Samsung introduced a new Galaxy Watch at itsevent on Thursday morning in New York. And while it could end up being one of the best smartwatches Samsung has ever made, let me tell you one thing: You may want to hang tight and see what else is coming around the bend, too.
You see, it’s just the beginning of New Smartwatch Season. The Galaxy Watch arrives at the same time as the, on Aug. 24. This also happens to be just before and are expected to reveal new watches of their own.
Samsung’s watch costs $330 for the 42mm version and $350 for the 46mm. (It starts at £279 in the UK, with Australian pricing still to come.) The watch will be available at Amazon, Best Buy and Samsung.com; orders on Samsung.com before Sept. 8 will receive a free Samsung watch band. LTE versions will be sold at a later date, for an unspecified price.
I got to wear Samsung’s newest watch, briefly, at its Note 9 event in New York. It feels good, and looks good, and could very well be one of the best Android smartwatches on the market. But it’s also not a huge leap from Samsung’s previous smartwatches.
The Galaxy Watch drops the “Gear” name of Samsung’s original, but it’s really a refined combination of the older and last year’s . The Gear Sport had water resistance for swimming, as well as Spotify and a smaller design. The Gear S3 had optional standalone cellular.
The Galaxy Watch promises several days of battery life, thanks to a bigger battery (472 mAh on the 46mm model) and a more optimized processor for better low-power performance. The Apple Watch ($360 at Amazon Marketplace) gets about a day and a half, and Google’s Wear OS watches average about a day.
A returning feature, Spotify support, will once again offer streaming or downloaded tracks. This isn’t new, but it remains a strong part of the Samsung watch. Samsung’s already solid health features will also gain more exercise modes, and a new stress-managing app that claims to use heart rate to determine stress level, and encourage breathing exercises if you seem like you need them. We’ll see how that goes.
Returning for an encore is Tizen, Samsung’s own ecosystem of software and apps. The Galaxy Watch’s Tizen 4.0 OS will work on all Android phones, but Google’s Wear OS remains a more tightly integrated alternative for Google services like Assistant. For iPhone ($1,000 at Cricket Wireless) users, Samsung watches work… but you’re unlikely to want to ever choose one over an Apple Watch.
If you hate charging multiple devices, you might like Samsung’s new, which can charge the watch and the new Note 9 simultaneously. Apple has announced a similar device, powered by its AirPower technology, which could debut this fall alongside .
Who is the Galaxy Watch for, though, and will the price seem to high? Starting at $330, these watches are aiming for the same premium zone as the Apple Watch. And the upcoming LTE-equipped standalone models could cost significantly more (but no price has been mentioned). Most Wear OS and fitness watches from Fitbit and Garmin cost significantly less.
Stay tuned for a future review, but until we know what Google and Apple’s next smartwatches turn out to be like, the Samsung Galaxy Watch may be hard to judge.
- Available in two different sizes: 42mm ($330) and 46mm ($350)
- Circular, rotating bezel
- Standalone LTE connectivity with call and text support
- AMOLED display
- Colors include rose gold, silver and midnight black
- Over 60,000 watch faces available from the Galaxy App Store
- High-res analog display with intergated touch function
- Military-grade Corning Gorilla DX+ glass
- 5 ATM water resistance
- Stress-management features
- 21 indoor exercises, 39 tracked workouts
- Battery life: “several days on a single charge.”
- Sold in 15-plus countries on 30-plus carriers (including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon)
- Available on Aug. 24