Samsung Watch and Galaxy phone.
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Samsung Galaxy Watches can be paired with any Android device, but not all Android devices are treated equally. Some features are reserved for Samsung’s own Galaxy smartphones. Just how much are you missing if you use a different phone?

In 2021, Samsung finally made the switch to Google’s Wear OS platform for its Galaxy Watches. However, Samsung retained some of the features that are only available if you use a Samsung phone. Let’s take a closer look at those features.

Health Features

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

We’ll start with health features, which are a prominent part of the Galaxy Watch experience. There are a couple features that only work if you have a Samsung phone.

First, both the Galaxy Watch 5 and 4 are capable of electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring, but it’s only available when paired with a Samsung phone. Blood pressure monitoring falls into the same category. In the case of ECG and blood pressure, they’re also not available in the U.S. due to waiting on FDA approval.

Do Not Disturb Syncing

Do Not Disturb is a great feature to use on Android devices—both Samsung and otherwise. Naturally, you probably want your watch to be silenced when DND is enabled on your phone. Well, that’s only possible if your Galaxy Watch is paired to a Samsung phone.

Similarly, Bedtime Mode also doesn’t sync from a non-Samsung phone to the Galaxy Watch. If you want to put your Galaxy Watch into DND mode, you’ll need to do it from the Quick Settings or set up a schedule in the Galaxy Wearable app.

RELATED: How to Set up Do Not Disturb on Samsung Galaxy Phones

Communication

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5
Joe Fedewa / How-To Geek

The Samsung Messages app is only available if you use a Samsung phone. Previously, that meant you couldn’t see your conversations on your watch at all without a Samsung phone connected. Thankfully, it’s not a big deal anymore. You can download Google’s Messages app if you use a non-Samsung phone.

One thing that you still can’t do without a Samsung phone is make or receive phone calls over Wi-Fi. If you’re not using a Samsung phone, the watch must be connected via Bluetooth to make and receive calls. Without a Samsung phone, the watch only needs to be connected to Wi-Fi.

Extras

Using your watch as a remote control for the camera on your phone is super nifty. Sadly, it’s not even available for all Samsung phones. The feature is mainly reserved for high-end Samsung Galaxy devices:

  • Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra, S21, S21+, S21 Ultra, S21 FE, S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, S20 FE, S10, S10+, S10e, S10 Lite, S9, S9+.
  • Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, Note 10, Note 10+, Note 10 Lite, Note 9.
  • Galaxy Z Fold, Z Fold 2, Z Fold 3, Z Flip, Z Flip 3.

If you have an unsupported Samsung phone or a non-Samsung phone, you can try the CameraOne app instead.

Lastly, and this may not matter to you at all, but the customizable AR Emoji watch faces are exclusive to Samsung phone users. What a shame.


This isn’t a small list of features, but they’re not necessarily the most important things in the world. Personally, I have used Galaxy Watches with non-Samsung phones and been perfectly happy. There are a lot of great smartwatches out there; you should know what you’re getting into if you opt for a Galaxy Watch.

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Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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