Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review
Pros: Looks fantastic, easy to use
Cons: Short battery life
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Galaxy Watch 3 is designed specifically for Samsung phones, so we wouldn't really recommend this product to Android or iOS users as there are much better wearables designed for those operating systems.
Ease of Use
We began our testing and review process by looking at how easy to use the Galaxy Watch 3 is, based on the interface, responsiveness of its touchscreen, water-resistance, wristband, and charging method. It did very well in this metric, meriting it one of the top scores of the entire group.
The Galaxy Watch 3 is water-resistant to a depth of up to 50 meters — more than enough to handle a dip in the pool or leaving it on in the shower. It's also very easy to switch watch bands, so you can swap to a more waterproof one if necessary in a matter of minutes.
We found the touchscreen interface to be very responsive, easily interpreting our taps and swipes as desired. You also have the option to use the rotating bezel to scroll through menus, minimizing fingerprints on your screen. We really like this feature, finding it a smooth and easy way to operate the watch. The screen also wakes up almost instantly when you raise your wrist, lighting up in less than half a second or so.
The watch uses a wireless charging disc that attaches magnetically to the back to recharge. It stays in place fairly well and doesn't usually fall off accidentally but will easily detach when you're ready to go.
Moving on to our next metric, we looked at the different smart features and functions each of these smartwatches have. The Galaxy Watch 3 again did very well, earning close to the top score.
We started by looking at how many third-party apps the Galaxy Watch 3 is compatible with. Of our test suite of common apps, this watch worked with about half: Uber, Spotify, Messenger, Strava, and a Twitter viewer. However, we did see lots of reports or there being problems with Uber and Strava. This watch does let you answer and take phone calls right from your wrist, as well as respond to messaging apps with quick replies.
It has basic music controls and can be used to complete transactions at NFC terminals using Samsung Pay. It also has a standalone GPS unit and the option to upgrade to a cellular/LTE model if you want to retain connectivity even when disconnected from your smartphone.
Our next round of tests rated and ranked the Galaxy Watch 3's screen quality. We think it is one of the better looking watches of the bunch, earning it a top-tier score.
This smartwatch has a 1.2" or 1.4" Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360x 360 pixels. It has ample brightness, making it very easy to read in bright sunlight or after dark. The backlight can also be enabled to automatically adjust brightness or to stay on all the time.
Next, we scored how the Galaxy Watch 3 does as a fitness and health tracker. This wearable continued a trend, again earning a top-notch score based on its heart rate monitor, step counter, and workout tracking abilities.
This watch only had an average step counter error of approximately 3 steps over the course of our three trials. We walked a mile with this watch for each trial, using a mechanical counter to get the exact step count.
This model also did very well in our heart rate monitoring test. We used a chest strap monitor to compare readings, looking both at a resting and elevated heart rate. The Galaxy Watch 3, only averaging about 6 bpm off of the chest strap, though there was the occasional larger discrepancy at times when comparing with an elevated heart rate.
You can track a ton of different workouts through the Samsung Health app, with this watch recording things like your distance, speed, duration, HR, estimated calories, and much more, depending on the type of workout. For example, it has dedicated profiles for running, cycling, swimming, running coach, other workout walking, hiking, treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical training, circuit training, weight machine, and many more.
However, we did notice that this model doesn't seem to monitor the number of stairs climbed throughout your day.
Our last metric analyzed the battery life of each smartwatch and this is where we feel the Galaxy Watch 3 fell short. It didn't last for a super long time, earning it a mediocre score.
We tested the smaller version of this watch and found that it would only last for 36-38 hours of normal use in our tests, which is just a bit less than the claimed amount. It also takes a little longer to charge than some of its competitors, taking over an hour just to hit 50% battery and more than two to completely recharge.
This is a high-end smartwatch at a high-end price, making it a poor option if you are shopping on a budget and looking for the best bang for the buck.
We think this is an excellent smartwatch for anyone with a Samsung phone — as long as they don't mind charging it every day. It's packed with smart features, looks great, and is very convenient and easy to use, all while being a full fitness and health tracker. Our biggest issue is its battery life, which can be easily remedied by charging it daily, though this makes it a poor option for anyone who wants to wear it at night for sleep tracking.
— Austin Palmer and David Wise