Is the Samsung Galaxy Watch a good health tracker?

Galaxy Watch
Galaxy Watch (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Samsung's Galaxy Watch is not only stuffed with health tracking features, but you have a lot of control over how you use them to benefit you every day.

Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Watch (46mm) ($349)

The flexibility to focus on specific parts of your health

Due in no small part to their enormous popularity, when most people think about fitness they think about a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. Fitbit is the original motivating fitness tracker, giving you goals to reach and making it easy to compete with friends. Apple took this concept and expanded upon it dramatically, giving its users multiple goals to reach every day even if those goals weren't based in measurable health benefits. The entire fitness tracker industry followed suit, and for a while that included Samsung with its wearables.

If you want to control everything from your wrist, even tracking your meals, you can.

But the Galaxy Watch represents a shift in the way Samsung helps you track your health. The shift is toward flexibility, making it easy to define specific goals and control what the Watch is tracking for you. If you just want to measure how many calories (or kilojoules) you burn in a day, without counting things like steps taken or how long you were considered "active" by your heart rate, there's a watch face for that. If you just want to count how many glasses of water you're drinking, there's a quick way to do that. If you want a full fitness dashboard on your wrist with every possible fitness metric there for you to see, there's not only a watch face for that but an easy way to set your own goals.

Perhaps most importantly, if you don't ever want your fitness tracker to tell you it's been too long since you've been active, you can quickly turn that off. Galaxy Watch isn't picky about how you adjust these settings, either. If you want to control everything from your wrist, even tracking your meals, you can. If you'd prefer to control everything from your phone, it's just as easy.

All of this flexibility is cool, but there's a downside. Super serious fitness buffs may notice there aren't nearly as many popular fitness apps available on the Galaxy Watch. Samsung Health does a good job offering something for everything, but if you're capturing a lot of specific data from an app you're comfortable with, you may not find that app on the Watch. In some cases there are workarounds. For example, the popular cycling app Strava is not available on the Galaxy Watch but Samsung Health does a really good job sharing data to Strava after a ride. In that specific instance, the kind of information Strava gets is almost identical to the information the Apple Watch version of the app would capture in the same period. And because the Galaxy Watch has its own GPS radio, you can leave your phone at home and share that information later if you wanted.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter