Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 3 is thinner, lighter, and more expensive

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Samsung has just announced the latest model in its long line of smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 3. The Watch 3 succeeds the Galaxy Watch that was first released in 2018 and joins the Galaxy Watch Active and Watch Active 2 in Samsung’s current lineup. It will be available for purchase starting on August 6th for $399.99 and up.

The Galaxy Watch 3 (no, you’re not imagining things: there isn’t a Galaxy Watch 2 — Samsung decided to skip a number to make it appear newer than the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that’s been out since last year) looks similar to the prior model, with a physical rotating dial, two buttons on the side, and a chunkier design compared to the sleeker and simpler Active models. But Samsung says it’s 14 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the Galaxy Watch, which should make it more comfortable to wear, especially for those with smaller wrists. At the same time, the screen size has increased to 1.4 inches on the larger variant.

The Watch 3 is available in two different sizes, 41mm and 45mm, each with Bluetooth or LTE variations. The 41mm version will be available in bronze or silver, while the 45mm watch will be in silver or black. Both models have full-color, always-on OLED displays with Gorilla Glass.

They run Samsung’s Tizen platform, which means they work best with Samsung’s own phones, run okay on other Android phones, and don’t really play all that well with iPhones, even though Samsung technically supports connections to iOS. Samsung’s wearable platform is generally considered to be better than Google’s own Wear OS, however.

Samsung says the Watch 3 is up to 14 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the model it replaces.
 Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Samsung is clearly positioning the Watch 3 as a more upmarket smartwatch compared to the sport and fitness-focused Active line. The Watch 3 is made from stainless steel compared to the aluminum used on the base models of the Active watches, and Samsung says that a titanium version will be coming later this year. The company also says it worked with IWC Schaffhausen, a Swiss watchmaker, on the design of the Watch 3. Instead of a basic rubber strap, each Watch 3 will come with a color-matched leather band. The titanium model will have a matching titanium link bracelet.

As a result, the price of the Watch 3 is about $70 more than before and $150 more than the Watch Active 2. It now goes head to head against the Series 5 Apple Watch, at least in terms of pricing.

Though the Active line is pitched as being more of a fitness companion, the Watch 3 does debut a few new enhancements on the fitness tracking side of things. The sleep tracking feature has been enhanced with better algorithms and more precise data. Later this year, the Watch 3 will gain blood oxygen (SpO2 and VO2 Max) monitoring, and in Korea, it will be able to monitor blood pressure and electrocardiography (EKG). (Samsung says it is working with the FDA to obtain clearance for those features in the US.) The Watch 3 also has a new trip and fall detection feature that will notify a contact when a fall is detected, similar to the feature in later models of the Apple Watch.

Outside of fitness tracking, you can expect the Watch 3 to carry on all of the other smartwatch functions of the Galaxy Watch, including notifications from apps, customizable watchfaces, hands-free Bixby assistant, Samsung Pay for mobile payments (NFC only), and a speaker for playing alerts and taking calls. Samsung claims the battery life has been extended to two days between charges.

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