This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Samsung's new Galaxy Watch 3 smartwatch, which will be released in Japan on October 23, brings back the physical rotating bezel that was omitted from the Galaxy Watch Active series. This is a device that will be of interest to those who were once familiar with the rotating bezel on the Gear Watch and Galaxy Watch.
I borrowed the Galaxy Watch 3 before it was released, so I had a chance to try it out for a few short days. For Galaxy Watch Active2 users, it's a device that you can't decide whether or not to replace.
The Galaxy Watch 3 comes in two diameters, 45mm and 41mm, and the one I tested is the 45mm stainless steel model.
It has a 1.4-inch (1.2-inch for the 41mm) OLED display, which supports an always-on display that allows you to see the time without twisting your arm, but like the Galaxy Watch Active2, there's no screen for always-on display, just a reduced brightness.
There are two physical buttons on the side. The bottom is the power and menu button and the top is the back button. There are no changes in this area from the previous model.
The back has a fingerprint sensor. The hardware also supports electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood oxygen level (SpO2) measurement, but it can only be used in countries that have received regulatory approval. Unfortunately, it's not available in Japan. It's one of the features of the Galaxy Watch 3, so we'd like to see it used even if it's treated as a reference value rather than medical information.
The thickness is 11.1 mm. Incidentally, the 41mm model is slightly thicker at 11.3 mm.
Addictive rotating bezel feel
Speaking of the Galaxy Watch, the rotating bezel - the Galaxy Watch Active2 had a touch-controlled virtual rotating bezel, but it's still nice to have physical rotation. There's no need to swipe the screen each time, which makes it easier to operate on a smartwatch with a smaller screen.
It also feels like a mouse scroll wheel with a tick, and there's no need to over-turn the screen back and forth because you're turning it too much.
No major changes in basic functions
The Galaxy Watch3 can also add apps via the Galaxy Store to add more features, but the basic functions include measuring various activities, as well as heart rate monitoring, sleep measurement, and stress measurement. Of course, you can also view various notifications from your smartphone, including emails and incoming calls.
In addition to GPS, you can also download music to the device and pair it with Bluetooth earphones to listen to music. There's no need to carry your smartphone with you when you run or walk.
However, these are all features that were available from previous models. There are also new features such as hand washing reminders and fall detection, which are also available on the Galaxy Watch Active2 and other models through updates.
Since ECG and SpO2 measurements cannot be used in Japan, it seems safe to assume that there is practically no functional difference between this model and its predecessor.
Hardware-wise, the SoC remains the same with the Exynos 9110 (Dual-Core 1.15 GHz), but the memory and storage have been increased from 0.75GB+4GB on the Galaxy Watch Active2 to 1GB+8GB. This is good for those who want to put a lot of song data in storage and utilize it on its own.
Battery life is about 2 days under normal use
The 45mm model has a battery capacity of 340mAh, which is also the same as the Active2 44mm model. The Galaxy Watch series has the longest battery life of any smartwatch, but after turning on the heart rate monitor and constant screen display without GPS and using the sleep measurement, I put it on Sunday morning and it ran out of battery on Tuesday morning. I was able to use it for just two full days without charging it.
If you don't measure sleep, the battery will last even longer, but it's probably safe to charge it daily. It's water-resistant to 5 atm and can be used in the shower, but if you operate it to charge during bath time, you won't have to worry about running out of battery power.
It's hard to say if it's worth replacing the Galaxy Watch Active2
It's unclear if ECG and SpO2 will be available in Japan in the future, but if you're not thinking about that, the Galaxy Watch 3's features are on par with the Galaxy Watch Active2. It looks like a good choice simply based on the design, and whether or not you value the rotating bezel above all else.
It's honestly hard to say if it's worth replacing the Galaxy Watch Active2, but it will still depend on the design and rotating bezel.
However, I'm still concerned about ECG. The possibility that ECGs will be available in Japan in the future is not zero, so this is even more difficult.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.