While other smartphone manufacturers are largely ignoring the market for smart and sports watches, Samsung continues to actively develop this area. Last year, she released the Gear Sport model, and this time has come for the new flagship of the line. the Galaxy Watch. At the same time, it’s interesting that Samsung’s smartwatch on the Tizen platform used to be called Gear, and the Galaxy brand was used only for Android devices. But now the company decided to get rid of these conventions, so let’s see what innovations there are in the Galaxy Watch, in addition to the name.
Compared to the Gear S3 Frontier, the new Galaxy Watch has received cosmetic changes in design, while the design of the case and its dimensions have remained the same. The latter are 49x46x13 mm, weighing 69 grams without a strap.
Of the new in appearance, the Galaxy Watch can be noted more accurate navigation wheel around the display, painted in black, as well as a silver polished case. The lower part has also changed a bit, the optical sensor now protrudes more from the body, thanks to which it is pressed more tightly to the hand.
I am glad that Samsung did not abandon the standard 22 mm straps, so with the Galaxy Watch you can use both compatible straps from third-party manufacturers, and those that were released for the Gear S3 Frontier.
The Galaxy Watch case has protection against water and dust according to the IP68 standard, as well as water resistance according to the ISO 22810: 2010. 5ATM standard, which makes it possible to swim, but not to dive. In addition, Samsung is talking about certification according to the military standard MIL-STD-810G, with passing tests for moisture, immersion in water, and also at working height. Given that the description of the MIL-STD-810G occupies 800 pages and includes 29 tests, with different implementation methods, it’s difficult to say what conditions the clock withstood for passing the tests without a more detailed description.
In general, there are not many changes in the design of the Galaxy Watch, however, even if Samsung had completely decided not to change anything, it would be difficult to put it in cons, because the Gear S3 Frontier today looks great. Like them, the Galaxy Watch has a classic round design that has not been obsolete in the last 100 years and is unlikely to be obsolete in the foreseeable future.
Platform, connection and setup
Here’s what’s really new about the Galaxy Watch is its platform, the watch is built on the basis of a 10-nanometer Exynos 9110 chip with two cores and a frequency of 1.15 GHz. However, the amount of RAM has not changed and amounts to 768 MB with an internal storage capacity of 4 GB. For the Galaxy Watch, this is enough to ensure smooth operation of the interface and quick launch of programs.
Of the wireless modules, the watch has Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi b / g / n, and NFC. Galaxy Watch can connect to smartphones with Android 5.0 and higher, as well as from iPhone, on which iOS is installed at least version 9.0. In the case of Android smartphones, the user gets full functionality, but on the iPhone it will be limited due to iOS restrictions. For example, the user will not always be able to receive notifications for hours, on Android, accordingly, there are no such problems.
To work with the clock, you need to install the Galaxy Wearable application on your smartphone, through which the connection and subsequent configuration are performed. In this program, the user can see the current status of the device: level, charge, occupied RAM and internal memory.
Galaxy Wearable is also responsible for setting alerts that can be displayed on the watch’s screen. This system works with all applications installed on the smartphone, so that the user can choose which notifications he wants to receive and which not.
In addition, for some notifications on the watch itself there are a number of actions, for example, you can read and reply to a message in Telegram, open a Gmail letter, quickly reply to it, delete or archive it. It turns out quite a flexible system that allows you to manage notifications on the clock without touching the smartphone.
In addition to wireless modules, the watch uses A-GPS / Glonass for positioning. This is necessary for tracking some sports, as well as for navigation, if you put a third-party application on the clock for this.
NFC in Galaxy Watch is needed for the Samsung Pay payment service, which does not work in Ukraine yet, but we hope that the company will launch it soon.
The test version of the Galaxy Watch did not have an LTE module, but the watch can receive calls from a smartphone via Bluetooth. Thus, they can be used as a wireless headset, which is convenient in the car or when there is no way to receive a call from a smartphone. At the same time, I note that the external speaker in the watch has become much louder.
Display and control
The Galaxy Watch has a round touch 1.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 360 × 360 pixels, covered with a protective glass Corning Gorilla DX. The colors are traditionally colorful for this type of matrix, and the brightness is adjustable within 10 values, but on the street in direct sunlight it automatically increases due to the light sensor, which allows the screen to remain readable. In general, it is pleasant to work with such a display, it is quite large, has excellent viewing angles and is well read in bright lighting.
To work with the Galaxy Watch interface, you can use both the touch screen and the navigation ring located around it. The latter allows you to not overlap information and scrolls nicely. In addition, on the right side of the watch case there are two mechanical buttons, the upper one takes a step back and with a long press calls Samsung Pay, and the lower one opens the program menu and returns to the main screen with a dial. At the same time, you can assign a quick action by double-clicking on it, for example, to start a workout or create a reminder.
Like the Gear S3 Frontier, the Galaxy Watch got convenient, and most importantly, intuitive controls that you get used to quickly.
Interface and Programs
Galaxy Watch are based on the Tizen version 4.0 operating system. The entire interface of the watch is built around a round display, the program icons in the menu are arranged in a circle, and the widgets are drawn so as to show more useful information based on the shape of the screen. At the same time, it is very convenient to navigate through the interface using the ring around the display.
The Tizen 4.0 interface itself is not much different from version 3.0 in previous Samsung smartwatch models. The main screen in it is always a dial that can show time, as well as additional information. If you scroll the dial to the left, a notification screen will appear, and to the right. widgets, you can delete and add new ones. The program menu opens with the bottom button located on the right side of the watch case. In addition, right from the dial with a swipe from the bottom up, you can open the quick settings menu, from where you can turn on flight mode, power saving, lock the touch screen while swimming, turn off notifications, make the display constantly active, adjust brightness, start the player, and also open the full settings menu.
Sports and fitness functions
The built-in accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and optical heart rate sensor allow the Galaxy Watch to collect data on physical activity, as well as the user’s heart rate, and store all this in S Health with subsequent analysis.
The clock can track not only steps, but also running, swimming, cycling, cycling, elliptical, step fitness equipment, lunges, twisting, squats, press, jumping, Pilates, pull-ups, yoga, rowing, training on simulators and much more.
During sports, the Galaxy Watch measures your heart rate through an optical heart rate monitor. It is quite accurate, as for this class of sensors, but loses to the chest. It should be borne in mind that during running, the optical sensor measures the pulse more accurately than when exercising in the gym or while swimming, since it accumulates moisture on the skin.
If you go to bed in the watch, they automatically track the time and quality of sleep, while the user can turn on the alarm clock, which wakes up with a sound signal or vibration.
The built-in A-GPS / Glonass module allows the watch to track the distance traveled while running or cycling. And you don’t need to take a smartphone with you, the Galaxy Watch can determine the location without it. The start of the A-GPS / Glonass module in this case takes 30-40 seconds, but in dense urban areas this time can increase up to several minutes.
To determine the height, the Galaxy Watch has an altimeter that works on the basis of a barometer, which determines the pressure difference at different heights.
In general, compared to its predecessor, the set of sports capabilities of the Galaxy Watch, although slightly expanded, has expanded, the watch now has swimming support and more options for tracking activities in the gym.
One of the most important innovations in the Galaxy Watch is a 472 mAh battery. Let me remind you that in the Gear S3 Frontier with the same dimensions it was 380 mAh, so the change is noticeable. Samsung announced during the announcement that the watch can work without recharging for a week. Here, I’ll immediately note that the company was a little tricked, the Galaxy Watch provides 7 days of battery life with minimal use, or if you put them in energy saving mode.
But in general, autonomy compared to the Gear S3 Frontier really increased, with normal use, which includes checking time, alerts, pedometer and working with programs, it is 4-5 days.
If you add sports to this, then autonomy will decrease to 2-3 days, but much will depend on the sport and the intensity of use of the watch. For example, a 4 km run with an active GPS and heart rate monitor takes about 6% of the battery if you turn off the sound and look at the clock only when you reach the next kilometer.
If you enable the option in which the Galaxy Watch will have a constantly active screen, then the autonomy will be 2 days, which, however, is quite a good indicator for this mode of use.
The watch is charged through the docking station, a full charge takes 2.5 hours. At the same time, for some reason, Samsung used a microUSB connector in the dock. Given that the latter is gradually leaving, it will not be very convenient for users of smartphones with USB Type-C to use different charges.