easy navigation around the smartwatch’s menus. Some may miss the physical rotating bezel from the Galaxy Watch 3, but this is a good alternative.

The fitness features here aren’t hugely different to what we’ve seen before, but there is a new body composition tool that gives you a rough idea of your body fat percentage. We’ve found that GPS, heart rate monitoring and other fitness features are well thought out on the Galaxy Watch 4.

Battery life isn’t a huge concern on the Galaxy Watch 4, but it isn’t the longest lasting smartwatch we’ve ever seen. It’ll last up to around two days with normal to intensive usage, and around three days if you’re not working out or using features like GPS.

Introduced alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, the Galaxy Watch 4 is joined by a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic – you should look at that smartwatch if you want a physical rotating bezel, which is the major difference between the two devices.

As for the Galaxy Watch 4, this smartwatch is a great choice for anyone who owns a Galaxy smartphone. If you own a different Android phone, it’s still a worthy choice for your next smartwatch, but there are caveats around the features mentioned above.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 release date and price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is available now in the US and UK where it went on sale on August 26, 2021. Those in Australia will get it on September 10.

There are two sizes of the Galaxy Watch 4. The smaller 40mm version costs $249.99 / £249 / AU$399 for the Bluetooth version, while the LTE version costs $299.99 / £289 / AU$499. 

If you like a larger watch, the 44mm model costs $279.99 / £269 (about AU$500) in its Bluetooth form and $329.99 / £309 (about AU$580) for the 4G variant. This is far cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 3, but that’s because this device is largely a replacement for the Galaxy Watch Active 2.

If you want a larger smartwatch with a physical rotating bezel, you’ll want to opt for the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. That’s a separate product line this year, although a lot of the specs are similar between that device and this one.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic 42mm costs $349 / £349 / AU$549 for the Bluetooth model and $399 / £389 / AU$649 for the LTE model. The 46mm model comes in a Bluetooth version for $379 / £369 / AU$599, or an LTE variant at $429 / £409 / AU$699.

Design and display

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a slimline smartwatch with a design that sits comfortably on your wrist. If you’re looking for something a touch chunkier, or you’d like a rotating bezel, you should opt for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

For those looking for a slimmer design, the Galaxy Watch 4 offers that, with two buttons on the right-hand edge and little else to detract from its sleek looks. It comes in two models, one with a 40mm watch face and another with a 44mm body.

Both models are made of aluminum. The dimensions of the 40mm model are 40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm with a weight of 25.9g, while the 44mm is 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm and weighs 30.3g.

We’ve worn both models, and we found both to be a comfortable fit without weighing down our wrist.

We’ve used the 44mm model for a longer period than the smaller model, and we found that to be a suitable size (note that this writer is an adult man). It’s comfortable to wear throughout the day, although it may not be the best fit to wear at night for sleep tracking.

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The screens on both Galaxy Watch 4 models look bright, and we found them easy to read. The resolution is also impressive, with the 40mm watch featuring a 396 x 396 resolution and the 44mm model taking that up to 450 x 450. That’s 330 pixels per inch for both models.

One unique feature of the Galaxy Watch 4 compared to other smartwatches is its ‘virtual’ rotating bezel feature. There’s no physical rotating bezel here – go for the Watch 4 Classic if that’s a feature you want – but you can run your finger around the black bezel of the screen to rotate through menus and access different features.

Each model is also IP68 water- and dust-resistant, which means you can take them into water up to five meters deep. A word about the supplied watch band though – it’s made of a new material that may not handle intense workouts well, as we found it left something of a rash on our wrist.

You may want to invest in a band made from different material if you regularly wear your watch to the gym.

Color options vary between models, too. The 40mm Watch 4 comes in black, gold and silver, while the 44mm model comes in black, green and silver. All of these are relatively muted colors, so you may want to buy another strap if you want a bolder shade on your wrist.

Performance and software

The Watch 4 features Samsung’s own Exynos W920 chipset and 1.5GB of RAM. Throughout our testing time we’ve found this to be enough power to run a variety of apps smoothly without any slowdown. This is one of the fastest smartwatches we’ve ever used.

This speed isn’t as noticeable as it might be on a smartphone or a laptop, but it is noticeable when compared to other smartwatches, and it allows you to use a variety of apps while the GPS features are running, for example.

There’s 16GB of storage on both models of the Galaxy Watch 4. We found that about 8GB of this was taken up with the OS and preloaded apps, which leaves you with the same again for your own apps and music.

Its software is where the Galaxy Watch 4 shines. Samsung isn’t using its own Tizen wearables software here, and is instead re-embracing Google’s Wear OS, although with its own spin.

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You’d be forgiven for being confused here. Tizen has been the focus of Samsung’s software efforts in recent years, and the software running on the Galaxy Watch 4 looks similar to it.

Instead, this is Wear OS 3 but with Samsung’s own skin, called One UI Watch 3, on top. It includes a variety of Samsung apps that you’ll be used to if you’ve had a Galaxy Watch before, but this is primarily Wear OS.

That means you’ve got access to the Google Play Store, and while Wear OS isn’t the best-supported platform apps-wise, you’ve got more/a lot more/whatever options than you have on Tizen. The design, meanwhile, still feels distinctly Samsung.

The software on the Galaxy Watch 4 looks good and works smoothly, plus you’ll find all of the apps available on the Google Play Store are ready and waiting. This is a better solution than Tizen, but it keeps all the benefits that made Tizen software great.

Fitness

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes with a whole host of health and fitness features, including GPS for tracking runs, an optical heart rate sensor, and ECG support.

The big fitness changes come in the form of a new 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor that enables the watch to monitor heart rate, blood oxygen levels and body composition. The last in that list is the only new feature, but this is the first time the sensors have been combined.

Samsung says its body composition measurement tools enable you to see key fitness metrics such as skeletal muscle mass and body fat percentage. These scans are easy to run, although you’ll need to stay still in order for them to work.

The stats you’ll get include a body fat percentage score, skeletal muscle, fat mass, body water and BMI. It’ll also give you a rough idea of the healthy range for your sex, weight and height.

It’s hard to tell how accurate these various metrics are, but we found it useful to have at least a rough idea of them, and you’ll be able to track these over a period of time to see if you can improve the results.

The heart rate monitor proved accurate, with our results tallying with measurements taken using other devices. The heart rate monitor worked best within Samsung’s own apps, but you can also apply these features to third-party Wear OS tools like Strava and Nike Running Club.

We also found the GPS features worked well when we took the watch running with accurate positioning when compared to other devices.

One important thing to note is the limited compatibility of some fitness features. The ECG and blood pressure monitoring tools are only available when you connect the Galaxy Watch 4 to a Samsung smartphone.

This is a frustrating element, and it means this watch may not be the best choice for you if you don’t own a Samsung phone. Alternative devices from brands such as Garmin offer similar features, but across any phone.

Battery life

The 44mm Galaxy Watch 4, which is the model we reviewed, is powered by a 361mAh battery, and battery life proved strong during our testing time - we found the smartwatch would last at least two days from a single charge even with intensive use, and if you’re not regularly using fitness features, you can expect the watch to last for a full three days.

The 40mm version comes with a smaller 247mAh cell, and we’ve yet to be able to test how well this performs. Our experience with previous Samsung smartwatches has seen a slight difference in battery life between the smaller and larger model, but you shouldn’t expect the 40mm variant to be dramatically different.

There’s a charging pad included in the box, which is a bit of a surprise as Samsung has dropped these from its smartphones in recent years. That said, you’ll just get the cable here so you’ll have to find a charging block or plug it directly into a USB compatible device.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

Buy it if… 

You own a Samsung phone

Some of the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 features are locked to Samsung phones, so if you already own one of its handsets you’ll be able to make the most out of this smartwatch.

You want great smartwatch software

Samsung’s Tizen look has developed a lot in recent years, and combining it with the functionality of Wear OS - giving you access to the Google Play Store’s full range of wearable apps.

You want a solid fitness experience

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 isn’t the most highly-specced fitness watch you can buy, but it’s suitable for most people with the core features of GPS, a great heart rate monitor and a variety of other tools too - although you’ll need a Samsung phone in order to use some features.

Don’t buy it if…

You own an iPhone or non-Samsung Android phone

Samsung has dropped support for iPhones on the Galaxy Watch 4, which is frustrating for those who have an iPhone but don’t want an Apple Watch. And, as we’ve mentioned, some of the health monitoring features aren’t compatible with Android phones from other brands.

You own a Samsung Galaxy Watch already

If you own a recent generation of the Galaxy Watch, you probably won’t need the Galaxy Watch 4. There isn’t enough that’s new here, especially over the Galaxy Watch Active 2, so it may not be for you.

You want a rotating bezel

One of the most exciting unique features of the Galaxy Watch series is its spinning bezel, and you won’t get that on the standard Galaxy Watch 4. If you want the physical bezel, you’ll want to look at the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

First reviewed: August 2021

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Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/samsung-galaxy-watch-4-review

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Specs

Processor: Exynos W920
Software: Wear OS + One UI Wach
Sensors: Samsung BioActive Sensor (PPG+ECG+BIA)
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE (optional), NFC
Memory: 1.5GB RAM + 16GB
Durability:  5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Smartphone compatibility: Android 6.0 or higher
Battery life: 40 hours

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 feels familiar, yet different, and I mean that in the best way possible. It looks like a Galaxy Watch, but this iteration is sharper and more sophisticated. The software works like Tizen, but the new Google Wear OS platform is pragmatic and precise. 

Samsung ditched the ‘Active’ branding for its latest lineup, instead pitching a sporty-looking Galaxy Watch 4 as the company’s flagship and a ‘Classic’ version that carries on the luxurious characteristics of last year’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

The Galaxy Watch 4 packs a 3-in-1 health sensor for measuring heart rate, taking ECGs and reading body composition — it's the first major smartwatch to offer bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Do I sense the Apple Watch 7 getting nervous?

There's no question the Galaxy Watch 4 is best smartwatch yet for people with Samsung smartphones. Read this Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review to find out why.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 price and availability

Both the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are available for purchase as of August 27, 2021.

The Galaxy Watch 4 starts at $249.99 for the 40mm Bluetooth model and $299.99 for the 40mm LTE model. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at $349.99 for the 42mm Bluetooth model and $399.99 for the 42mm LTE model.

Be sure to check our guide on how to set up your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 once you get yours.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: What’s different?

Galaxy Watch 4Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Starting price$249.99$349.99
Size options40mm/44mm42mm/46mm
Dimensions40mm:40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8 mm; 44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8 mm42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm; 46mm: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0 mm
Weight40mm: 0.91 ounces 44mm: 1.06 ounces42mm: 1.64 ounces 46mm: 1.83 ounces
Battery capacity40mm: 247mAh; 44mm: 361mAh42mm: 247mAh; 46mm: 361mAh
Color optionsBlack, Silver, Pink Gold, GreenBlack, Silver

Our dedicated guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic covers all the differences (and similarities) between the two smartwatch versions.

Let’s get this out of the way — the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are identical on the inside. From the new Wear OS software and Samsung’s One UI skin to the 3-in-1 health sensor and expansive watch face collection, you’ll get the same software experience. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic features fancier materials such as stainless steel case, leather straps and the physical rotating bezel. Think of it like the Apple Watch’s ‘Edition’ line. Except the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is far more affordable than the Apple Watch Edition models, which are typically made from high-end materials like ceramic and titanium. Though it costs $100 more than the standard Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, it’s starting price is still less expensive than the entry-level Apple Watch 6.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Design

Both versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 feature a redesigned frame that allows for gapless transition from the smartwatch chassis to the straps. The uniform set of crown buttons also sport an oblong shape, rather than one protruding round crown accompanied by a flush side button.

Despite these subtle changes, the Galaxy Watch 4 pays homage to the Galaxy Watch models of the past. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic gets the rotating bezel, which is both a handy navigation tool and excellent fidget spinner. Since the original Samsung Galaxy Watch debuted the bezel, it’s become as iconic to the product as the S Pen is — err, was? — to the Galaxy Note smartphone.

So as someone who’s used the Galaxy Watch 3 more recently than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, adjusting to a capacitive version of the bezel on the baseline Galaxy Watch 4 took time. But minus the mechanism, the smartwatch is a lot slimmer, making for a modern gadget that won’t be mistaken for a traditional timepiece.

I’d still wear it from the gym to dinner, though, especially in the Silver or Pink Gold options. That’s just my taste. I also appreciate the Green version that’s color-matched to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, but it only comes in the 44mm size. I prefer the 40mm model for my wrist size, though my male colleague tried on the 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and enjoyed the look of the larger display. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Wear OS pros and cons

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s software provides the best experience I’ve ever had using Wear OS, period. Although smartwatches with the old Wear OS have fooled me before — working fine at first until glitches start oozing out — the Galaxy Watch 4 doesn't falter. I will say the software still feels very Tizen-esque, but it’s a good thing. Finding my rhythm took no time, letting me switch between apps and menus and setting pages seamlessly. 

The rotating tiles are obvious remnants of Tizen, plus Samsung Pay and Samsung Health still take priority. Beyond that, Google’s new app cloud (which looks a lot like watchOS, but it’s convenient so who cares?) is loaded with Google’s programs. That said, the selection is a bit limited right now. There's no Google Assistant yet, for example.

You do get Google Maps, though. Having it on my wrist helps me get around easily, whether I'm walking in the city or driving in the suburbs. Check out more of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Wear OS features I'm enjoying so far.

Complementing Wear OS, One UI Watch makes the Galaxy Watch 4 a more active member of the Samsung device ecosystem. The software skin transition settings and tools from a Galaxy smartphone to a Galaxy smartwatch, and vice versa, automatically. One UI Watch also leverages an expansive watch face library, complete with a proprietary editing suite for developers. Bubbly numbers, animal animations and color-coordinated complications that remind me of Android 12 are some of my frequent face choices.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Body composition analysis

Samsung developed a new health sensor for the Galaxy Watch 4. It combines heart rate monitoring (PPG), an electrocardiogram reader (ECG) and bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) for a 3-in-1 sensor that sits closer to the skin than the individual health sensors in the previous Galaxy Watch.

Of those, BIA is the big news. Similar to what you’ll find on the best smart scales, BIA sends a weak electric current through your body to analyze body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, bone mass, body water percentage and more. Taking a BIA reading is quick, but you’ll need to hold your fingers against the crown buttons for about 15 seconds without those fingers resting on the skin next to your smartwatch. It’s a little awkward, so we made a guide on how to use Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to measure body composition.

When used properly, body composition analysis can help you understand how changes you make to your diet or activity impacts your internal makeup — not just your weight. But there are caveats. For one, it's generally not recommended that people with pacemakers or people who are pregnant use BIA. While many smart scales have a mode that disables BIA. Samsung simply says those who shouldn't use it, shouldn't use it. 

Then there's concerns about the metrics gathered from BIA possibly perpetuating body dysmorphia. Samsung simply says the measurements might not be accurate for those under 20 years old, but doesn't appear to put a true age restriction on the feature.

I don't feel it appropriate to share the intimate details of my body makeup with the internet, but I will note the discrepancies with measurements. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's readings did not match my Wyze Scale's. The measurements were as much as 5% off for metics like body fat perfect. It's hard to say which device is more accurate without seeing a doctor, but I probably wouldn't use either as my north star for wellness goals. And again, if you're pregnant, have a pacemaker or battle body dysmorphia, I'd encourage you to seek out professional medical advice before buying this smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: Activity tracking

Over the course of one week, I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to track a variety of workouts indoors and outdoors. I started with weightlifting, and while the watch lets you track individual types of movement (ie. arm curls, bench press, lateral raises, pull-ups) I stuck with the catch-all circuit training option. The Apple Watch has a few more options when it comes to tracking different sports, but the Galaxy Watch 4 has more niche selections. You'll likely need to add workout types from the Samsung Health app on your smartphone, though — the preset list isn't extensive.

When it came to yoga, I sensed my calorie count ran high, but I recognized my heart rate updated more quickly than it did on the Galaxy Watch 3. For a workout where your heart rate stays in a shorter range than, say, cardio, the frequent refresh is helpful for seeing how certain poses impact my body.

I couldn't monitor my wrist as closely while cycling as I could in downward dog. Luckily, the Galaxy Watch 4 provides audible and vibration updates on mileage, plus a brief activity summary every 30 minutes. Again, I think the watch's calorie count is too generous, but the GPS mapped my reliable 10-mile route well.

The Galaxy Watch 4's automatic workout tracking is similarly successful. Juggling my 90-pound dog, phone, keys and sometimes a coffee, I often forget to launch a walk workout. A buzz on wrist let me know when the Galaxy Watch 4 detects my walk and picks up tracking from when I left my apartment. It also has a useful auto-pause function, so my dog's need to say hi to every passerby doesn't result in me recording a 35-minute mile.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Sleep and stress tracking

Samsung improved sleep tracking metrics for its latest smartwatch. Blood oxygen is measured once a minute overnight on the Galaxy Watch 4, compared to once every 30 minutes on the Galaxy Watch 3. More SpO2 readings could mean more insight on rest quality, especially for those with conditions like sleep apnea. When you sleep next to a compatible smartphone, the sounds of your snores get tracked, too. 

I'm a quiet sleeper, but I do often wake up for an hour at a time in the early morning. In these instances, the Galaxy Watch 4 would record two separate sleeps, but show me the total time asleep in the morning recap. 

Another recovery tool, the Galaxy Watch 4’s stress app shows your stress levels. I stayed in the green, which means not too stressed, but the smartwatch still gave me the option to launch a breathing session. The Fitbit Sense takes a more convincing approach to stress monitoring and management, though it’s encouraging to see Samsung’s watch catching up.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Battery life

As much as I’d like to call the battery life a let down (some rumors hinted at a week-long battery life,) it’s a far cry from a dealbreaker. Samsung estimates the Galaxy Watch 4 can last 40 hours with regular use. It said something similar last year, but as I cover in my guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 3, with GPS, activity tracking and the always-on display enabled, I needed to charge every 24 hours.

Daily charging is just the norm for most mobile devices we use every day. Sure, many great smartwatches and many of the best fitness trackers last several days without a charge. But as long as you’re not disappearing into the woods for a week, I wouldn’t get caught up on the difference between 40 hours and a day. 

I wish the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 battery life was more consistent, though. I found some days the watch needed to be charged more often than 24 hours. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Verdict

With design updates, refreshed software and a breakout BIA system, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is by no means an incremental upgrade. And all at a lower price, I might add.

But sometimes, when you make many changes at once, there's more chances for individual changes to fall short. The battery life could be more consistent, and Wear OS is missing some key features at launch. I'm also hesitant to celebrate the benefits of wrist-based body composition analysis for the number of people the feature might be unsafe for. 

Instead, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's success comes down to integrating as obnoxiously well with Galaxy devices as the Apple Watch does with the greater Apple ecosystem. If masters a convenience that's been absent for Samsung's users, letting all the other chips fall in place.

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]

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/reviews/samsung-galaxy-watch-4
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SAMSUNG MOBILE PRESS

ModelBluetooth®, LTEDisplay1.3” Circular Super AMOLED
360 x 360, 278ppi
Full Color Always On Display
Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+APDual core 1.0 GHzOPTizen Based Wearable Platform 2.3.2Size46 x 49 x 12.9
63g (without band)Strap22mmMemory4GB Internal memory, 768MB RAMConnectivity3G/LTE, Bluetooth® 4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n,
NFC, MST, A-GPS/GlonassSensorAccelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, HRM, Ambient lightBattery380mAhChargeWireless charging (WPC Inductive)DurabilityIP68 water & dust resistance
Sours: https://www.samsungmobilepress.com/mediaresources/gear-s3-frontier/techspecs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: time for a change

Five years since the first Apple Watch and a full seven years on from Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, we know what a smartwatch is. We know that it’s not going to replace your smartphone anytime soon, that it will need to be charged every day or two, and that its best functions are for fitness tracking and seeing notifications when your phone isn’t in your hand.

Samsung’s latest smartwatch, the $399-and-up Galaxy Watch 3, does not do anything to change those expectations. In fact, there isn’t much difference between the Galaxy Watch 3 and any smartwatch that’s come out in the past few years — at least in terms of core functionality. If you’ve managed to ignore or avoid smartwatches for the past half-decade, the Watch 3 isn’t going to change your mind or win you over.

None of that is to say the Galaxy Watch 3 is a bad smartwatch or even a bad product. On the contrary, the Watch 3 fulfills the definition and expectations that we’ve accepted for smartwatches perfectly adequately. It does the things we expect a smartwatch to do — track your activity and provide quick access to notifications — just fine. And if you’re an Android (or even better, a Samsung) phone owner looking for a new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3 is a fine pick.

Design and hardware

The Galaxy Watch 3 follows Samsung’s tradition of making a smartwatch look similar to a traditional watch, complete with a round face. In fact, the design is almost identical to the Gear S3 Classic from 2016: a round face with two round pushers on the side. Compared to the Galaxy Watch, its closest predecessor, the Watch 3 has a less sporty, dressier design that seems to be meant for more everyday wear as opposed to a dedicated running watch.

The Watch 3 is also slightly smaller and lighter than the Galaxy Watch. But make no mistake, this is not a small watch. I’ve been testing the larger 45mm variant, and it’s big and thick on my average-sized wrists. Those with small wrists will also likely find the 41mm version too big to wear. If you like big watches, you’ll be happy here, but if you’re looking for something sleeker and smaller, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a better choice.

Samsung did increase the size of the display on the 45mm version to 1.4 inches, which is actually quite large and makes the watch look even bigger on the wrist. (The 41mm version has the same 1.2-inch screen as the 40mm Watch Active 2 and 42mm Galaxy Watch.) It’s a bright, colorful display with a sharp resolution that’s easy to see both indoors and out. My only issue is that it can be hard to see the screen through polarized sunglasses, requiring me to turn my arm awkwardly or lift my shades to check the time. It also has a full-color always-on function so you can read the time without touching the watch or waving your arm around, as all smartwatches should.

You can get either size watch in Bluetooth-only or LTE-equipped versions for a reasonable $50 more; I’ve been testing the Bluetooth model and haven’t had any major issues with it staying connected to my Galaxy S20.

Perhaps the best advantage of the Watch 3 over the Active line is its physically rotating bezel, which you can use to scroll through the interface. It’s extremely satisfying and easy to use, and it’s the best way to navigate a smartwatch that I’ve tried. I much prefer it to the touch-sensitive bezel on the Active and Active 2.

The face of the watch isn’t flush like on the Active models, however. Its bezel is raised, which makes it harder to easily swipe through the interface on the screen. It does provide a bit of protection from bumps and dings on the screen, but it also makes the watch thicker overall.

As Samsung’s most expensive smartwatch, the Watch 3 has nicer materials and build quality than the Active line. It features stainless steel instead of aluminum, metal pushers instead of plastic, Gorilla Glass DX on top of the display, an 810G mil spec durability rating, and 5ATM of water resistance. Tolerances are tight, the buttons are satisfying, and the overall construction befits the Watch 3’s higher price tag. An even more expensive titanium model will also be available in the future.

In the box is a leather strap instead of the usual rubber options, which further indicates that this watch is meant for everyday use more than at the gym. The strap isn’t particularly high-quality leather, but it’s comfortable to wear. You can easily change it out to a rubber one (20mm for the smaller version, 22mm for the larger model) for more active uses.

An area that Samsung could certainly improve is the vibration motor. Unlike the Apple Watch’s informative clicks and taps, the Watch 3’s vibrations are buzzy and annoying, with little variance to differentiate a new message from an incoming call or hourly chime. Samsung’s phones have gotten much better haptics in recent years; it really should bring that system to the wearables, too.

Performance

Like the last few generations of Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 3 has a fast interface that’s easy to quickly swipe or scroll through. The Watch 3 has the same processor as the Active 2, but the RAM has been slightly increased to 1GB total. It also has twice as much storage (8GB) for saving music playlists directly to the watch.

Compared to a Wear OS watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 is much faster and easier to use, with performance on par with recent Apple Watch models. It still can take a few beats to launch a third-party app (which you probably won’t be doing often; more on that later), but Samsung’s own apps and the widgets load quickly and provide most of the info you’re likely to need.

Samsung claims “up to two days” of battery life, but in my tests, it was kicking the bucket at around a day and a half, sooner if it was a particularly active day with workout tracking. You can extend the battery life by disabling the always-on display and enabling battery-saving modes that dumb down the features, but doing that also defeats the purpose of wearing a smartwatch.

Overall, this is a watch that you’ll still be charging every day or so. That makes it hard to use for sleep tracking since the most convenient time to charge it is when you’re sleeping. Charging the watch is also still a slow process, taking up to two hours to fully fill the battery. Fast charging is a feature that’s been game-changing on smartphones for years, but it hasn’t yet come to smartwatches.

Software

Samsung’s watches all use its in-house Tizen operating system, which hasn’t changed much in the past few years. Not that it’s really had to — its design works well on the constrained size of a smartwatch screen, and the layout of widgets and notifications is easy to parse. The messaging app will now display pictures and emoji as well as the conversation history on incoming messages. There are also a couple of new gesture controls: silencing alarms or incoming calls with a shake of your wrist or opening and closing your fist to answer a call. Both worked in my tests, surprisingly.

Where Samsung continues to struggle is in app support. There’s no native mapping app on the Watch 3, and the options available in Samsung’s app store are terrible. If you don’t keep all of your to-dos in Samsung’s Reminders app and instead use another service, you won’t likely find an app to manage them on the Watch 3. I could keep going, but the point is that if you’re looking for a specific app, chances are you won’t find it for the Watch 3, and you’ll spend most of your time using the apps that are preloaded on the watch.

On the positive side, those apps are mostly comprehensive (outside of the lack of a mapping app, as mentioned). There’s calendar, weather, Outlook for email, messages, Spotify (including the ability to download playlists offline), Samsung Health for fitness tracking, timer, stopwatch, alarms, world clock, voice recorder, Samsung Pay for mobile payments, and so on.

If you are using a Samsung phone, you likely have all of the necessary phone apps to make the Watch 3 work out of the box. If you’re using any other Android phone, be prepared to install about half a dozen apps and services to use all of the features on the Watch 3, including fitness tracking and mobile payments. It’s a hassle, and Samsung really should consolidate these down to a single app. (If you’re hoping to use the Watch 3 with an iPhone, my suggestion is: don’t. The messaging experience is poor, and the watch will just do fewer things than when it’s connected to an Android device. Just get an Apple Watch.)

In terms of watchface options, Samsung does a number of things well and falls short in others. There are a few good options on the Watch 3 out of the box, including new riffs on Apple’s Infograph face that lets you customize an analog or digital face with a bunch of informational complications, and there’s a new animated weather face that automatically updates itself based on the time and your location. The Galaxy Apps store also has thousands of third-party watchfaces you can download and install.

But the vast majority of those third-party watchfaces are low quality — I spent the better part of an hour just scrolling through the store’s options to find something that matched my tastes — and the customization options on Samsung’s own watchfaces are limited to predetermined complications. Inexplicably, some faces give you more complication options than others, and there’s no support for third-party complications, so it’s tough to find an option that matches both your aesthetic preferences and what information you want it to display.

Finally, while both Google’s Wear OS and the Apple Watch have relatively fast and competent voice assistants built in, which are useful for transcribing messages, setting timers, controlling smart home gadgets, and so on without having to touch the watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 relies on Samsung’s Bixby assistant. Bixby, in case you somehow haven’t heard, is terrible, with slow, inconsistent responses and limited capabilities. An example: I often use voice commands to set timers on my smartwatch when cooking, but when I ask Bixby to set a two-minute timer, it often takes 20 seconds to process the request and start the timer, which doesn’t help when I need precise timing. It’s often just faster and easier to skip the voice commands on the Watch 3 entirely.

Fitness tracking

Though the Watch 3 is clearly designed for more everyday use as opposed to the fitness-focused Active line, it still comes with a handful of new fitness tracking features. In addition to the usual activity tracking, automatic workout detection, and heart rate monitoring, the Watch 3 now has enhanced sleep tracking, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, and VO2 Max reporting. It also has a feature to automatically call an emergency contact when a fall is detected, like the Apple Watch.

I am not a fitness guru, so I am not the best judge of how reliable Samsung’s fitness tracking is, but prior models have been widely criticized for inaccurate reporting. I did have some trouble getting the blood oxygen monitoring function to work — it failed to get a reading on my SpO2 levels about 50 percent of the time — and the step counting was consistently 20 to 25 percent lower than the Fitbit Inspire HR I wore at the same time.

The updated sleep tracking features were also less than helpful. Samsung now tries to provide a “score” to better judge how effective your sleep was, based on how much time it detects you were in each sleep stage. In my tests, it did a mostly good job at automatically determining when I went to sleep and when I woke up, but my sleep quality was never rated above a 50, despite the Inspire HR I wore on the opposite wrist consistently scoring my sleep in the high 80s. Sleep tracking is far from an exact science, and wearable devices like this are missing a lot of the necessary context for what impacts the quality of your sleep, which means they shouldn’t really be relied on for any serious diagnosing. And finally, the Watch 3 is just too big and cumbersome for me to sleep comfortably with it on. I’m sure there are some people who will be fine with it, but I much prefer a smaller bracelet or ring device for this purpose.


If it feels like I spent the majority of this review comparing how the Galaxy Watch 3 is different or the same as prior watches. That’s because there really isn’t that much new to cover here. Samsung has refined some aspects of its smartwatches, and the Watch 3 is nicer to wear and a better device than the Galaxy Watch it replaces. But it still falls short in a handful of areas and doesn’t really change the smartwatch experience. This isn’t a generational leap forward by any means.

The other thing you have to consider is the price: at $399 to start, the Watch 3 is a full $150 more expensive than the Active 2 for what amounts to largely the same functionality. It does have the stainless steel body and rotating bezels, but those may or may not be worth the extra expense for you.

Hopefully, Samsung’s next watch will provide a more substantial improvement over what we experience now, whether that’s through significantly better battery life, additional capabilities, or something else that I haven’t even thought of. But until that arrives, Samsung makes fine smartwatches, and the Galaxy Watch 3 is the finest of them all.

Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Sours: https://www.theverge.com/21368752/samsung-galaxy-watch-3-review-price-specs-features

Gear 3 samsung

Samsung Gear S3 review: Samsung tries to throw it all on a watch, but it doesn't all stick

The problem is that the Gear S3 still feels like an experiment, when, in its second iteration (the S2 was the first major redesign), it should really start feeling like a more mature, polished product. If you're looking to see where watches will go next, Samsung's exploring the ideas now. Stand-alone cellular LTE connection without a phone? Check. Spotify on-wrist? Check. Use-anywhere wrist payments that are even more versatile than Apple Pay? Yes.

The Gear S3 is an insanely feature-rich smartwatch with a big, bold design. But unlike the latest Apple Watch and Android's upcoming 2.0 software update, Samsung's Tizen-based Gear S3 doesn't do enough to improve the experience or support more apps. And few of those apps actually use the Gear S3's standalone LTE. In terms of hardware, it's a better watch than last year's bold, clever Gear S2. And yet, it fails to take enough leaps forward in its software. Last year's S2 was innovative, but it needed polishing. And it really, really needed more apps.

I used the Gear S3 for over a month paired to a Samsung Galaxy S7 (read my initial impressions here) and then recently via the iPhone 7, using Samsung's new iOS smartwatch-pairing app. Read on for everything that Gear S3 does right, and where it stumbles.

Basically, know this: For $300 (the basic cost of the Classic or Frontier models of the watch, which both look sleek and classy), you're getting a solid and complex watch. But it's really not any better, in terms of software, than last year. Meanwhile, the LTE-equipped Frontier model I reviewed has full cellular and phone functions, but probably isn't worth the cost. It's roughly $350, £350 or AU$589, but US carriers are offering a discount of $100 on a two-year data contract, which I probably wouldn't do. It also requires adding an extra monthly data charge to your phone plan.

Android Wear 2.0 is just around the corner, and new Android watches could be everywhere. Samsung's concept makes some successful executions, and some notable hardware improvements, but not enough of them to be the ultimate watch for everyone. And it hasn't gotten any easier to use.

What's interesting

Samsung Pay: Adding Samsung Pay to the Gear S3 doesn't just enable tap-to-pay at the same places that usually accept Apple Pay or Android Pay. It has MST, a magnetic technology that's also on Samsung's Galaxy phones since the Note 5 and S6, and it works at any credit card terminal. It's essentially a use-anywhere virtual credit card, accessible with a double-click of a button. It works by sending a timed ping that works at vending machines, terminals or anywhere close to the credit card reader. (The Gear S2 added Samsung Pay, but only the NFC kind.)

Spotify: Samsung finally made good on offering a Spotify app on the Gear S3 (and S2), and it works. There are caveats: It can stream over Wi-Fi or LTE (if you bought a Gear S3 that has LTE, like my review model), but it can't download tracks. And its interface is bad. And, streaming for an hour and a half nearly depleted my entire watch battery. But... it works! (It also requires a paid Spotify subscription.) I connected AirPods and listened on the go, and it was pretty fun. But I'd rather download tracks and save data.

The design: The Gear S3 comes in two designs, both far more "regular watch" than the futuristic but excellent-looking Gear S2. It's a step forward and a step back. The big (and I mean big) design feels like a massive sports watch on my thick, hairy wrist. But that design isn't for a lot of people, and loses universal appeal as a result. But at least it feels really well built and looks high-end. The LTE-equipped model is like a tank. But damn, if you like large watches, this is an eye-catching look.

It's a full stand-alone phone with LTE: If you buy the LTE model, it can take calls and even connect apps on the go (via AT&T or T-Mobile in the US). If you want a phone on your wrist, here it is. And it's probably the best phone-on-wrist watch that exists. With AT&T, for instance, the watch can share a number with your Android/Samsung phone. Add Bluetooth headphones, and discreet calls can be taken. Would I need that? No. Some might, though. But to use this as an LTE phone, you'll need to pay a monthly fee to add it to your phone plan.

Samsung's S Health fitness features are surprisingly good: S Health is the required baked-in way to track fitness on the Gear S, but it does heart rate and automatic activity tracking, can log water and coffee intake, and reminds me when I've stayed still too long. It even recommends stretching exercises when I stand again. I like that the S Health encourages activity streaks -- walk for a while, and it shows me how long I've been walking for -- and sometimes it borders on fitness coaching.

On iOS you can connect and even install apps: Samsung's iOS app is not good, but it's more versatile than a basic Android Wear conduit. Samsung S Health connects for fitness tracking, and a handful of apps and watch faces can be downloaded. Just not all of them -- Spotify and Uber don't make the cut, for example.

Samsung S-Voice works... pretty well: Google's upcoming Assistant improvements to Android Wear, and Siri on Apple Watch, offer more connections to phone functions. S-Voice still works OK, though, and can do more than you'd expect (setting alarms, calling a contact, getting weather, asking what an aardvark is). It can retrieve brief entries from sources such as Wikipedia.

What's not so hot

Tizen (and its app deficit): Samsung's watch makes yet another bet on Tizen, its own software and app ecosystem. And no one else has. The amount of apps for Gear watches has trickled to a near standstill. And while there are some clever games and watch faces, and a few brand-name apps like a CNN or Bloomberg or ESPN watch face, or Uber or Spotify, these apps are so few and far between that you'll hunger for any new one just to justify your Gear purchase. There are technically thousands of Gear S3-compatible apps... but few of them are anything recognizable, or anything most people would want to use.

The interface: Last year, the Gear S2's novel spinning wheel design for navigation was eye-popping and fun. But it's also time-consuming, and I can't get to what I need as fast as I can on an Apple Watch. Too much dial-spinning, and two buttons to push instead of one, add up to a lot of wasted time fiddling around. At-a-glance info isn't always easy because most Samsung Gear watch faces are light on customization. I can't pack on shortcuts or quick readout info like on the Apple Watch -- say, to music or weather or calendar.

A more efficient design is needed. It's definitely better than Android Wear right now, but it's not another leap forward. And getting some apps to work requires a mix of Samsung apps, conduit apps and maybe even double log-ins. (Spotify required another log-in once my phone was out of reach.)

LTE model can drain the battery fast: I did get two days of battery life on average using the S3 Frontier LTE model when paired to the phone, but if I used LTE to connect to the watch away from the phone, battery life slipped away fast. Depending on what I did, my watch could drain before I got home for dinner (and my watch charger). A day on LTE standby was typical -- but not guaranteed. What's the use of a smartwatch that has such a wide range of battery endurance depending on performance?

It's water resistant, but not swim proof: IP68 means dust and dunk-friendly, but unlike the Apple Watch Series 2, you're not meant to go swimming.

Would I buy one?

Would I recommend the Samsung Gear S3 to an iPhone owner? Absolutely not. But with Android phone owners, the decision is harder. There is no perfect watch right now, just a field of inferior products. Android Wear isn't a good answer now, although Android Wear 2.0 could provide some promise starting in the next few months. Pebble has been absorbed by Fitbit. Samsung offers some interesting options with the Gear S3, and its ability to be a full phone if you spring for the LTE model could appeal to some people.

After more than a year since the Gear S2, the S3 amounts to a lateral move. Improved hardware, but not improved software. And no matter how clever the S3's design is, it needs to be better at delivering information fast. That being said, right now, I'd prefer the S3 over any current Android Wear watch... or any other Android-connected watch. That statement will probably change sooner rather than later. But the older Gear S2 is still available, and at around $230 it's far more of an impulse purchase. It lacks a speakerphone, though. And if you care about adding phone service, the Gear S3 LTE is far better than the S2 3G.

Samsung's watch is absolutely attractive. Its looks catch the eye of people I show it to, and while it's big, it's definitely good-looking. But it's not the best info-on-my-wrist remote way to quickly check in on my life. Maybe that's a problem with all smartwatches. But it's definitely a problem with this one.

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/es/analisis/samsung-gear-s3-opiniones/
Smartwatch Bulat TERBAIK! Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review Indonesia

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