Sport Passion   -  advice and training tips

Samsung Galaxy Watch: the connected watch that rivals the Apple Watch

by Philippe Baudoin © Copyright (published 23/02/2019)
Samsung Galaxy Watch

A Smartwatch with advanced connected features for sport and wellness.

Elegant design, long battery life, rotating crown for easy and intuitive navigation, voice recognition, advanced features, Spotify, contactless payment and much more make this sporty connected watch a serious competitor of the Apple Watch. Discover its features and our opinion.

This new connected watch from Samsung marks the end of the Gear Series and the beginning of the Galaxy Series. This is a watch that can do just about anything and will delight both athletes and non-athletes alike. If you were looking for an Apple Watch but did not want to take the step of buying an iPhone, this watch is made for you!

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Features of the Galaxy Watch

Case dimensions
45.7 x 41.9 x 12.7 mm (42 mm model)
49 x 46 x 13 mm (46 mm model)
Weight
49 g (42 mm model) and 63 g (46 mm model)
Screen
Color (16 M), touch, AMOLED 360 x 360 px, 568 cd/m2, 1.2" (42 mm model) and 1.3" (46 mm model)
Autonomy
14 h GPS mode / 5 d clock mode (42 mm model)
23 h GPS mode / 7 d clock mode (46 mm model)
GPS
GPS, GLONASS
Multisports
Yes, with transition between activities
Recommended activities
Bike, running, swimming, indoor sport. 39 sports.
Connectivity
iOS and Android, PC, Mac. Bluetooth wireless data transfer. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz.
Cardio-frequency meter
Yes, cardio optics at wrist
Topographic maps
No (but display via App)
Activity tracker
Yes
Music player
Yes + Spotify
Payment system
Yes
Telephony / 4G
With Smartphone (4G connectivity expected in 2019)
Barometric altimeter
Yes
Barometer
Yes
Weather
Yes
Memory
4 GB (1.5 GB available for music)
RAM 0.75 GB
Waterproof
5 ATM (50 m), suitable for swimming
Other
Loud speaker and microphone, Internet access, Bixby voice assistant, voice coach, weather, sunrise and sunset times, remote control of connected objects (vacuum cleaner, air-conditioner, etc.), stress and sleep monitoring, military certification, dual core processor, audio player formats: MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB
The connected Galaxy Watch sports watch is the best alternative to the excellent Apple Watch

Quick presentation of the Samsung Galaxy Watch

Who is the Galaxy Watch for?

Released in September 2018, the Galaxy Watch is a connected watch for sport and well-being. Elegant, robust and very complete, it is designed for sport and everyday life. It is aimed at a mixed audience, men and women, athletes or not, who like to have practical tools to help them on a daily basis and in their sport. It can also be worn as a classic watch with a range of tools that can be used as needed.

Feature overview

Comparable to the Apple Watch, this watch is a real Swiss Army knife offering multiple tools for everyday life and for sport. It is an on-board microcomputer including a personal assistant and a sports coach.

It is equipped with sensors (GPS, altimeter, barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, heart rate sensor) and offers many features to make everyday life easier and to support the athlete in his outings.

It offers voice assistance (you can talk to the watch, ask it questions or give it orders), an agenda, access to online applications (Youtube, weather forecast, news, search and booking of a restaurant, hotel, taxi, etc.), GPS guidance with map display, an mp3 player with access to Spotify (on subscription), a contactless payment function, call and SMS management (you can call with your watch) and much more.

With regard to sports functions, the watch encourages its user to move and measures his daily activity (shopping, cleaning, etc.). It indicates the calories expended, the number of steps taken, the number of floors climbed. It analyses sleep, measures stress level, helps to relax through appropriate exercises. It supports the athlete in his sport with 39 programmed activities, data recording, voice coaching, detailed analysis of the outing, display of the route on a map, online sharing with the community. In short, everything you need for a good sports follow-up.

Galaxy Watch versus Apple Watch

Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch compared
If the Apple Watch is one step ahead, the Samsung has the advantage to be compatible with an Android phone

Compared to the Apple Watch, which requires an iPhone, this watch has the advantage of working with Android and iOS. It is therefore perfect for Android phone owners who do not want to switch to the iPhone.

Its look is different (round instead of square) but it is a matter of taste here. Some will prefer the sleek design of the Apple Watch, others the authenticity of the Galaxy Watch.

The Apple Watch offers a better screen resolution: 324 x 394 pixels and 368 x 448 pixels respectively for the Apple Watch 4 models 40 and 44 mm against 360 x 360 pixels only for the Samsung.

Regarding features, the Apple Watch 4 is one step ahead with voice recognition that works well while the Galaxy Watch is not yet fully developed. Apple offers telephony without a smartphone (eSIM and 4G LTE chip integrated), a feature that Samsung will soon offer in France (scheduled for release in 2019). The apple brand also offers a A limited ECG (electrocardiogram) function but which would have already saved several lives. The Apple Watch also has a fall detection and SOS call function that can be useful in the event of an accident.

Discover our detailed review and opinion on the Apple Watch 4.

Detailed review of the Galaxy Watch

Design: neat and chic

The Galaxy Watch is a watch with a neat and elegant design that works very well in the city, at work or for sports outings. It has the appearance of an authentic watch with its steel bezel and, for classic dials, a second hand that makes a ticking sound like a mechanical watch. Its display is permanent except in power save mode. It is a robust watch with its steel bezel, a Gorilla Glass DX+ ultra-resistant glass and a military standard MIL STD 810 G -516.6

Watch seen from the front
An elegant design for this watch available in 2 wrist sizes.

It has an AMOLED screen with 16 million colours, touch screen and excellent brightness (568 cd/m2). This allows it to be readable even in direct sunlight. Its definition is 360 x 360 px for a size of 1.2" (42 mm model) or 1.3" (46 mm model). Note the difference with the Fenix 5 Plus whose screen size is independent of the body size (same resolution and screen definition).

In addition to its touch screen, the watch offers 2 buttons on the side and a rotating bezel that allows you to navigate through the screens with ease.

The Galaxy Watch is available in 2 sizes (42 mm and 46 mm) to suit all wrists, even the thinnest.

Samsung offers many watch faces, free or not, and customizable dials.

As for the bracelet, it is made of light and flexible silicone and is interchangeable (20 mm bracelets for the 42 mm model and 22 mm for the 46 mm model). The manufacturer also offers a wide range of colours.

A personalized assistant

The Galaxy Watch makes it possible to optimize your day. When you wake up, it displays the weather forecast, the schedule for the next 10 hours summarized on a MyDay dial, reminders and more. In the evening, before going to bed, she summarizes the day's activities and displays reminders that have not yet been taken into account.

The voice recognition function allows you to ask questions or give orders to the watch.

A user-friendly interface

The watch offers an easy-to-use interface, including intuitive navigation thanks to its rotating crown. It is possible to program the order of the screens to make them easier to access, especially those that are most commonly used. With a simple crown movement, you can access the weather, the news or control the music player. The watch dials are customizable.

A voice assistant

Thanks to Bixby Vision, Samsung's voice assistant (the equivalent of Siri on the Apple Watch), you can give orders to the watch or ask it questions.

An mp3 player to listen to music without a smartphone

The Galaxy Watch includes an mp3 player and 1.5GB of memory to store up to 500 music tracks and listen to your favorite music without having to carry your smartphone. The watch also integrates the Spotify application to stream music. You can also download a playlist directly into the watch.

A Samsung Pay contactless payment function

The watch is equipped with an NFC chip allowing you to pay for small purchases without having to take out a credit card. Practical when you play sports and do not want to carry a wallet!

Connected functions: access information and control your home devices

The new Samsung has functions that allow you to access information via a Smartphone or directly in 4G via the cellular network (function that will be available in France in 2019) and to interact with your environment:

  • Access to the Internet (browser), news, weather, Youtube and other services via a dedicated application. For example, you can watch a video online, search for a hotel or restaurant around you, etc. The watch can also make geo-localized reminders, such as reminding you to refuel when you pass by a station.
  • Access to Smartphone notifications (SMS, calls, emails) with the possibility of calling with your watch (built-in microphone and loudspeaker). You can also reply to SMS messages via pre-recorded messages or via a mini numeric keypad or by dictating your message.
  • Online calendar, calendar, voice assistant
  • Environmental control with Home IoT and SmartThings functions: TV, robot vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, connected objects. The user can define custom commands to launch several simultaneous actions.

Functions for health

Samsung Health is an application offered by Samsung to monitor your health. Compatible with all phones, it measures your sporting activity and complements it with many other physiological measures (heart rate, stress level, weight evolution, eating habits, sleep quality, for example).

Activity monitoring to stay motivated

Activity monitoring, now available on many sports watches and on activity wristbands, is a motivating function, especially for the less sporty. It measures your physical activity and the quality of your sleep 24 hours a day. Running, cleaning, gardening, walking to work or school and back are all physical activities that generate significant caloric expenditure. The watch measures and records your daily expenses and encourages you to move.

The Samsung measures the number of steps taken during the day, the distance covered, the calories expended, the heart rate, the number of floors climbed, the quality of sleep, peaceful or agitated (the optical cardio-frequency meter and the accelerometer are used for this). It even measures your stress level and offers appropriate relaxation exercises (synchronized breathing for example) to help you relax. Galaxy Watch also offers nutritional monitoring.

Sports functions: 39 sports

Samsung offers 39 sports profiles, 12 of which are indoor. The watch automatically detects certain activities such as cycling, walking, running or, indoors, elliptical cycling and rameur. It can even automatically start recording an activity if you have forgotten to do so (but it will not record GPS and cardio data).

Display of sports activities
The watch offers 39 sports including 12 indoor activities

It offers an automatic counter for activities such as slits, abdominal muscles, flexions, star jumps. For swimming, the length of the pool can be indicated. However, it will be necessary to drain the water from the watch at the end of the session. To do this, the Samsung vibrates the speaker as it does on the Apple Watch.

The Galaxy Watch is a true multi-sport watch: thanks to the latest TizenOS 4 operating system, it can record up to 6 sports without stopping recording at each transition. It is thus possible to use it as a triathlon watch.

An auto-pause function stops the recording when you stop or, in town, at a traffic light.

To encourage you, the Samsung indicates your performance during the race and can give you advice (vocal coach).

Back home, you can find your route on a map with all the heart rate, distance, speed and detailed analysis data.

The Samsung application

The watch provides access to a large amount of data that can be used on a computer through the interface provided by Samsung. This allows you to view route data, statistics, an analysis of the workout and how you progress. Samsung offers 2 iOS and Android compatible applications:

  • < strong> Galaxy Wear : a minimalist application that provides an overview of the watch's main data: battery status, memory and available storage space. Here you can make basic settings, such as transferring music and photos.
  • < strong> Samsung Health: for athletes, it displays the data recorded by the watch: sports performance, activities, number of steps, calories, sleep data, etc. in graphic form.

The Watch is compatible with the following Smartphones:

  • Galaxy S6, S6 Edge / S6 Edge+
  • Galaxy A and J 2016, S7 / S7 Edge
  • Galaxy A and J 2017, S8 / S8+, Note8
  • Galaxy A and J 2018, S9 / S9+, Crown
  • Android 5.0 and higher smartphone with 1.5 GB RAM
  • Iphone5, IOS 9.0 and later

Range: very good especially for the 46 mm version

Unlike the Apple Watch, Samsung offers a high autonomy for its watch (see summary table below). Even if we are far from reaching the level of some sports watches, it should be noted that connected watches are usually very energy-hungry and do not last long. Samsung was able to stand out from the competition thanks to a new, more economical processor.

It should be noted that the autonomy offered varies according to the model. The 42 mm version has a 270 mAh battery on board, compared to the 472 mAh of the 46 mm model. In the end, this represents a difference of 40 to 70% of autonomy depending on the use.

To make the watch last even longer, it automatically switches to power saving mode when the storage capacity drops below 15%. The screens then change to black and white and access to apps and widgets is restricted except for smartphone notifications.

The watch can be charged in less than 3 hours thanks to an induction wireless charger (AirPower).

ModèleGalaxy Watch 42 mmGalaxy Watch 46 mmApple Watch 4
Mode montre5j7 j18 h
Mode GPS14 h 23 h 6 h
Autonomy of the Samsung Galaxy Watch and comparison with the Apple Watch

Samsung Galaxy Watch 42 or 46 mm? The differences

The 42 mm model will be more suitable for thin wrists, especially for female wrists. This model is also lighter (49 g instead of 63 g) but its autonomy is lower (see our comparison above).

The advantage of the 46 mm model is that it has a larger and therefore more comfortable screen, especially for reading a map, watching a video or reading news, even if the definition remains the same between the two models. This model also offers a silvery stainless steel finish that is not found on the small model.

Our opinion on the Samsung Galaxy Watch: should you buy it?

The Galaxy Watch is an attractive watch with its attractive appearance and complete functions. It is currently the best alternative to the Apple Watch, especially for people who are looking for this type of watch that is practical, elegant and versatile but do not want to buy an iPhone (a necessary condition for using an Apple Watch).

Watch connected with Galaxy Watch second hand
The Galaxy Watch is a watch that seduces by its appearance and its complete functions. It is currently the best alternative to Apple Watch

We were seduced by its authentic watch look, its robustness and its rotating crown that greatly simplifies navigation (a crown movement allows you to move to the next screen). It is a pleasant to use watch, with a fluid and intuitive interface thanks to the new TizenOS 4 operating system, its colour touch screen is pleasant to read and can be read even in direct sunlight thanks to a very bright panel which, on the other hand, can disturb some people at night!

It should be noted that this watch is more oriented towards well-being than sport. For demanding athletes who are looking for advanced data, training assistance and sports monitoring, it is better to choose a watch exclusively dedicated to sport.

The 46 mm model is a little impressive in size and 13 mm thick (2.3 mm thicker than the Apple Watch) due to its larger battery. It is a little heavier than the 42 mm model (63 g versus 49 g) or an Apple Watch (30 to 37 g depending on the model!). That said, it looks good under clothing. The silicone strap is lightweight. We also appreciate the cardio optics on the wrist which is without protrusion and that we do not feel.

We appreciated the long range of this smartwatch, especially on the 46 mm model. The watch can last up to 7 days in watch mode and 23 hours in GPS mode, values to be compared to the Apple Watch's maximum 18 hours (6 hours in GPS mode)!

We like the Spotify app which, with the mp3 player, allows you to listen to music in streaming. Of course, you can also download your favourite music to listen to it offline and without a smartphone via Bluetooth headsets.

The contactless payment function Samsung Pay is finally available in France, although its use is still quite limited today. This convenient feature allows you to pay for your purchases (coffee, sandwiches, etc.) without having to carry a wallet or a smartphone when you play sports.

Unlike the Apple Cellular Watch, the Galaxy Watch does not yet have 4G connectivity in France, but it will soon be. Samsung announces the release of this model in 2019. It will allow you to make calls and access the Internet without a smartphone or Wi-Fi.

Concerning the comfort of the watch, the screen remains too small to view videos, consult the internet via a browser or type a text using the digital dial! As for making a phone call from your watch, the audio quality of the microphone is not optimal but it can help.

We liked
  • A beautiful watch, with a more chic than sporty look and suitable for both men and women
  • The fluidity of the interface
  • The very practical rotating crown
  • The quality of the display (contrast, colours)
  • The quality of sports monitoring
We would have liked
  • 4G connectivity
  • A slightly larger screen resolution

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has been available for sale since September 2018 at the recommended retail price of 309 € (42 mm version) and 329 € (46 mm version).

Discover it at our partners and enjoy our coupons.

Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch

Merchant
Price (from)
 
i-Run
249 €
Amazon
250 €

Commercial links. Prices are not contractual. Please visit the merchant site.

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