I want to start this review off with a positive note. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch is living proof that smartwatches are able to hold its own with a long battery life, in which Android Wear OS was not able to pull off. Tizen OS might have its limitations compared to Android Wear but it’s definitely not enough to turn this performing wearable away. Here’s what I think. Enjoy your stay.
Design & Durability
The Galaxy Watch comes in 2 sizes, the 42mm and 46mm, and that directly translates to how much screen real-estate you’re going to get, which is just a point inch apart (42mm/46mm are 1.2/1.3 inches respectively).
That’s a comfortable size for a screen, even more so as display quality had always been Samsung’s strong point, giving out a crisp 360 x 360 resolution on a Super AMOLED panel that’s protected by a respectable Corning Gorilla Glass DX+. It also did well under the glaring Malaysian sun, which is a plus.
The watches are handsome and durable, both built on a foundation of a stainless steel case. Going for a dip? there’s water resistance of up to 5ATM/50 Meters. It also had passed US Military standards, facing extensive tests that earn its MIL-STD-810 certification. Rest as ease, this watch can withstand a beating more than you.
For menu navigation Samsung had stuck to its roots of rotational bezels like the previous Gears, that never gets old as it’s satisfying to zip through widgets and apps by rotating the bezel. The same silent clicks helps lock the bezel in position, making it easy to navigate through the Tizen 4.0-based Smartwatch.
Both watch variants come with the same dual-core Samsung Exynos 9110 Dual core chipset clocked at 1.15GHz, plenty of processing power for a simple smart wearable. Performance wise there’s 768MB RAM to keep things running, as well as 4GB of Internal to install plenty of apps should you prefer to use it standalone and not paired to your smartphone. The LTE version doubles up the RAM to 1.5GB, so performance on that variant should be smoother, even though the base model is already as smooth as it is.
Bixby is on the Galaxy Watch, ready to attend to basic commands, but that’s it. Asking to set alarms and sending messages were easy. I mean it HAS to be easy. it didn’t give me conculsive results when asked for web-searching, but that’s what my phone is for so this is neglible for me, as talking to my phone was just as cool as talking to my watch. Since we’re talking about talking on my watch, the Galaxy Watch’s microphone did well picking up my Bixby commands as well as phone calls. I could only get a good call experience talking in the car, where the loudspeaker had produced enough clarity and volume to create decent line of communication. It won’t fare well in loud places as you wouldn’t want everyone seeing you yell at your watch and stuff it in your ear drum to hear your call. Just connect the Galaxy Buds and swipe the Watch to answer. Voila, you’re cool.
Tizen OS 4.0 is very, very optimized, being able to squeeze up to 4-days of use on a 472 mAh battery (46MM) before needing to fill up the tank again.
This is a feat to flex as nothing was turned off to save a couple of cells. It was my every day fitness tracker, tracking my steps, my heart rate and reminding me to go for a walk. By default once you pair your phone to the watch the notifications get pushed to the watch, and a gentle vibration alerts you of them, as well as showing a quick glance of the notification before the display goes back to sleep.
Battery saving mode extended its last legs 1 and a half days more, shutting off all non-essential processes, leaving you with just the ability to call and receive push notifications. Even more % savings comes from the screen turning monochrome and your watch face being simplified to a simpler one where you can only see the time. A lot of people aren’t fans of the charger that comes with it but I think it’s just fine, charging it sideways. Besides, you don’t need to charge it so frequently anyway.
Health functions hits as well as it misses.
If you were expecting this to replace your FitBit in terms of measuring your physical activities, I’m gonna stop you right there. It’s not like the Galaxy Watch can’t do it. The Samsung S Health app was made to track your runs and workouts, but it’s just not as accurate. If I were to score it’s accuracy for every 5 times it read and tracked my workout accurately, it only managed to pull in 3 correctly, and out of those 3, 2 were running and 1 was weightlifting. (Stretching, Duck walks and supanated bicep curls). For the record, it does a great job keeping up my steps and alerting me to start walking till I get the next notification telling me I had reached my daily step goal. That’s motivating!
Outdoor Run Tracking
I took this opportunity to do both a running track and GPS test. The results were passable, with the Galaxy Watch locking my location via A-GPS quickly to me being in KLCC Park (where I was). The decent part was where it did an accurate job measuring my average and max speed and heart rate. Please take calories burned with a pinch of salt as no wearable is going to be THAT accurate anyway. What didn’t work for me was when the Galaxy Watch just ignored some sharp corners I had to turn to follow the rubberized path, forming awkward lines on the map.
After trying to fall asleep from my daily existential night terrors, it actually tracked my sleeping well. It managed to track when I fell asleep and woke up with a 90% accuracy out of a 7 day week. The watch had a way of knowing whether I was lying down or already up.
There was one feature I really liked and laughed about, which was the stress-tracking app (Imma call it Galaxy Stress). How it works is that it gauges the severity of your stress based on as and when the watch wants to measure your heart rate. In theory, the watch is meant to detect irregular BPM as stress and adds the data to S Health. It kind of helps, but I think I’d know when I’m stressed. Maybe in the future the next Galaxy Watch could have a blood-pressure monitor that can do the job and add that real time data to Galaxy Stress (Please make it a thing).
Conclusion - Who is it for?
It’s not difficult to like the Galaxy Watch, and it was also not difficult to know who’s it made for. It’s got all the good ingredients to make a good SMARTWATCH, but still needs just a little more optimization for fitness tracking and tracking your running paths. It’s got great battery life thanks to optimized hardware and software, and you can find 22mm watch straps anywhere if you’d like to change things up. I love replying texts via the simple keyboard and swiping, as well as the gentle vibrations when there’s an incoming call and I am on silent mode.
It’s priced just right, weighing in at RM 1199 for the 42mm and RM 1299 for the 46mm. It’s made for the metropolitant crawler who prefers to see their notifications at a glance and not have to break out the charger every night to give it enough gas to run the next day.