Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review: classic style and new features
Functions that were missed by users in Russia and some other countries at the start of sales were ECG recording and blood pressure measurement. The reason for this is the need to coordinate their activation with the state regulatory authorities, which are strict about medical devices. Legally, the Galaxy Watch3 is not one of those devices. Samsung also warns of this - the watch and the companion app display relevant prompts during measurements.
The process of taking a cardiogram takes around 30 seconds on average. Simply follow the on-screen instructions: pull the strap tightly around one wrist and place your finger on the upper side key and remain still for half a minute. The gadget will then display the ECG result and a brief explanation of it. Sometimes there are difficulties - the Galaxy Watch3 is very picky about the slightest movement and vibration during the measurement. Even in ideal conditions, where it is possible to sit still, not every attempt is successful. The Samsung Health Monitor app must also be installed on the smartphone and a SIM card with mobile internet access is required - a Wi-Fi connection alone is not sufficient for taking ECGs.
Blood pressure measurements require the watch to be pre-calibrated with a tonometer. Otherwise the process is not much different from taking the same cardiogram - you have to sit down and don't move or talk for about 30 seconds. All results will be stored in the Samsung Health Monitor, through which you can view the history and share the data with others.
Of course, the Galaxy Watch3 is capable of more than just an ECG and blood pressure measurement. As befits a flagship device, it's equipped with a wide range of sensors to help track various body indicators. This includes heart rate, duration and quality of sleep, blood oxygen saturation and physical activity.
Unlike the two new features, these indicators can be measured continuously, in automatic mode. The same applies to exercise - the Galaxy Watch3 will, in most cases, correctly recognise the start of activity and start keeping statistics. In total, the device supports more than thirty types of workouts. In addition, the watch is equipped with its own GPS module, allowing it to memorise routes while running or walking without the help of a smartphone.
Samsung's approach to interacting with smartwatches is original. While most manufacturers release one app with the maximum number of functions, the Korean brand offers three apps at once: Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Health and Samsung Health Monitor. All three work closely together, but have a clear separation of duties.
Galaxy Wearable is the standard tool for working with Samsung wearable devices. It is used to pair the gadget with a smartphone, set up the display of messenger notifications and other basic actions. You can also choose a new watch face from an extensive library or install additional apps on your watch.
Samsung Health integrates most of the functions related to health and physical activity tracking. Heart rate monitoring logs, sleep statistics and other such data are collected here. The developers have not forgotten about the social component - the application allows you to share your progress and other information with your friends, as well as evaluate their achievements. Samsung Health Monitor is responsible for ECG and blood pressure measurements.
The Galaxy Watch3 is designed in a mature way. The case is made of steel - if that's not enough for someone, there is also a titanium version. The design is austere, serious and close to a classic wrist chronometer. The included leather strap only enhances this impression, although it makes the watch unsuitable for swimming training. That said, the Galaxy Watch3's case can withstand immersion to a depth of 50 metres and is MIL-STD-810G certified. The strap attachment is standard - it can easily be replaced with any other Samsung or third-party brand.
The Galaxy Watch3 is available in two sizes, with a 45mm and 41mm case diameter. Each variant has its own set of colours. The larger version is sold in Russia in black and silver, while the compact one comes in black and bronze.
The Galaxy Watch3 runs the proprietary Tizen OS 5 combined with the One UI Watch 2 shell. The interface is familiar to smartphone owners: there's a home screen with a watch face and additional desktops where apps and widgets can be displayed. There's also the familiar Android-user's quick-access curtain with various functions and settings. Tizen OS also gets its own Galaxy Store, through which additional apps can be installed.
It should be noted that the handling of notifications in the system is well implemented. In most cases it is possible not only to read the text, but also to reply to it using pre-prepared short phrases. Or even write a new one - the watch supports both handwriting recognition and an alphanumeric keyboard. With a built-in microphone and speaker, the Watch3 can also be used as a headset if you can't reach your smartphone.
The Galaxy Watch3 features a circular display based on a Super AMOLED matrix. The diagonal depends on the size of the case: the 45mm version features a 1.4-inch panel - these are the ones that made it to the test. The compact version gets a 1.2-inch display. The resolution is in any case the same - 360x360 pixels.
The image is clear, without graininess and other negative effects. I was also pleased with the display's behaviour on the street: the margin of brightness is such that the information is clearly readable even on a sunny day. Note the quality of the automatic brightness adjustment. A nice bonus of using the AMOLED matrix is the support of the Always on Display function. It allows the screen to work all the time. You don't have to gesture every time to read a notification or view the time.
The Galaxy Watch3 may seem to have no flaws at all. This is not the case: for the sake of an advanced OS and quality display, battery life has had to be cut. In normal use with constant pairing with a smartphone and active Always on Display, a full charge lasts at best 1.5-2 days. In most situations, the watch needs to be powered up as often as the smartphone. Although it is possible to switch off most of the features and get a couple more days of battery life, but for a device like this, it's still not much.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 comes close to being a reference smartwatch. It combines versatile design with robust construction and a wealth of functionality, made even more extensive by the unlocking of EKG and blood pressure measurements. The only weakness is the device's modest battery life. However, the strengths do outweigh the weaknesses.