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Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s fan-favorite bezel — the rotating bow on a beautifully-packaged, $399 smartwatch — is every bit as satisfying as it seems.

While fidget-swiveling can be great, vital health features such as an FDA-approved ECG sensor or trip detection are more important. Samsung has found a winner with this wearable.

It was undoubtedly the best Android smartwatch available at the time it was launched. However, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is not the latest Samsung smartwatch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic were announced last year. They featured a refreshed design, a 3-in-1 sensor for reading body composition and measuring heart rate. Our guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch4

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 lineup was released earlier. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5Pro review provide all the information you need about these new devices. You should also check out the differences in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

Although it has been replaced, this Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review shows how the new competitor stacks up against the best smartwatches as well as the Apple Watch Series 6 which was launched in the same year.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Price and Availability

On August 6, 2020, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was released. There are a variety of sizes and variants available for those who want to purchase the new smartwatch.

Mystic Bronze or Mystic Silver will be available as the starting Galaxy Watch 3 price, at $399. The latter option is Samsung’s trademark color and matches the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra as well as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live which were launched simultaneously.

The 45mm model is priced at $429, and can be ordered in Mystic Black (or Mystic Silver). You can also get it in titanium, but that will be more expensive. You can also get your Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 LTE to make phone calls or respond to messages even if your phone is not in Bluetooth range. This will add $50 to your base price.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Design

Baby, the bezel is back. The physical bezel was fun and useful when we tried it out during our Samsung Galaxy Watch review. The dial could be spun with either the side buttons or our fingers, which was a great alternative for swiping at the circular display.

It’s still strong a second time, but it feels even better since Samsung slimmed down Galaxy Watch 3. The Galaxy Watch 3 is 8% smaller, 14% lighter and 15% lighter than its predecessor. This is a difference of millimeters, but it’s noticeable when you put the watch on your wrist.

The 41mm Mystic bronze model, weighing 1.7 ounces, looks bulky in comparison to the Apple Watch 5. It looks more like a traditional watch rather than a high-tech model. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a stylish accessory that I can use for dinner and date nights.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has genuine leather straps. They match the color of the case and add a higher aesthetic to the device than the Samsung Galaxy Watch2. The leather is not resistant to water or sweat, so I would swap them out for more sporty ones if I wanted to keep using the Galaxy Watch 3 daily.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Display and watch faces

I was not attracted to the 360 x 360-pixel display on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. It is sharp and bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight.

Apple Watch complications are a bit overwhelming, I will admit. To see all the information I need, I have to use five different watch faces simultaneously. Even then, I wish there was more. The Galaxy Watch 3 has 80,000 watch-faces and 40 different complications.

Although it took me some time before I figured out what combination of data and design gave me comfort with the Galaxy Watch 3, I am a sucker to weather-centric backgrounds. I don’t know why I don’t check the weather forecast before I leave the house. If rain animations on my wrist aren’t enough, I’m not sure what will.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: Performance

Although Tizen is still a far cry from Apple’s watchOS software, it’s a major improvement over Google’s unstable Wear OS. The Galaxy Watch 3’s menus are highly customizable and full of useful apps. Launching and switching between them is also easy.

Navigation is easy thanks to the bezel. I used it together with the dual buttons to get me where I needed to go. I didn’t find the motion gestures to be very helpful. I felt a bit foolish when I got them to work.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s T9 keyboard was a great option for texting. I used it more than I expected. Although it may sound ridiculous to type on such a tiny screen, I found the ability to send messages even when I couldn’t use text to talk very useful. I wish that the Apple Watch could replace Scribble with a smaller keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Fitness and Health Features

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can record 40 activities and seven of them can be automatically tracked. This means you don’t have to choose what type of exercise you are doing before you start. This was needed when my 85-pound black lab refused to walk with me on our daily walks around the town.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s GPS on-board measured my daily route accurately (it is approximately 1.2 miles depending on how often the dog likes to circle). The same thing happened when I used the watch to run and bike, with the latter being informed by on-demand VO2 Max readings. Although I am not an endurance runner, I did not trigger any warnings. However, I can imagine that more dedicated athletes would appreciate this feature during training.

They might not like the leather straps. I know that I didn’t. It was strange to get them wet from sweat. I also didn’t consider taking the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 near any pool, despite the 5ATM rating. If you intend to use the Galaxy Watch 3 for any type of exercise, I recommend purchasing silicone bands.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3’s trip detection sensors can still call emergency services for you no matter where you may be. This feature has been available on Apple Watch for some time, but it’s nice to see Samsung catch up.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: ECG readings, blood pressure monitoring

The Galaxy Watch 3 features an FDA-approved ECG monitor. This smartwatch can detect signs of atrial fibrillation, just like the Apple Watch.

Although the FDA-approved ECG sensor for Apple Watch is not new (it was introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4), Samsung took a while to get its version approved. Samsung first gained clearance for the technology on their Galaxy Watch Active 2 in South Korea.

Both smartwatches now can take ECG readings.

Samsung also received approval for its South Korean blood pressure monitor. The FDA has yet to approve the sensor, so it will remain inactive until then. It would be the first smartwatch made by a major tech company with a functioning blood pressure monitoring system if it gets approval soon.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 sleep tracking

The Galaxy Watch 3 is a bedside device that benefits from Samsung’s partnership to the National Sleep Institute. It provides wearers with insights on their REM cycles, as well as a morning report on the quality of sleep and tips for improving it.

The Apple Watch’s sleep tracking was also tested during the night I wore it to bed. Apple’s native app for sleep tracking credited me with a little more sleep, and it knew when I woke up during severe thunderstorms. Samsung provided more actionable data.

The Galaxy Watch 3’s SpO2 sensor (or pulse oximeter) provides some of these insights. An SpO2 sensor is useful in detecting breathing problems while you sleep, which can be a common symptom of sleep apnea. The Watch can help someone with sleep problems, such as mine, to learn how to change their sleeping patterns.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review: Apps and Storage

Tizen OS offers a smaller selection of third-party apps than the native Apple Watch App Store. However, there are still enough major programs such as Uber and Spotify available.

With 8GB music storage on the Galaxy Watch 3, you can also save your favorite tunes to offline play black by signing up for a Spotify Premium subscription. Although I don’t have an LTE phone, I do enjoy having some of my playlists on my phone when I go for bike rides. This feature is a great addition to my Apple Watch 5 which has a 16GB storage capacity. With a few of my favourite playlists, I have used about half of my Galaxy Watch 3’s storage. I will need to make sure I offload any audio that I do not need.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 battery life

The battery life is where the new Galaxy Watch appears to be lacking from the old model. The Galaxy Watch 3’s 340mAh battery can last for just 2 days, rather than the 4 day endurance of the original Galaxy Watch. This is reasonable for smartwatch standards (the Apple Watch 5 gets only 18 hours), and it likely contributes to the sleeker design.

Samsung claims that the Galaxy Watch 3 lasts as long as its battery. The watch lasted for about two days even with hours-long workouts and sleep monitoring in the first day. The battery life fell to 24 hours when I turned on the Always-On display setting. This is still better than my Apple Watch 5.

The Galaxy Watch 3 can be charged via its proprietary charger or wireless power sharing with a compatible Samsung smartphone. This charging dock from Amazon was a great way to keep my bedside organized.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 verdict

In a highly competitive market for wearables, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 stands out. There are many stylish smartwatches available and excellent fitness trackers, but Samsung has managed to find a way to balance both. The Galaxy Watch Active 2’s best health features were brought to a bezeled design, which rivals Fossil’s.

This convergence was not without cost. The Galaxy Watch 3 is more costly than the Galaxy Watches or Wear OS Fossil options, and focuses more on lifestyle than fitness. My Apple Watch is not something I would replace with an Android phone at the same cost. The Galaxy Watch is the best Android phone you can buy. Or any other device with a spinning mechanism as satisfying.

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