Best answer: If you have an Android phone, even one not made by Samsung, your Galaxy Watch will work great with it.
Amazon: Samsung Galaxy Watch ($350)
If you have a modern Android phone, you can use a Galaxy Watch
In the past, Samsung locked its wearables to the Samsung experience. You needed to have a Samsung phone, and a fairly new one at that, to use its watches and fitness bands. The biggest reason for this was integration. Samsung has special software on its phones that only works when you have a Samsung account, and it’s a lot of work to guarantee every phone would have the ability to run the additional Samsung apps without running into other problems. Instead of supporting the entire Android ecosystem, it was easier for Samsung to support only its own products. Since Samsung is the top Android manufacturer in the world, there was a good chance most of the people buying these wearables already had a Samsung phone.
But the Galaxy Watch is a continuation of some forward progress in Samsung’s support of more than just itself. During the announcement of this watch, Samsung made it clear there was support for more than just Samsung phones. On its website, a terribly incomplete list of supported devices exists to show you it works with more than just Samsung phones. For example, Samsung lists the Google Pixel is supported, but not the newer Pixel 2. It also lists the budget-focused Moto G4 Play and Moto G5 Plus, but none of the more capable Moto Z phones which all work just fine with the Watch in our testing.
How can you be totally sure your phone works with the Galaxy Watch if it’s not on this list? As a general rule, if your phone was released within the last two years you have nothing to worry about. If your phone is a little bit older, it may be worth checking our Forums to see if someone else has tried using that combination before making a purchase.
How does the Samsung Galaxy Watch pair with non-Samsung phones?
As mentioned earlier, Samsung uses special custom software to make some of its features work particularly well with Samsung phones. For the same experience on a non-Samsung phone, there needs to be a little bit of extra work done on another. On a Samsung phone, all you need to do is install the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app from the Google Play Store. This app gives you all of the basic connection assistance for pairing to the watch, as a well as a manager tool for doing things like choosing your preferred watch face and shopping for new apps to install on the watch.
On a non-Samsung phone, after you install the Galaxy Wearable app you’ll be prompted to install something else. This app is called the Galaxy Watch Plugin, and its job is to handle all of the data syncing from non-Samsung experiences. Things like Google Hangouts, Calendar, Location Services, and anything else your Watch may need would be accessed through this other app so the Watch can behave the same way it would on a Samsung phone. This plugin also allows Bixby and Samsung Pay to function, neither of which work when paired to an iPhone because a plugin like this doesn’t exist on that platform.
This Galaxy Watch Plugin app won’t be seen from the App Drawer like the Galaxy Wearable app once it is installed, but it is nonetheless a vital part of making the Galaxy Watch work well with every Android phone.
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September 18, 2018 at 07:07AM