I have a hot take: I honestly think the Galaxy Watch 3 is a great smartwatch, but it’s just so hampered by its price. Luckily, Samsung has reduced the cost of having the Galaxy Watch 3 significantly (at the time of the Ticwatch E3’s release).
But is a price reduction its saving grace?
Let me just walk you through feature-by-feature.
The Galaxy Watch 3 uses Samsung’s Tizen OS while the Ticwatch E3 uses Google’s Wear OS.
Both operating systems are great but Samsung’s operating system really shows its prowess when it is paired to a Samsung smartphone. The integration is much better and smoother.
On the other hand, the Wear OS on the Ticwatch E3 is a more general purpose smartwatch OS. This means that it’ll pair with any smartphone and there’ll be greater compatibility.
What happens with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is that if you pair it with a non-Samsung phone, you will lose some features. For example, Samsung Health is the default app used for health tracking on the Galaxy Watch 3, and while it’s standard on Samsung phones, it isn’t on a typical Android phone.
A Wear OS smartwatch like the Ticwatch E3 is much simpler. The set of apps that it comes with works with every smartphone.
The most important point here is that your choice of smartwatch has implications on its features.
Galaxy Watch 3 not getting Wear OS 3
Samsung has announced that the the Galaxy Watch 3 won’t be getting the latest Wear OS 3. This is important.
There was a lot of buzz a month or two ago regarding Google’s new collaboration with Samsung. They’re going to merge the Tizen OS and the Wear OS to create Wear OS 3.
It’s pretty amazing.
It’s also hot garbage if you have bought the Galaxy Watch 3 at full price.
Because the Galaxy Watch 3 won’t be getting this update.
It’s a revolution in smartwatch tech that is going to leave the Galaxy Watch 3 in the dark times while the Galaxy Watch 4 soars ahead with the new OS.
But that doesn’t mean the Galaxy Watch 3 sucks. I mean, it’s a bummer to be left behind, but for a year of owning the Galaxy Watch 3, I thought it was a great smartwatch.
Both smartwatches will pair with the iPhone but you’re going to take a hit on so many features it’s not worth it. Get an Apple Watch instead.
The game changer here is that the Ticwatch E3 is getting the Wear OS 3 upgrade. This is VERY exciting.
Both smartwatches are polished and they produce very good smartwatches.
But when it comes to build quality, the Galaxy Watch 3 wins. The materials are just more premium. For example, shiny metallic surfaces are all over the Galaxy Watch 3. The back is also more beautifully designed.
The physical rotating bezel that’s present on the Galaxy Watch 3 is amazing. This is one of the best innovations from Samsung. Where most other watch manufacturers would use a rotating crown, a rotating bezel makes it so much more natural as a scroll wheel.
The Ticwatch E3 is glorious in its use of plastic. Compared to the previous generation of Ticwatches (such as its E2 predecessor), the Ticwatch E3 has come back as a much more elegant smartwatch.
It’s slimmer and the grey-black colour scheme is pretty amazing.
Nonetheless, it’s plastic. It’s doesn’t give off high quality vibes.
Practicality: both are great
In terms of practicality, you can’t really go wrong with either smartwatch.
Both smartwatches come with an impressive hardware spec.
This includes having the latest and greatest processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 on the Ticwatch E3.
Samsung smartwatches have never let me know in terms of their CPU’s processing power and the Galaxy Watch 3 is no different.
Google Assistant vs Bixby
There ain’t no real competition here. I’ll take Google Assistant any day.
Two years ago, I would have never used Bixby. It’s on my Samsung smartphone and it has been on every Samsung smartwatch I’ve tested from the bad old days of the Gear S3.
These days, Bixby continues to fall behind on Google Assistant, but the gap has shrunk.
Bixby seems to be much more useable now. It’s more smarter when trying to find a solution to your request.
Nonetheless, Bixby feels like free software versus paid software, except Google Assistant doesn’t require you to pay a subscription to use.
One major difference is how Bixby requires your request to fit into “Capsules.” Capsules are just Samsung’s way of saying… “you gotta tell me which app to put this through.” If you ask a random question, the Galaxy Watch 3 will reject the question and tell you to ask a question tailored to a Capsule.
Whereas Google Assistant will just search the web for an answer.
Both smartwatches can take and make calls.
I didn’t expect this. Calling features are generally not available on any smartwatch but premium tier smartwatches. For Mobvoi’s line of smartwatches, it’ll be the Ticwatch Pro 3, not the E3.
Call quality on both are OK. It’s convenient but I wouldn’t use it for anything but quick calls.
Both smartwatches can receive and send messages and emails.
There are two big differences.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 can access your emails and messages as if you were on your phone. I have never really found this to be very useful, but it’s there. The Ticwatch E3 (and any Wear OS smartwatch) can’t.
However, it’s the reply feature that makes all the difference.
On the Wear OS, the experience of replying on the device is so much more pleasant.
That’s because Google’s speech to text is amazing. There’s no competition.
On the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, you’d be getting more errors per message and sometimes one little error can break the whole message.
If you foresee yourself replying to messages a lot on your smartwatch, you’ll be better off with the Ticwatch E3.
Both of these smartwatches can also function as a workout and vital sign tracker.
You get the classics: steps, activity, hourly movement tracker (to ensure no long periods of sitting) and heart rate sensor.
Sleep tracking is also available on both smartwatches.
As a Samsung smartphone user, I found it much better to use the Galaxy Watch 3 to get a better picture of my activity. I don’t always wear my smartwatches, but I always bring my phone around. Doing the latter also allows me to track my movement and calorie burn.
If you don’t wear your Ticwatch E3, you will get absolutely no data.
Both smartwatches also have a pulse oximeter AKA SpO2 sensor AKA blood oxygen level meter. It was the trendiest feature of smartwatches in 2020, and these watches have definitely kept up with the Joneses (which in this case, is Apple Watch).
This tells you your blood oxygen level. All the marketing that’s been thrown at me from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit and Mobvoi (Ticwatch’s manufacturer) hasn’t convinced me this figure is of any use. But yes, it tells you the oxygen saturation in your blood.
You’d get a lot better value with the Ticwatch E3 given that it’s an intermediate-priced smartwatch while the Galaxy Watch 3 is a premium-level smartwatch.
Pretty much, the Ticwatch E3 can do whatever the Galaxy Watch 3 can do, except it’s cheaper and better in some senses: message reply quality, Google Assistant and the fact that it’s getting Wear OS 3.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a watch that is good looking, integrates well with Samsung phones and is overall better in design. However, its software is a bit lacking when compared to what Google is offering.