Galaxy Watches usually pair excellent hardware with refined software, but there aren’t many third-party applications yet. Samsung has covered most of the basics with their apps, and you probably won’t do most of the same tasks with the watch as you would with your smartphone, but it can still be difficult to find apps to improve the usability of the watch. It doesn’t help that the Galaxy Store groups watch faces with apps, so scrolling through core apps is mostly the same as scrolling through various watch styles.
There are some hidden gems on Samsung watches, so we decided to highlight some of the best third-party apps we could find. This list does not include watch faces (or apps to manage them, sorry Facer), nor do we include any of Samsung’s apps (as most of them come pre-installed).
Samsung has worked closely with Spotify for the past few years, and the Spotify app for Galaxy Watches is the result. Although the default mode for the app is to act as a remote control for Spotify on other devices, just like the Wear OS application, you can switch to standalone mode in the settings. This allows you to play music on your watch independently of your phone, and if you have Spotify Premium, you can even download your favorite songs for offline playback.
The Spotify app also includes an optional widget, so you can start (and control) music without leaving the main clock screen. My only complaint is that the interface is slightly different from other Galaxy Watch apps; for example, swiping the physical frame on my Galaxy Watch3 skips a track while the app is open, instead of scrolling through menus or changing the volume.
If you don’t have Spotify and still want to stream music to your watch, iGear Radio might be another option. The pro version can stream over 20,000 internet radio stations, all without the need for a companion app on your phone. You can also sync your favorite stations with an account for easy backup.
Since iGear Radio plays Internet stations, it’s not as useful on the go as Spotify with its offline playback feature, unless you have LTE service for your watch (or take your phone with you). The free version has limited functionality, and the $ 2.99 pro app expands the list of supported stations, shows the top 10 lists for each country, and adds a widget for easy playback.
When you need to kill a few minutes, but don’t want to take out your phone (or left it at home), there are a few games available on the Galaxy Store. My favorite is Galactica, a Space Invaders clone. It can be controlled by touch, movement or the physical bezel on inactive watches.
The controls aren’t as responsive as the physical buttons on a game controller, but Galactica is still a fun way to waste time. As of this writing, it costs $ 1.00 on the Galaxy Store.
Talk to Alexa
Bixby isn’t the best voice assistant around, but it handles most of the tasks I need to do without pulling out a phone: setting reminders / alarms, asking for time zone conversions or basic calculations, and so on. However, if you need more features, you should try talking to Alexa.
Talk to Alexa turns your watch into an Amazon Alexa speaker, complete with weather reports, Alexa skills, Fire TV / smart home controls, and timers / reminders. There’s also limited support for recurring timers, changing the watch’s media controls, and some news.
The main drawbacks are that you can’t start music playback via Alexa or use Alexa’s native messaging / calling functionality. I also noticed that asking Bixby seemed to be confused with “Open Talk to Alexa”, so I usually had to open it from the application list. However, if Bixby can’t do something you need to do, there’s a good chance Alexa (or one of Alexa’s thousands of skills) can.
Run with Map My Run
Under Armor’s Map My Run is one of the few fitness tracking services available on the Galaxy Watch besides Samsung’s offerings. The Galaxy Watch app allows you to start / stop runs and track your location using the built-in GPS.
The Map My Run app requires installing the smartphone application and linking the account to the watch, but once the setup process is complete, you can start activities without using your phone.