Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 review: Similar looks with a performance boost

A new chip and BioActive sensor steal the show

What is a hands on review?
Samsung Galaxy Watch 7
(Image: © Future/Jacob Krol)

Early Verdict

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 7 doesn't stray from its predecessor's sleek, circular build but boosts performance and wellness features thanks to an under-the-hood upgrade – and it doesn't raise the price.


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    A sleek, circular design with no visible bezel

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    New AI-powered wellness features provide more context

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    Fast performance from a new Exynos chip


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    Classic model with a rotating bezel is missing

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    No improvement to battery life this time around

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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 7 is officially official, and while you might do a double take thinking its sleek, circular design is actually 2023’s Galaxy Watch 6, make no mistake – this is the tech brand’s latest and greatest for the masses. 

Launching alongside the Galaxy Watch Ultra, which offers a more durable design and endurance features, and the Galaxy Ring, which almost aims to be an agnostic device, the Galaxy Watch 7 is more of an iterative revision, at least going on first impressions. 

I’ve spent a bit of time with the Galaxy Watch 7 – both the small 40mm and large 44mm models – and while it’s packaged in a familiar build, Samsung’s squarely focusing on improving the experience here. For performance, it has a new processor under the hood that speeds up the navigation and makes the Galaxy Watch feel more responsive – and, you guessed it, also helps power Galaxy AI features. It has an entirely new sensor stack – dubbed the BioActive Sensor – on the back to boost health and wellness capabilities. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 pricing and availability

Maybe, most importantly, Samsung isn't raising the starting price this year. Like the Galaxy Watch 6, the Galaxy Watch 7 starts at $299.99 / £289 / AU$549 for the 40mm and $329.99/ £319 / AU$599 for the 44mm with Bluetooth; those jump to $349.99/ £329 /AU$649 and $379.99 / £369 / AU$699 for LTE connectivity. 

If you’re already sold, Samsung is currently taking preorders for the Galaxy Watch 7 in both sizes. Shipments will begin on July 10, 2024, the same day as general availability. The Galaxy Watch 7 in 40mm comes in Green and Cream, while the 44mm in Green and Silver. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7: Specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 (40mm)Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 (44mm)
ChipsetSamsung Exynos W1000 with 2GB of RAMSamsung Exynos W1000 with 2GB of RAM
SoftwareWearOS 5 with Samsung One UI 6WearOS 5 with Samsung One UI 6
Dimensions40.4mm x 40.4mm x 9.7mm44.4mm x 44.4mm x 9.7mm
Display1.3-inch Super AMOLED Always-On display1.4-inch Super AMOLED Always-On display
Case/BezelArmor AluminumArmor Aluminum
GPSGPS L1+L5, Glonass, Beidou, GalileoGPS L1+L5, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi with optional LTEBluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi with optional LTE
Durability5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H 5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810H
Price$299.99 / £289 / AU$549 (starting)$329.99/ £319 / AU$599 (starting)

A familiar build with new smarts

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7

(Image credit: Future)

Distinguishing the Galaxy Watch 7 from its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch 6, isn’t easy. That’s not to say it isn’t a fine-looking smartwatch – the Galaxy Watch 7 still takes the albeit expected form of a circular smartwatch with basically an all-screen front and smooth stainless steel sides. You still get two buttons on the right-hand side, but you might notice that there’s only one Galaxy Watch 7 model – there’s no Classic model this year, so while you can pick between a 40mm or 44mm display, it’s just the Galaxy Watch 7. 

Sure, you could opt for the more durable and a bit boxier Galaxy Watch Ultra, but something is missing on this year’s ‘standard’ model. The iconic moveable bezel that lets you easily navigate the interface is no longer an option with the Galaxy Watch 7. You’ll need to opt for last year’s Galaxy Watch 6 to get this great control, and it’s disappointing that Samsung didn’t bring this aspect into the present.

One saving grace is the attaching and detaching band mechanism that Samsung ushered in with the Watch 6 and Watch 6 Classic. It’s as easy as pushing in on a tab and pulling the band out to swap them. There are a few new band designs, some of which look very similar to Apple’s lineup, but Samsung has added a bit of personalization with two pops of color sewn in near the top of the watch bands for the Galaxy Watch 7 – it’s a simple touch that adds a bit of personality. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7

(Image credit: Future)

Under the hood, Samsung has made some more changes. A new Exynos processor is the first 3-nanometer chip in a smartwatch from the technology giant. It's promised to be three times faster for CPU tasks than the processor in the Galaxy Watch 6. While I haven’t properly tested the Galaxy Watch 7 yet or even run it through a workout, it felt ultra-responsive when swiping through tiles, opening apps, typing, doing general navigation, and demoing some new gestures.

The new chip also makes the latter possible – Double Pinch Gestures premiere with the Galaxy Watch 7, and like Double Tap on the Apple Watch Series 9 or Ultra 2, they’re genuinely useful. You can pinch your finger and thumb together to trigger an action, pause playback, or even pick up a call. It’ll likely be especially handy when you don’t have a free hand. 

That enhanced processor is also bringing some Galaxy AI features over, like smarter suggested replies, as the AI will analyze the messages above it for something that makes a bit more sense. Rather than just sending a generic yes or no, it might actually say what you’re accepting or declining.

A whole new sensor for more intelligent wellness features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 40mm, Energy Score

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

On the health and wellness side, Samsung is again casting a wide net with the Galaxy Watch 7, and to a degree, alongside the Galaxy Watch Ultra, it really cements its place as the Samsung smartwatch for most folks. It’ll do some productivity here, and can still flex with a laundry list of fitness capabilities. 

For starters, one thing I’m eager to spend more time with is a completely redesigned BioActive Sensor on the back. Samsung says it’s more accurate than the Galaxy Watch 6’s sensor, and more powerful for providing deeper metrics; that latter is likely paired in tandem with how the brand analyzes data and presents it within Samsung Health. 

On day one, it will let you track AGEs, or advanced glycation end products, which indicate overall metabolic health. Additionally, the Galaxy Watch 7 offers a sleep apnea feature, which is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and which can detect signs of it after a testing period, alongside an AI-powered sleep-tracking experience that should be more accurate. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7, BioActive Sensor

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

Of course, like the Galaxy Watch 6, the Watch 7 can track heart rate, take an electrocardiogram, and detect irregular heart rate moments. You can also track a bevy of workouts right from your wrist; some will even be automatically tracked. Runners, hikers, and walkers will benefit from dual-band GPS on the Watch 7 as it can provide a more accurate map or history of your activity. 

You’re also getting two new health features: Energy Score and Wellness tips, which are about contextualizing and making all the data your Galaxy Watch collects more digestible. Energy Score is similar to Fitbit and Oura, maybe even rings on the Apple Watch, in that it takes your sleep and activity data to give you a number from 0 to 100 that sizes up how you’re doing. It takes sleep duration, heart rate, sleep heart rate variability, and activity into account, and adds some recommendations on improving or keeping that score up. If you opt into Wellness Tips, it will take the recommendation a step further and provide more actionable ones.

Energy Score and Wellness Tips are two features that I’m really eager to unpack further, and are great additions to Samsung’s wellness portfolio. They also make the Galaxy Watch 7 a smarter wearable, because they can provide context around all the data it’s collecting.

Early verdict

Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 40mm

(Image credit: Future/Jacob Krol)

So no, we didn’t get a full redesign or radical changes with the Galaxy Watch 7 – it’s an upgrade mostly in terms of functionality year over year. Still, the new processor will keep WearOS with a Samsung skin running very smoothly, and powers some neat features in the productivity and wellness space. I hope that also extends to better battery life, but we’ll need to test the watch properly to see how that and the new activity features stack up.

Jacob Krol
US Managing Editor News

Jacob Krol is the US Managing Editor, News for TechRadar. He’s been writing about technology since he was 14 when he started his own tech blog. Since then Jacob has worked for a plethora of publications including CNN Underscored, TheStreet, Parade, Men’s Journal, Mashable, CNET, and CNBC among others. 

He specializes in covering companies like Apple, Samsung, and Google and going hands-on with mobile devices, smart home gadgets, TVs, and wearables. In his spare time, you can find Jacob listening to Bruce Springsteen, building a Lego set, or binge-watching the latest from Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.