While the Apple Watch is rated as one of the best smartwatches, the biggest limitation is that it only connects to iPhones. For Android users though, the options are limited, given the restrictive range of WearOS devices or they have to go with Samsung’s Tizen based smartwatches. One of the latest addition to Samsung’s smartwatch portfolio is the Galaxy Watch LTE priced at Rs 30,990. It is the Galaxy Watch that we have already reviewed earlier, just with the additional capability of pairing with an eSIM with it.
Design and Display
Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE comes in two sizes, 42mm and 46mm and we got the 46mm variant for review, which was perfect for my wrist. Still, the 42mm will suit better on people with smaller wrists. The watch sports a Super AMOLED panel and has one of the best displays you can find on a smartwatch. It is bright enough for outdoor usage. The blacks are deeper and the punchy colours make every watch face look more vibrant.
Performance, UI and Battery Life
Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the flagship smartwatches currently available in the market. It is powered by the company’s own Exynos 9110 processor, which performs decently showing no lags or stutters while using the watch. While the Bluetooth-only variant comes with 768MB of RAM, the LTE version gets 1.5GB of RAM, this does make a difference when it comes to opening multiple apps on the watch.
It comes with 4GB of onboard storage where you can store your music, which I did not make use off. I did take advantage of the LTE to stream music from services like Gaana and Spotify. Samsung’s TizenOS runs quite smooth on the Galaxy Watch. The UI is easy to control using the rotating bezel. Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE is backed by a 478mAh battery. Initially, I was using the smartwatch without any e-SIM. During that period, I was easily able to get around four days of battery life. As soon as I set up an LTE connection, the battery life dropped to three days of usage. However, considering a lot of smartwatches die in a day or two, this is impressive.
4G LTE connectivity
The reason you would consider to pay extra cash for the Galaxy Watch LTE are its LTE capabilities. So how does it fair in daily usage being used to make calls?
The device uses an e-sim in order to bring LTE connectivity on board. Currently, only Reliance Jio and Airtel support the e-SIM technology in India. So, if you are on any other network, you are left out of luck. Another point is that you will always be required to have a physical SIM and cannot rely fully on a digital SIM card.
Even though networks provide eSIM services, getting them is a headache on its own. When I tried to get an eSIM via Airtel, I could not set it up. I then called the company and did not get much help. I went to a service centre and found out that the service can only be activated on a certain number of devices with a postpaid number and a prepaid number would not work, though apparently the Airtel website says it does work on prepaid as well.
With Reliance Jio, I tried linking my two separate Jio numbers using the Galaxy Wearable app but constantly failed with error 4001(400). I visited two different Jio stores, here in Noida, only to come back with a frown on my face. The Jio executives were unable to help me out with anything. Finally, I went to there service centre and found out that I had to complete my KYC process again just to activate the service, which is too much work according to me.
After I was able to connect, the watch worked smoothly and did not give me any issues in making calls or streaming music directly via the watch. I paired my Realme Buds Air with the watch and was able to take calls and check necessary messages anywhere I was not able to either carry my device or could not take it out.
The extra capability of LTE on a smartwatch does come handy, but the headache involved in getting an eSIM did not seem worth it in the beginning. However, after using the watch with LTE services, I would like all my smartwatches to at least have that capability.
Samsung Galaxy Watch is already one of the best smartwatches for Android that was launched in 2019. By slapping LTE connectivity on it, Samsung just made it a better buy. In my opinion, you should only go in with the LTE variant if you go for runs leaving your phone behind. However, if you always have your phone in your pocket, you should probably save the extra bucks and get the Bluetooth-only variant instead.