With all the richness of choice of smart watches, models in the classic version are still not enough. If such exist, their capabilities are often limited. Samsung Galaxy Watch is a rare exception when both design and functionality are in perfect order.
Design and usability
Dimensions are one of the main factors to consider when choosing a wearable device. The case of the Galaxy Watch is massive: 46 mm. This may not be suitable for all buyers with narrow wrists. But fans of large models like the Casio G-Shock will definitely like the Samsung accessory. The brand also has two compact models in its arsenal – in a 42 mm case. Completely black and gold.
The designers managed to maintain a balance between classic and brutality. Smart watches look good paired with both a business suit and a tracksuit. Case materials play an important role here. The base is made of metal, the rotating bezel and the back are made of matte plastic. The set includes two silicone straps for different wrist sizes. If their appearance seems rustic, it is easy to replace the straps with any others. The main thing is that the fastening is 20 or 22 millimeters.
It is impossible to find fault with the build quality. The gadget gives the impression of a serious accessory. For an impressive-looking smartwatch, this is perhaps the most important thing. However, so does reliability. During a week of use, nothing happened to the case. However, this does not mean that the Galaxy Watch is worth crawling under the car or starting repairs in the garage. Still, the only hardships that they are able to survive are sports activities, including diving under water (up to 50 meters) and relatively hard blows. The latter is guaranteed by the military protection certificate MIL-STD-810G.
Everyday use has its own nuances. Narrow clothing cuffs and Galaxy Watch are incompatible. If the sleeves are loose enough, the chronometer will be comfortable to wear and there will be no accidental snags on furniture or other objects. But at night the watch may seem uncomfortable to some – the 13-mm thickness has an effect.
Screen that is always on
The device is equipped with a 1.3-inch touch screen. A resolution of 360 pixels is enough for comfortable work. The screen has a regular round shape and is noticeably recessed into the body, therefore it is difficult to scratch it.
The display has rich color reproduction and excellent contrast. The black color here is as deep as possible – thanks to Super AMOLED. In addition, the screen has a good reserve of brightness, as well as automatic backlight adjustment. The latter generally works adequately, but occasionally there are kinks in one direction or another.
The main feature of the Galaxy Watch is its always-on display. Works similar to the Always on Display mode on smartphones. Most of the time, the screen dimly illuminates the “analog” arrows. When you raise your hand, the backlight lights up as usual. As soon as you lower the watch, the dial goes out. Such gestures are recognized quite well – in 7 out of 10 cases.
When the display is activated, the gadget simulates the ticking of arrows. Of course, the speaker is responsible for this, and not the actual mechanisms inside. The main screen is perfectly customizable: you can, for example, display a digital or “analog” dial. The corresponding store has hundreds of different options, paid and free.
Samsung Galaxy Watch is controlled using two physical buttons on the right side, turning the bezel in one direction or another with a characteristic vibration response, and also using the touch screen. You get used to this combination quickly. The display supports taps and various gestures. The latter are not always recognized correctly, so it will take some time to learn. The only caveat is that some interface elements are small. You need to either stop and take aim properly, or show remarkable skill right on the move.
Smartwatches really do a lot. From banal step counting to GPS tracking and telephone communication via the built-in speaker and microphone. True, you won’t be able to talk through instant messengers – only the dialer built into the smartphone is available. In addition, there are many widgets in the settings. They can be easily placed as a small icon on the main dial or displayed on one of the screens. Navigation between them is carried out by swiping or scrolling the bezel – convenient.
Notifications that the mobile phone receives are transferred to the Galaxy Watch without any delay. They reacted on the accessory – the message disappeared on the phone, and vice versa.
The electronics work reliably, but there are some annoying nuances. For example, it was not possible to configure the weather display on the watch. An application for an Android smartphone (Samsung Wear) was required.
The Samsung chronometer is great for sports. Supports up to 39 different modes, and many of them are recognized independently. However, some sometimes display the exercises incorrectly. For example, the Galaxy Watch may incorrectly determine the starting position when pulling a block down on a machine. Consequently, the number of repetitions is recorded incorrectly. But for running and other rhythmic exercises, the electronics are fully capable.
Of course, the gadget can count steps, calories burned, and monitor your heart rate. And determine the distance traveled, and together with tracking the trajectory on the map (thanks to the built-in GPS). However, such functions will not surprise anyone now. Therefore, Samsung developers went further – they added a measurement of current pressure and altitude above sea level. Such features will delight mountain tourists and other fans of extreme recreation. For this category of devices, measurement accuracy is important, but here everything is no problem. But there are questions about sleep monitoring – the calculation of rest time and its phases is approximate. It can hardly serve as a serious guideline.
System and Compatibility
The smartwatch runs on its own Tizen 4 operating system. Pairing with a smartphone and the Samsung Wear application is required. It’s also a good idea to download a proprietary utility for tracking user activity – Samsung Health. All programs are available on iOS and Android. However, maximum functionality is available only to owners of Samsung devices. For example, Huawei devices do not allow you to install the above-mentioned utilities – programs for them are simply not available on Google Play.
The watch supports contactless payment via Samsung Pay. But for the service to work, you will need a mobile phone of the same brand. On a Motorola G6 with the Samsung Wear app installed, the download button for the proprietary payment service was active. However, clicking it did not lead to any action – the necessary plugin was not downloaded. In addition, during the process of synchronizing files, the special Galaxy Watch Plugin module constantly crashed – the connection with the Motorola G6 was lost.
When connected to an iPhone, the capabilities are reduced even further. So, you can neither receive a call nor write a reply SMS directly from the watch. There are no paid (sometimes interesting) applications in the store, and only free watch faces. Although the basic functionality – tracking activity and workouts – is fully present.
Several usage modes are supported. In the first (most common), when the screen is turned off during periods of inactivity, the watch will easily survive three days in conjunction with the phone. The second scenario involves an always-on “analog” watch face display. In this mode, the gadget will last two days. The third option is to disable all smart functions, turning the Galaxy Watch into a regular wrist electronics. One battery charge will last approximately 30 days.
- Tizen 22.214.171.124
- Super AMOLED 1.33” (32.9 mm), 360×360 pixels
- 1.15 GHz, 2 cores
- RAM and storage
- 0.75 GB and 4 GB (about 2.5 GB available)
- accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate sensor, barometer, ambient light sensor, geopositioning
- Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)
- 472 mAh
- weight and dimensions
- 63 g, 49.0 x 46.0 x 13.0 mm
Samsung’s smart device is perfect for lovers of massive watches with classic designs. The accessory looks great on a man’s hand with a wide wrist. For everyone else, there is a miniature version with a diameter of 42 mm.
The Galaxy Watch handles literally every task you can think of for a wearable gadget. This includes a full range of sports activities and many tools for increasing your own productivity. There are even such non-trivial features as measuring atmospheric pressure and altitude above sea level. Not to mention the banal GPS tracking and NFC for Samsung Pay.
The main thing when choosing a Galaxy Watch is to remember compatibility. To unlock all the stated functions, you need a Samsung smartphone. Some options are not available with any other Android device, such as Samsung Pay payments. And when paired with an iPhone, the gadget simply turns into a fitness tracker.