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Samsung Galaxy Watch buyer's guide: Everything you need to know

Samsung's Galaxy Watches have gone through quite a few changes over the years. Here's how to make sense of it all.
By
August 22, 2022
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic being held in someone's hand.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

If you’re searching for any information about Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatches, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a plethora of information on Samsung’s wearables, including their fitness tracking and smart features, companion apps, whether or not you should buy one for yourself, and much more. We even talk about the somewhat confusing software situation between Wear OS and Tizen.


What is a Samsung Galaxy Watch?

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro displays its App Library including Google and Samsung native apps.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung, the South Korean company probably most well-known for its Galaxy smartphones, also makes smartwatches. In the early days, Samsung stuck to the “Gear” moniker for its wearables. However, after the first Samsung Galaxy Watch was announced in 2017, Samsung retired the Gear name in favor of the title Galaxy Watches.

Samsung produces the hardware and software for each and every Samsung Galaxy Watch model, but the software situation is worth clarifying a bit more. The first Galaxy smartwatch (known as the Galaxy Gear) ran Google’s then-Android Wear operating system. After that device, Samsung dropped Android Wear and used its own operating system, Tizen.

Samsung has a long, somewhat confusing history in the wearables market.

Now we have the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series and Galaxy Watch 4 series, both of which run Google’s Wear OS smartwatch operating system. Samsung ditched its in-house OS to co-develop the latest version of Wear OS, aptly named Wear OS 3.

All in all, Samsung Galaxy Watches are full-fledged smartwatches that offer a variety of use cases. They track your fitness and daily activity, provide smartphone notifications, run apps, offer customizable watch faces, and more. They’re feature-packed wearables with many strengths and some weaknesses, which we’ll go over in the next section.

Also read: The best smartwatches you can buy


Why buy a Samsung Galaxy Watch?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic on wrist showing the all apps screen containing Samsung Health, the Google Play Store, and others
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

There are many reasons to buy a Samsung Galaxy Watch. Samsung’s two latest generations, the Galaxy Watch 5 series and Galaxy Watch 4 series, are among the only few smartwatches to run the new Wear OS 3 operating system. Also, Watches from Mobvoi, Fossil, and other Wear OS veterans are still stuck running old software. Since we don’t recommend buying a Wear OS 2-powered smartwatch, the latest Galaxy Watches are at the top of our list of the best Wear OS smartwatches.

If you’re into fitness and tracking your daily activity, both lines have a lot to like. Both watches offer standalone GPS, mostly accurate heart rate sensors, and support for tracking over 90 different exercises. There are useful features for runners, including post-workout analysis of your asymmetry, contact time, flight time, regularity, vertical, and stiffness. All of the devices also come with an ECG monitor, SpO2 sensor for monitoring daily and nightly blood oxygen levels, and body composition estimates.

Don’t miss: Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch 5. Should you upgrade?

The Galaxy Watch 5 pulls ahead in a few key ways, especially the Pro model. Both the base and Pro models offer better battery life than the previous generation, as well as faster charging. Each also features Sapphire Glass for added durability, with the Pro offering a slightly thicker crystal and other build material improvements such as titanium. The Pro model also adds advanced navigation features for hikers and cyclists.

Galaxy Watches are among the most customizable wearables you can buy. The Galaxy Watch 5 base model is offered in multiple sizes, so you should have no problem finding one to fit your wrist. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is only available in one size option. Samsung also provides lots of nice strap options and colorways for each device. Customizing your Galaxy Watch during the checkout process on Samsung.com is actually quite fun.

Are there reasons to stay away from Samsung Galaxy Watches? Sure. Historically, Galaxy Watches don’t offer stellar battery life compared to devices from Fitbit and Garmin. However, Wear OS 3 shows a lot of promise and the third-party app support is hard to overlook.

That depends on the model. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4s running Wear OS 3 are not compatible with iPhones. Older devices (Galaxy Watch 3 and earlier) can connect to iPhones. However, you’ll get the best experience pairing your watch with an Android phone, and more specifically, one made by Samsung.


What experts think of the Samsung Galaxy Watch series

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic rest side by side on a fence.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

We have used Samsung’s flagship smartwatches extensively over the past few years. It should come as no surprise we have a lot to say about them and how they fit into the broader smartwatch landscape.

At the risk of oversimplification, if you’re familiar with Samsung’s smartphone lineup, the Galaxy Watch line can be thought of in a similar manner. They have all the features you could want on a wearable, but that doesn’t mean all of them are as well-implemented as they could be.

We believe the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro should be on your shortlist of Wear OS devices if you’re looking for a new smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch 4 series was an excellent showcase for the new Wear OS 3 operating system, running Samsung’s One UI Watch software overlay. The Galaxy Watch 5 series builds on the 4’s success, further integrating the best of Google into the device while also adding more tools for athletes and more durability for adventurers.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is more feature-packed than its predecessor, but it does drop one key design element.

As was the case with the Galaxy Watch 4 series, some advertised features, like the ECG monitor and nighttime snoring detection, are only accessible if you pair your watch with a Samsung phone. One headlining feature, the brand new temperature, was not available at launch nor as of this writing. Finally, some shoppers were disappointed to see the latest flagship device drop the 4 Classic’s physical bezel.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
See review
See review

If you are looking to save some cash, we still consider the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to be excellent devices. These won’t offer the same battery life or build but they do provide many of the same tools and features found on the newest models.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

There are two other Samsung Galaxy Watch devices we recommend, but for only two types of buyers: those who refuse to wear a Wear OS smartwatch and those looking for significant discounts on their wearable.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 are powered by Samsung’s Tizen operating system. Since Samsung has switched to Wear OS, these two older smartwatches will likely be the last to run on this software. Samsung says it will continue to support both watches with future software updates, but don’t expect either watch to get the latest and greatest features from here on out. In other words, if you want to future-proof your wrist wearable, buy a Galaxy Watch 4 instead.

The Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 offer nearly the same features, so your buying decision will likely come down to price and form factor.

The Galaxy Watch 3 is the everything watch. While its feature set rivals the Active 2, the Galaxy Watch 3 adds in more onboard storage, a larger overall footprint, and the wonderful rotating bezel we enjoy using so much. In our review, we said, “not many smartwatches are as well-rounded as the Galaxy Watch 3.” We were particularly big fans of the smaller design over its predecessor as well as its post-workout analysis.

However, it falls short in fitness tracking. The GPS and heart rate sensor on the Galaxy Watch 3 are among the least accurate we’ve used. That’s definitely something to keep in mind if you’re planning on using it as a workout companion.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 2 is for the sportier crowd. It’s smaller and thinner than the Galaxy Watch 3, partially because it doesn’t have the Watch 3’s rotating bezel for navigation within the UI. Instead, the bezel around the watch casing is touch-sensitive. It still works in the same way, but it’s certainly not as pleasant to use.

We gave the Galaxy Watch Active 2 a positive score in our full review, noting that the AMOLED display, battery life, and sleep-tracking capabilities were standout features. Sadly, the Active 2’s GPS and heart rate sensor are unchanged from the Galaxy Watch 3, which means we’ve found them to be unreliable.

Read: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Scroll down to this section to learn more about older Galaxy Watch devices.


Buying the right Samsung Galaxy Watch for your needs

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Watch face
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

When buying a smartwatch, it’s important to know what you want and need. Are you looking for a wearable that’ll primarily be used for tracking workouts? You’ll want something with a good heart rate and GPS. Are you trying to get the best bang for your buck? A few Samsung smartwatches often go on sale at third-party retailers. Below, you’ll find a brief roundup of the Samsung smartwatches you should consider.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the best Samsung Galaxy smartwatch you can buy. It’s pricey, but it’s also a well-rounded smartwatch that’s great for the gym and for casual wear.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the best option for a more affordable model of the latest generation.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the best Samsung Galaxy smartwatch for a physical bezel. It’s a bit bulkier than the standard Galaxy Watch 4 but features a more classic look and a slightly bulkier design.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is the best Samsung Galaxy smartwatch running Tizen. If you’re after a Samsung watch that doesn’t run Wear OS, the Galaxy Watch 3 is your best option.
  • The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the best cheap Samsung Galaxy smartwatch. It’s often available through third-party retailers for under $200.

Our picks: The best Samsung smartwatches you can buy


Wear OS vs Tizen: Which Samsung Galaxy Watch OS should you choose?

If you’re new to both Wear OS and Tizen platforms, you’re probably wondering which one is better. Having used both of them extensively over the years, we have some thoughts.

Wear OS — especially Wear OS 3 — offers tight integration with the Android operating system on your phone. They are, after all, based on the same underlying platform. As a result, Wear OS provides Android staples like the Google Play Store, which lets you install your favorite smartphone apps on your smartwatch. The messaging system is much more tightly integrated too, so swiping away notifications from your Wear OS watch also clears them from your phone.

The Google Play Store aspect really shouldn’t be overlooked. It contains third-party apps from a bevy of developers. Many people who develop apps for Android proper also make Wear OS apps. On the other hand, Tizen uses Samsung’s Galaxy Store for apps and watch faces. There are a few dozen decent applications in the Galaxy Store, but the experience compared to the Play Store really doesn’t compare. In fact, we believe the lack of developers in the Galaxy Store is one reason why Samsung moved to Wear OS.

More: The main differences between the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 3

With the Wear OS 3 update, Google also allows watchmakers to customize the look and feel of the Wear OS experience. Samsung took this idea and ran with it. Not only does Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 resemble Samsung’s One UI Android skin, but the user interface also doesn’t differ too much from what you’d get on a Tizen-powered Galaxy Watch anyway.

So, which should you choose, Wear OS or Tizen? We think you should choose Wear OS. While Tizen has its strengths, Galaxy Watches running Tizen just won’t be supported for as long as Samsung’s new Wear OS watches. Samsung says it will continue to support Galaxy Watches running Tizen with bug fixes and security updates as they arise. However, it’s clear the company’s focus going forward is on Wear OS.


What fitness and health features does the Samsung Galaxy Watch offer?

A Galaxy Watch 4 on a user's wrist displays advanced running metrics.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Fitness and health features have been a significant focus of Samsung Galaxy Watches since their inception. As smartwatches become more health-focused and add support for niche sensors, Samsung’s watches have kept up. Some offer blood pressure and ECG, while others support basic activity tracking and fitness modes.

  • 90+ exercise modes: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 can track over 90 different sport profiles. This includes all of the most common workouts and plenty of individual exercises like leg curls, crunches, and sit-ups.
  • Steps: All Galaxy Watches keep track of your step count throughout the day. You can also adjust your daily goal if the default 10,000 step goal is too high or low for you.
  • Distance: Samsung Galaxy Watch devices can track your distance during the day. When you are recording an exercise, the GPS will kick in to deliver even more accurate data.
  • Standalone GPS: All Samsung Galaxy Watches have standalone GPS, allowing you to track accurate distance and pace metrics without the need to have your phone nearby.
  • Floors climbed: All Galaxy Watch models have barometric altimeters, which help provide accurate elevation data.
  • Calorie burn: The Samsung Galaxy Watch series tracks your resting and active calorie burn throughout the day based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
  • Heart rate: All Galaxy Watches have optical heart rate sensors for measuring your BPM while inactive and while exercising. If your watch senses a heart rate that’s too high or too low while you’re inactive, it’ll alert you. Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 series devices will also measure your heart rate recovery when you complete a workout.
  • Sleep: All Galaxy Watches will track your sleep, including your sleep stages (light, deep, and REM) and your total time awake. The Galaxy Watch 3, 4, and 5 series will also give you a sleep score from 1-100 based on a few different factors. If your Galaxy Watch 4 or 5 is paired with a Samsung smartphone, you can even see how much you snore during the night. Additionally, the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 series both offer personalized sleep coaching.
  • Stress monitoring: The Samsung Galaxy Watch series tracks your stress throughout the day using your heart rate variability data. Unlike other trackers that give you a stress “score” (usually from 1-100), Galaxy Watch devices show you how stressed you are on a sliding scale from green to red; green means you’re relaxed and red means you’re very stressed.
  • Breathing exercises: If your stress numbers are too high, you can use your Galaxy Watch to help you breathe a little easier. Select the Breathe app from the stress-tracking menu, and follow the on-screen prompts to get some help breathing in and out. This should help lower your stress levels.
  • VO2 max: Select Samsung Galaxy Watches provide VO2 max estimates, which are displayed on the watch following each workout. Some also let you see your personalized workload when running so you can check and adjust your workload in real-time. This indicator shows % of VO2 Max value.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a man's wrist shows the nighttime SpO2 monitoring screen.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2): The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, 4, 3, and Active 2 can track your blood oxygen (aka SpO2) via integrated pulse oximeters. The Galaxy Watch 3 and Active 2 can only take readings manually throughout the day. The Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 series can do so too, but they also record your blood oxygen levels at night in one-minute increments.
  • Running analysis: Samsung provides detailed running analysis following each of your recorded runs with your Galaxy Watch device. These training features provide valuable data like asymmetry, contact time, flight time, regularity, vertical, and stiffness. It’s rare to see these on smartwatches, especially on ones that aren’t geared towards the fitness crowd.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5, 4, 3, and Active 2 have built-in ECG monitors, allowing you to keep an eye on your heart health whenever you need it. After you take an ECG reading, your watch will be able to tell you whether or not it senses any irregularities such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). This feature can only be used with a paired Samsung phone.
  • Body composition: Using bioelectrical impedance sensors, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 series can estimate certain body composition metrics like skeletal muscle, basal metabolic rate (BMR), body mass index (BMI), water retention, and body fat percentage. You can also set goals for this data and will find tips and insights about your results.
  • Fall detection: If your Galaxy Watch 5, 4, or 3 senses you’ve fallen during an activity like running or walking, it’ll send an emergency SMS to up to four emergency contacts. It’s a simpler version of the safety features that appear on Apple and Garmin devices.
  • Menstrual cycle tracking: You can track your menstrual cycle in Samsung Health. Samsung partnered with the popular fertility app Glow to help forecast your fertility windows, ovulation days, and periods. You can use this feature to log your symptoms, moods, sexual activity, and more, all of which will help the app better predict upcoming events.
  • Blood pressure: Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 series can record your blood pressure right from your wrist using pulse wave analysis, but there are significant caveats with the feature. Users need to calibrate their watch with a dedicated blood pressure cuff — not something many people have handy. The feature is also only available in Australia. Also, Samsung notes this feature can’t diagnose hypertension or other serious issues.

What smartwatch features do Samsung Galaxy Watches offer?

A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 displays the Google Maps application.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Here’s where things get a bit tricky. We’ve already discussed how Samsung now has two wearable operating systems to support: Wear OS and Tizen. As one would expect, the smartwatch features between the two differ a bit.

Below, you’ll find a list of all of the smartwatch features offered by Samsung’s Wear OS and Tizen wearables. If one feature is available on one OS and not the other, look for a note under the appropriate feature. Remember, all Samsung Galaxy Watches 3 and earlier run Tizen, while the Galaxy Watch 5 series and Galaxy Watch 4 series devices run Wear OS.

  • Smartphone notifications: Your smartwatch will handle notifications differently depending on which operating system it’s running. If you own a Wear OS device, you’ll receive the same app notifications on your smartwatch as you do on your smartphone. You can reply to messages using either voice dictation or the on-screen Wear OS keyboard. Also, swiping away notifications from your wrist clears them on your smartphone. If your smartwatch is running Tizen, you can still receive smartphone notifications on your wrist. You can respond to them, but options are limited compared to Wear OS devices.
  • Google Play Store: On Wear OS 3 devices, you can download first- and third-party apps, games, and watch faces from the Google Play Store.
  • Samsung Galaxy Store: Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 devices and older use a condensed Galaxy Wearable version of the Samsung Galaxy Store for downloading apps and watch faces. The Samsung Galaxy Store offers little in comparison to the Play Store on Wear OS.
  • Samsung Bixby: Samsung’s oft-shunned voice assistant, Bixby, is the default voice assistant on all Samsung Galaxy Watch devices. On the Galaxy Watch 5, 5 Pro, 4, and 4 Classic, you can also use Google Assistant.
A Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on a user's wrist shows a Gmail notification.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • On-wrist phone calls: You can answer and place phone calls right from your wrist on most Samsung Galaxy Watches. If you have a Bluetooth-only device, it needs to be connected to a nearby smartphone to use this feature. If your watch has LTE connectivity, you can place and answer calls even without a phone nearby.
  • Music streaming and offline music playback: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 series on Wear OS 3 support music downloads from popular music services like Spotify and YouTube Music. We also recommend an app called NavMusic, which lets you easily download local music files to your watch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and older devices can store local music files and downloads from Spotify. You’ll need a pair of Bluetooth earbuds to listen to music on your watch. Check out our favorite wireless options here.
  • Control music playback from your smartphone: Using dedicated music streaming apps, you can control the music playing on your phone from your Wear OS watch.
  • Contactless payments: You can pay for things in stores using your watch with Samsung Pay (more on this later). Samsung Pay is the default contactless payment service on the Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 series, but you can also download Google Pay from the Play Store. Notably, Samsung only implemented NFC support for Samsung Pay on all its wearables, so the convenience of MST payments can only be found on Samsung’s smartphones.
  • Onboard maps and navigation: Google Maps is available on Wear OS smartwatches, allowing for turn-by-turn navigation from your wrist.
  • Wi-Fi+Bluetooth and LTE models: Some Galaxy Watches can connect to cellular networks, requiring a SIM card from a mobile carrier like Verizon or AT&T. Most buyers will likely opt for the Bluetooth+Wi-Fi model, meaning your smartwatch will need to be connected to your phone to receive data.

The Galaxy Wearable app

A Google Pixel 5a shows the Galaxy Wearable app.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app is your go-to app for browsing and installing watch faces, rearranging apps, adding and removing Tiles, adjusting quick panel settings, and more. Previously, Wear OS watches used Google’s Wear OS smartphone app for all of these options, but Samsung uses the Galaxy Wearable app in place of that. Tizen-based wearables also use Samsung’s app.

Upon downloading the Galaxy Wearable app, you’ll need to sign in with your Samsung account. If you don’t yet have one, you’ll have to make one. Once you’re signed in, it’s time to connect your Galaxy Watch to the app. At this point, you’ll likely be prompted to download the appropriate Galaxy Watch Plugin app, as well as the Samsung Accessory Service app from the Play Store. If you’re using a Samsung phone, the Accessory Service app may already be installed for you.

If you’re using a Galaxy Watch 5, 5 Pro, 4 or 4 Classic, you’ll see two sections in the Galaxy Wearable app. The top section lets you customize your watch face, apps screen layout, Tiles, and quick panel. Below that, you can adjust watch settings, activate the Find My Watch feature, and view the user manual. The very top of the home screen shows your current watch face and battery percentage.

It’s a similar setup if you’re using a Galaxy Watch 3 or older device. Your currently paired watch is shown at the top, along with its battery percentage. Below that is a list of settings, including options for notifications, apps, widgets, sound options, display, and more. You can tab over to the watch faces section to search for and install new watch faces. Overall, the app is a simple, helpful little app that makes downloading new watch faces, apps, and software updates easy.


The Samsung Health app

A user reviews her Daily Activity in the Samsung Health app.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung Health is the default fitness application for all Samsung smartwatches. Even the Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 series devices use it instead of Google Fit. Fortunately, we’ve found Samsung Health to be a straightforward, easy-to-use fitness application. We suggest checking out our complete Samsung Health guide for all the details, but we’ll paint the broad strokes anyway.

You’ll track all of your daily activity stats, exercises, sleep, stress levels, and more in Samsung Health. The app does offer a few social features, like monthly challenges you can join with friends, but none are really worth your time.

There are various fitness programs featured in the app from Samsung partners which include guided workouts and videos. Plus, you’ll also find mindfulness practices like guided meditations, sleep stories, and music in partnership with the Calm app. Again, you can find many more details about Samsung Health in our guide, linked above.

See also: Samsung Health vs Apple Health


What is Samsung Pay?

A user opens Samsung Pay on her watch, one of the digital payment options available on the device.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Samsung Pay is the company’s contactless payment service. It can be used on your smartphone or wearable to pay for things in stores, using NFC or MST technology. Notably, Samsung has removed MST support for Samsung Pay from all its wearables, so NFC is the only option with Galaxy Watches.

Once you install and set up Samsung Pay on your device, using it is simple. During the checkout process at your favorite store, locate the payment terminal that shows the familiar NFC payments symbol. Launch the Samsung Pay app on your smartwatch, hold your wrist to the terminal for a few moments, and you should receive a confirmation that your payment went through. You may need to enter your device’s PIN or passcode at some point during this process.

More: What are Samsung Pay Rewards, and how do you use them?

Samsung Pay also lets you earn rewards for your purchases, add loyalty and gift cards, and store your COVID-19 vaccination card digitally on your phone. It’s accepted at millions of places around the world and supports over 1,000 banks and credit unions. On the other hand, if you aren’t a Samsung Pay user, the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 series also let you use Google Pay as a default contactless payment service.


What Samsung Galaxy Watch accessories are available?

A Galaxy Watch 4 face-down on a table shows its silicone strap lug and health sensors.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

There are plenty of first- and third-party accessories available for the Samsung Galaxy Watch line. The most common accessories people buy for their watches are replacement bands. Samsung sells a variety of replacement bands on its website for all current Galaxy Watch devices. There, you can find basic silicone and leather bands, as well as high-quality leather bands from Serafil, Novonappa, Braloba, and NFL-themed silicone bands.

If you don’t want to spend the extra dough on a first-party strap, you can use any other standard watch strap with your device. Just make sure you buy the right size. You’ll want a 20mm band for a Galaxy Watch 4  or 5 (all models), Galaxy Watch Active 2, Galaxy Watch Active, 42mm Galaxy Watch, and 41mm Galaxy Watch 3. Buy a 22mm band for the 45mm Galaxy Watch 3, 46mm Galaxy Watch, Gear S3 Frontier, and Gear S3 Classic.

Samsung also carries replacement chargers on its website, which are, of course, also available at other retailers. You can even buy a UV sanitizer for your smartwatch, which Samsung claims will kill 99% of bacteria in 10 minutes.

Problems and solutions

A Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 rests on a table displaying the Essentials menu.

No piece of technology is impervious to issues, and Samsung’s wearables are no different. Not that we’ve had an overwhelming amount of problems with the wearables, but some common issues do show up on various forums and comment sections across the internet.

We have a dedicated guide for addressing and fixing Samsung Galaxy Watch problems, as well as a guide dedicated specifically to Galaxy Watch 4 series issues. If you’re experiencing syncing issues, charging problems, or if you’re having trouble downloading a software update, check out those articles.


Samsung Galaxy Watch vs the competition

An Apple Watch Series 7 and Galaxy Watch 4 rest side by side on a wooden surface, each displaying their watch face.
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung has plenty of competition in the smartwatch landscape, both for its active and casual-wear watches. Its main competition comes from Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit.

  • Apple Watch Series 7: Apple’s latest is the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 competitor. It’s the most well-rounded smartwatch we’ve ever used, though keep in mind it’s only for iPhones.
  • Apple Watch Series 6: Pretty much a Series 7 with a smaller screen, if you can find an Apple Watch Series 6 from other retailers, it may be worth saving some cash.
  • Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best alternative from Garmin, the pricey Venu 2 Plus adds in a few of the smartwatch features missing in the original Venu 2, making for a more well-rounded device that we call “the best smartwatch Garmin has to offer.”
  • Fitbit Sense: The best alternative from Fitbit is the Fitbit Sense. With noteworthy fitness and sleep tracking and a battery life of almost an entire week, this device comes at a lower price point than the Apple Watch.
  • Fitbit Versa 3: Another solid alternative from Fitbit, the Versa 3, is a pared-down version of the Fitbit Sense. It drops a few health sensors most users don’t need in order to offer an even better price point.
  • Fossil Gen 6: For a Wear OS alternative, the Fossil Gen 6 has a great display and decent battery life. Since it’s running Wear OS (albeit an older version for now), it offers plenty of third-party apps, too. Find out more in our full review.

Older Samsung smartwatches and fitness trackers

A Samsung Gear S3 rests on the edge of a wooden table.

We’ve covered all the current-gen Samsung devices in this article, but what about older trackers that are no longer available? Check out the list below to learn more about Samsung’s older devices.


Top Samsung Galaxy Watch-related questions and answers

All Samsung Galaxy Watches offer 5ATM + IP68 water resistance, making them some of the most water-resistant wearables you can buy. As a bonus, each one also carries a MIL-STD-810G rating for durability.

Some devices offer cellular connectivity, allowing you to receive calls and texts without a nearby phone. Currently, five Galaxy smartwatches support cellular connectivity: the Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Watch Active 2, and the original Galaxy Watch. The original Samsung Galaxy Watch Active cannot connect to cell networks.

It’s easy to figure out which model you have. Open the Settings menu on your device, then swipe to and tap About watch. The model number of your Samsung Galaxy Watch should be displayed on the top of the screen. Below that, you can see details like your watch’s phone number, model number, serial number, and more.

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active, Active 2, Galaxy Watch 3, and Galaxy Watch 4 series all charge wirelessly with their included chargers. The original Galaxy Watch comes with a WPC-based charger, while the other four support Qi wireless charging. However, The watches may not charge properly with wireless chargers typically used for smartphones, so your best bet is to use a charger designed specifically for Galaxy Watch devices.


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