Calvin Inkdy / Android Authority
After using the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch for six straight years, I finally upgraded to the Galaxy Watch 4. From the performance to the software support, it has seen a huge improvement in every way, and a big credit goes to the introduction of Samsung Wear. OS 3. But after a few days I regretted my decision. My six-year-old son couldn't help but feel that the Gear S3 had better battery life than the Galaxy Watch 4.
If we take Samsung's claims at face value, the Watch 4 should last 40 hours on a single charge. However, I struggled to do this in real life. Of course, I can browse the recommended fixes for all Galaxy Watch 4 battery issues and turn off the always-on display, automatic exercise detection, continuous heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, and Google Assistant. All this takes me two days between payments. But is it worth buying a smart watch now?
Personally, I refuse to turn off the always-on display - I mean time is one of the main functions of any watch and I wouldn't sacrifice visibility for battery life. However, the obvious downside is that I have to reach for my charger every day. This is more than a minor inconvenience, as it takes two hours to fully charge the Galaxy Watch 4, which is longer than it takes me (and most people) to start the day.
Short battery life and long charging time means I can't use my sleep tracking smartwatch.
More than once I had to leave the house with a watch still charging on the bedside table. I finally gave up on using the Galaxy Watch 4 for sleep tracking. I put it on before bed and have it refilled the next day. But I'm happy to report that I finally found a solution to my first world problem. Of course, this is not for everyone, but it works very well, so I recommend you to at least try it - just use two smartwatches.
Samsung Auto Switch: Don't worry about your smartwatch battery
Caitlin Cimino/Android Authority.
A few days ago, while rummaging through my desk drawer, I found my old Gear S3 smartwatch. I charged and fired it up thinking I was going to sell it, but found I hadn't restarted it yet. And to my surprise, it connected directly to my phone when I put it around my neck. At the same time, I also noticed that the "Connection Lost" indicator appeared on the Galaxy Watch 4.
While browsing the Galaxy Wearable app, I realized that it can sync with multiple smartwatches at the same time. Of course, this is nothing special. But here's the catch: Samsung has a hidden feature that uses skin tracking to know which watch you're wearing at any given time. This explains why the Gear S3 dominates when I wear it; When auto-switch is enabled, the app automatically connects and disconnects from the watch on my wrist.
Samsung's clever and clever auto-switching feature has saved me from smartwatch battery woes.
If you've connected multiple wearables to the same phone, you'll know why this is a big problem. Normally, your phone maintains a constant Bluetooth connection and sends notifications to nearby paired smartwatches. I've never been comfortable with this feature due to battery drain, so I immediately uninstalled the accessory. Even if I didn't do this, Bluetooth audio quality would degrade with three or more simultaneous connections.
When I saw how well Samsung's automatic charging feature worked, another thought came to me: I could control the charger and not worry about battery life. That's what I've been doing for the past few weeks.
I now check the battery percentage on my Galaxy Watch 4 before I leave the house. If it's too low, say below 40%, I'll replace it with a fully charged Gear S3 when I leave home. With Samsung's auto-switch feature enabled, I have no problem incorporating smartwatch charging into my daily routine. One of the two hours will always be billed regardless. I don't have to fiddle with Bluetooth settings and manually disconnect or reconnect when I need to switch between them.
Now I turn on all the battery drain features that I haven't dared before. Always-on, wake-up, GPS tracking, SpO2 monitoring during sleep: the whole nine meters.
To turn on auto-switch, open the Galaxy Wearable app, tap the menu in the top-left corner, and select Auto-switch . Activate it.
Your phone will now automatically connect to the wearable on your wrist. You will receive all your notifications on it and it will record all your activities.
Seven years and still knocking.
Calvin Inkdy / Android Authority
Other than the battery life debate, I dread going back to my old smartwatch. Luckily, at least it wasn't a big rerun in the way you'd scoff at a seven-year-old's smartphone. The Gear S3 lacks Google Maps and other utilities, but it's still great for tracking activity, making contactless payments, and responding to notifications.
Samsung has done a good job of maintaining their Tizen-based ecosystem so I had no issues with auto-syncing. My Samsung Health data is displayed live on another clock even if they are running completely different operating systems. And I'm guessing Gear S3 battery life will be good in 2023. Overall, not bad for a seven-year-old platform.
Samsung's old wearables still hold up well after half a century.
Now I know what you're thinking: the latest Galaxy Watch 5 has a slightly larger battery and charges faster. Instead of ditching two smartwatches, why not upgrade? I don't think these improvements will be enough to match my current experience. I expect battery problems to continue for some time. And the last thing I want to do is buy another new smart watch.
Is this a two-hour solution for everyone? Like I said, probably not. If you're new to Galaxy smartwatches, you'll need to buy two to use the auto-switch feature. But if you're moving to the Samsung ecosystem, I'd recommend keeping your old wearables and not replacing them.
Auto-Switch also works with Samsung's more sophisticated wearables, like the Galaxy Fitness 2 ($76.50), where you can choose one for sleep tracking while charging the main smartwatch at night. If you don't mind the rush, you can always pick up a Tizin-powered Galaxy Watt 3 on eBay for less than $60.If you're worried about wearable battery life, I promise it's worth it.
Have you ever used the auto-switching feature of two Samsung wearables?