Sunday 16 May 2021

Samsung Watch 3 : Review and Comparison with Huawei GT2 and Honor Magic Watch 2

Before starting the post, let me take you to a little while ago. I started buying smart watches ever since MI introduced their first band in India. MI with their super advert stating the use of military grade components to build the band, I was naturally attracted to adapt the technology. Then I upgraded to a few other watches including Jarvis, Huawei Sport which was completely running on then christened Android Wear. 

Then I upgraded to a few other watches including Huawei Watch 2 which was completely running on then christened Android Wear. It was a nice watch but the challenge even then was the ecosystem mismatch. I had a note 5 which tracks my walk and Huawei App tracks the steps from the watch and there is often a mismatch. When you get into this ecosystem game, things get out of control and that is what Samsung and Apple are doing with you. If you buy an Apple Watch, you need an Apple Phone to get the whole value out of it.

Then was my purchase of Samsung Active Watch. This was a perfect one with many functionalities in built and it merges into my samsung ecosystem. Samsung Watch, Phone and TV. With a 1.1 inch display size, Super AMOLED Touchscreen, the watch was really gorgeous and perfect fit. Built specifically for workout tracking, it had several auto modes for workout, sleep stress tracker and a long lasting battery. With 0.75 GB RAM and 4 GB Memory it supports wireless charging and around 45 hours runtime. Watch was powered by a dual core 1.15 GHZ processor and Tizen OS and has in-built support for many apps and samsung pay. I bought a Bluetooth version since I felt, LTE was an overkill and I didnt need one.

Now everything is not rose and apples with the watch. It promised a 5 ATM, IP68 rating which means you can swim with it and it is dust proof. I used it to swim, especially to track the lap count because my main intention was to reduce weight. All went well until we made a recent trip to a resort from Mahindra. As usual I took the watch to swim and the watch stopped working. It was not charging at all and I ran out of warranty by then. That of course irked me a little. I stopped the aspiration of buying another one.

Once again the villain in my life was weight gain and again decided to buy a Huawei GT2. There were few things I was specific about like in built GPS and not tethered GPS with your phone. Ability to track my activity was specific. Once I received it, I was not happy with the custom OS which Huawei had for the watch. I also found an exactly similar watch in a different brand name which is owned by Huawei. It was Honor Magicwatch 2. There was absolutely no difference and in fact both use the same app. Issues started creeping up when the watch was with me while driving. It interfered with Android Auto and the call was routed to watch instead of the Android Auto. It was irritating. Another issue is with the inconsistency in step count, riding a bike will be detected as a cycle (this is an issue in Samsung also). Common people, we know our roads are bad but neither could someone ride a bicycle at 50 KMs per hour. Another issue is that it can play only songs copied to it and not control anything on the mobile phone. Apps are basic and not even close to Samsung Health which I had in Samsung Note 8. Last but not least, it is not compatible with the Samsung eco-system. So I almost stopped wearing it after one month of usage and got back to my trustworthy friend “Fossil”. For a beginner, this is a good watch to start with.

Next was my brother’s offer to choose a smart watch for me as a gift. As the Apple watch was ruled out due to its incompatibility, my options were only few. One is to get back to Samsung or to buy Fossil powered by now christened Android Wear, Wear OS. Wear OS is still struggling to match up with Tizen and I am left with Samsung Watch, Active 2 and Watch 3. After a thorough comparison, I went ahead to buy this watch. Samsung Watch 3 primarily because of three reasons.

One, that it is compatible with Samsung Health. Second would be its capability to measure Blood Pressure and ECG, though it is not approved in India and third and the compelling reason to buy is the product is the latest offering from Samsung Wearables. I always prefer buying the latest (not launch product after I purchased Motorola Droid 2 and few other devices) one which will make sure that the product remains relevant for a few years at least.  

This is a 45 mm bluetooth version and I am still not convinced to buy the LTE one and is powered by 1 GB RAM, which is 0.5 GB less than the actual Watch. 45 mm again comes with a larger battery, Dual Core 1.15 GHZ Processor, Wireless Charging and Water and Dust resistance with a rating of 5 ATM and IP68.

Initial setup was a little tricky as there was Indian region. So please make sure that you select any region which has english language (language you can choose) and later when you sync with the Wear App, every setting will be configured properly.

One important aspect you need to remember is that BP and ECG monitors are not available by default in India. You need to find “Samsung Health Monitor” and install the APK to get it enabled and then it works almost perfectly. In the initial setup, it is advisable to have a BP Monitor Device to tune the settings to the right value. Watch also comes with a Stress Analyzer, Idle time detector, many exercising modes, automatic exercise detection and SPo2 (Oxygen level in the blood) meter which is very important in today's world. I am not sure how accurate the SpO2 meter is since I prefer using the sensor in my phone connecting it to my finger tip. The Samsung Health App integration is the best of its kind and the integration is top notch.

Difference between Active and Watch3 is its additional capability of measuring the health aspects, wide bezel and its classy look with its leather strap. There are few misses like floor count (Automatic detection of staircase usage), rugged feeling with sweat proof strap and less weight adds value to Active.

Few issues I find with the watch is that the battery is not optimal. It almost runs out by the second day mid and charging it daily is inevitable. Another issue is that the auto detection while riding a motorcycle is considered as the physical exercise even while driving it at a higher speed. Maybe because of the bumpy road but I prefer if there is an option for the user to choose if the auto detection value to be saved or not. Charger is magnetic but most times, it doesn’t stick (that oddly satisfying click sound) to the watch and we need to align it properly to continue charging. I read a news article that Samsung is adapting Wearos ditching Tizen which would be bad news for early adopters of Tizen (both my TV and Watch is powered by Tizen) and this watch, though not early adoption will have to bear the consequences. So far I loved the watch and will keep posted about its performance even in the future. So stay tuned and subscribe.


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