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Home / Reviews / Wearables / Smartwatches / Samsung Galaxy Watch7 hands-on review: more than just new straps and sensors

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 hands-on review: more than just new straps and sensors

Faster hardware and the latest WearOS should maintain Samsung's lead

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 hands-on lead

Initial Stuff Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch7 looks set to extend the firm’s WearOS smartwatch supremacy. A new CPU and slightly tweaked strap aren’t thrilling upgrades, but are more than enough to keep it class leader


  • Faster, more efficient CPU and double the onboard storage
  • Dual frequency GPS to compete with sports watches
  • As up to date as WearOS watches get


  • Battery life and fitness accuracy an unknown right now
  • No major health tracking additions


On first glance the Samsung Galaxy Watch7 doesn’t look all that different from the model it replaces. But when your previous effort was one of the best smartwatches around, why shake things up too much? Samsung has focused on performance this year, upgrading the internals but keeping the styling largely unchanged.

There’s no Classic version this time around, so no rotating bezel to fiddle with. The Pro name hasn’t made a comeback either – though it has gained a spiritual successor in the Galaxy Watch Ultra. That leaves the Galaxy Watch7 to monopolise the mainstream, with the latest version of WearOS and an all-new chipset giving it an edge over other Google-powered smartwatches.

Prices start from £289 for the Bluetooth-only 40mm model, and climb to £369 for the LTE-enabled 44mm version. That firmly undercuts the Apple Watch Series 9, and is easier on the wallet than a Google Pixel Watch 2 as well. After spending some time with one ahead of Samsung’s official Unpacked reveal, I’m convinced this is the wearable most Android phone owners should buy.

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Design & build: strapping specimen

There are two Samsung Galaxy Watch7 sizes on offer, just as there were for the outgoing Watch6. The smaller 40mm model can be had in green or cream colours, while the larger 44mm lands in green or silver. Each has a subtle accent colour around the higher of the two side buttons.

Samsung has subtly tweaked the silicone watch strap with some stitched details in complimentary colours; it’s really the only giveaway you’re wearing this year’s model rather than last year’s. This is still a sharp-looking wearable, though, with a circular AMOLED screen taking up almost the entire face.

The aluminium case underneath is svelte and sits very flat to your wrist, so it won’t catch while wearing long-sleeve shirts. I prefer my wearables to look like traditional timepieces than smart gadgets, so reckon this has the design edge over the square-shaped Apple Watch.

Whichever size you go for the underlying hardware is identical, save for battery capacity, so which one to buy largely boils down to which looks better on your wrist. I don’t have arms like tree trunks, but still thought the 44mm version was a better fit.

The glass is sapphire crystal, which is far more scratch resistant than the tempered stuff used on lesser smartwatches. That’s handy, as there’s no outer bezel to keep it safe from bumps and scrapes like there was on the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic.

Screen: bright and beautiful

Samsung hasn’t mixed things up at all on the display front. The 40mm and 44mm models keep the same 1.3in and 1.5in circular AMOLEDs as last year. Both sizes look suitably sharp at arms’ length, with 432×432 and 480×480 resolutions respectively being more than enough to see smaller UI elements clearly.

The ambient light sensor returns from the previous generation, boosting brightness when outdoors and dimming in darker or indoor environments. I didn’t get the chance to step outside and see how well it held up under bright sunshine, but based on my experience with the Watch6 Classic I’m expecting visibility to be just fine.

How much you’ll notice the screen bezels depend on what watch face you’re using; darker ones hide it brilliantly, but more colourful ones reveal it’s nowhere near an edge-to-edge experience. They both still put the Google Pixel Watch 2 in the shade, though, and slim enough that I’d still be happy to use a bright watch face.

It helps that WearOS is a largely black UI, of course. You’re getting WearOS 5 here, which hasn’t even shown up on Google’s own watches yet, though the changes are mostly behind-the-scenes ones. Samsung has added a few of its own, including a new double-pinch gesture that can answer incoming calls with one hand.

Health & fitness: keeping track

The Galaxy Watch6 was already one of the most comprehensive WearOS watches for health and fitness tracking, with ECG and blood pressure tracking (once calibrated using an external monitor) as well as the usual heart rate, blood oxygen, step and sleep tracking. Samsung has doubled down on that this year with an uprated bio sensor. More LEDs should deliver more accurate readings, though I’ve yet to test it.

IP68 water resistance means rain, showers and sweat aren’t an issue, while a 5ATM water resistance rating means you can also take it swimming. It’s not rated for ocean swimming, though – you’ll need to step up to the Galaxy Watch Ultra for that.

The other big upgrade is dual frequency GPS; previous Galaxy Watches used a single-band system that couldn’t match dedicated running watches for location accuracy. In theory it should be faster to get a location lock, too, though I didn’t get the chance to try it during my indoor demo session.

Otherwise expect the same extensive selection of tracked sports and activities, with plenty of fine-grain performance metrics available through the Galaxy Wearable companion app on your phone.

Performance & battery life: chips in

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 hands-on watch strap

There’s an Exynos W1000 chipset powering the Galaxy Watch7; Samsung’s newest wearable silicon has five CPU cores and is built on a 3nm process, which should make it both more powerful and more efficient than the one used for the last smartwatch generation. The firm claims up to 3x faster performance, which sounds impressive given the Galaxy Watch6 was no slouch.

During my demo it certainly felt very responsive, swiping through homescreen widgets and opening apps in an instant. Spotify used to be a real chore on older hardware, but things were much improved last year, so I’m expecting an even slicker experience this time around. The litmus test will be more demanding apps from the Play Store, such as those with lots of mapping data. Either way, it should easily be as quick or faster than any Snapdragon Wear-powered smartwatch.

It’s great to see double the amount of on-board storage compared to the outgoing Galaxy Watch6. You get 32GB here, which will make all the difference if you download lots of apps and watch faces, or keep lots of music playlists stored on your watch for streaming to your headphones during exercise without needing to keep your phone nearby.

What hasn’t changed is battery capacity. The 40mm version still has a 300mAh cell, while the 44mm gets a 425mAh unit. That made a small difference to lifespan last year, but both watches were able to get through a day and a half of wear with the always-on display enabled. I’ll be interested to see if that’s true for 2024, and whether they can last any longer per charge thanks to the more efficient CPU.

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 initial verdict

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 hands-on verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch7 Ultra might steal all the attention, but this year’s mainstream models are quietly cementing their status as the best all-rounder WearOS watches money can buy. The Galaxy Watch7 doesn’t shake up Samsung’s established formula, but improves on it in meaningful ways, like a more efficient chipset and extra on-board storage for apps and music.

Improved health and fitness tracking, swimmer-friendly water resistance and more accurate GPS might persuade sports watch owners to make the switch, and having the latest version of WearOS ensures it keeps rivals at bay too. I still think the 44mm model is the one to go for, thanks to its larger battery, but the new Exynos silicon will hopefully let the 40mm model but in a decent showing per charge too.

If real-world performance is on par with Samsung’s claims, I’m struggling to see why an Android phone owner would buy anything else.

Samsung Galaxy Watch7 technical specifications

Screen1.3in 432×432 AMOLED (40mm)
1.5in 480×480 AMOLED (44mm)
CPUSamsung Exynos W1000
Memory2GB RAM
Storage32GB on-board
Operating systemWearOS 5
Battery425mAh (44mm)
300mAh (40mm)
Dimensions41x41x9.7mm, 28.8g (40mm)
45x45x9.7mm, 33.8g (44mm)
Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

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