The Samsung Galaxy Watch has the best design and slickest operating system of any smartwatch we’ve tested. It resembles a real watch, has a healthy number of auto-tracked workouts, and its core software operates intuitively via the rotating bezel. The four-day battery life allows for more doing and less charging.
Sure, the chunky design is going to be too big for some people, and the app selection is too small for just about everyone. And no one will use Samsung’s Bixby assistant on this watch, although we’re not sure if this one matters; few people are ready to talk to a voice-controlled AI via their watch just yet.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch feels like the smartwatch of right now instead of tomorrow. Its onboard software is impressive, and shows up nicely on its big circular display. It’s impressive for quickly glancing at notifications and tracking your fitness goals, all on what could be mistaken for a conventional wrist watch.
Who’s it for?
Strap on the Galaxy Watch if you’re looking for a dapper-looking smartwatch that works with your Samsung phone. It works on other Androids and even the iPhone, but we got the best experience with this watch when it was paired with our Note 9. It’s great if you’re looking for notifications on your wrist, and comprehensive fitness tracking (though not as comprehensive as the best Garmin watch).
Should I buy it?
Yes, if you own a Samsung phone and are looking for the best smartwatch to pair it with. Other options include several Wear OS watches, although Google’s software revamp is still in its infancy, and the Apple Watch, although that doesn’t work with Android phones at all. We still recommend the Apple Watch if you’re on an iPhone; the Galaxy Watch will still work with iOS, but in a mainly ‘read’ not ‘write’ capacity.
Don't think the Galaxy Watch is for you? Here are some alternatives that may interest you.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Don't want such a large device on your wrist? The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is a slimmer version of the tech included here but you'll lose the rotatable bezel for that to happen.
That likely makes it a more appropriate fitness watch, and you've got all the benefits of Tizen software to use here too. Plus it's cheaper than the original watch, so if you don't want to spend lots definitely consider the Galaxy Watch Active.
Full review: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Apple Watch 4
The Apple Watch 4 has a screen-focused digital watch face for densely packed complications, but Samsung's timepiece is still better in certain ways. Samsung’s watch works best with Android phones (and is technically compatible with iOS), while the Apple Watch 4 works strictly with iPhones, and is a great iOS companion. The Galaxy Watch looks more like a real watch, has four times as much battery longevity, and can auto-track exercises.
The ‘iWatch’ is lighter, smaller, and has a variety of case colors and finishes. It looks and feels downright tiny compared to the Galaxy Watch, and for a lot of people this will fit their mobile-centric lifestyle. Siri is certainly smarter, Apple’s third-party app selection is better, and it has perks like fall detection, although the core interface isn’t as spiffy as Samsung’s, especially with the rotating bezel.
Full review: Apple Watch 4
Apple Watch 3
The Apple Watch 3 is more in line with how much the Samsung Galaxy Watch costs, so for some people on a budget, it may make for a more apt comparison. It works a lot like the Apple Watch 4, but the screen has a bit more bezel and it lacks fall detection. The screen size is 42mm and 38mm, and you're likely to find it on sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Full review: Apple Watch 3
- Buying guide: the best smartwatches you can buy today
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