Ignore the initial stumble. Although the original Galaxy Gear was anything but awesome, Samsung wearables are solid devices, notably the Gear S2 and Gear S3, which combine great design with a simple interface and a cool, rotating bezel. At the company’s Galaxy Unpacked 2018 event in Brooklyn, New York, Samsung took the wraps off of its latest smartwatch, simply called the Samsung Galaxy Watch — which promises to make you not just healthier but a better person overall.
Whether you’re in the market for a new smartwatch, or simply interested in the new device, here’s everything you need to know.
Pricing and availability
Like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, the Galaxy Watch is now available online and in-store. The watch comes at $330 for the 42mm Bluetooth model, or $350 for the 46mm Bluetooth model. Those who order the device before September 8 will also get a free Samsung watch band.
You can also order the T-Mobile LTE version of the Galaxy Watch through Samsung’s siteor straight from T-Mobile. For LTE, the 42mm rose gold option is priced at $380 and the 42mm midnight black model will cost you $380. The 46mm silver color model is priced at $400. All models will ship starting the week of September 2. T-Mobile is also offering customers the ability to buy one Galaxy Watch and get a second one half price, with 24 monthly bill credits, when they add a new line.
All other LTE versions will be available later this year.
As with many smartwatches these days, the Samsung Galaxy Watch is available in a few different models, one 42mm and one 46mm — which is good news for those who often feel like smartwatches are too bulky and too big for their wrists. In our hands on preview of the device, we found it relatively lightweight and supremely comfortable on the wrist.
The Galaxy Watch is similar to previous Samsung smartwatches in many ways, but there are also a few major tweaks to the design. Like some previous iterations, it has a round watch face that’s built to look like a “normal watch” in day-to-day life. This stands in strong contrast to Apple’s smartwatches; even the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4 is likely to retain its square face — which for better or worse announces to the world that it’s anything but an ordinary watch.
On the back of the device, you’ll find a heart rate sensor — which is a welcome feature and will come into play for fitness tracking.
Like previous Samsung smartwatches, the device also features a rotating bezel, which is another way to interact with the device apart from the touchscreen and the two buttons on the right of the device. The Super AMOLED display inside that bezel comes in at 1.3 inches or 1.2 inches, depending on the size device you go for, and has a resolution of 360 x 360.
Samsung has taken durability pretty seriously, too. The company touted “military-grade durability” coupled with Corning’s DX+ glass at Samsung Unpacked 2018. The device also features 5ATM water-resistance, meaning it’s perfect for those who don’t want to worry about their device while swimming and should be able to withstand up to 165 feet of water.
When it comes to colors, the Galaxy Watch is available in three colors — silver, for the 46mm model, and either midnight black or rose gold for the 42mm model. There is also a host of watch band styles, so you can tweak the device to look exactly the way you want it.
Under the hood, the device features an unnamed dual-core 1.15GHz processor that’s built specifically for Samsung’s smartwatches. Battery life was a big consideration here — and the processor was built to conserve as much energy as possible. In fact, coupled with a 270mAh or 472mAh battery, depending on your model, Samsung says the larger device should last around 4 to 6 days on a single charge. We’re not currently sure how long the smaller device will last, but probably less than 4 days.
While you may not use the device to store tons of files, you do have 4GB of storage anyway, coupled with either 1.5GB of RAM in the LTE version of the device, or 768MB of RAM in the Bluetooth version.
While some early rumors hinted at Samsung switching to Google’s Wear OS for the new Samsung Galaxy Watch, those, unsurprisingly, turned out not to be true. Samsung has put a heavy emphasis on fitness tracking here. The device features a heart-rate monitor and will detect when your heart rate goes up and give you guided breathing exercises as a way to manage stress. The device also tracks up to 39 workouts, and 6 of the most common workouts can be tracked automatically. And, last but not least, the watch tracks sleep. All this data goes straight to the Samsung Health app, so it’s easily accessible on your Samsung phone.
The device also features and updated version of Bixby, Samsung’s own digital assistant — though we’ll have to wait and see if the digital assistant actually turns out to be useful on the device considering its rough track record.
The device is built to work seamlessly with Samsung phones, but it will also work on any phone with Android 5.0 or later, as well as any iPhone 5 or later with iOS 9.0 or above. Will it interact in some special way with the forthcoming Galaxy S10 or the futuristic, foldable Galaxy X phones? Only time will tell.