Last month I posted my full review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch, but think I may need to write another article as my experiences with it have improved after more extended usage. It has moved into the 9+ range and is quickly becoming my favorite smartwatch.
The Galaxy Watch is a fantastic smartwatch, but there are buried settings that take it to the next level and I've been answering many questions on social networks and via email since my review went live.
Samsung marketing promotes the always-on watch face, battery life up to four days, advanced sleep tracking with REM measurements included, auto detection of some workouts, and regular stress tracking. These are indeed all present and possible, but you may be frustrated if you just open the box, charge up, and go to find that these experiences are not happening. Let me help you out here and I think these actions will increase your satisfaction with the Galaxy Watch.
How can I increase battery life to four days?
The one major software differentiator (round vs squircle shape is a major hardware difference) between the Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch is the ability to have an always-on watch face. However, after nearly a month using the Galaxy Watch, I discovered that this is also the culprit that kills the battery life the fastest and if you enable the watch face to be on all the time then you are likely to get about half of the battery life that Samsung advertises.
If you want a chance at four or more days of battery life, then go to Settings>Watch faces and toggle off the Watch always on option. You can still keep the gesture enabled to turn on the watch face so if you lift your wrist and rotate to look at the screen then you should see the watch face. I prefer having the watch face always on, but until Samsung improves the battery life with this enabled I have it turned off.
If you really want to go crazy and see a week to a month of battery life, battery settings are available for power saving and watch only modes too.
How can I see REM time in my sleep results?
By default, you will see light, deep, and active zones in your sleep results. I saw this the first couple of days and then finally found how to get REM zones to show up. REM tracking uses heart rate variability (HRV) to help define this period of sleep.
Go into the Samsung Health app on the Galaxy Watch and then scroll/twist on down to heart rate. Tap on the three dot menu icon on the right and then on the gear icon to access settings. Choose the Always option and then go to bed to track your sleep. You should now see REM zones in your sleep stats.
Another benefit of changing this setting is that your heart rate will be measured throughout the day so you can view a useful chart showing how it changes throughout the day.
How can I measure my stress level?
A new function on the Galaxy Watch is the ability to measure stress levels. By default, only manual stress levels are measured when you open the Stress app/widget and then tap on the measure button. If you want to have your stress measured throughout the day and receive prompts to follow the breathing exercises when stress levels get high then tap on the Stress app/widget, select the gear icon, and then slide the toggle to have Always enabled. Stress doesn't measure your emotional state, but it can be useful to at least track a week or so all day long to see if there are any times of concern that should be monitored more closely by a health professional.
How can I change the status panel?
When you swipe down from the watch face then you will see battery and connection indicators at the top of the display with two rows of icons on the status panel. Status options include power saving mode, airplane mode, ringtone volume, do not disturb, watch always on, brightness levels, theater mode, settings, Bluetooth headset, battery management, find my phone, goodnight mode, location, NFC, sound mode, touch sensitivity, water lock mode, and WiFi. You can choose to have eight icons appear on these two rows of the status panel.
To change the order and status option, press and hold on the status panel to activate editing mode. Tap the icon with the red minus sign to remove the status option and once there is at least one open spot then tap the plus icon. You can also press and hold on an icon and then drag it in these two rows to reposition the option to your preference. You must have at least four icons on the status panel.
How do I see that cool My Day watch face?
On the Samsung site and in advertisements, the new My Day watch face is often shown. In order to get the most out of this watch face after selecting it and customizing it, you need to make sure you have accounts syncing and setup with the Samsung Calendar app on your phone. You will then see your schedule for the next 10 hours with blue bars around the watch face as these appointments approach the start time.
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To check what is upcoming, you can rotate the bezel around the watch face to see future appointments in the next 10 hours. If you tap on one of the outside blue bars then the details for that appointment will show up in the center of the watch face. It's a handy watch face that efficiently shows you what to expect that day. You can also ask Bixby what is next on your calendar if you are feeling especially optimistic.
What does Water Lock Mode mean?
One of the enhancements to the Samsung Galaxy Watch was the increased water resistance level to 5 ATM (50 meters). This means you can now use your Galaxy Watch to track swimming workouts and if you plan to exercise in the water then you should switch the watch into Water Lock Mode.
With Water Lock Mode on (accessible via a status panel icon or in the settings) the touchscreen will be turned off, wake-up gestures will be disabled, and the always-on watch face will be turned off.
Simply press and hold the Home button (that's the lower right hardware button) to turn off Water Lock Mode.
How can I respond to messages and email?
In order for text messages to work on the Galaxy Watch, you need to make sure you have the Samsung Messages app installed as the default text message application on your phone. There are standard quick reply options available and these can also be customized to make replying easier too.
When responding to a message or email scroll down to the bottom of the message and you will see three icons: blue microphone, purple smiley face, and a red T with small keyboard. These are your three possible input methods.
Tapping the blue microphone launches the voice input option so simply speak your message and you will see it convert from your voice to text right on the display.
Tapping the purple smiley face opens a screen where you can choose an emoji category and then a specific emoji or select to doodle. With the doodle option you simply draw an image to send to the recipient.
Tapping on the red T with small keyboard opens up keyboard options. These options include writing out text with your finger one letter at a time or using a T9 input keyboard. You use a combination of bezel rotations and taps on the display to enter text using this method.
Any settings/functions you can't find? Let me know in the comments and I'll add to this article with a solution.
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