Samsung Galaxy Watch: An all rounder

The Samsung Galaxy Watch started out big — and it stayed big. And while that may make it seem macho, there are enough fans of the solid substance look among both genders. Somewhere along the line, Samsung has done away with the ‘Gear S’ branding that it was sold under earlier, preferring to go with Galaxy Watch, matching the rest of its Galaxy product line-up.

The swivelling bezel is the most eye-catching aspect of the watch. The striped strap that the watch ships with, however, didn’t go too well with the classic chunky wrist watch look that it is trying to ape. In my opinion, it’s trying to match sporty looks with solid everyday ones. It’s 4.6-cm size, however, makes it naturally suited for bigger wrists, maybe attracting male customers more than female ones.

There are two shiny buttons on the right side. One is for the power function and the other one is for going back. With each click of the bezel as it rotates, the screen changes to show you notifications, widgets, and functions. With an analogue-looking watch face, it sits on one’s wrist looking a lot like a regular chronograph.

The watch strap in the box could be more accommodating for smaller wrists, but the watch is an overall good fit. It is comfortable to wear throughout the day, but not everyone would want to fall asleep with it, despite its sleep measuring functionality that is quite accurate and provides detailed information.

The display is typically Samsung, for those who are familiar with the brand — bright, sharp, vivid, and well-defined. Even under direct sunlight, the screen is legible. The only issue faced was contact display picture thumbnails getting slightly distorted, when flashing notifications.

After powering it on, users need to download the Samsung Gear app to set it up. Thanks to the plug-ins that need to be downloaded for this app additionally, it isn’t the quickest. But set up is straightforward. It links your smartphone with Bluetooth and connection is seamless even when your phone is connected to multiple devices. Samsung’s Tizen software powers the Galaxy Watch and while this proprietary software is good for the wearable’s battery life and the bezel’s utility, not all apps are easily available. Comparisons to the Android Wear OS are inevitable and Tizen does a good job. But it slightly restricts the watch’s utility, and pairing with iOS is still very limited.

Wear app

The Wear app is also simple to use and users can choose from some very good-looking available watch faces to flash on their wrists. You can choose to customise notifications and also use it to add media such as music and pictures to the watch.

The best part about the Samsung Galaxy Watch is the sheer amount of information it displays on the watch itself, making it quite unnecessary to open the app for health stats. One has to download the Samsung Health app to keep a tab on those metrics. Samsung should consider not obliging users to download so much paraphernalia, all to use one wearable device.

Well-defined display

But coming back to the display, it can show you steps, floors climbed, calories burned, heart rate, sleep stats, etc all without having to depend on a smartphone. All it takes is rotating the bezel. Rotating it to the left will show a user all notifications, like WhatsApp and text messages, and even Instagram and Facebook notifications. Incoming calls are also flashed easily, with options to manage the call on the watch itself. The quick reply features for the messaging apps are also well curated and users can add their own.

The new Samsung Gear Watch is trying to take on the Apple Watch in terms of health features and for the price it commands, is doing a good job. Heart rate is continuously measured and displayed and there is also a function that lets you measure your stress and then takes you through easy breathing exercises if it finds you are stressing too much. It also alerts you on being inactive for too long and takes you through a ‘torso twist’ exercise that you can do without leaving your office chair — perfect for the stationary workaholics. It is also a very sporty device, with its rugged looks and features like waterproofing. It even has good workout options that can be added and tracked like walking, running, swimming, hiking, etc.

Users can add reminders on the watch and it also syncs to the smartphone’s calendar to provide alerts. Music can be controlled from the watch itself, which is a handy feature again. Other bells and whistles include an alti-barometer, news briefing, weather display, etc, which make the Samsung Galaxy Wear watch a complete wearable.

Battery life was also quite good, with a full charge lasting me about three days, after staying connected to my phone almost all the time and with workouts too. The magnetic charger included in the box charges it to full in about three-four hours.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Watch presents a very good alternative to those who wants a host of features without spending too much on something like the more expensive Apple Watch or high-end Garmin devices, if you overlook the software baggage it comes with. I would go as far as saying that it’s one of the first overall good mid-rangers in the growing smartwatch segment, and a much-needed one at that.

Price: Rs 29,990 (4.6 cm)

Pros: Diverse useful features, good display, sleek and utilitarian rotating bezel Cons: A little large and heavy for small wrists, too many apps to download to set up

Source: The Hindu