Samsung seems to be one brand in the Android ecosystem that is making true smartwatches, even as many others simply pass off wristwatch-shaped health and fitness trackers as smartwatches. Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy Watch 3 justifies its smartwatch moniker, and it works right on point. It does double up as a health and fitness tracker, too, but its overall utility goes far beyond that.
Unlike smartphones, smartwatches are a lifestyle accessory, so their design plays an important role. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm mystic black variant with leather straps) manages to impress with its classic circular design, which looks retro but premium and polished.
The watch has a 1.4-inch super AMOLED touchscreen which is bright and vivid. It supports gesture-based navigation; swipe down from top to access quick settings, swipe inwards from left for notifications, and swipe inwards from right for quick-view windows. It also supports the wrist gesture for the screen wake function, which works like a charm. As part of its upgrade, the Galaxy Watch 3 gets an always-on display mode, which keeps the screen active to show basic information. However, the always-on display mode causes the watch’s on-battery time to drop drastically.
The design and display of the watch are complemented by a rotating wheel on the bezel which looks very much part of the package and makes it easy to navigate and operate the user interface, especially when you need to move quickly from one screen to another or scroll through the features.
Coming to the Galaxy Watch 3’s smartwatch capabilities, the LTE variant (which we reviewed) supports e-SIM for telephony services. The network connectivity makes it a standalone watch which can also be used in conjunction with a smartphone. Important to note that the e-SIM can be enabled only through supported Samsung smartphones from the Galaxy Wearables app. With e-SIM enabled, you can attend calls directly on the watch, even when it is not connected with a smartphone or if the phone is switched off. Though the e-SIM could have enabled a lot more functions, the lack of supported apps and features limits its usage to voice calls only.
When connected with a smartphone, the Watch 3 shows the phone’s app notifications and lets you respond to them directly from the watch. For example, you can read your messages and mails on the watch and send a reply too using the quick-reply feature. Besides, you can you’re your message through a built-in keyboard or use the voice function in case you do not find suitable options in the pre-set quick replies. The Galaxy Watch 3 is the only non-Google WearOS smartwatch to support the quick-reply feature. Speaking of the operating system, it is powered by Samsung’s proprietary Tizen OS version 5.5 with the OneUI 2.0 user interface on top. The custom operating system is easy to use and understand. It is optimised and does not suffer inconsistencies that you see in many other custom OS-powered smartwatches.
The smartwatch experience is elevated by the health and fitness features that the Galaxy Watch 3 offers. From monitoring heart rhythms and sleep patterns to measuring blood oxygen saturation and detecting accidental falls, the Galaxy Watch 3 covers everything that one expects from a premium health and wellness device. It also doubles up as a device to take electrocardiogram but this feature is not available in India currently.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is as good a smartwatch as it is a health and fitness tracker. Importantly, it has an impressive on-battery time of around three days (with always-on display mode disabled). The charging time could have been better, though: The supplied charger takes around three hours to charge the battery to 100 per cent.
Priced at Rs 38,990, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm LTE variant, black body and leather straps) is a capable smartwatch that doubles up as a feature-rich health and fitness device. From an elegant classic design and impressive display to a power-packed performance and satisfactory on-battery time, the watch covers the entire spectrum. It still needs some work on supported apps, but this is the best you get if you are a Samsung user or user of any other Android smartphone. It is second only to the Apple Watch Series 6, which reigns supreme in the smartwatch space but works only with Apple iPhones.