Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

How Samsung's new smartwatch compares to its predecessor
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After all of the leaks, Samsung has finally unveiled the Galaxy Watch 3, its smartwatch successor to the Galaxy Watch.

It's skipped naming it the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2, seemingly to avoid confusion with the Galaxy Watch Active 2, a firm favorite at Wareable HQ.

The Galaxy Watch 3 improves design and adds serious health tracking features that make it a serious step up from the Galaxy Watch that launched back in 2018.

The Galaxy Watch 3 is set to be one of the best smartwatches on the market, but we're sure the original will get some serious price cuts in the holiday season.

We've compared spec sheets to see how the Galaxy Watch of old, sizes up against the new model to help you make that decision.

Design and features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

With every generation of its smartwatch, Samsung has sought to deliver an attractive watch design that offered something different from the competition.

Arguably the first Galaxy Watch was its best looking device, so how has it improved things?

Let's start with the size options. The older Galaxy Watch is available in 46mm and 42mm sizes while the new Galaxy Watch 3 comes in 45mm and 41mm cases.

So if you go new Watch, you're getting something that sits smaller on the wrist. The new watches come in lighter and thinner too, so if you thought the last Galaxy Watch was a bit on the big side, that's clearly changed here.

When it comes to colours, the Galaxy Watch comes in silver for the larger 46mm model and black or rose gold in the 42mm size. The Watch 3 is offered up in black or silver for the 45mm version or bronze or silver for the 41mm version. With all of these watches, you do thankfully have the ability to swap out the straps.

The bigger Galaxy Watch and Watch 3 models use 22mm straps and the smaller options use 20mm straps.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung Galaxy Watch

All of these watches come with the option of 4G/LTE if you want to access features like music streaming and dealing with calls without your phone nearby. To add to your selection headache, the Galaxy Watch also comes in a Golf edition if you want the benefit of some added golf-centric features too.

In terms of interacting with the watches, you're getting the same two physical buttons on the side and a touchscreen display.

You are getting Samsung's rotating bezel albeit its looks is far more muted and minimalist on the new Galaxy Watch 3. If you like the idea of a rotating bezel that's a bit more pronounced, then the Galaxy Watch is the one for you.

When it comes to displays, Samsung has rarely disappointed and arguably deliver some of the best smartwatch displays available.

Both watches and their respective models offer the same 360 x 360 resolution AMOLED displays. It's the same 1.2-inch screen sizes on the smaller Galaxy Watch and Watch 3.

The larger Galaxy Watch 3 jumps up to a 1.4-inch display from a 1.3-inch display featured on the biggest Galaxy Watch model. Across the board though, it's likely you can expect largely the same in terms of performance.

All of the watches come with the same 5ATM waterproof rating, making them suitable for swimming and for making use of the built-in swim tracking support.

If you're after the Samsung smartwatch that's smaller, thinner and lighter, go for the Galaxy Watch 3. If you actually liked the idea of a more eye-catching bezel, the older Galaxy Watch fits the bill.

Software and smartwatch features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Samsung still relies on its own Tizen operating system to deliver watch software that can play nice with both Android phones and iPhones. Though you will get a better experience with the former and if that phone is made by Samsung.

The Galaxy Watch 3 promises a performance boost jumping from 1GB/768MB RAM on the original Galaxy Watch to 1.5GB RAM.

It's also jumped from 4GB to 8GB of external storage, that should give you considerably more room for apps, files and music. The Samsung Galaxy Watch wasn't sluggish in any noticeable way, but it seems things will run even zippier on the Watch 3.

When it comes to communication, both watches can handle and take calls (with 4G models) and let you receive and act on incoming messages.

Samsung has added chat history, more contextual smart message responses and Bimoji support on the Galaxy Watch 3, which you won't find on the Galaxy Watch. Though it feels like these features could feasibly appear on the older Watch at some point.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

For app support, it's likely to be a familiar story for the Galaxy Watch 3 as it was for the Galaxy Watch.

You'll have access to Samsung's app storefront where you'll be able to find some notable third party apps as well as watch faces. Speaking of watch faces, they're still customizable and there's plenty of different variations and options to dress your main watch screen up with.

Music features remain the same across the watches, though you are now getting more storage on the Galaxy Watch 3 to play with. You can still transfer over your own music, pair up some Bluetooth headphones and leave your phone behind. That also extends to the Spotify offline support, which you can still enjoy on both the Galaxy Watch and the Watch 3.

It seems like from a core smartwatch experience, the two watches will offer up a fairly similar experience. It seems though that the Galaxy Watch 3 will be better equipped to handle more intensive tasks and offer a richer communicating experience if that's something you care about.

Health and fitness features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung wants it smartwatches to be your go-to for fitness tracking and now more serious health monitoring and you can expect more of the same on its latest Watch.

On the sensor front, all watches have those core motion sensors on board as well as GPS to track outdoor activities like running, and a heart rate monitor for continuous monitoring and unlocking features like stress tracking. It seems we can expect more of the same in the way of 24/7 fitness tracking including sleep monitoring.

It's a similar story for sports tracking, though the new Galaxy Watch 3 promises some additional features for home fitness fans and runners. Samsung is adding workout programs you can cast from its phones and integrates with the Watch to show off data like real-time heart rate.

For runners, it's delivering running asymmetry and ground contact data, to give you deeper insights into running form and technique. Though when these kind of insights usually require a foot pod on most sports watches, we'd be intrigued to see how reliable that data actually is.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

When it comes to health monitoring, f you opt for the Galaxy Watch 3, you'll get an ECG sensor. That's the same sensor found on the latest Apple Watch and Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active 2 to offer the ability to detect serious heart related conditions.

Like Apple, Samsung needs to get the necessary regulatory approval to turn this feature on. It's working to roll that out outside of Korea and has received FDA clearance in the US, but it could take some time to make it a truly valuable feature.

The new Galaxy Watch 3 also has the capability to take blood oxygen measurements and take blood pressure readings, once you've calibrated it with a dedicated blood pressure monitor. That's something you can't do on the Galaxy Watch, though again, it's another feature that needs regulatory approval to be used outside of Korea.

If you care about those serious health monitoring features, then it looks like the Galaxy Watch 3 is the one. For sports tracking and fitness tracking however, they seem quite evenly matched.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: Price

Samsung still sells (at least for now) both the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Watch. It's likely both will be available from other retailers for some time as well.

So how does the pricing compare? The Bluetooth and WiFi Samsung Galaxy Watch (46mm model) costs and the 42mm is priced at Add LTE into the mix and the 46mm jumps to and for the 42mm model.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm) comes in at and the 41mm at . Throw 4G/LTE into the mix, then you're looking at for the 45mm Watch 3 and £439 for the 41mm version. US pricing for this model isn't currently available.

Whether you go for the extra connectivity or not, you're looking at quite a considerable price difference going for the newer Galaxy Watch 3 over the older Galaxy Watch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: Battery life

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 v Galaxy Watch: discover what's new

Samsung Galaxy Watch

A Samsung smartwatch that can last at least a full week is still the dream. That being said, its smartwatches can still promise more in the way of battery life compared to the likes of the Apple Watch and Google's Wear OS smartwatches.

With the Samsung Galaxy Watch, we were promised a week in light usage with 24 hours GPS on the 46mm model and four days on the 42mm version. In our experience, it was short of those numbers.

The 45mm Galaxy Watch 3 features a smaller capacity battery than its predecessor, while the smaller 41mm model promises a bigger capacity battery compared to the smaller Galaxy Watch model. Samsung hasn't spoken about precise battery in terms of days, so we anticipate it's going to be in line with what we experienced with the previous Galaxy Watch.

Which one should you buy?

So what do you gain from going for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 over the Galaxy Watch? It looks like you'll get a smaller and lighter design, serious health monitoring features, some smarter ways of communicating from the wrist and a few fitness-focused extras.

Other features outside of that seem largely the same. Until we get our hands on one, we can't say whether battery performance or overall performance will be a massive improvement over the Galaxy Watch.

If it does deliver better battery, the improved design and addition of those life saving features make it the more appealing option. If you can live without those health monitoring additions and prefer a more standout design, the original Galaxy Watch still has some appeal too. Especially at a reduced price.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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