Reviews You Can Rely On

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Review

This is a great option for Samsung phone users, but we found the mediocre battery life to be somewhat disappointing
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Credit: Samsung
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Price:   $400 List | $299.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Looks fantastic, easy to use
Cons:  Short battery life
Manufacturer:   Samsung
By Austin Palmer and David Wise  ⋅  Nov 18, 2020
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 11
  • Ease of Use - 30% 8
  • Smart Functions - 20% 7
  • Display - 20% 9
  • Fitness Impact - 15% 8
  • Battery Life - 15% 5

Our Verdict

While the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 scored close to the top of the group overall, it couldn't quite clinch one of the awards. It's packed with smart features and functions, all while being a solid fitness tracker and one of the more user-friendly wearables that we have tested. Unfortunately, its somewhat disappointing result in our battery test kept it from claiming one of the top spots.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Looks fantastic, easy to useStylish, multitude of features, exceptional displayEasy to use, great display, impressive battery lifeGood value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery lifeEasy to use, good display
Cons Short battery lifeVery pricey, essentially limited to iOSGiant bezel, could have more smart functionsCould be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functionsMediocre fitness tracking, so-so battery life
Bottom Line This is a great option for Samsung phone users, but we found the mediocre battery life to be somewhat disappointingIf you are looking for the absolute best wearable to pair with your iPhone, this is itIf you want a top-notch smartwatch and have a Samsung phone, this wearable is by far the bestThe smart features packed into this fitness-focused wearable make this watch a worthy choice for the priceWe think this wearable is one of the better options out there if you have an Android phone
Rating Categories Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Apple Watch Series 6 Samsung Galaxy Watch Fitbit Versa 3 Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3
Ease Of Use (30%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Smart Functions (20%)
7.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Display (20%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Fitness Impact (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Battery Life (15%)
5.0
6.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 Apple Watch Series 6 Samsung Galaxy Watch Fitbit Versa 3 Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3
Water Resistant 5 ATM 5 ATM Up to 50 meters 5 ATM IP68
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
NFC (Android, Apple, Samsung, or Fitbit Pay) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR Monitor Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display 1.2-inch or 1.4-inch AMOLED 44mm or 40mm 30mm or 33mm AMOLED 1.58-inch OLED 1.4-inch AMOLED with FSTN top screen
Resolution 360 x 360 368 by 448
324 by 394
360x360 336 x 336 454x454
Built-in Microphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Speaker Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Barometer
ECG
Ambient light sensor
Electrical heart sensor
Fall detection
Barometric altimeter
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light
Accelerometer
Ambient Light
Gyroscope
Barometer
Ambient light sensor
Altimeter
3-axis accelerometer
Accelerometer
Barometer
Ambient light sensor
Processor Exynos 9110 dual-core at 1.15GHz S6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor Exynos 9110 Dual core 1.15GHz N/A Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor

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.

Performance Comparison


If you have a Samsung phone, then this watch is definitely worth...
If you have a Samsung phone, then this watch is definitely worth your consideration.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


We began our testing and review process by looking at how easy it is to use the Galaxy Watch 3 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.

The standard watch clasp makes it easy to clip or unclip.
The standard watch clasp makes it easy to clip or unclip.
Credit: Laura Casner

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 charger magnetically couples to the back of the watch.
The charger magnetically couples to the back of the watch.
Credit: Laura Casner

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.

This watch has a solid set of smart features and functions.
This watch has a solid set of smart features and functions.
Credit: Laura Casner

Smart Functions


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. This watch worked with about half of our test suite of common apps: Uber, Spotify, Messenger, Strava, and a Twitter viewer. However, we did see lots of reports of folks having issues using Uber and Strava. However, this watch lets 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.

Overall, we think this watch looks great.
Overall, we think this watch looks great.
Credit: Laura Casner

Display


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 360 x 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.

This smartwatch can provide some much-needed motivation to keep your...
This smartwatch can provide some much-needed motivation to keep your fitness on track.
Credit: Laura Casner

Fitness Impact


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.

The Galaxy Watch 3 did impress us when it came to tracking workouts...
The Galaxy Watch 3 did impress us when it came to tracking workouts and measuring your heart rate.
Credit: Laura Casner

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 averaged about 6 bpm difference from 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, this model doesn't seem to monitor the number of stairs climbed throughout your day.

This watch delivered average results in our battery tests.
This watch delivered average results in our battery tests.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life


Our last metric analyzed each smartwatch's battery life, 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's also slower to charge than some of its competitors, taking over an hour just to hit 50% battery and more than two to completely recharge.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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