Review: Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch has arrived in Canada, and it’s a refreshing update to Samsung’s impressive range of watches and fitness trackers. Plus, it’s gorgeous.

Building on some of the best features of the Gear S3, the Galaxy Watch comes in two sizes, and two styles, that make it a good fit for most people who likely want a mix of two worlds: part smart watch, and part fitness tracker.

Need to look professional at the office? Change the watch face to a modern design and it fits right in next to any other timepiece. Ready to head out on a run and want immediate access to Samsung Health or your Spotify playlist? One click and the Watch becomes a runner’s best friend.

Samsung delivers much more than that though with the Galaxy Watch, offering up a device that has an incredible battery life, a lot of extra features, and design elements that make it stand out.

Update: The Galaxy Watch is available with Bluetooth connectivity, and the LTE edition launches in Canada on October 25. If you pre-order the Galaxy Watch LTE before October 25,  you’ll receive a free Wireless Charger Duo valued at $149.99. The 46mm Galaxy Watch LTE is $539, while the 42mm LTE version is $499.

The Bluetooth versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch retail for $459 and $419, respectively.

Design

Samsung Galaxy Watch
Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Galaxy Watch comes with either a 1.3″ screen, and 46mm, or 1.2″ and 42mm. The larger model comes with a Silver accent, while the smaller comes with Midnight Black or Rose Gold.

Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the men I met when we were introduced to the watch were as impressed with the Rose Gold design as the others, and we all mentioned that with a different colour strap it could be unisex.

Maintained from previous Samsung watch models is the circular, rotating bezel, the option for Always On Display, but added to that, the Galaxy Watch now has a depth effect that makes the watch display look three dimensional for many designs.

Of all the design features, I have to say too that the rotating bezel is one of the best design elements. It’s slick and easy-to-use, making a lot of actions, including scrolling options, much quicker. The bezel also just feels slick and modern.

Beyond the touch-screen display, the watch also features Samsung’s usual two-button control on the right side of the dial.

Other new features include the option to turn on hourly chimes, or a very faint analog watch tick sound, just to make it seem more like an old-school watch.

I like the chunky 46mm design, but it is quite thick at 16 mm, especially considering that it’s a little bit heavy. For a chunky watch it does weigh what I would expect, but because of the size it doesn’t fit under all my dress shirt sleeves. Without a strap, the 46mm weighs 63g, versus 49g for the 42mm.

And while the 42mm design is not much smaller, I will admit that I enjoyed the size of the 46mm screen, which is big enough to see and do a lot.

If you decide to wear the watch while you sleep, for the sleep tracking, it’s also a bit cumbersome. I noticed it more as I fell asleep, and it didn’t bother me that much over night, but it’s a definite drawback compared to slimmer devices. You may even want to try on the smaller model to see if that’s more your size.

Beyond the customizable watch face, and all the other elements you can change on the watch app layout, you can also easily change the watch straps.

The Galaxy Watch accepts any 22mm strap, for the 46mm design, and 20mm strap, for the 42mm design, and Samsung offers a range of easy-change straps that can easily be changed out.

Health & Wellness

Supporting health and wellness is one of the core features of the Galaxy Watch, and I found it very effective overall.

In addition to the fitness tracking, that can recognize 39 workouts, the Galaxy Watch also tracks your sleep, and your stress levels. Sleep tracking seemed to be very precise, and what I loved about the stress tracking was that it also highlights breathing techniques that can help you relax.

I’ve been happy using my Galaxy Note 8 to track my steps and other activity, but there’s a big difference between what the phone can recognize and what the Galaxy Watch tracks for you. The watch recognizes climbing stairs, as just one example, and automatically checks your heart rate while you’re resting and active.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Battery & Stats

While the size difference between the 42mm and the 46mm Watch may not seem like a lot, it does make a big difference when it comes to the battery size.

The 46mm watch has an improved battery life that lasts up to an estimated 80 hours, thanks to a 472mAh battery. The 42mm Galaxy Watch has a 270mAh battery by comparison, which will last approximately 2 or possibly up to 3 days, depending on your use.

The screens on the watches are certified to military-level durability, thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ glass, and features water resistance up to 5 ATM, or approximately 165 feet.

Finally, the Galaxy Watch includes 4GB of internal memory, which can be used to store apps, but also music. Connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones to your watch, and you can take a run without your phone, and still enjoy your favorite running music.

Overall

I would recommend the Samsung Galaxy Watch to anyone who has been looking for an Android-compatible watch that can do it all, but especially for Samsung device users. You may want to try one on first, to confirm sizing, but unless you’re waiting for the LTE version, which will allow you to take calls without your phone being connected, the Bluetooth version is very good.

The watch is really gorgeous, durable, and easy to use, the battery life is solid, and charging times are fairly quick using the supplied charger.

The added bonus too is that Samsung has integrated the watch with their SmartThings app, so you can use the watch to control a range of supported devices. That range of devices is also sure to grow as Samsung expands SmartThings and integration with other brands, but it already supports a number of products you may have in your home already.

W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls. In his "spare time," Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.

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