With a new name, comes new sizes – Samsung’s popular smartwatch series, now rebranded from Samsung Gear to Galaxy Watch, finally comes in two sizes.
If you have a smaller wrist, you’ll appreciate that the Galaxy Watch comes in 42mm size – which should fit most wrists – and not just in 46mm.
The 42mm comes in two colours – Rose Gold, which is sure to be a hit with the ladies, and Midnight, a sleek all-black model. The 46mm only comes in Silver but don’t be fooled by the name – it’s not entirely in silver as the bezel is black, giving it a nice two-tone sporty look.
All in all, the Galaxy Watch maintains the classic look of its predecessor but features a few subtle, sweet changes.
The strap is now much, much softer – I have to say it’s one of the most comfortable straps I have worn, and it also has grooves for that extra chic factor. I like it so much, I might just get the strap for my Gear S3 as both use the same size – 22mm. Do note that the 42mm Galaxy Watch, as expected, uses smaller straps.
The two buttons on the watch have also been tweaked and are now flatter and longer with textured black rubber, which complements the sporty design, and also makes them easier to press.
If there is one thing everyone wants from their gadgets, it’s longer battery life. The 46mm Galaxy Watch now has a bigger battery – 473mAh vs Gear S3’s 380mAh – promising to last up to 80 hours. (The 42mm model has a smaller 270mm battery that’s rated to last 46 hours but we didn’t get to test this model.)
I got a little less – about three days – depending on how actively I used the smartwatch, because I like the “always on” feature that keeps the watchface turned on at all times.
Unless you are terribly concerned about battery life, I recommend you shop for a pretty watchface on the Galaxy App store and try this feature – it’ll make your smartwatch standout and I still get compliments for my two-year-old Gear S3.
Or if you just want it to be functional then go with the built-in watchfaces. Some give you at-a-glance information on the face itself, such as your appointments and alarms for the day, which is handy.
Sign of four
Just like its predecessors, the Galaxy Watch runs on Samsung’s own platform – Tizen 4.0 – and not Google’s Android Wear.
While this may be a turn off for some, I actually find Tizen to be the more refined platform that’s made even easier to use by the bezel on the watch, a unique feature of the Samsung smartwatches.
The bi-directional bezel lets you quickly access features on your watch without obstructing the screen or smudging it (which will happen if you use your finger).
Turning the bezel left lets you access notifications such as SMS and WhatsApp while turning it right will display widgets. The widgets work a little like the ones on your phone, allowing you to display useful info or quickly access functions.
One of my favourites is the widget that displays four shortcuts to different exercises, especially now that the Galaxy Watch can track about 39 activities, including planks and squats.
It is also water resistant up to 50m (5atm), which makes it as good as Samsung Gear Sport released last year, so you can take it for a dunk in the pool.
The bezel also has another use – it helps protects the screen if you accidentally knock the watch against something, which is bound to happen.
However, there is one shortcoming though – Tizen doesn’t have as many apps as Android Wear – but it has most of the apps you need.
And with the addition of the Spotify app, which lets me download and listen to music offline (premium subscriptions only), I am quite satisfied.
The Galaxy Watch also features SmartThings, which lets you control your smart home devices but I didn’t have any that were compatible so I didn’t get to test it because, sadly, the Philips Hue smart lighting support has yet to be introduced here.
There is also Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant now at your beck and call. You wake it up by saying “Hi Bixby” and you can ask it to set reminders, check the weather, call someone ... you get the drift.
Bixby works best when the commands are simple and the environment is not too noisy. And though it’s still a little unrefined, it’s a start.
If you already own the Gear S3 then the Galaxy Watch is not a major upgrade unless you want a sportier model or want to start a collection.
Samsung makes it easy to own two smartwatches – basically, the one you pick up will become active so you can easily switch between the two anytime.
If you are new to smartwatches then the Galaxy Watch is one of the best smartwatches in the market for Android users.
Go for the biggest that can fit your wrist as the 46mm model not only has a slightly larger screen, but also a much longer battery life, and the two tone colour is just cool.
If you have a little more cash to spare, don’t forget that you can also get additional straps and they are easy to swap out, as long as you have a decent sized fingernail.
And this is the season to shop, so what better companion for your smartphone than a smartwatch?
Pros: Still one of the best looking smartwatches; available in two sizes; lasts longer; bezel is intuitive to use; tracks multiple health activities.
Cons: Bixby rough around the edges.
GALAXY WATCH 46mm
Smartwatch for Android
OPERATING SYSTEM: Tizen-based wearable OS 4.0
PROCESSOR: Exynos 9110 dual-core 1.15GHz
DISPLAY: 1.3in touchscreen (360 x 360 pixels)
MEMORY: 768MB RAM, 4GB internal storage
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.2; WiFi b/g/n, NFC, GPS
OTHER FEATURES: Water and dust resistant (IP68), shock and low/high temperature resistant (MIL-STD-810G)
SIZE (W x H x D): 46 x 49 x 13.0mm
WEIGHT: 63g (body only)
RATING: 4/5 stars
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics, 1-800-88-9999. Visit www.samsung.com/my for more information.