Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3?

A premium smartwatch for the Android crowd

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
(Image credit: Samsung)

 Apple may rule the roost when it comes to smartwatches, but those wanting a real alternative can turn to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. 

The brand-new offering, just released at the tail end of August 2020, might look a bit old school in comparison. Even next to other smartwatches, it is very reminiscent of the premium watches of yore. However, that is part of its charm. It’s an elegant yet cutting-edge wearable.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Not only does it have a unique interface thanks to a rotating bezel and dual buttons, but the watch also has a number of health and fitness apps that compare favorably to other wearables out there. 

It does come at a hefty price though, starting at $399 for the 41mm version and $429 for the 45mm model, which puts it just about on par with the new Apple Watch Series 6. That makes it a luxury purchase for many consumers. 

Who Is The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 For?

It’s clear that Samsung is trying to make a statement with its flagship wearable. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 takes its predecessor, slims it down and changes up the colors a bit to make an attractive, updated package.

So, those that want a premium looking and feeling wearable will probably be the ones most interested in this. They might even spring for the titanium edition, which starts at $599.99. Even if you don’t spring for that high-end option, you still can choose from gorgeous colors like Mystic Silver for both sizes, as well as the Mystic Bronze for the 41mm watch and the Mystic Black for the 45mm watch.

Its asking price for any of its configurations might seem high for the average person. Plus, fitness fanatics may prefer the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, which has a little more functionality in the exercise department while costing $120 cheaper. 

 The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 stacks up nicely with Apple Watch Series 6, and its feature set gives Apple watches a run for their money. However, it’s probably more attractive to those who haven’t gone all-in on the Apple ecosystem. Those looking for an alternative now have an all-rounder that can track health stats like ECG, sports activities, and even sleep patterns. Apple users interested shouldn’t despair, however, as it can pair with Apple iOS as well as Android

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Samsung)

Should You Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Key Features 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is quite the multitasker. Though not necessarily a fitness-centric smartwatch, it does track up to 40 activities – 7 of them automatically. It also offers extra functionalities for some of those activities like run and advanced run coaching.

The health tracking it provides sets it apart from most of the options out there. It comes with an FDA-approved ECG that can catch irregular heart rhythms. A SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor and a VO2 (oxygen saturation) Max sensor are also included. The first will keep track of your oxygen saturation levels to catch conditions like sleep apnea. The latter, which monitors how much oxygen you’re able to utilize while working out, can give you insights and goals for your exercise regime. 

This smartwatch can also track your sleep patterns and stress levels, with some contextual suggestions to help improve both, and comes with trip detection, which will alert emergency contacts when you take a serious fall.

Bluetooth and GPS are included. If you want to get away from your phone, you can upgrade to an LTE model, and still respond to texts, answer calls, and listen to Spotify. Samsung Pay, another included feature, lets you leave your wallet at home.

Regardless of your workout, the watch can withstand the punishment, rated as handling up to 50 meters of water pressure as well as being MIL-STD-810G certified – a military standard for drop testing equipment.

The watch face comes with an always-on AMOLED screen that can be customized with over 50,000 options, giving you some control over its look that’s missing in other smartwatches on the market – with the exception of the Apple Watches, of course. You can even take a pic of your outfit, or use a stored one, to get a watch face that will match what you’re wearing.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Samsung)

Should You Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: The Downsides 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is not perfect, even if it’s close for those who can afford the price of entry. It is expensive, with the cheapest coming in at $399, and that’s without LTE, which adds $50 to whichever model you might consider.

Its battery life, which is still very good, is worse than previous models. Whereas its predecessor would go 4 days without a charge, the Galaxy Watch 3 will last around 2 days, technically 56 hours for the 45mm model and 43 for the 41mm one. Still, those numbers are much better than Apple Watches’ 18 hours.

Another aspect of the watch that’s more of a mixed blessing than an outright flaw is its leather band. It’s a quality band that looks good, but definitely not ideal for exercise use. If you plan on sweating in it, you should buy an additional non-leather band.

Lastly, while the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has a whole host of fantastic health features, it has one that you can’t actually use yet – blood pressure monitoring. While it’s capable, the FDA has not approved its use and so it’s one function that you’ll have to do without. At least, for now.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

(Image credit: Samsung)

Should You Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 3: Verdict 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is not for everyone. It’s a premium product meant for those who want to wear something smart and classy on their wrist. It’s not cheap either, with plenty of other options, including from Samsung, coming in at a lower price for the bargain hunters out there. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Fit is just $99 and will meet the most basic of fitness needs.

With that said, it’s an incredibly feature-rich smartwatch, touting various sensors and fitness tracking, as well as a surprisingly customizable display, that makes it more than worth its price tag. Also, since it’s practically brand new and a flagship product, you’ll get a few years of use out of it before even considering upgrading.

If you want something to help you reach your fitness goals, but also look appropriate in a business meeting, or want something to keep close tabs on your health, you can’t do much better than the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

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Michelle Rae Uy

Michelle Rae Uy is a tech and travel journalist, editor and photographer with a bad case of wanderlust. She is a regular contributor for IGN, TechRadar and Business Insider, and has contributed to Thrillist, Paste Magazine, Nylon, Fodor's and Steve's Digicams. Living mainly in California with her adorable cats, she splits her time between Los Angeles, London and the rest of the world.