Galaxy Watch – Initial Impressions


I’ve used and defended WearOS (Android Wear) for several years now. My first smartwatch was a Samsung Gear and while it was slick and elegant, it just felt limited. So I moved over to WearOS (Android Wear at the time) and while it for sure has had its share of quirks, it “just worked.”

I decided to give Tizen another go with the Galaxy Watch. Here are my first impressions.

  • Tizen. I am so sorry for not recommending you. You have matured.
  • Samsung Health is miles ahead of Google Fit. There are a lot of options that may be on par with Apple Watch.
  • The notifications are far more integrated than I remembered. Most apps on the phone can be mirrored on the watch and you can respond from a wealth of auto responses, use an onscreen keyboard, swipe or do voice to text.
  • It is said to have up to 4 days of battery life. I’m ready to see if that is true.
  • Waterproof and swim ready. I may put that to the test soon.
  • Beautiful screen and intuitive rotating watch face.

I feel I might owe Tizen an apology again when this is all over. Will give it a good shakedown this weekend.

Comments (11)

11 responses to “Galaxy Watch – Initial Impressions”

  1. Xatom

    You do. I have a 3 and it is so superior to apple watch save battery life. If they fix that, they may have a small hit.

  2. Bats

    What phone do you use?

    What Galaxy watch are you using?

    What WearOS watch have you used?

    • wolters

      In reply to Bats:

      I primarily use a Pixel 2 XL but I am currently testing this on a Samsung Note 9.

      I opted for the Bluetooth 46mm version.

      On WearOS, I've used LG Watch Urbane, Ticwatch E and Huawei Watch 2. The Ticwatch is a great value but the Huawei Watch 2 seemed to be the best. All 3 had some performance issues that should be resolved with the new processor coming out this fall.

      I always favored WearOS because it just felt tightly integrated with AndroidOS. But I have to say, even with not using many Samsung Apps on the phone (Messages, contacts, mail, calendar, etc.), the Galaxy Watch is playing nice with Android Messages, GMail, Allo, GroupMe and any app where you can respond to a notification. I am surprised.

      What sets the Galaxy Watch apart from current WearOS is the improved battery life (it looks like I'll get 4 days), sleep monitor, rotating watch face, water proof and swim ready and Samsung Health is miles ahead of Google Fit, which I've defended for a long time.

      One thing to keep in mind is that watch "Apps" aren't really needed as both watches seem to integrate well. WearOS will have more "apps" for sure but I find I didn't use them much. On WearOS, I had apps for NEST, NEATO, OneNote, etc and I just didn't use them. I don't see Tizen getting many apps though as their App Store is still pretty third party.

      I'm anxious to hear about the Pixel Watch but I can honestly say, the Galaxy Watch is impressive.

  3. ivarh

    The problem with wearables on the android side is that the market is not big enough for 2 competing plattforms. I have been using a Huawei 2 watch with wearos(android wear) and a applewatch series 3. I have also tried a gear S3 and while the hw on the gear s3 is really good there are not many 3rd party apps for it. Wearos have more apps but the hardware is getting pretty old.

    These days the apple watch is what keeps me putting my main simm in my iphone. There are 4 apps that I have gotten to used to. One is TripView witch shows realtime public transport departures and arrivals here in Sydney. Deliveries for parcel tracking and apple music and apple pay.

    By insisting on going the tizen way samsung is killing the wearable market on the android side since it's keeping both of the platforms from reaching critical mass with developers.. I wish they would go wear os instead. This would give developers one plattform to target.

    • wolters

      In reply to ivarh:

      I do needs one platform (not counting Garmin or Fitbit.) The same goes for Samsung and Bixby. I see why they are doing it and I admire them sticking to it, but it just sucks.

      I've hesitated on Tizen for so long but have grown tired of waiting on WearOS and the watches to improve. I hope the Pixel Watch and WearOS do make a huge comeback this fall.

  4. wolters

    Final Thoughts

    • Battery life seems to be aiming for 3 days on the 46mm.
    • Samsung Health is far better than Google Fit and I am very impressed.
    • The sleep tracker is quite good but the 46mm is a little bulky to sleep in.
    • Samsung Health will provide weekly updates on your health monitoring and it is nice.
    • You get monitoring for stress and it will alert you to move, when heart rate or stress levels are high.
    • You can swim in the watch.
    • Tizen isn't so bad and "apps" don't matter in the long run. It interacts with the phone quite well.
    • Responding to notifications works very well. In all my messaging apps, I can respond via voice to text, drawing or typing on the screen. It also have a bevy of pre-set responses. The only thing I missed is the "LIKE" option for GroupMe, which worked inherently on WearOS. Not a show stopper.
    • Notifications have worked flawlessly. I don't think I've missed a single one.
    • Google Assistant REMINDERS can be snoozed and marked DONE.

    I'm going to be honest...this is the best, complete Smartwatch for Android if you want a perfect balance between health and notifications/responding.

  5. jaredthegeek

    Its all about the assistant for me, Bixby does not cut it.

  6. tahj

    I find that the Galaxy Watch is very similar to the Gear Sport.


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