The Galaxy Watch 3 is finally here after months, if not years of anticipation. Some of you have already bought one, while others may have remained undecided for the time being. Either way, nobody is in the wrong. There are good reasons to want to buy this new smartwatch from Samsung as it refines the series' design and marks the highly anticipated return of the physical rotating bezel. But as with any other device on the market, the Galaxy Watch 3 it not perfect and there are a few good reasons why you may want to avoid it.
Before we dive deeper into this topic, some of our readers might remember that I was among the first to word my excitement about Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 3 and explained why I'll likely buy one. Now, you may be wondering if I did and the answer is no, I haven’t; at least not yet. To an extent, this has to do with availability in the country I live in, but more importantly, I don't feel like rushing to buy the Galaxy Watch 3 for one simple reason:
The price, and once again, the price!
I’ll just say right out of the gate that my jaw dropped when I first learned about the prices commanded by Samsung for its latest smartwatch. We’re all aware of Samsung’s recent trend to hike the prices of its flagship phones, but it’s really difficult to justify spending as much as 496 euro for the Galaxy Watch 3. That’s the price accompanying the 45mm Galaxy Watch 3 LTE in some markets. For reference, the most expensive Galaxy Watch Active 2 variant debuted for 469 euro.
Spending 27 more euro might not sound like it's going to make a huge difference to your bottom line. Not when you're thinking of spending hundreds of euros on a device, right? That may be true to an extent but Samsung’s pricing strategy is more egregious when it comes to the cheaper models because there's a much wider price gap between the ‘cheapest’ Galaxy Watch 3 and Galaxy Watch Active 2. The 40mm Bluetooth-only Galaxy Watch Active 2 was released for 299 euro, while the 41mm Bluetooth-only Galaxy Watch 3 costs a whopping 418 euro!
Granted, the former was wrapped in aluminium while the Galaxy Watch 3 is made of stainless steel, but the point is that Samsung gave customers an option to buy a cheaper Galaxy Watch Active 2 and now that choice has been taken away. There is no aluminium version this time around, meaning that 418 euro has become the new entry-level price.
I’ll admit that getting my hands on new mobile products comes with the job so I might bite the bullet and spend extra for this wearable. More importantly, after writing about the reasons why I’ll be buying the Galaxy Watch 3, I feel like I have a moral obligation to our readers to fork the money over to Samsung and buy the thing. The Galaxy Watch 3's design matches my expectations so I have no excuse here, but it definitely costs more than I thought it would so I might decide to wait a while longer before I'll buy one. Maybe I'll wait until the Galaxy Watch 3 gets a discount, whenever that may happen, and perhaps you might want to do the same.
Let's not forget that Samsung is also planning to release a Galaxy Watch 3 Titanium variant for an even higher price. And considering the existing prices, I am not looking forward to the pricier Titanium model because it feels like Samsung is adding insult to injury…
The Galaxy Watch 3 has Gorilla Glass DX, not DX+
Although the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and even the original Galaxy Watch came with Gorilla Glass DX+, Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 3 features Gorilla Glass DX which doesn’t offer the same level of scratch resistance.
The company has been cutting some corners in regards to screen protection and this is equally true for the base Galaxy Note 20 model. Samsung sort of makes up for it by giving the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra the latest Gorilla Glass Victus (7). As for the Galaxy Watch 3, you can look far and wide but you won't find Gorilla Glass DX+ on any of the existing variants. Perhaps this ‘high-end' feature will be reserved for the Titanium model…
Will Gorilla Glass DX be an issue for Galaxy Watch 3 owners in the real world? Maybe not. The physical bezel should offer extra protection compared to a bezelless design, but even so, it's difficult look past the fact that even the original Galaxy Watch had Gorilla Glass DX+ while the latest model doesn't.
Same chipset and a smaller battery compared to the original model
Samsung's latest smartwatch carries the same Exynos 9110 chipset as the Galaxy Watch and the Galaxy Watch Active series. Similarly, the company hasn't made any changes in regards to battery capacity compared to last year. The Galaxy Watch 3 is powered by the same 247mAh/340mAh batteries as the Galaxy Watch Active 2, whereas the original Galaxy Watch is powered by a 472mAh unit.
Some gadget enthusiasts – including myself – don't care much about a wearable's processing power as long as the experience is smooth and the smartwatch gets the job done. But given the high prices and the downgrade to Gorilla Glass DX, the Galaxy Watch 3 deserves as much scrutiny as it can get. The bottom line is that if you expect to get a newer chipset or a larger battery for your half a grand, you won't be getting that from the Galaxy Watch 3.
App support is still lacking. No improvements to Bixby
The Galaxy Watch 3 ships with the new Tizen OS 5.5 but the new OS version doesn't bring any improvements to app support or Bixby. If you already own a Galaxy Watch Active 2, you already know what to expect from the Galaxy Watch 3 in these areas.
Needless to say, app support is still lacking. There are no official YouTube, Twitter, or Translate apps on the Galaxy Store for Tizen OS. Instead, Galaxy Watch 3 owners have to rely on the same third-party solutions as before.
The same goes for Bixby. If you use Samsung's voice assistant on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 (hit the link for our review), you'll likely use it on the Galaxy Watch 3 in the same capacity. If you don't use Bixby on your smartwatch then the Galaxy Watch 3 probably won't change your mind. And if you don't own a smartwatch but you're thinking of making the Galaxy Watch 3 your first, Bixby should probably be the last reason to make this purchase.
The Galaxy Watch 3 doesn't support 5G
Asking for 5G from a smartwatch when the technology is not yet widespread might be a bit too much, especially when Samsung hasn't made any hardware changes to improve battery life. We're aware of this, reason why we left 5G for last.
Nevertheless, when 5G will come to our wrists, it can potentially change the experience in drastic ways. Near-instant syncing and location tracking would be the perfect match for a smartwatch, and in a way, Samsung may have missed an opportunity to launch the world's first 5G smartwatch this year. But regardless of whether or not this would've been technically possible, the point remains that if you're looking to make a future-proof purchase, the Galaxy Watch 3 might not be it, at least not in terms to connectivity.
Granted, we can't be certain that Samsung's next smartwatch will have 5G capabilities either. If you commit to the waiting game, you might have to wait much longer before you'll have the opportunity to take advantage of 5G from your wrist. But if you need another reason to avoid jumping on the Galaxy Watch 3 bandwagon, you could add the lack of 5G to your list.
Are there any other reasons why you think the Galaxy Watch 3 is not worth buying? Let us know in the comment section below.