Wearables

Gorgeous watch with health features

The Galaxy Watch3 can measure the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and detect falls.
The Galaxy Watch3 can measure the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and detect falls.

The Galaxy Watch3 is the latest flagship smartwatch from Samsung.

Successor to the Galaxy Watch (there is no Watch2, but there was a cheaper Watch Active2), the Watch3 comes in two sizes, both available in cellular (LTE) and non-cellular versions.

The 45mm models are in silver and black, while the 41mm models are available in silver and bronze.

The 41mm models, which have a 1.2-inch circular touchscreen display, are ideal for those with smaller wrists, while the 44mm models have a 1.4-inch display.

Apart from the size difference, they are identical in design.

With its classic timepiece design, the Watch3 looks similar to the Galaxy Watch, although the Watch3 has slimmer lugs. It retains its predecessor's unique rotating bezel and the two buttons on the watch case's right.

The review model - a 41mm bronze non-cellular version - looks gorgeous, with its leather strap matching the colour of the bronze stainless-steel case. It looks even better after I use a matching analogue watch face to give it an all-bronze shine. During lunch meetings, several acquaintances mistake it for an analogue watch.

I have always been a fan of the rotating bezel, as it lets you navigate the smartwatch's interface without blocking the display.

You can easily scroll through the smartwatch's Tizen operating system by turning the bezel. Plus, the user interface puts apps in a circular arrangement, so you can go to the app you want quickly.

When connected to an Android smartphone, the watch's notifications appear as tiles that you can tap on, to read the entire e-mail or reply to messages.

  • FOR

    •Classic timepiece design

    •Intuitive rotating bezel

    •Many new health features, like SpO2 measurement

    AGAINST

    •A tad expensive

    •Works best with Android smartphones

    SPECS

    PRICE: From $648 (41mm Bluetooth, version tested) to $848 (45mm LTE)

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

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    WEIGHT: 48.2g (41mm without strap)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

It probably offers the best smartwatch experience outside of the Apple Watch.

But it is not optimised for iOS. There are notifications I cannot reply to and e-mails that cannot be scrolled.

On the health-monitoring front, the Watch3 has several new features, including one that measures SpO2, or the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream.

There is also a feature that detects falls using an accelerometer, similar to the feature offered by the Apple Watch.

Two other new health features of the Watch3 - electrocardiogram measurement and blood pressure monitor - are not yet available in Singapore as they are pending the authorities' approval.

Like its predecessor, the Watch3 supports the Samsung Pay contactless payment. This is great - I can pay for post-run drinks easily with a tap of the watch.

It is also water-resistant to a depth of 50m, so you can wear it all the time, and whether you are running or swimming.

While it tracks sleep, I find it a tad bulky to wear in bed. Nonetheless, it will give you a score of your sleep quality based on how much time you spend in each sleeping stage.

It pinpoints the time I go to bed and wake up, as well as notes the periods when I am in light or deep sleep.

In terms of step tracking, the Watch3 is really accurate. It registers only 1.5 per cent more steps than my calibrated Apple Watch Series 4.

On my usual 5km jogging route, the watch's GPS function tracks only 50m more than the actual distance.

When it comes to battery life, the Watch3 - when constantly connected to a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra - has about 30 per cent battery left at the end of two days, in which I go for a 5km GPS-tracked jog and record a night of sleep data.

The Watch3 has a fairly hefty starting price tag of $648. This is more expensive than the Apple Watch Series 5 base model ($599) as well as the Oppo Watch ($399 for the 46mm version), the latest Wear OS smartwatch in the market.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2020, with the headline 'Gorgeous watch with health features'. Print Edition | Subscribe