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    Samsung, it’s time to let go of the round smartwatch

    Opinion
    By 

    Last updated: February 23rd, 2024 at 14:41 UTC+01:00

    Samsung announced the Galaxy Fit 3 earlier today, and I can't stop thinking that it might be time for the rectangular smartwatch form factor, originally made popular by Apple, to cross over to the full-fledged Galaxy Watch smartwatch series.

    As a Galaxy Watch 5 owner myself — one who has been wearing his smartwatch daily for almost a year — I'm willing to admit that the round design just isn't ideal for the One UI Watch interface.

    I believe it's time for Samsung to make some compromises and rethink its smartwatch series, hopefully in a way that doesn't upset fans or take away from its legacy.

    My ideal Galaxy Watch 7 lineup has no room for two round watches

    In recent years, Samsung's smartwatch lineup consisted of two models, i.e., a standard Galaxy Watch without a bezel, and either a Pro or a Classic variant.

    Keeping to this two-model limit, I believe it might be time for Samsung to solidify the Classic concept (maybe even combine it with the Pro) while completely leaving behind the standard, bezel-less Watch formula.

    The latter looks too toy-like year after year and it doesn't seem like Samsung can do anything to fix it. This design has nothing outstanding to offer, design or feature-wise, and being round just isn't all that special in this era.

    More importantly, One UI Watch still feels poorly designed for a circular screen, even after Google's Pixel Watch powered by Wear OS came out. And the lack of a physical rotating bezel makes the Galaxy Watch's round screen and One UI combo even less appealing.

    Giving future Galaxy Fit 3 fans room for an upgrade

    Ideally, I think Samsung's smartwatch series should consist of a Classic model, which is round and has a rotating physical bezel, and a rectangular smartwatch, similar to the Apple Watch and Galaxy Fit 3. The latter would replace the current standard Watch formula.

    And, yes, as much as I believe that a circular screen is sub-optimal when paired with Wear OS and One UI Watch, I wouldn't want Samsung to cancel the Classic series and leave the physical rotating bezel behind.

    I can't deny that the physical rotating bezel is an icon that represents Samsung's smartwatch legacy best. It keep things fresh and interesting to a sufficient degree, even if the formula isn't perfectly optimized.

    On the other hand, standard round Galaxy Watches can be scrapped for good, as far as I'm concerned. And they should make room for a better design that can bridge the gap between the Fit 3 entry-level fitness tracker and full-fledged smartwatches.

    I believe this two-pronged design strategy consisting of a rectangular and a Classic Watch would be the best way for Samsung to bring some excitement back to its lineup and diversify its portfolio without ignoring its legacy. And with the Galaxy Fit 3 around, a rectangular Galaxy Watch would give future Galaxy Fit 3 users something to look up to for a potential upgrade.

    Editor's Note: Samsung's first smartwatches, like the Gear, Gear S, and Gear 2, were rectangular. But it was Apple who popularized the rectangular smartwatch concept, whereas Samsung tried to demonstrate its display prowess and narrow the gap between analog watches and smartwatches through circular designs.

    Today, that approach seems more like a waste of energy, as analog watch enthusiasts will likely never view smartwatches as replacements for classic mechanical timepieces. In other words, smartwatches should try to appeal to smartwatch enthusiasts more so than classic watch lovers, and therefore shouldn't necessarily try too hard to replace classic watches by imitating them. Smartwatches always had more success creating a new segment than trying to replace the existing watch market.

    OpinionWatch Galaxy Watch 7Galaxy Watch 7 Classic Buy Galaxy Watch 6 Classic Now

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