Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

GSMArena team, 21 August 2020.

Design and build

As far as looks are concerned, the watch looks a lot like the good old Gear Sport. Put side by side with the 41mm version we received, we are hard-pressed to see any noticeable difference. It's probably has something to do with the rotating bezel. Sure, it's also reminiscent of the original Galaxy Watch but after spending a week or so with the device, it started to feel a lot more like the Gear Sport.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review Galaxy Watch3 41mm and Gear Sport

Anyway, the materials and feel of the watch are nothing short of premium. We have a body made of stainless steel while only the 45mm model can get you the expensive titanium case. Samsung says that the new Watch3 is 14% thinner and 15% lighter than the original Watch while employing bigger screen. This is only true for the titanium 45mm version but the 41mm one retains the 1.2-inch screen. Still has a considerably smaller body, though.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review Galaxy Watch3 45mm

Going back to the build itself, the device offers non-plastic back or at least it doesn't feel remotely plasticky to touch. We would assume it's aluminum, though, and not stainless steel. Still, that's good news as we often see "premium" smarwatches with plastic casing on the back. The Galaxy Watch was one of those.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

In addition to more natural navigation, the rotating bezel doubles as a "screen protector" to some extent. We noticed that the protruding bezel often takes the first hit when we brush or bump the watch somewhere. We think that it's good that the ring picks up the scuffs instead of the display.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

One noticeable difference between the Gear Sport and the Watch3 are the navigation buttons. They are not rubberized and are instead are made of brushed metal.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

Our only small complaint would be about the straps. Samsung says they are made of genuine leather but we can't shake off that cheap feel. There's something to them that doesn't feel right and it could be due to the unnatural-looking color. The back of the straps are strengthened and should withstand moisture, sweat and discoloration. The good news is that they are changeable and our review unit can take any standard straps which are 20mm wide. The 45mm one uses 22mm straps.

Speaking of color, the 41mm model comes in two colors - Mystic Bronze and Mystic Silver. We got the former and from a man's point of view, it's this color must be targeted at the gentler part of the population. The 45mm variant, on the other hand, has the Mystic Black and Mystic Silver as options and looks more masculine.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

Overall, the watch feels solid and lightweight at the same time. The advertised MIL-STD-810G compliance suggests the phone should have no problem withstanding the occasional drop, extreme temperatures, dust, shock/vibration, and low pressure/high altitude. Yet Samsung advises avoiding excessive, sudden temperature changes and high-velocity activities.

The device 5ATM/IP68 rating means you can wear it while swimming but it's best that you rinse it in fresh water and dry it after use in sea water or chlorinated water.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

Usability and controls

We've already expressed our satisfaction with the return of the rotating ring so you've probably guessed that we also like the way Tizen navigates thanks to that very same ring. Of course, you can always do the good old-fashioned finger swiping and sometimes you have to - the drop-down menu for the quick toggles is just one example. Still, the ring helps you navigate more intuitively without having to smudge the display that often and also without obstructing the content on the screen.

Not to mention that the ring feels awesome. It has definitely improved since the Gear Sport and the original Galaxy Watch times. It's clicky without being obnoxious. In fact, we often found ourselves just fidgeting around with it.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

The bottom button acts as a home button while the one on the top is often used to go back. It's also used to pause your workout.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 review

We would also like to add that this is one of the few devices that get the "lift-to-wake" function right. About 9/10 times the screen turns on when you turn your wrist to check the time. This is really important from a usability standpoint because if you don't want the Always-on display toggle turned on to conserve battery, you are stuck with the second-best option, which is lift-to-wake.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Titanium

Now a quick look at the 45mm Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Titanium. The exclusive model features a Mystic Black metal strap with removable links so that you can achieve the perfect fit. The watch comes with a simple tool to help with strap adjustment and a wireless charging cradle. The watch body is made of Titanium, while the strap and buckle are made of metal.

Titanium is three times stronger than stainless steel all the while weighing considerably less. For instance, this 45mm watch without the strap weighs only 42.9g - that is both less than the stainless steel model's 45mm variant - 53.8g - and the 41mm - 48.2g.

Another differentiator of Titanium is its inherent oxide layer, which prevents the material from rusting and keeps it from interacting with human skin. That makes the Titanium watch hypoallergenic, whereas stainless steel often has nickel in the metal alloy - nickel is a metal some people have allergic reactions to.

On the outside the Galaxy Watch3 Titanium is the same as the 45mm stainless steel model. It only comes in the larger size and we don't expect a 41mm model to arrive as the aesthetic just doesn't fit the smaller size.

Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Titanium Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Titanium
Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Titanium

Reader comments

Love it

  • AnonD-731363
  • 23 Apr 2023
  • SH3

This i know too but since screen is smaller its way worse. And paying by watches is a no for me. Once i had NFC and used it for some time ago. And one nice summer day of 2016 after paying at Tesco counter i got a call from my bank they told ...

It is about notifications and health tracking features. I like to read a text on the watch, just glance at it and no need to take out phone out of pocket. You can reply prepared messages with a tap. That is what smartwatches are all about. Some peopl...