Samsung Galaxy Watch first-look

Key Features

  • AMOLED panel
  • 5 ATM water-resistance
  • Exynos dual-core CPU
  • NFC
  • Tizen OS
  • 1.5GB RAM
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Samsung Galaxy Watch first look: New name, not much else?

Samsung’s latest Apple Watch 3 rival ditches the clunky ‘Gear’ branding for the company’s much simpler ‘Galaxy Watch’ name. That aside though, what’s really new here to get excited about?

Galaxy Watch price

The 42mm version Galaxy Watch starts at £279, while the larger 46mm is £299. These are both for the Bluetooth non-LTE/4G versions. In the US the smaller watch starts at $329 for the Bluetooth and $379 for the LTE version on T-Mobile.

Pre-order: Samsung Galaxy Watch for £279 from Samsung Store
(includes free Wireless Charger Duo)

Galaxy Watch release date

We know the Bluetooth version of the Galaxy Watch is coming “soon”. You’ll have to wait until later in the year for the 4G connected version. In the UK the LTE version will be available on EE exclusively to start.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The name might be new, but the Galaxy Watch’s design is very similar to Samsung’s past Gear watches. It tries very hard to mimic a proper mechanical watch, so you’ve got a circular bezel and distinct straps. It comes in two sizes – 42mm and 46mm – so you don’t have to live with a huge watch if you’ve got small wrists.

The bezel twists around and is the main way to navigate with the OS. This has been utilised on previous wearables from Samsung and it works a whole lot better than poking around the tiny AMOLED screen with your fingers. It also helps that the Tizen software is purposely designed with the rotating bezel in mind.

Related: Best smartwatch

Galaxy Watch menu

Along with the two sizes, they’ll also be a couple of connectivity options. The biggest of these is the 4G version (this will be an EE exclusive in the UK, when it launches later this year) which will let you make and receive calls and messages on the go without tethering the Galaxy Watch to a phone. If you don’t need that, there’s a Bluetooth version.

Battery life will vary between the different sizes and connectivity options. The 46mm Galaxy Watch has a bigger 476 mAh cell, while the 42mm version ships with a smaller 270 mAh battery. That is a big difference, so it’ll be interesting to how what the two options’ real-world endurance is like. Samsung claims the bigger one will last seven days.

Other features include NFC for Samsung Pay, GPS and a water-resistant rating of 5 ATM. Feature-wise, this is a stacked device.

Related: Best fitness tracker

Galaxy Watch

A lot of smartwatches suffer from poor performance thanks to an ageing Snapdragon chip that’s really past its best. Instead of using that, the Galaxy Watch is powered by a dual-core Exynos CPU with 1.5GB RAM and 4GB storage. In my short time with the watch it felt fast and smooth.

As it the case with the majority of wearables, the big focus is fitness. Samsung has added 39 workout presets here, with six of them being enabled automatically when you start. There’s a stress counter, calorie tracking and improved monitoring of your sleep. I’ll need a lot more time with the watch to really see how these fitness features work, but it’s nice to see them all here.

Pre-order: Samsung Galaxy Watch for £279 from Samsung Store
(includes free Wireless Charger Duo)

Early verdict

The biggest selling point of the Galaxy Watch could very well be the battery life. If this watch can go multiple days, then it instantly has a lead on most smartwatches, including the Apple Watch.

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