Samsung announces Galaxy Watch 3: Thinner, lighter, and built to take on the Apple Watch

Samsung easily moved into the prime smartwatch option for Android smartphone owners and with its advanced health and fitness features it may take the crown as the best smartwatch companion for all smartphone owners.

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While the fall Samsung launch is typically focused on the Galaxy Note line, this year the additional products may steal the spotlight. The Galaxy Tab 7 Plus looks to be a stunning tablet, the Buds Live may be the best and most affordable ANC-capable earbuds, and the Galaxy Watch 3 improvements may have many questioning their need for a dedicated GPS sports watch.

The new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a big watch, even the smaller 41mm model, but it is 14% thinner, 8% smaller, 15% lighter, and has a larger display than the Galaxy Watch released in 2018. It's competitively priced starting at $399, especially when you consider all models are constructed of stainless steel with a leather strap. The lowest price Apple Watch Series 5 starts at $399 and is made of aluminum with a silicone or fabric band. Samsung also only charges $50 extra for LTE capability while Apple charges double, $100, with limitations on the use of LTE.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Fantastic hardware, full-featured activity tracking, and a terrible voice assistant

Samsung will continue to keep the Galaxy Watch Active line with it being a fitness first series. The Watch Active will likely not have the rotating physical bezel, have a sleeker form factor, and have software that should match the Galaxy Watch series.

Galaxy Watch 3 specifications

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 9110
  • Display: 1.4 or 1.2 inches AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass DX
  • Operating system: Tizen OS 5.5
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 8GB internal
  • Durability: IP68 water and dust rating, 5ATM, MIL-STD-810G
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, heart rate monitor, ECG, ambient light
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS/BEIDOU, NFC (LTE optional)
  • Battery: 340 or 247 mAh non-removable with wireless charging support
  • Dimensions (45mm): 45 x 46.2 x 11.1 mm and 53.8 grams
  • Dimensions (41mm): 41 x 42.5 x 11.3 mm and 49.2 grams

Samsung advertises more than two days of battery life, but after using Samsung watches for a few years that is optimistic. You can easily go one full day and into the next, but don't expect two full days with two full nights of sleep tracking.

Some key health and fitness data we have only seen on dedicated GPS sports watches appear here on the Galaxy Watch 3. These features include running dynamics, VO2 Max, running coach, sleep stages and a sleep score with detailed analysis, SpO2 measurements, and fall detection. Unfortunately, SpO2, VO2 Max, and running coach will come later with a software update, scheduled for Q3.

Also: Best smartwatches in 2020: Apple and Samsung battle for a spot on your wrist

A couple of key health features require FDA approval and were advertised for the Watch Active 2 with a release earlier in 2020. COVID-19 likely impacted FDA approval timelines so if you are looking for ECG and blood pressure tracking, see my article on an early look at this, then don't expect to see it until possibly the end of 2020.

The price breakdown for the Galaxy Watch 3 is:

  • $399: 41 mm Bluetooth
  • $429: 45 mm Bluetooth
  • $449: 41 mm LTE
  • $470: 45 mm LTE

Colors options for the 45 mm Galaxy Watch 3 are Mystic Black and Mystic Silver. Mystic Bronze and Mystic Silver are available for the 41mm models.