Samsung's New Smartwatch Has Some Impressive Health Features, But There's a Catch

The Galaxy Watch3 won't be able to do everything it is capable of at launch.

galaxy watch 3
Samsung

Samsung announced a bunch of new products today, including the Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra smartphones, the Tab S7+ (tablet) and the Galaxy Buds Live wireless earbuds. It's new Galaxy Watch3 is of particular note because it actually looks like it could stand up as a real alternative to the Apple Watch for folks who might otherwise be tempted to swith to iPhone.

The Galaxy Watch3 is Samsung's flagship smartwatch and direct successor to the two-year-old Galaxy Watch. It's not the successor to the Galaxy Active2, that was released last year. The result is that the Galaxy Watch3 is a much nicer smartwatch, made of higher-quality materials with a bigger, always-on display. It also has the much-loved physical rotating bezel that was on Samsung's earlier smartwatches, but not on the Watch Active2 which had a digital bezel. And compared to the old Galaxy Watch, the new Galaxy Watch3 is thinner by about 15%.

Samsung

The main thing with Galaxy Watch3 is Samsung went all-in on the fitness and health features. It builds on the activity tracking and coaching features found on the Watch Active2, adding more activities and on-demand blood oxygen monitoring. It can give ECG and blood pressure readings, as well.

There is a catch with some of these wellness and heath features -- not all of them will be available at launch. The ECG and blood pressure readings, for example, haven't been cleared by the FDA and won't be available at launch in the US, though they have been approved by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The on-demand blood oxygen monitoring (SpO2 and VO2 Max readings) won't be available at launch, either.

The Galaxy Watch3 is available starting tomorrow, August 6. It will come in two sizes, 41mm (starting at $400) and 45mm (starting at $430), both of which will be available in Bluetooth or LTE models.

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