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Style meets functionality

The Samsung Galaxy Watch is both the dress-up and dress-down smartwatch for fitness enthusiasts

By Mathures Paul

  • Published 14.12.18, 7:52 PM
  • Updated 14.12.18, 7:52 PM

Buying a smartwatch can be tricky. We want it on the wrist constantly but at the same time, we want it to have enough battery life to last at least a day while monitoring health. Our list of demands requires the smartwatch to make a strong fashion statement and also appear simple. And it would be wonderful if the watch is platform agnostic. The Samsung Galaxy Watch ticks all the boxes. It’s also compatible with both iOS and Android phones.

The South Korea HQed company, in fact, places the device at the heart of an ecosystem that includes the Samsung Health app, the company’s Bixby virtual assistant and many Internet-connected appliances that are compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home solution.

Jaehyung Hong, senior designer (mobile communications business, design team) at Samsung Electronics.
Jaehyung Hong, senior designer (mobile communications business, design team) at Samsung Electronics. Agency picture
Somina Min, UX designer (mobile communications business) at Samsung Electronics.
Somina Min, UX designer (mobile communications business) at Samsung Electronics. Agency picture

t2 spoke to Jaehyung Hong, senior designer (mobile communications business, design team), and Somina Min, UX designer (mobile communications business) at Samsung Electronics.

What is the basic idea behind the Samsung Galaxy Watch?

Jaehyung Hong: The Samsung Galaxy Watch targets people with an active lifestyle. High-strength and high-intensity 316 stainless steel, which is used in conventional analogue watches, has been used on the Galaxy Watch. We tried to put into it as much detail as possible. Also, we were inspired by the sporting or the racing watch.

What do you have to offer in terms of choices?

Jaehyung: The Galaxy Watch comes in 46mm and 42mm sizes. In terms of readability (of the screen), the 46mm variant has a 1.3-inch display while the 42mm comes with a 1.2-inch display, both Super AMOLED. Both watches are water resistant and have military specifications of STD-810G, which means you can use the Watch under any rugged situation. Usage time has also increased by the increase in battery capacity. There are a number of watch faces available and these can be mixed and matched with a variety of straps.

Have you kept any element of analogue watches in the device?

Jaehyung: There is an acoustic element to the Galaxy Watch. If you hold the device to your ear, you can hear the ticking of the needle. The skeleton movement has also been reproduced on the watch face.

Somina Min: The ultimate goal is to provide a real watch experience.

Are there more sensors on the back of the Watch?

Jaehyung: We have increased the number of sensors that come in contact with the skin; this allows the device to collect more data faster and more accurately. But we have reduced the surface area of the sensors coming into contact with the skin, making it more comfortable on the wrist. The protruding sensors ensure less sweating.

In way of design, the Watch reminds one of the S3 Frontier model….

Jaehyung: We wanted to retain the idea of the S3 frontier model but there are more details this time.

Will you retain the rotating bezel in the future?

Somina: The rotating bezel is one of the strongest identities for Samsung’s smartwatches. However, whether it would be applied on future models is something we have to look into. It’s all about what users want.

The round display looks great but any plans for other form factors?

Jaehyung: From the hardware perspective, a round design is definitely more challenging because the battery and other components need to fit in. We had to adjust the shape of the components to fit the design. As for other form factors, all I can say is that the round display feels comfortable and is more appealing to the user. But we keep listening to our users.

The Galaxy Watch is compatible with Android 5.0 (and above) and iPhone 5 (and above) but will we see more features accessible across platforms?

Somina: Since it’s produced by Samsung, our first priority will be compatibility with Galaxy phones but we are always looking at other scenarios in order to expand the base. We are continuously working to tackle compatibility issues across platforms.

AT A GLANCE

Connected health: With a new stress management tracker, the Galaxy Watch tracks heart rate and provides breathing exercises to help users stay focused. There is also advanced sleep tracking, which monitors all levels of sleep, including REM cycles, to help users get the rest they need to take during a day.

Staying connected: Improved battery life gets days of power on a single charge. And with LTE connectivity, Galaxy Watch users can enjoy a standalone experience, which involves answering calls, responding to text messages, using GPS mapping and streaming music — all from the wrist, and without a smartphone in the pocket.

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