The industry is forever chasing Apple Watch. After all, smartwatch has been a rare bright spot in a plateauing wearables category. Even Fitbit recently found himself in this direction, and found a good success with Versa.
Samsung's approach has always been very good, Samsung. The company's watches are big, hulking things, covering chrome with a kind of Swiss Army knife approach common of its various other products.
Announced along with note 9, Galaxy Watch was not a departure many expected. While the name suggests a potential change to Android Wear, the company relies on sticking to Tizen. And why not? Samsung has spent a lot of time making Tizen its own ̵
It is the result of a fairly clear cost-benefit analysis. The biggest disadvantage of not embracing Wear OS is the relative lack of third party app support on Tizen. The biggest advantage: Support for Samsung's unique bezel-based navigation. To date, the best of the gang is the finest crown control that most of the competition depends on. It was an early choice for the company and continues to be one of the best elements of Samsung's watches.
It's as solid a basis as someone really. Several different models have helped the company fine-tune its watch offerings, including last year's Gear Sport, which finally found Samsung introducing a much more handy 42mm model. It was the first such device from the company that recognized that every user did not want to place a massive device on the wrist.
The fact that there has been a name change here owe much more to branding than does any kind of radical turnaround on the hardware side. Instead, the clock is more of fine tuning for the line. Multi-day life aside, it's not enough here to justify an upgrade for those who own a newer generation, but over several years, Samsung has slowly refined one of the better smartwatches in the game.
I used Galaxy Watch for a few days and used every opportunity I could to ask others about their thoughts about aesthetics. The results were largely positive. I do not know that some spectators were especially wowed, but in most cases people said they would consider using the clock. There is for sure something.
Samsung is one of the companies that subscribed to the idea that smartwatches should look like watches – a completely different school than Apple Watches and Fitbit Versas of the world. If I have had a complaint about the company's design choices, it is pressured against over-detailing – all the numbers and notches. The design language clearly gives inspiration from sports bells.
To me, the peak of the line was the hyper minimalistic S2. It was subtle, modern and went pretty well with just about everything else you had, from work to training. Samsung has obviously gone in a completely different direction, aimed at those who love the classic outdoor style of companies such as Casio. Having said that, the design is more subtle than previous versions (see: Gear S3 Frontier).
More importantly, when it comes to appeal to a wider audience, the watch will receive two different sizes – 42 and 46mm. The basis for the decision was added with last year's Gear Sport, which resulted in a smaller size in the mix. The addition of the 42mm case makes Sport a bit redundant, although the company tells me that it keeps it all the time.
It's a smart move on Samsung's part. By the clock, the company had a major potential user base for Apple, including a large portion of female smartwatch wearers. Now that Fitbit is serious about smartwatches, the company obviously needs to do more to appeal to a larger segment of Android users.
The company's watches have always felt great on me and I'm about six feet high. When I asked smaller colleagues to try them, they simply looked cartoony. The 42mm version fits much more comfortably on my wrist – but if you have a smaller stature, I would strongly encourage you to find a store and try one at first. Even the smaller version is by no means compact.
The spinning bezel is back, of course it is. It has long been the best part of Samsung's watches. It is also the best smartwatch control mechanism in the industry, including Apple's crown. It's fast, it's smooth and it's a lot easier to use when exercising. Having said that, I still find myself using the side buttons with more frequency – they are a much easier way to get there you go fast.
The sleeve is apparently the main reason to keep Tizen around. Wear does not support that type of input method. And honestly, that's a pretty good reason. In addition, Samsung has done a lot to customize its operating system to its specifications, and we have a pretty good and well-rounded durable operating system as a result.
There are several good reasons to go with Google's OS, including better Android integration and a more robust app store, but Samsung has always been interested in developing its own ecosystem – and, moreover, Tizen is not broken, so Samsung is not fixing it, as it says.
Training Tracking is another piece that benefits from several generations of tweaks. Fitness is quite commonly understood as the primary driver of the smartwatches purpose, despite the existence of training traitors, and as such, all the big players try to set up each other.
There is nothing exceptional here on the training side, but the Galaxy clock is a workhorse. There are auto-tracing on board and 40 traceable exercises. I'm a runner, and found tracking to work quite well, along with many reminders to get out of my lazy butt. Not good for self-esteem, but good for my waist, I suppose.
There is also sleep tracing aboard, although it has become a fairly common feature across all of these devices. More convincing is the addition of tracking tracking. The function reads the user's vital characters to paint an overall picture of their mind. I'm sure the science behind all this is missing, and it usually reads me as "neutral" (like anyone who has ever met me, telling you is not the best word).
That said, I'm sure there's something in psychology for it all. Like Fitbit and Apple's reminders to breathe, there's something to be said in the easy action to take a moment to recognize your mood. As a meditation body scan that reminds you that you still attach your jaw, focuses on your mood and breath on a surprisingly long way toward stress.
Galaxy Watch is not the revolution Samsung suggested (but marketers will market). The fact that the company spent so little time on the product during the last Note 9 event was at least partly a result of fine tuning than anything else. However, it's a piece that really stands out – and it's perhaps the biggest clarity of the smartwatch category for everyone.
Samsung says that the 42mm 270mAh battery gives you up to three days of life and the 462mAh 46s give you up to four. It's a little desirable thinking in my experience, but it's not far away. If I wore both day and night, I managed to squeeze a little over two and a half days – quite impressive, as far as smartwatches go. It is also a necessity for something designed to be worn to bed.
It's the best addition to the time this time. It's not enough to help your device stand out from a crowded and subordinate category – especially one where a single player dominates the sales cards. But Samsung still has one of the better devices in the game.
The price remains, well, pricey. 42mm runs $ 329 and 46mm is $ 349. It's an additional $ 50 to upgrade either to LTE. It puts the product approximately in line with Apple Watch. However, from an Android user perspective, the real competition is far cheaper ($ 200) Versa. Things have changed a bit since Samsung's latest big clock release, with Fitbit being the biggest player in the Android-compatible smartwatch. Samsung is at a bit of a junction.
For now, the company seems to go right after Apple. Competing in this field is going to take some serious innovation. Galaxy Watch is not, but it's a perfect solid choice for Android users.