Galaxy Watch 4 Samsung and Google’s attempt to combine efforts and compete with Apple’s smartwatch – and it takes about 80% of the way.
The Android smartwatch comes in two designs and four sizes, starting at £249 ($250) for the Watch 4 and £349 ($350) for the Watch 4 Classic as tested. they succeed £269 Active 2 Watch and £399 Watch 3 respectively.
The two designs have the same chips, features, and screen sizes, but the stainless steel Classic has Samsung’s jog-dial-like rotating bezel controller, while the standard aluminum Watch 4 has a touch-sensitive ring instead.
The watches are thinner and shine a little more than previous models. The 42mm Classic is extremely comfortable and sweat-proof to wear with its traditional silicone strap.
The AMOLED display is excellent: bright, sharp and always on if you want it. The screen is covered with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX+ and the watch is water resistant to a depth of 50 meters, so it should be durable.
Screen: 1.2″ or 1.4″ AMOLED (~467/455 ppi)
Case size: 40/44 mm or 42/46 mm depending on version
Case Thickness: 9.8 or 11/11.2mm
Band size: standard 20mm
Weight: 25.9/30.3 or 46.5/52g
Processor: Samsung Exynos W920
DATA STORAGE: 1.5GB
To store: 16 GB
OS: One UI 3/Wear OS 3 (Android 11)
Water resistance: 50 meters (5ATM) / IP68
Sensors: barometer, gyro, HR, EKG, bioelectrical impedance, microphone, speaker, NFC, location, compass
Connection: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC
Faster chip, shorter battery life
The new Exynos W920 chip in the watches is 20% faster on paper, with 10% better graphics performance than previous models.
The 42mm Classic’s battery lasts just under 25 hours with the screen always on and sleep tracking throughout the night. The watch typically finishes the day with just under 40% battery and 36-hour Watch 3 battery. Bigger Clock 4 sizes have larger batteries and can last longer.
The power saving mode can extend the battery for a few hours, while the “watch only” setting turns everything off except the watch face lasts more than nine days. Using the supplied magnetic disk and a standard 2.4A USB power adapter, it takes 82 minutes to fully charge and reaches 70% in 50 minutes. A power adapter is not included.
Samsung does not give an expected lifespan for the battery in the Watch 4, but does offer a one-year warranty. Batteries in similar devices typically retain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles.
Watch 4 is usually repairable and battery replaced by authorized service centers. Its predecessor was one of the most repairable smartwatches available. repair professionals Seven out of 10 with iFixit. Watch 4 is not yet rated.
Samsung did not comment on the use of recycled materials in the making of the watch, but recycling and swap diagrams and publishes an annual sustainability report and commitments.
One UI 3 on Wear OS 3
The big change for Samsung is the move from its own Tizen operating system to One UI 3, a customized version of Google’s Wear OS 3 that the two companies have jointly developed to restart the Android maker’s smartwatch work.
On the surface, the software looks and behaves almost exactly the same as Samsung’s previous watches; this is not a bad thing, providing a smooth and refined experience.
From the watch face, notifications are shown in panes on the left, and customizable “tiles” with at-a-glance information for various apps and functions are on the right. You can slide between them or flip the frame. Tapping a tile or notification expands it to access the app or read texts, including canned replies to messages, quick replies via voice dictation, keyboard, drawing letters or emojis with your fingers.
Press the top button once to return to the watch face, twice to switch to your last used app, or hold to talk to Bixby, Samsung’s voice assistant, which is faster than before but still isn’t as slick or capable as its rivals. Press the bottom button once to go back one step in an app or hold to bring up Samsung Pay.
Samsung plus some Google
Despite being a Google Wear OS watch, most of the apps and services are owned by Samsung. Google Maps and Google Pay are important additions, but Google Assistant is not yet available.
Access to the Google Play Store adds both offline playback support and a wider library of third-party apps, including Spotify and YouTube Music, with health and fitness apps including Strava, Citymapper, Accuweather, and many third-party watch faces. The selection of 40 powerful customizable built-in watch faces is also excellent.
Unlike other Wear OS watches, the Watch 4 cannot be used with an iPhone, and many of the more advanced features like the ECG function require it to be connected to a Samsung phone. It also uses the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app to pair, connect and manage settings, not the Wear OS app that Fossil and others use.
Health and fitness tracking, comprehensive Samsung Health. It can automatically track walks, runs, swims, and a few other movements with an accuracy similar to high-end running watches. The watch will track 95 different activities covering all the basics such as kayaking, sail wing and kitesurfing, as well as more exotic activities.
While the watch records your heart rate and rhythm (ECG), blood oxygen level, stress, steps, and calorie burn, it prompts you to do some guided stretches if you’ve been inactive for too long. New to the Watch 4 is advanced sleep tracking, including snoring detection and body composition analysis, which connects to a nearby phone on the nightstand. Similarly uses bioelectrical impedance some smart scales, for estimating the percentage of fat, muscle and water in your body as a better way to monitor health than BMI.
The data it produced matched data from a series of smart balances. Similar to weight measurements, both can vary wildly, influenced by how much water I drank or how long it’s been since my last workout, so consistency was key to beneficial results.
You can answer or hang up on calls and notifications with a little hit and miss wrist shake.
The watch has little effect on the battery life of the phone to which it is connected and consumes about 5% battery during the day.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 starts £249 ($249.99) for the 40mm version and £269 ($279.99) for the 44mm version. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic costs £349 for the 42mm version ($349.99) and £369 ($379.99) for the 46mm version.
Models with 4G cost an additional £40 ($50) plus a data contract.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best smartwatch you can buy for Android, but it’s not a giant leap ahead of its predecessors or a massive reboot of Google’s Wear OS efforts.
The move to Wear OS 3 hasn’t hurt functionality and will likely pay dividends later and add more third-party app support. But for now, you have Samsung’s best service and experience with the addition of Google Maps, Pay and Play Store, plus slightly better integration with Android smartphones.
It’s faster and smoother than other Android-compatible smartwatches, has comprehensive health tracking, looks good, and the bezel checker on the Watch 4 Classic is great. But while the battery life is at least 24 hours, a bit short of best-in-class Bixby, it’s still slower and less capable, you can’t use the Watch 4 with an iPhone, and some features don’t work if you’re using it with an Android device not made by Samsung.
Pros: The best of Samsung plus a bit of Google, fast and smooth, great display, attractive traditional watch design, bezel control, water resistance up to 50 meters, comprehensive health and fitness tracking, body composition measurement, Play Store, Google Maps and Pay.
Cons: No Google Assistant yet, leaving the less capable Bixby as the only option for voice, some high-end functions are limited to Samsung phones, not compatible with iPhone, only 25 hours of battery life with screen on during the day.