Samsung Galaxy Watch is a premium smartwatch
4.7Overall Score
Name: Samsung Galaxy Watch
Price (RRP): $499-699
Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Watch was launched in August last year. Because it’s far more of a smartwatch that most – more of an Apple Watch equivalent in an Android world – it warrants a full review.

We have no excuse for a late review. In part that is because we were all happy with its predecessor, the Gear 3 (2016) and the new Samsung Galaxy Watch has been an international bestseller, so review samples took some time to reach the Antipodes.

We will not make comparisons with the Apple watch (any generation) but suffice to say that this a) is a direct competitor for Apple Watch and b) works on Apple iPhones or Android smartphone – not just Samsung devices. Note that LTE calling does not work with an iOS device.

What is a Samsung Galaxy Watch?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is its premium smartwatch with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional 4G LTE capability (you can make and receive calls in all three modes).

It comes in 42mm and 46mm sizes as well as in rose gold and black versions (42mm) and stainless steel (46mm) with swappable standard 20 or 22mm watch bands that you can get from Samsung or most watchmakers.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The main design feature is the rotating bezel. It is the most intuitive interface I have used – and I have used many. Simply rotate the bezel clockwise or anti-clockwise to see different screens or press the settings button/tap the screen and rotate through installed apps.

Do not confuse this with the more recent Galaxy Watch Active (40mm) that is more a cross-over between a smartwatch and a fitness band.

All watches work with the Samsung Health app that keeps getting better and would please even a weekend warrior. And as a bonus, it supports the Samsung Pay app (or Google Pay).

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Prices are:

  • 42mm Bluetooth R810 $499
  • 42mm LTE R815 $599
  • 46mm Bluetooth R800 $549
  • 46mm LTE $649 R805

Now that demand has stabilised you can find them online for a lower price. As LTE units use an eSIM, it is safe to buy locally or overseas.

Review Samsung Galaxy Watch 46mm LTE SM-R805FZSAXSA

Website here and full 154 page manual here – yes, it can do a lot!

I want to start with the specifications and comments on each

Item Comment
46mm (1.3-inch)
42mm (1.2-inch) 360×360 Super AMOLED or display
Gorilla Glass DX+
It is bright and beautiful with enough brightness for daylight readability. It is amazing what you can fit on the screen even using large fonts.
Exynos 9110 dual-core, 10nm, a 1.15GHz processor with 768MB/4GB storage (1.4GB available) Running Tizen Wearable OS 4.0 On-device storage is tight but should hold at least 300 songs – also supports MP3, M4A,  3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB
LTE (increases RAM to 1.5GB) Bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20
NFC For Samsung Pay (here) and Google Pay (note does not support older MST mag card spec)
Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz and BT 4.2 It uses N 2.4Ghz for maximum distance from a router in a home Wi-Fi network
Integrated microphone and speaker Can be used as a hands-free phone over BT, Wi-FI and LTE modes
Sensors: Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro, HR Sensor, Light Sensor, GPS/Glonass and haptic feedback All the information you need to feed into software for health stats.
Battery: 472mAh (46mm) and 270mAh (42mm)
WPC  wireless magnetic micro-USB desk charger.
5V/.7A micro-USB charger but works with any USB-A port or power delivery to 5V/3A
GPS on – 20hr
Music playback from memory: 15 Hrs
Everyday wear (no GPS): around three-four days
42mm – cut usage hours by approx. 50% Real use – charge each night if using Always-on-display and Wi-Fi
Stainless Steel 316L 46mm 49 x 46 x 13mm x 63g 42mm 45.7 x 41.9 x 12.7 x 49g IP68, 5ATM water resistance for low-velocity swimming
MIL-STD-810G
46mm is a large watch.
5ATM is explained here but means up to 50m for 10 minutes. It is not a diver’s watch. Weights exclude strap

42 or 46mm?

The 42mm is for smaller wrists, and apart from battery life, there are no compromises. 46mm is a big watch so try both on first before you buy.

Both have a sufficiently loud speaker to hold Dick Tracy style wrist conversations. The AMOLED screen has amazing 3D depth – it looks like a watch face.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

For me – I suspect the 42mm in black is large enough for my style despite having about half the battery life bringing this in at about two days.

Samsung Health app

Having tried so many smart watches, I keep coming back to Samsung Health as one of the best all-around health apps – for me. It is impressive to see how far it has come over the years with one catch – the latest version requires iOS or Android 9 or later.

The heart rate monitor (HRM) is different from the Gear S3. It has a single green LED and four photodiodes for the best accuracy. Its automatic HRM (Always, Frequent or Never) is first class and as accurate as an external monitor or chest strap. It can also sense stress. It will not work if swimming as it requires skin contact.