Smartwatches have existed for a little over five years now, and a lot has changed since then. But most of them are not completely standalone, as they need to be connected to a smartphone to be able to receive, call and receive notifications. For iPhone users, the Apple Watch is a defacto option.
Android users have several options to choose from. But, in India, the Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE is the only standalone connectivity provider.
In 2014, the Samsung Gear S offered cellular connectivity using a SIM card. But a lot has changed in these five years. Today, it is about eSIM, which eliminates the need for a physical SIM card. The Galaxy Watch LTE has been introduced in 42 mm size for Rs 28,490 and 46 mm size for Rs 30,990.
There are just two differences compared to the regular model – eSIM 4G LTE connectivity as opposed to 768MB on the Galaxy Watch, and 1.5GB of RAM. I received the Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE (46mm model) for review, and after using it for two weeks, have a question – is it worth buying?
Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE design and specification
The Galaxy Watch LTE shares many of its predecessors – the Gear S3, the Gear Sport and many design elements. You get a circular AMOLED screen with punch color reproduction, and it is sufficiently bright. The screen is quite legible under direct sunlight.
Around the display, you get a proprietary rotating bezel to make UI navigation easier. The frame is made of stainless steel, while the back is made of thick plastic. The menu and back buttons are on the right, and they make a nice touch click. On the back, you have a heart rate sensor.
On the software front, the Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE runs Tizen OS 4 with a UI skin on top. It is compatible with smartphones running Android 5.0 and above or iOS 9.0 and above. Samsung has also integrated its SmartThings platform, using which you can turn on and off lights, TVs, ACs, heaters and from anywhere.
If you own a Samsung smartphone, then Galaxy Wearable and Samsung Health Apps are your needs. On other Android smartphones, some more apps need to be installed, which will be taken care of once you have the Galaxy Wearable and Samsung Apple Apps.
Samsung claims that the smartwatch can track 39 different types of workouts. It can track walking, running, cycling, dancing or basketball, circuit training, treadmill, swimming and log readings accordingly. Very accurate pedometer in its reading. You get data such as number of steps, distance covered and calories burned.
In an attempt to get fitter, I am hiking about 4-5 kilometers. Thanks to the built-in GPS, it logs data on the map. You also get an alert after every kilometer – which includes distance, speed, and heart rate. At the end of the run / walk, you also get to see these stats on the Samsung Health app.
The heart rate sensor does your heartbeat every 10 minutes, whether you are resting, working outside or sleeping. You can also go for continuous heart-rate monitoring, but this will drain the battery faster. On average my heart rate ranges from 66bpm to 110bpm. When I workout or am under a lot of stress, it goes beyond 160bpm.
It is very beautiful given my age, but there are stress levels you cannot overcome. I crosscheck heart rate readings with instruments that doctors use, and there was a difference of 7-9bpm if not completely accurate.
Finally, the watch can also track your sleep patterns, including REM, wake up time, deep sleep, and light sleep. It gives a good insight into how good or bad you get sleep. Depending on this, you can work on a few things – meditation, proper air circulation, working out so that you fall asleep quickly due to minimal exertion.
Moving on to connectivity, you get standalone 4G LTE connectivity. But as in India, only Reliance Jio and Airtel networks support it. And configuring it is much easier than the Galaxy wearable app. I kept my phone at home, went for a walk. When I was 3kms away, I could still make and receive calls from the Watch. Call quality was good, but in a noisy environment, the recipient could hear some ambient noise.
The Galaxy Watch LTE charges wirelessly. You can even use the Galaxy S10 or Galaxy Note 10 through the wireless power share feature. I tested battery life in some ways. First, by connecting the clock using Bluetooth only. I get a lot of notifications every time, and even the battery lasts for five days. The settings were set to the default.