This watch is quite different as it contains the circuit for having a SIM. That makes it an independent device like a standalone smartphone. You can make calls, receive calls, use data services without Bluetooth or WiFi connection with the smartphone. It is a master on a network, not a slave. It is capable to use NTP like ESP32 Arduino or smartphones with data connection or computers with active internet connection. So, if we just think about the accuracy of time – it is accurate where LTE or 3G network available and charging the battery is possible. Its battery life is enough great. Yet, for travel you can use a battery pack or use DIY kits to utilize common AA or 9V batteries to charge it. I am not talking about the solar system or car’s charging port. Today, there are a lot of options to charge smartphones even in a remote area. Unless the battery is dead, it will give you enough support. Few days back we had a two-part article on the latest smartwatches. We were not exactly in favour of investing huge behind a costly gizmo without stunning features. But, this watch does worth the investment.
The Box Package and Contents
The black cardboard box packaging by Samsung is of faux premium quality cardboard. The box bears the sticker “Made in Vietnam”. You’ll not feel the cheap China smell at all. The packaging is far better than Samsung’s usual low-quality style for the mid-range mobile phones. There is a rubber padding inside the box package to keep the watch secured. The watch itself comes without any case or a pouch (the fund probably exhausted behind the rubber pad). So you will get a bare watch inside a cardboard box. Inside the box, the compartment design forces to think of Apple. MacBook Pro ships the charger in the same style as Samsung did. The package includes a nicely designed wireless charger with micro USB port and multi-colour indicator. The charger base is well designed with a rubber rim secured by an adhesive film, magnetized to hold the watch but the wall socket looks less premium with the printed words “Made in India” (possibly to match the socket & power supply standard). The charger unit is packaged inside a textile pouch. There is an extra small strap which is also packaged inside a textile pouch. Rest is Samsung’s usual small booklets (printed in China) but unique like any flagship models, the booklet is inside a black paper envelope. The total packaging tells that Samsung is enough serious about the watch market. It is no way closest to MacBook Pro quality packaging but enough good. Samsung probably wanted to say to keep the charger base inside some pouch.
Build Quality of the Watch
Coming to the watch itself. It has one colour – silver. The watch is slightly thicker than a standard sports watch. Samsung has put the watch in the gym. The casing is of nicely finished stainless steel. The bezel is of nice quality with the smooth tactile feel of any premium watch. There are two buttons on the left side with rubberized heads. The back of the watch talks about the good casting of the stainless steel casing. Back cover has the heart rate sensor unit at the centre. Nice quality silk screen printed texts declaring “Samsung Galaxy” and “Made in Vietnam”. The rubber strap is of premium quality with nicely finished buckle. The buckle is well designed with the groove to rest the pin. I have a standard 2.2-inch wide male wrist. The buckle strap’s 3rd hole from the tail finds the comfortable tightness. The strap should be a quarter-inch larger length. A large white male probably feel the strap shorter. Maybe the straps are packaged according to the area. Regarding the alternative strap – I believe a compatible good quality stainless steel strap/bracelet is good for the wider wrists to balance the watch.
After trying to watch YouTube, I am not satisfied with the display quality. It could be of higher PPI with a better rendering of the colours. However, the call quality is just great. The NFC, Bluetooth, WiFi has nothing to complain. The GPS chipset is great but Samsung needs to seriously develop apps. The hear rate sensor for the males works better on the inner side of the wrist. Hairs on the normal watch wearing side are forcing to measure the count falsely more.
You can lock it with a pattern drawing or PIN. I do not expect an on-screen fingerprint sensor.
The eSIM Story
The complex part definitely the e-SIM activation part. What this smartwatch does, it fetches the SIM card info of the paired smartphone (from the carrier) and writes the network operator’s required data on the memory of the smartwatch to co-share the same mobile number of the SIM (of the smartphone). The chipset inside the smartwatch function as virtual SIM card. Samsung Galaxy Wearable app on smartphone mediates this process. This sophisticated work requires extensive support from both the seller and the carrier of the SIM.
My Formula to Allocate a Dedicated SIM
Use your smartphone’s 2nd SIM for the smartwatch to enjoy the 2nd SIM’s number. After completing the setup, turn off the 2nd SIM on the smartphone. Then, it will be possible to ping your smartphone and your smartwatch separately. If you call from the smartwatch, your family members will guess it is from the smartwatch. By the way – I have not tested notifications of WhatsApp. My sole intention was to use it like a standalone “smartphone”. Do not forget to turn off the Bluetooth while you are using the only LTE. It will save battery.
Use Jio For India
As for India, AirTel and Jio support e-SIM on Samsung Galaxy. AirTel requires post-paid connection of their particular plan. Avoid AirTel. Using Jio’s SIM as 2nd SIM on my smartphone I could use the standalone LTE just in a breeze. Jio’s setup automatically understands what you want to do. AirTel, at least for me could not solve via the app – it ran and ran forever. I tried Jio (pre-paid) just for testing and just within a few taps setup completed. Note that – not even I had a valid plan during the activation. In contrast, I am regularly paying AirTel far higher. Jio’s setup looks like optimized for Internet of Things.
The Sad Software Part
Tizen is a great open-source OS and Samsung is one key player behind it. The UI is enough nice and Samsung tried to make it look more like their Samsung One UI. The things are made closest like an Android mobile. It can store music & play. I am not going to the details of software and application part including the watch faces. Samsung has included some too primitive apps and not even developed too many required apps. The number of free applications is too less for Tizen. You will need to invest enough time to find apps get maximum out of it. Samsung has a browser for the watch with bookmarks without any list of search engine.
It is sold with apps in open source style – completely do it yourself. How an ordinary user will know what it can work as a remote shutter for the main smartphone? Samsung did extremely artistic hardware work. It is not easy to use one master device to access another master device. Samsung did the raw part of software development excellent too. It lacks a good finishing touch.
It is a standalone smartphone (I mean smartwatch). It can save you during an emergency. It is waterproof. Samsung’s flagship models are waterproof and cost too high. Your family members can trace you hunting behind the watch’s geolocation. It does worth the cost. It is a great watch for the developers. The build quality and battery life enough great. What is bad is the lack of applications. Samsung should seriously work behind application development. Samsung probably saved money in this area.
What about the ECG sensor? I am not sure whether it has such. It is not exactly a real need just because Apple Watch is their competitor.
It is not great today to carry a bigger smartphone with sensitive data everywhere. Cost of the watch is more than Samsung A50s, but it does worth to purchase. Our smartphones these days have too much confidential data and just a drop is too costly to repair. One can say that carrying a cheaper mobile solve the problem. But, really a cheaper mobile does not have a good GPS, does not notify your WhatsApp messages, does not have required faster speed for LTE. I felt it is still in infancy despite the fact – it is the best smartwatch for the Android smartphone users. It is completely hackable as the OS is real open-source software. What about Samsung Active 2? Samsung has not shipped it’s LTE version in all countries. Lack of physical bezel can not save it from some hits and rubs.
Less apps is it’s big negative part – no remote shutter app from Samsung, no compass app, no GPS map app, even the browser created by Samsung is primitive. OK, we can solve it someway including hiring a freelancer developer. Missing thing is a camera and the display should be of higher PPI. Overall, the watch is good at this price.