Samsung has just renewed its high-end connected watch. Korean company releases Galaxy Watch 3 two years after first Galaxy watch. This model also follows the declination Galaxy Watch Active 2, more affordable. As much to say it from the start, we were convinced by this product and its Tizen OS operating system which allows the watch to be used with both an Android smartphone and an iPhone.
A case still too massive
We were able to try the first Galaxy watch when it is launched. We therefore measured the distance traveled between the two models. Let’s start with the worst. Its shapes have melted very slightly, but its case remains too massive for our tastes, especially as the rotating bezel that overhangs the screen reinforces this impression of bulk. The battery lost endurance as the battery life dropped from three days to two days for the 41mm Bluetooth version (the smallest) that we tested. Note that this allows you to take about two days so … activities included! As for the recharging of the battery, it takes place completely in two hours.
The larger models, 45 mm for the Watch 3, should offer a little more autonomy, since they have a higher capacity battery (340 mAh against 237 mAh on the 41 mm version)
The price has skyrocketed somewhat and is now equivalent to that of the Apple Watch with prices starting at 429 euros. This is the top of the basket for generalist connected watches and we can regret this rise in prices. We were finally a little surprised to have to install plug-ins during the installation. This is in addition to downloading the two apps needed to use the watch: Galaxy Wearable, for watch settings, and Samsung Health, for health and physical activity tracking. It should be noted that we also encountered a small bug when connecting to Samsung Health: the start-up was therefore more tedious than expected.
We’re not the biggest fans of the rotating bezel, but we understand its followers who like to use it to interact with the watch without having to touch the screen. And it is true that it works with great precision. A swipe to the left and you access the notifications, a swipe to the right and you open the widgets. Those opposed to this system can swipe directly on the screen, obtaining the same results. The two buttons on the right are still there. The highest one allows you to go back, the lower one to land on the menu with the applications.
We found the Galaxy Watch3 to be more responsive at the display level. This time, she wakes up at the slightest flick of the wrist. The optimum brightness of this same screen makes it, moreover, very pleasant to use on a daily basis, even outdoors.
An efficient operating system
We will add that we were quite impressed with the efficiency of the Tizen OS operating system. Not only does it respond extremely quickly to requests, allowing rapid switching from one application to another. But in addition, its design is pleasant with the right amount of information displayed on the screen that is easily deciphered even without glasses. We will greet in passing all the small color animations that encourage you to move and salute your performance. They are quite well made and personable, although some might find them a bit intrusive.
Another good point, Tizen OS allows you to customize a lot of features. In addition to watch faces and widgets, you can select information and how it is displayed when recording an activity workout, for example.
We strongly regret that it is excluded from sending and receiving SMS with Android smartphones other than Samsung. This is all the more annoying that instant messaging and major social networks do not appear in the catalog of the Galaxy Store, which ultimately remains quite poor. Forget Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat! You can still read your messages in the notifications but you cannot send them.
A sports watch
On the sensor side, the watch is full since there is a heart rate monitor, a GPS, a barometer, an altimeter, a gyroscope and an accelerometer. This explains the accuracy and reliability of the information collected during training. Riding also detects very acutely all the physical activities that you start. You could almost do without starting the recording.
But like all smartwatches, its heart rate sensor is not as accurate as a heart rate monitor. Above all, it is not able to provide interval training because it is too slow to detect acceleration and deceleration. Better to equip yourself with a specialized watch for this type of exercise or a competition.
We weren’t able to test the ECG and blood saturation measurement that are supposed to make the Galaxy Watch 3 more of a health-monitoring watch. These features should soon be available in France.
Detailed training data
To use all this data, you have to use the Samsung Heath app. For everyday life, we will say that it does the job with all the health features expected from a product of this type. Sleep tracking, number of steps, heart rate, number of floors climbed. The little extra? Stress measurement, carried out using data from the cardiac sensor. You can also enter the amount of water drunk and calories swallowed in the case of fitness or diet.
But it was the detail of the training sessions, and in particular those of running, which pleasantly surprised us. You can access a multitude of information: VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption), speed and pace, highest and lowest points, number of kilometers uphill and downhill. Apart from the reconstructed route outdoors, the speed per lap and heart rate zones which are now classics, you can even compare your different workouts in graphs using the “Advanced race measurements” option. Exercises are also offered to improve. Finally, it is possible to export the reports in GPX file. These features were yesterday the prerogative of specialized watches, so it is very satisfying to find them now in a generalist connected watch.
The verdict of the test
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 41mm
Samsung has managed to maintain its strong point with a watch that remains particularly suitable for athletes. It has also improved its responsiveness, notifications and the fluidity of its proprietary Tizen OS operating system for easier daily use. All that remains is to refine the design and fill the application store which still leaves something to be desired. One day, we would like to be able to find all the applications of our smartphone on the watch! But the Galaxy Watch 3 is undoubtedly the best alternative to the Apple Watch.