There are four key features that make Samsung's new Galaxy Watch a necessity for business professionals, or anyone who wants an affordable smartwatch.
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch at Samsung Unpacked in Brooklyn, NY earlier this month, when it also debuted the new Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. The Galaxy Watch is an all-purpose device designed to do everything from work with corporate wellness programs to tracking fitness and sending notifications.
I've spent two days with the Galaxy Watch, and I'm impressed with it. I've tested numerous features, and even slept with it on.
The classic watch design is appealing, with a rotating bezel, an AMOLED touchscreen display and interchangeable straps. It conveniently charges wirelessly, there are built-in sensors for fitness tracking, and there's NFC for mobile payments. It runs on Samsung's Tizen OS and uses Knox for its security to secure the data on the device and how the smartwatches are managed with an EMM partner.
It looks good on my wrist, and it feels good. I like all of the features that it offers, and the price is right, starting at just $329.99.
But here are four overall features that I find most appealing about the watch.
Detailed health and fitness tracking
In additional to basic step counts, the Galaxy Watch automatically tracks more than 39 different workouts and has GPS for your daily run. It knows the difference between a yoga workout, and planking or weight lifting. Those extra burpees you do at the gym will show up on your fitness tally for the day.
It also measures and monitors your stress level, and offers breathing exercises for relaxation and calming.
Sleep tracking is also included, which is pretty much a given for any smartwatch these days.
Stylish appearance and comfortable fit
This watch looks good on your wrist. It comes in two sizes, 42mm or 46mm. I have a thin wrist, and the 42mm size isn't too bulky for me. I wore it to track my sleep, and didn't even notice I had it on. The basic watch strap that comes with it at no additional charge is comfortable, and surprisingly soft for a rubber strap. There are other options available, of course, for a $39.99 upcharge.
There are two sizes — 42mm and 46 mm — and three colors. It comes in rose gold, silver and midnight black.
There are also more than 60,000 different watch faces to choose from in the Galaxy App store. Many are free, and others range from 99 cents to $2.99.
Notifications and ease of use
The notifications features are pretty convenient. You can use the watch to make and take calls with an integrated speaker and voice microphone, or respond to texts and listen to your voicemail.
To use the watch's features, you can rotate the bezel rotates right or left and then select an app and navigate screens. Or you can swipe the screen to view notifications and widgets. If you place your hand over the watch face and touch it, it will immediately put it to sleep.
The AMOLED display is easy to read, and it was easy for me to read the latest CBS news, or anything else, as I scrolled through the Flipboard app.
If you misplace your watch, you can use the Galaxy Wearable app to find it. I tried this feature and it was easy to use. I've lost other watches in the past, so this is invaluable if you also have a cat that likes to play with your jewelry and watches and knock them under furniture.
Battery life and durability
The Galaxy Watch 42mm version I tested has a battery that lasted me for two full days before I had to recharge it. The 46mm has an even larger battery and can go additional hours, according to Samsung. You can opt for an "always on" feature that will eat up the battery life faster, but will always have the time visible in a basic black and white display.
The watch is water resistant enough to take it for a swim, and it has Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ to prevent the display from getting scratched.
How to buy it
Overall, the Galaxy Watch is a serious contender in the smartwatch market and the price is reasonable starting at $329.99 for the Bluetooth version. The LTE version is $50 more at $379.99.
The Galaxy Watch is available beginning today. The Bluetooth version is available online through Samsung, Best Buy and Amazon, and the LTE version is available from Best Buy and T-Mobile, with other carriers to soon follow.
Colors: Silver, Midnight Black, Rose Gold
Dimensions: 46mm x 49mm x 13 mm or 41.9mm x 45.7mm x 12.7mm
Weight: 46mm version: 63g (without strap); 42mm version: 40g (without strap)
Display: 46mm version: 1.3"; 42mm version: 1.2"; Circular Super AMOLED (360 x 360); Full Color Always On Display; Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
Battery: 46mm version: 472 mAh; 42mm version: 270 mAh
AP: Exynos 9110 Dual core 1.15GHz
OS: Tizen Based Wearable OS 4.0
Memory: LTE: 1.5GB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory; Bluetooth: 768MB RAM + 4GB Internal Memory
Connectivity: 3G/LTE, Bluetooth®4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, NFC, A-GPS/Glonass
Sensor: Accelerometer, Gyro, Barometer, HRM, Ambient Light
Charge: WPC based wireless charging
Durability: 5 ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Compatibility: Samsung, other Android: Android 5.0 or higher & RAM 1.5GB above; iPhone: iPhone 5 and above, iOS 9.0 or above
- Samsung Galaxy Watch has several business-friendly features (TechRepublic)
- Galaxy Note 9 event: First look at Samsung's new phone, Galaxy Watch, and Galaxy Home (ZDNet)
- Samsung Knox: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatch is coming Aug. 24, starts at $330 (CNET)
- Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is built for business and mobile workers (TechRepublic)
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- How to use the updated S Pen with Bluetooth in Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 (TechRepublic)
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.