I’ll put it out there, I am not a fan of Apple. Shock, horror, hide my address for fear of hate mail!
I am sure all the hoards of people who own an Apple product, any Apple product, absolutely love it and will not hear a word said against it. But, I have never been a fan. I find their products over-rated, over-complicated, over-expensive and quite manipulative. What I mean by that is that to do anything on an Apple product, you have to do it the Apple way. If you want to do it some other way, you have to jump through hoops of fire. There is a chance, however, that I may be biased, having worked for one of their main competitors for over 20 years!
So, what is the point of my raising my dislike in this article, which is not about an Apple product? Good question, thanks for asking! Well, my point is that, as far as mobile devices are concerned, I am very much an Android man. Which brings me round to the one of the best smart watches on the market, the Samsung Galaxy Watch.
The first thing to say about the Galaxy Watch is that it looks fantastic. It is stylish, impressive and functional. It comes in two sizes, 42mm and 46mm. They both look classy, but I would personally opt for the larger of the two, for reasons I will come to later. Anyway, in all, it really does look like a quality timepiece and comments I have had whilst wearing it, even from strangers, appear to back that up. Compare it to the Apple watch on the right and you will see what I mean.
And, at about half the price, the Galaxy Watch makes a lot more sense!
When it comes to using the Galaxy Watch, which, after all, is the main point of it, I really like the way Samsung have designed this. You navigate via the rotating bezel, which means the screen is not obliterated by your sausage fingers trying numerous times to press the minuscule buttons on the watch face of most smart watches. And the bezel also helps to protect the screen as well. Nice bonus there!
The screen itself is, of course, the usual Super AMOLED used on other Samsung devices and is as impressive as ever. With a 1.3″ diameter screen on the 46mm version and 1.2″ on the 42mm, makes everything easy to read at all times, assisted by the adaptive brightness functionality. Samsung also claim that the screen’s Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ will prevent the display from getting scratched. I have yet to test that claim, though!
As far as software is concerned, the Galaxy Watch uses Samsung’s own Tizen operating system, rather than Google’s Wear OS, due in part to the rotating bezel functionality. There is one inherent issue here, though, in that I did notice a slight delay at times in waking up the display. This can be a little frustrating at times and I am hoping this will be rectified in a future update. Some might complain about a lack of apps available on the app store, but I am not too bothered about that, as I can do anything else required on my Samsung phone. And I am sure that Samsung are working on additional apps as we speak. I wish they would just altogether get rid of the Bixby assistant from all devices it is terrible! Yes, even Siri is an improvement!
You can choose from 60,000 watch faces, or even design your own custom face if, for some bizarre reason you cannot find one you like! And Samsungs partnership with Spotify means offline music playback is possible. As a Spotify user, I found this a really useful feature. On top of that, the watch has 4GB of internal storage.
Long Battery Life
What about battery life? I tested it to the full, playing Spotify whilst working out in the gym (so also using the fitness tracker), as well as calling and texting and the battery lasted almost four days. That matches the numbers that Samsung are claiming (four days on the 46mm, three days on the 42mm). Another impressive feature of the watch, although probably wouldn’t fare quite as well with the always-on feature enabled. It is also waterproof to 50 meters (although, please note my article here).
It has sensors to make full use of the updated Samsung Heath app and this is actually rather good. It can track 39 exercises and will auto-detect six these, meaning that, even if you forget to turn the fitness tracker on, it will still record your stats for these 6 exercises. It will also vibrate if you are too sedentary. Yikes! The sleep tracker measures the quality your sleep with a breakdown of your time in bed: motionless, light, and restless sleep. You can measure your sleep patterns and view your sleep trend over time. Really useful, although you will have to get used to the weigh of the watch on your wrist during the night!
As far as options are concerned, the 46mm has a stainless steel case with black bezel and a choice of three 22mm straps: Onyx Black, Basalt Grey and Deep Ocean Blue. The 42mm is available in black or rose gold and has a 20mm strap with a few more choices of colour: Onyx Black, Lunar Grey, Terracotta Red, Lime Yellow, Cosmo Purple, Pink Beige, Cloud Grey, and Natural Brown.
There is also the rose gold 42mm version, for around £239
Should you buy a Galaxy Watch?
To answer this, you have to ask yourself a couple of other questions.
Firstly, do you own an Android phone? If so, then the Galaxy Watch is definitely the way to go. If you are an iPhone user, then probably not. Although the Galaxy watch is, apparently, compatible with the iPhone, I would imagine that the functionality would be limited and the experience less than satisfactory. So, do yourself a favour and switch to Android! No, seriously, if you are an iPhone user, then the latest Apple Watch Series 5 is probably your best bet.
The second question is, do you want a watch that looks like a traditional watch, classy, sophisticated, elegant, then definitely the Galaxy Watch. But, if you want something that belongs in a low-budget sci-fi vision of the ‘future’, go for something else!