Fresh from wearing the Fitbit Sense, jumping back into wearing the Suunto 7 and Galaxy Watch3 really felt like I doubled my weight in an instant.
These are two heavyweight watches when compared to anything Fitbit puts out. Like The Undertaker versus Shawn Michaels (I am dating myself, yes.)
There is a little bit of difference between the two smartwatches, though. It’s plain to see the Suunto 7’s design is more utilitarian while the Galaxy Watch3 is much more aesthetically pleasing.
To top it all off, these two watches are in the same price range but they also differ in many aspects including software, operating system and purpose.
Related: Wear OS vs Tizen OS
If you care about how your smartwatch looks, then be forewarned that the Suunto 7 looks like a toy in the presence of the Samsung Galaxy Watch3.
The Suunto 7 has a plastic watch case and a rubber strap. The Galaxy Watch3 has a leather strap and a metal watch case. I’d say it looks aesthetically better than the Suunto 7 because of its shiny sides and dark grey bezel. Even its rear looks better with the concentric circles surrounding the heart rate sensor.
The Suunto 7’s rear just doesn’t look that good. It has four golden dots that are used to connect the watch to its charger. They look like pimples. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch3 also uses a contactless charger so it keeps its clean look by avoiding any connection dots.
The Suunto 7’s heart rate sensor also looks like a beer belly with its bulge in the centre. Its rectangular shape with rounded edges has no coherence with the rest of the watch’s design which focuses on using circles.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch3
Rotating bezel vs buttons
The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 has a rotating bezel that’s unique to Samsung while the Suunto 7 has four buttons on the sides of the watch case.
I am really glad the rotating bezel is back. The Samsung Galaxy Active2 didn’t have it and it was sorely missed by me.
You would use the rotating bezel to scroll through menus and screens. For example, if you want to see the next widget, you would use the rotating bezel. If you get a long message and need to scroll, you would use the rotating bezel.
Every time you rotate the bezel, you will hear a really satisfying “click” sound. It’s satisfying because you get both tactile feedback and aural feedback.
On the Suunto 7, most of your interaction with the smartwatch will come through its touchscreen. It has four buttons, which I really like.
The buttons can be used to launch apps, skip music tracks and open the apps menu. It’s a lot faster to use these buttons than it would be to use the touchscreen.
For its elegance, innovation and utility, the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 wins. I really love the bezel.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch3
Speech to text and the Christian mark
Which watch do you think came up with the transcription, “How would you rate the renovations Christian mark”.
Speech to text systems generally require you to indicate explicitly when you want some form of punctuation.
This is where the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 really suffers as compared to the Suunto 7. After all, the Suunto 7 is backed by Google’s massive prowess in voice recognition.
Samsung’s speech to text system has improved a lot over time but I generally expect mistakes much more frequently as compared to what Google outputs.
On the whole, you could send that message that the Samsung transcribed, and people might ask what a “Christian mark” is, but I believe Samsung’s speech to text system can capture the essence of a message.
Google just doesn’t make a question mark a “Christian mark.” So that’s a cross for Samsung and a plus for Google.
That said, Google isn’t perfect. Its higher success rate is palpable especially if you have just come from the Samsung.
Texting, emails and replies
Speech to text is one of the most efficient ways to reply to a text and email, and I think it’s a good time to explore how the two systems handle texts and email.
I paired both phones to a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone and my experience has favoured the Samsung watch.
Why? Because you can access your email and text logs on the Samsung Galaxy Watch3. That’s not possible with the Suunto 7 where the only opportunity you get to interact with your messages and emails is when they appear on the Suunto’s notifications.
That said, I don’t find being able to access your email or message logs to be extremely useful. I usually just head straight to my phone. But it’s nice to have.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch3
Speech to text forms the basis for a good voice assistant and so Bixby on the Galaxy Watch3 is already disadvantaged as compared to Google Assistant on the Suunto 7.
What’s more, Bixby has fewer features as compared to Google Assistant. For example, if you asked both assistants a question that is not strictly a watch function, Bixby will not be able to give you an answer whereas Google will search the internet for something relevant.
Bixby’s abilities are very much constrained by what the watch can do such as calculations and timers. Google is more dynamic.
In sum, you’ll be more satisfied with Google Assistant than Bixby.
Winner: Suunto 7
The Suunto 7 is built for sports enthusiasts and it really shows. I believe that if not for its sporting prowess, the Suunto 7 would just be a really unremarkable Wear OS smartwatch.
Let’s talk about the most important differentiator of the Suunto 7 and the rest of the Wear OS crowd: offline maps.
The Suunto 7 comes with offline maps that really changed my relationship with my smartwatch when I’m out in the woods or in the water.
I have come to really love wearing the Suunto 7 when I am out in a new location. Trails aren’t always marked clearly and waters even less so.
It’s good to have a map right on your wrist in order to know how far you’ve gone and to correspond geographical features with your location. In the past, I would take my phone out to match these but now I just open up the Suunto 7.
It’s also a lot easier to backtrack given that the Suunto 7’s map marks where you’ve travelled through.
The Galaxy Watch3 does not offer this feature by default.
Winner: Suunto 7
The Suunto 7’s Suunto app on the smartphone and smartwatch is really an elite tier app.
First off, the smartwatch app gives you over 70 workouts to pick from. You get far fewer options on the Samsung Galaxy Watch3.
In fact, besides swimming, the Galaxy Watch3 has no other watersports. You might find yourself “biking” in the water. This is not a problem with the Suunto 7.
Data analysis in health and workouts
The Suunto 7’s smartphone app can offer better data analysis than Samsung Health, which is where the Galaxy Watch3 stores all your health information.
For example, the Suunto 7 offers you a PTE, EPOC and recovery time measurement after a workout. PTE tells you the training effect of your exercise so that you know how you’re benefiting from it or if you’re doing too much.
EPOC is a measure of intensity of your workouts, and recovery time tells you how much rest you should schedule before your next workout.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 comes with certain innovations too. Runners will especially love the running coach feature which helps you pace your runs and tells you useful information about your footwork such as asymmetry, contact time and flight time. It can also gauge your fitness level through its VO2Max metric.
What’s more the Galaxy Watch 3 has a sleep tracking feature that is not available on the Suunto 7. I like this feature because it keeps me informed about my sleep patterns and recognize whether or not I need to improve on my habits.
There are some other features like ECG and SpO2 readings that haven’t been made available in Canada, but as I understand it, American consumers now have access to it.
Samsung Health on the Galaxy Watch3 also offers a more comprehensive tracking of your overall wellbeing. For example, it tracks water intake, nutrition and women’s health.
It’s hard to say who’s the winner here. It seems that you will benefit more with the Suunto 7 if your goal is to improve your sporting ability. If your goal is to improve your overall well being, then the Galaxy Watch3 is probably better.
If I had only one watch, I’d take the Suunto 7 because I prefer its advanced sporting features, offline maps and since I use a Samsung phone, I already have access to Samsung Health on my smartphone.
Couple with my preference for Google Assistant and the Wear OS, the Suunto 7 wins because it fits into my preferences and lifestyle.
That said, that Galaxy Watch3 is a much better looking smartwatch that has the ability to track a wider range of health metrics. It also integrates fantastically with my Samsung smartphone.