Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 leak reveals new features to fight Apple Watch 6

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 leak
(Image credit: Evan Blass)

The fact that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is coming isn’t exactly a secret. But now, thanks to an investigation by XDA Developers, we know exactly what features to expect from the new generation, over a week ahead of its official unveiling.

The source is an official one: Samsung released the Galaxy Watch 3 Plugin app, which initially didn’t seem to give too much away. But thanks to the APK decompiling efforts of Max Weinbach a few upcoming secrets are now out of the bag.

Firstly, the Galaxy Watch 3 will support hand gestures. According to Samsung, the watch’s sensors are sensitive enough to detect hand movements reliably, and this means you can answer calls by clenching and unclenching your fist. By contrast, if you don’t want to take a call, then you can shake your hand and it’ll be ignored.

There’s also fall detection, a feature that the rival Apple Watch introduced with the fourth generation. It’s actually not that different from the current SOS mode: if you fall, the smartwatch will ring for 60 seconds, and if you don’t respond it will text your location to your emergency contacts, along with a five-second sound recording. 

Finally, and less dramatically, Weinbach found that Samsung is changing the way users can take screengrabs of the watch. To be fair, the previous method — holding a button while swiping left — was a little bit awkward, but it’s hard to imagine that taking Galaxy Watch screenshots is something anybody needs to do very often. Regardless, it has been simplified: with the Galaxy Watch 3, users can take a screenshot by just pressing both of the side buttons at the same time. Easier to manage, though probably a bit easier to do by mistake as well. 

With this bonus functionality revealed, there’s not a great deal left to learn about the Galaxy Watch 3. We already have a good idea of what it’ll look like and some of the colors it’ll appear in. Apparently there will be nine different configurations to choose from starting from $400 and going up to $600 — which may mean some people prefer to stick with the current Galaxy Watch, which will likely be discounted. 

These features could help the Galaxy Watch 3 better compete with the Apple Watch 6, which is set to have proper sleep tracking via watchOS 7 and may be able to monitor your blood oxygen level.   

If you’re wondering what happened to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 2, by the way, don’t worry: you didn’t miss it. Presumably Samsung thought calling the new model the “Galaxy Watch 2” would make people believe it to be a mild refresh of the Galaxy Watch Active 2, so opted to skip a generation instead. We should see the watch in just a matter of days at Samsung's August 5 Unpacked event, so stay tuned for more.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.