The best Samsung watches offer some of the clearest innovation in smartwatch design. Your Galaxy watch can be many things: an intimate mobile health tracker that lives on your wrist, a music player with gigabytes of storage, a window into Google Maps that helps you navigate the world, and even a replacement for your smartphone that allows you to take important calls and texts when you’re out on a run. But even with all of these high-tech functions along for the ride, you won’t have to worry about getting your watch wet when you wash up before dinner, or having it take a hit when you’re playing frisbee, because Samsung watches are water-resistant enough to take a splash and rugged enough for your lifestyle.
The best Samsung smartwatches offer bright screens, decent battery life, and great connectivity. Read on for a look at some great Samsung watches available today, from the new Galaxy 4, to some classics like the early-generation Galaxy Watch.
— Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic
— Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy 4
— Best for Battery Life: Samsung Galaxy Watch
— Best With Traditional Timepiece Design: Samsung Galaxy 3
— Best for Fitness: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
How We Picked The Best Samsung Watches
We looked for the best Samsung watches among the many available models, assessing the specs and examining the data. We used this data to rank our picks and break down which watches are the best choices for different users. Some of the categories we looked at include:
Physical interface design is as important with a smartwatch as it is with any piece of tech. Samsung watches include buttons and moving bezels as well as touchscreens. We looked at how these components work together in each model. We also highlighted the features we think are important, such as screen brightness and resolution.
Battery life is one of the most important features in any smartwatch. Since Samsung watches are generally more connected, and feature more electronic features and power than some hybrid smartwatches, their battery life isn’t usually as impressive as some other brands. Still, Samsung watches all feature enough battery power to make it through a day with normal use, and some do much better than that. We highlighted battery life across the board.
OS quality is a major factor with any digital item. Up until the 4 series, Galaxy watches featured the Tizen OS. However, Samsung teamed up with Google on its newest 4 series to offer the Wear OS. While Wear OS is more powerful for the most part, Tizen does feature a few benefits, such as less intensive battery drain. We factored this into each pick.
Storage is always important in a smartwatch. We looked for the watches that will give you the space you need to take your music collection with you.
Waterproofing is a very important component in a computer that lives on your wrist. For anyone looking for a waterproof Samsung watch, the watches we reviewed all featured IP68 ratings with resistance to five atmospheres of pressure.
Best Samsung Watches: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic
Why It Made The Cut: With the Wear OS (developed with Google), scrolling bezels, and a super crisp, bright screen, this is one powerful smartwatch.
— OS: Wear OS
— Screen: 1.36 inches (450 x 450 pixels)
— Memory: 1.5GB (gigabytes) + 16GB storage
— Super powered Wear OS supports many classic apps such as Google Maps
— Scrolling bezels are back
— More classic looking design with stainless steel trim
— Drains battery fast and won’t make the advertised two days of battery life
This is one of those cases where classic does not mean old-fashioned. The Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic is a major new addition to the Galaxy line. Capitalizing on Wear OS, the new OS designed in partnership with Google which was introduced with the Galaxy 4 watch, the Classic features noticeable app upgrades from the 3 series. Like the Galaxy 4, the Galaxy 4 classic is able to run Google Maps and other app classics that were previously inaccessible on Tizen OS. However, unlike the Galaxy 4, the 4 Classic harkens back to some of the most notable physical design components from earlier series: namely, the rotating bezel. This rotating bezel allows users to scroll through apps and navigate the clock in a way that’s both intuitive and elegant. Like all truly great design innovations, this rotating bezel is one of those form-function achievements that might feel natural and obvious, but is actually revolutionary in its class.
With the same 450 x 450 pixel screen as the Galaxy 4 and the same 16 gigabyte storage, the Classic takes the basic design of the 4 and improves on it with a rotating bezel. Like the Galaxy 4, the Classic suffers from the same limited battery life. This is one of the downsides of the otherwise powerful Wear OS, which does cost some battery longevity. However, if you’re willing to charge your smartwatch every night, the Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic is a brilliant juncture of digital power and form.
Best Budget: Samsung Galaxy 4
Why It Made The Cut: This decked-out smartwatch features 16 gigabytes (GB) of storage, a 396 x 396 pixel screen, and all of the digital features you could want, in a watch model that goes for a surprisingly low price.
— OS: Wear OS
— Screen: 1.19 inches (396 x 396 pixels)
— Memory: 1.5GB + 16GB storage
— Wear OS delivers lots of classic apps like Google Maps
— Resolution is markedly superior to the Galaxy 3
— Endless options of custom watch faces
— Comfy design
— Battery life suffers
— Still some Wear OS bugginess
— No rotating bezel selection
Bold and redesigned from the bottom up, there’s no question that the new Samsung Galaxy 4 is a powerful piece of tech. What’s surprising is how affordable it is. With the advent of the Galaxy 4 Classic, the Galaxy 4 is now a surprisingly good value. Don’t let that low price worry you that the 4 doesn’t pack the goods you need; this watch is still loaded with features.
The Galaxy 4 runs on a new operating system called Wear OS. Designed with Google, the Galaxy 4 is the first Samsung model to sport this new OS, and it flaunts it brilliantly. With a screen that’s got markedly better definition than the Galaxy 3, you’ll experience a smartwatch that’s more customizable than ever. Because Wear OS is a Google partnership, lots of apps that were previously inaccessible or wonky on earlier Samsung models running Tizen OS are now yours, including Google Maps and Google Fit. The digital interface’s inherent customizability comes with lots of different built-in watch faces that reconfigure how your home screen looks and feels, but if these aren’t enough there’s a limitless amount of third-party watch skins available online. Wear OS does come with a couple of downsides: the new system will eat battery somewhat faster than the older Tizen OS, and its newness also results in some bugginess that will hopefully be worked out soon.
All in all, the Galaxy 4 is a remarkably powerful watch. It includes 16GB of storage, a bright screen, and good resolution. It’s available with LTE capabilities as well, and comes in a larger 44 millimeter size that sports a 450 x 450 pixel display.
Best For Battery Life: Samsung Galaxy Watch
Why It Made The Cut: With the best battery life of the bunch, the original Galaxy Watch with its scrolling bezel and bright screen is still a great pick.
— OS: Tizen
— Screen: 1.2 inches (360 x 360 pixels)
— Memory: 768MB + 4GB storage
— The best battery life in the Samsung Watch series
— Mechanical rotating bezel for scrolling apps
— Rugged build
— Easy to see in sunlight
— Missing some of the best app connection features from newer models
— Significantly less storage than newer models
In 2018, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch sprung onto the scene. This beautiful, metal-trimmed watch featured the Galaxy line’s innovative, mechanically rotating bezel scroll that paired with its touchscreen to offer one of the most intuitive physical designs around. With great waterproofing and a tough build that would remain across the line, the Samsung Galaxy was off to a strong start. While many of the watch’s features have become a little dated when compared to newer models, there’s one part of it that still distinguishes this watch from the bunch, and that’s its battery life. While the newest Galaxy 4 series watches might only offer a day or maybe two of battery, the Samsung Galaxy can deliver twice that, reliably holding a charge for three or four days.
This rose gold Samsung watch features a metal body that looks like a high end traditional timepiece while offering lots of smartwatch perks. It offers 4 gigabytes of storage, and sports a 1.2-inch 360 x 360 pixel screen. This watch is a great pick for those whose lifestyle takes them outdoors.
Best With Traditional Timepiece Design: Samsung Galaxy 3
Why It Made The Cut: The most powerful Samsung watch still using Tizen, this is a highly reliable smartwatch with a time tested OS, decent 8GB storage, a good display, and the famous mechanical scroll bezel.
— OS: Tizen
— Screen: 1.4 inches (360 x 360 pixels)
— Memory: 1GB + 8GB storage
— Faux leather band looks great and feels sturdy
— Traditional-looking build and mechanical bezel with endless digital watch faces
— Solid storage and processing power
— Great fitness tracking
— Google Maps and other Google apps don’t run on Tizen
— Not very compatible with iPhone
There’s something to be said for choosing the version of a product that came out just before a big change — sometimes it’s one of the most polished products in the line. With the Samsung Galaxy 3 you land the final Galaxy watch before the line switches from Tizen to the Google-developed Wear OS. Tizen doesn’t offer some of the best Google Apps like Maps. While that may be a detractor for some, for others it might be a plus — namely for those looking for tip-top system stability, or a silver Samsung watch that doesn’t scream digital.
With a faux leather band and metal frame, the Galaxy 3 looks like a classic timepiece. It ships in three colors — rose, black, or silver — and features the beloved Galaxy scroll bezel to cycle through app functions and set the clock. This is a great watch for those who want a stable system and understated, dignified timepiece design, and don’t need the brand new Wear operating system.
Best for Fitness: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Why It Made The Cut: This fitness-focused iteration of the Galaxy series comes with a sleek fluoroelastomer band, a slimmed-down profile that will look more at home on the track, a digital bezel, and double the photodiode count on its rear for more accurate fitness reads.
— OS: Tizen
— Screen: 1.4 inches (360 x 360 pixels)
— Memory: 768MB + 4GB
— Double the photodiode count means you’ll be better linked than ever with the Galaxy series’ 35+ workout tracking modes
— Sleek fluoroelastomer band is great for sweaty workouts and looks good in the office
— Decent two-day battery life
— No mechanical bezel
— Doesn’t integrate well with Apple
While all Samsung Galaxy watches make great watches for sports and fitness, there’s a few perks to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that are worth a long look. Hitting the market back in 2019, the Active 2 was touted as a sporty update to the original Galaxy. It’s a departure from the original for a few reasons, giving up the popular mechanical bezel and larger design for a sleek fluoroelastomer band and simplified aluminum frame that throws out the mechanical bezel for a glass-focused face with a revolving digital bezel.
For a fitness-tracking watch, the doubled photodiodes on the Active 2’s rear are a smart choice. The watch’s 39 workout tracking modes run smoothly for the most part, missing some reps in a crunch series, but doing a good job at keeping track of your runs around the park and reporting your heart rate well. Its limited storage might be a detractor for some runners.
While the Active 2’s storage and processor will look dated next to the newer Galaxy 4, and the Galaxy 4’s integration with Google Apps like Google Fit could debatably make it outshine the Active 2 for workouts, the Active 2 does beat out the newer 4 series with its two days of battery life. It’s this long battery life, solid fitness tool set, and sleek design that make the Active 2 attractive still.
Things To Consider Before Buying A Samsung Watch
Before you buy your new Samsung Watch there are a few factors to keep in mind.
LTE connection or Bluetooth
Many Samsung watches feature an LTE option that will enable your smartwatch to connect to a cellular carrier so that you can use it as a phone and leave your phone behind. It’s entirely up to you whether you want your smartwatch to double as a phone line, or simply pair with your smartphone via Bluetooth. Most Samsung watches come configured for either use. The LTE option usually costs a little more than the Bluetooth version; this cost plus the monthly fee can add up.
Much as Amazonian harpy eagles aren’t found living in the subarctic forests of Alberta, Samsung watches won’t do a great job for some folks who are locked into specific technological ecosystems. Most Samsung Watches don’t pair well with iPhones. Generally, Samsung Watches are better paired with Android phones than they are with Apple products. If you have an Apple phone, it’s worth considering whether an Apple Watch might be better.
The newest Samsung watches in the Galaxy 4 series use Wear OS, a Google collaboration operating system that allows these watches to use Google Apps. If you want apps like Google Fit and Google Maps on your watch, you should look for a new Galaxy that runs Wear OS. However, Tizen-based watches continue to offer benefits like system stability and better battery life.
Q: How much does a Samsung watch cost?
Usually Samsung watches cost between $100 and $400. Sometimes you can find older models for deeply discounted prices. The newest watches usually cost quite a bit more than the older ones. Most models also come in two sizes, which have different costs. Cellular subscriptions on LTE watches will also cost you a monthly fee.
Q: What Galaxy watch can you text on?
You can text on Galaxy watches that have been outfitted with an LTE subscription. This subscription will allow your watch to function like a miniature phone line.
Q: What does LTE mean on a Samsung watch?
Samsung watches that have LTE can be equipped with cellular subscriptions that allow you to text and call on your watch just as you would on a phone. Samsung watches that only pair to your phone via Bluetooth are often designated “BT.”
Q: Can I leave my phone at home and use my Samsung watch?
Yes! All Samsung watches will work without a phone around. Your watch will continue to monitor your health, and your saved data will still be available to listen to and interact with. However, Samsung watches that feature LTE service will also allow you to call and text when you go out without your phone—that is, so long as you subscribe your watch to a cell plan. Without an LTE subscription, your watch will need your mobile phone to be able to transmit calls and text.
A brilliant line of well-designed and powerful watches, the Samsung Galaxy series is more than capable of competing with the Apple Watch series, especially for anyone who’s in the Android ecosystem (of phones, watches, and tablets). The Galaxy series offers a surprisingly varied set of features for one family of smartwatches. Some come with the innovative, mechanically rotating bezel, others focus on a crystal-clear display paired with sleek curves, others shine for their exceptional battery life that easily outdoes any Apple watch on the market.
For the best battery life around in a powerful, metal-bodied smart watch, look to the rotating bezels of the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, which is still a great buy. For a super-powered new watch that’s up on the latest OS from Google, look to the new Samsung Galaxy 4. But for those who want the best of the best, the Galaxy 4 Classic is an easy choice, with its rotating mechanical bezel, 16GB of storage, and Google App compatibility.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.