3 smartwatches to consider

Good-looking and affordable

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch
2. Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is the first smartwatch from the South Korean chaebol to shed the "Gear" moniker of its predecessors. This name change streamlines with the company's Galaxy smartphones.

Unlike its predecessor Gear S3, which comes in two designs ("classic" and "frontier"), the Galaxy Watch features only one design. But it now comes in two sizes for different wrist sizes. There are the rose-gold and all-black 42mm models and a silver 46mm model (version tested).

The 46mm model has a slightly bigger 1.3-inch (360 x 360 pixels) circular touchscreen display compared with the 42mm model's 1.2-inch display of the same resolution.

As a fan of bigger watches, I prefer the 46mm model, even though the 42mm model is a better fit for my wrist.

The Galaxy Watch looks pretty much like the frontier version of its predecessor. There are two rectangular buttons, located at the two o'clock and four o'clock positions, which serve as the back and home button respectively.

It also retains the unique rotating bezel, which lets users navigate the smartwatch's interface without blocking the display. You can easily scroll through the smartwatch's Tizen operating system by turning the bezel.

In addition, Tizen OS' user interface puts apps in a circular arrangement, so you can go to the app you want quickly. It now also has a page where you can put your most-used apps together for easy access.

Samsung has included a few new watch faces for the new smartwatch. After downloading many other third-party watch faces, I ended up still using the original Tomcat watch face. It displays the most important information like weather and steps taken, and gels seamlessly with the watch itself. A nice touch is the ticking sound it makes when the second hand turns.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: $398 (42mm), $448 (46mm)

    COMPATIBILITY: Smartphones running Android 5.0 and above or iOS 9.0 and above

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    WEIGHT: 81g (46mm watch case with silicone strap)

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Improving on its predecessor's IP68 water-resistant rating, the Galaxy Watch is now water-resistant to a depth of 50m. Thus, you can swim with it. There is even a Water Lock feature that prevents accidental activation of the display and other functions due to contact with water.

The Galaxy Watch has United States Military Standard Compliant (MIL-STD-810G) certification of protection, which means it is more rugged and shock-resistant than its predecessor. But the display is only protected by Gorilla Glass DX+ and not sapphire. However, I did accidentally drop the Galaxy Watch a few times during this review and it still worked perfectly fine.

In terms of steps tracking, the Galaxy Watch registered around 1.2 per cent more steps than my calibrated Apple Watch Series 2. Considering the Galaxy Watch was not calibrated, the accuracy is quite amazing.

It took only three seconds for the Galaxy Watch to secure a GPS lock around my Housing Board estate. On my usual 5km jogs, it tracked about 100m more than the actual distance. Again, the difference is really negligible.

 
 
 

The Galaxy Watch supports Samsung Pay contactless payment. This is great, as I can pay for my post-run drinks easily with a tap of the watch.

Samsung claims that the Galaxy Watch (46mm model) can last 80 hours on a full charge. In my tests, with the Tomcat watchface, I found that the smartwatch still has 70 per cent battery left at the end of the day. It can easily last you three full days.

The best part about the Galaxy Watch is its affordable price. While the entry-level Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $599, the 42mm model starts at just below $400.

• Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy Watch is probably the best value-for-money smartwatch in the market now with its good looks, array of features, great battery life and affordable price tag.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2018, with the headline 'Good-looking and affordable'. Print Edition | Subscribe