amazon SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH 3 reviews
It is been 5 years since we got our first Apple Watch, and it’s been 7 years since the first Samsung Galaxy Gear came out. We all know that smartwatches will not be able to replace smartphones now and in the near future. Its main function remains to track sports activity and view notifications without the need for a phone in hand.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is Samsung’s latest smartwatch model, but it doesn’t differ as much as expected. In fact, there isn’t much of a difference between the Galaxy Watch 3 and the previously released Galaxy Watch model, at least in terms of key features. If you have not had a need to change your smartwatch in the past 5 years, then the Galaxy Watch 3 will not be able to change your mind.
That’s not to say the Galaxy Watch 3 is a bad device. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch 3 has fully met the expectations of users for a smartwatch. It does well what users expect, such as activity tracking, quick notification access … And if you are an Android phone user (if it is Samsung, the better) is wishing to buy a smartwatch. Galaxy Watch 3 is a good choice.
Design and hardware
The Galaxy Watch 3 continues to use Samsung’s traditional design with a circular watch face. This design is almost identical to the Gear S3 Classic from 2016, consisting of a round dial with two buttons on the side. Compared to the Galaxy Watch, the new version has a less sporty design, instead of being elegant, suitable for everyday use rather than a running watch.
Watch 3 is slightly smaller in size and volume than the previous version. However, it is not a small watch. I tried the biggest 45mm on hand and I felt it was quite big and thick for my average size wrist. For those with small wrists, the 41mm version will also feel the same. If you like a large-sized watch, you will be satisfied with the Galaxy Watch 3. But if you are looking for a better and more compact watch then the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the better choice for you.
Perhaps the Watch 3’s biggest plus compared to the Active series is the physical rotation that helps you quickly switch between the views on the watch. Using the physical dial is very simple and feels great. I think this is the best smartwatch navigation method available today. I rate the physical rotation higher than the touch dial on the Active series.
However, the Galaxy Watch 3 watch face is not rounded and full of bezels like the Active series. The rotation is designed higher than the watch face, making the touch operation a bit cumbersome, especially when you swipe left and right. But thanks to that, the screen is also protected from impact and less scratched, in return, the overall thickness of the device will be larger.
As the most expensive Samsung smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3 has better and better material than the Active series. Galaxy Watch 3 uses a stainless steel frame instead of aluminum, a metal button instead of a plastic, a Gorilla Glass DX watch face with 810G technical strength, and 5ATM water resistance. On the whole, Watch 3’s design is relatively suitable for the price. In the future perhaps Samsung will continue to launch the titanium version at even higher prices.
Included in the box will be a leather strap instead of a plastic strap like the previous models, which further confirms the purpose of this watch is for everyday use instead of sport. The leather strap with the machine is not too special, but it also feels comfortable to wear. You can also easily switch to a 20mm plastic strap for the small version and 22mm for the larger version.
One point that Samsung definitely needs to improve on is the vibrating motor. Unlike many different types of vibrations on the Apple Watch, the vibration feature on Watch 3 is loud and annoying, it doesn’t make a difference between calls, texts, or alarms. Samsung’s phones have been improving this in recent years, and they really need to bring those to the Galaxy Watch 3.
Similar to previous generations, Galaxy Watch 3 has a simple interface that makes it easy to swipe or scroll between pages. Galaxy Watch 3 has the same processor as Active 2 and is equipped with 1GB of RAM (bigger than Active 2). In addition, the internal memory is also twice as large (8GB) so you can store more songs on the watch.
Compared to devices running Wear OS, the Galaxy Watch 3 is much faster and easier to use, and its performance is comparable to that of an Apple Watch. Running third-party apps on the watch might take a little while, but with Samsung apps and available features loaded very quickly and can provide most of the information you need.
Samsung touts its devices with “up to 2 days” battery life, but in my practical experience, it is only about a day and a half. And if I use exercise tracking, the battery life is even shorter. You can increase battery life by turning off the screen always on and turning on the battery saver to deactivate some features, but if you do, the smartwatch will have nothing but time.
Generally speaking, you still have to charge your Galaxy Watch 3 every day, or maybe a little longer. This makes the sleep management feature difficult to be very useful because the time is convenient to charge especially when you go to bed. Charging is also very slow, it will take more than 2 hours to fully charge the Watch 3. The fast charging feature is storming the smartphone, but it is not yet applied to watches.
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Samsung’s smartwatches all use its Tizen OS operating system for many years. Tizen OS’s interface design fits well with the watch’s modest screen size and layout, as well as easy-to-see notifications. Messages application will not be able to display good images or special characters and the history of incoming messages. In addition, Watch 3 also has some new gestures such as: turn off the alarm or an incoming call by shaking your wrist or holding and opening your hand to answer the call. Both gestures above work well in practice.
Another Samsung difficulty is the number of compatible apps. There’s currently no genuine map app for the Watch 3, and the recommended app on the Samsung app store is extremely bad. On the other hand, if you do not save to-do lists in Samsung’s Reminder app but use a different app, then you might be hard-pressed to find an app that can manage them on your Watch 3. There are many examples to include. But overall if you need to find a specific app then there’s a big chance the Watch 3 does not. You will spend most of your time using the number of apps that come pre-installed on the device.
On the plus side, the apps available are pretty good, with the exception of the maps app. Available applications such as calendar, weather, Outlook, messages, Spotify (with music download to watch), Samsung Health, timer, countdown, alarm, world clock, recording, Samsung Pay, and some other applications.
If you are using a Samsung phone, you already have most of the apps available to help the Watch 3 function at its best. If you use other Android phone brands, you’ll have to install a few more apps and services to get the most out of Watch 3, including activity tracking and air-payments. This is really a minus point because it brings trouble to the user, Samsung can completely group it all into a single application. If you’re hoping to use the Galaxy Watch 3 with an iPhone, one good piece of advice is: don’t. The messaging app’s performance is poor and the Watch 3 has even more limited features than it does on an Android device, it’s best to get an Apple Watch for iPhone.
In terms of the ability to customize the watch face, Samsung has done a few good things, but there are also some not so good. Some of the good things about the Galaxy Watch 3 like Apple’s Infographics display, which allows you to customize a traditional watch face or a digital watch face with various information, and animated weather display that can automatically update based on time and location… The Galaxy Apps Store also offers thousands of third-party watch face models that you can download and use.
However, most of the watch faces developed by third parties are of poor quality, I spent an hour looking at them but could not find any suitable. Also, some custom watch faces provided by Samsung are limited by model. The confusing point is that some watch faces offer more customization than others and do not support third-party customization. Therefore, it is difficult to find a suitable choice for both your taste and the information to display.
Finally, both Google’s Wear OS and Apple Watch have built-in virtual assistants that work fairly quickly and efficiently, which is useful for sending voice messages, setting timers, and controls home smart and many other features without having to touch the watch. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch 3 is still dependent on the Bixby virtual assistant. In case you did not know then Bixby is a Samsung virtual assistant and it’s very boring with slow response speed, inconsistency, and limited ability. For example, when I use my voice to order the timer while cooking, asking Bixby to set the timer for 2 minutes, it takes 20 seconds to confirm and starts to count the timer, it is completely ineffective results when I need an accurate timer. As a result, I have omitted the voice control feature on the Galaxy Watch 3 entirely to save time.
Track your movement
It is clear that the Galaxy Watch 3 is designed for everyday use rather than focusing on movement like the Active series. Even so, it still comes with some of the most modern motion tracking features available. Except for normal movement tracking, automatic sports activity detection, and heart rate monitoring, Watch 3 is also equipped with advanced sleep monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring (SpO2), and VO2 Max. In addition, Watch 3 also has the feature to automatically make an emergency call when it detects a user falls, similar to the Apple Watch.
I’m not too much of a campaigner to accurately assess the reliability of these features on the Watch 3. But previous Galaxy Watch models have received a lot of criticism for their poor accuracy. During use, I have a little trouble using the SpO2 measurement, about 1/2 the time cannot be measured, and the step counter is about 20-25% lower than the Fitbit Inspire HR bracelet which I use it in my other hand at the same time.
The upgraded sleep tracking is also less useful. Samsung is turning to “scoring” instead of judging how well your sleep is working, based on the length of each sleep cycle. According to my tests, the Watch 3 automatically detects when to sleep and wake up very accurately. My sleep quality score never exceeded 50, however, while the Fitbit Inspire HR bracelet consistently rated quality above 80. Sleep tracking isn’t absolutely science and these wearables lack a lot of parameters about the factors that influence your sleep. Therefore, we do not need to take the analysis too seriously. Finally, Watch 3 is too large and cumbersome, so it can be uncomfortable for users to wear while sleeping. I think a lot of people will be fine with it, but I’d rather sleep with bracelet-type devices.
In this article, you will probably see that I spend most of my time evaluating and comparing Watch 3 with its elder devices. The reason for this is because Watch 3 doesn’t have too many new features to recommend. Samsung has made improvements to some of the sides, and Watch 3 also has a sleeker look, as well as better performance than the Galaxy Watch. But the Galaxy Watch 3 still lacks in some ways and has not changed the experience on a new generation smartwatch. As a result, Watch 3 cannot be viewed as a generational leap.
Hopefully, in the future, Samsung will launch a new smartwatch with significant improvements over the Galaxy Watch 3, like higher battery life, adding a few more modern features … But until then Samsung is doing quite well in the smartwatch segment and the Galaxy Watch 3 is its best product so far.