Apple Watch has been the standard in smartwatches for many years. Its robust app collection and health-tracking features have attracted many users. However, the Android smartwatch ecosystem has seen a decline in sales and lacklustre offerings. With the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung joined forces with Google to tackle the problem.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a lot of new features that build on its legacy. However, it ditches its proprietary Tizen OS to embrace Google Wear OS 3. This bold move could pit the Galaxy Watch 4 against Apple Watch 7, which was just unveiled. Let’s see how the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 does in real life. Can this smartwatch perform better than the Apple Watch 7? Now that I’ve been using the Galaxy Watch 4 for nearly three weeks, here are my thoughts about Samsung’s new smartwatch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review (2021)
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s capabilities have been tested in many scenarios over the last few weeks. I used the smartwatch for personal tracking, as well as constant notifications and analysis of health data. For this review, I tested the Bluetooth-only 44mm version of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 that Samsung loaned to Beebom. Here’s my opinion about this smartwatch.
Table of Contents
Galaxy Watch 4 Vs Watch 4: Specifications
Before we get into the review, let me remind you that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 are identical in terms of the software and hardware. Everything is identical, from the Wear OS3 experience and SamsungUI to the processor. What is the difference?
The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has some hardware upgrades such as a stainless-steel case that is more durable and a rotating bezel to switch between app tiles and screen. This bezel rotates to give users a premium experience. This review is applicable to both versions, as the insides of the device are identical. Check out the specifications to get a better idea.
|Variant Name||Samsung Galaxy Watch 4||Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic|
|Display||40mm – 1.2-inch, 396 x 396 resolution
44mm – 1.4-inch, 450 x 450 resolution
|42mm – 1.19-inch, 396 x 396 resolution
46mm – 1.4-inch, 450 x 450 resolution
|Dimensions||40mm:40.3 x 39.3×9.8 mm
44mm = 43.3 x 90.8 x 43.3 mm
|A 42 mm diameter is equal to 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm
46mm = 45.5 x 45.5x 11.0 mm
|Weight||40mm = 25.8g
44mm = 30 grams
|42mm = 46.5 grams
46mm = 51.9 grams
|Battery Capacity||40mm: 247mAh
|Processor||Exynos W920||Exynos W920|
|RAM + Storage||1.5GB + 16GB||1.5GB + 16GB|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)||Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi (2.4GHz & 5GHz)|
|Colour Options||Black, Silver and Pink Gold.||Black or Silver|
|Price||Starts at Rs 23,999||Starts at Rs31,999|
Design and Build Quality
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 was designed to work in many situations.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a flat screen design and a slim frame. To make it easily identifiable, the buttons are tactile. The Home button is marked with a red outline. It looks incredibly premium with its black aluminium bezel.
The all-in-one Samsung sensor is located on the watch’s underside. This sensor now supports an exciting new feature, which we will discuss further below. The Galaxy Watch 4’s strap is made of silicone with ample space on both the top and bottom. The extra strap fits neatly inside the watch clasp and I love it. This allows for more comfort and easier movement when working.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a sportier look and feel which makes it more suitable for casual or fitness-oriented users.
The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is slightly larger and has a rotating bezel that allows for app switching. This watch is made from stainless steel. It’s designed to look more traditional but still offer the same features. This is reflected in the watch’s physical properties and traditional straps. Both watches are 5ATM waterproof, and have an IP68 rating. They also have MIL-STD-810G durability.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is beautiful to look at and wear, but it can sometimes feel too simple for smartwatches. The Galaxy Watch 4 is the best choice for you if you’re looking for exactly that. For watch lovers who appreciate more craftsmanship, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic may be the best choice.
Beautiful Circular Display
You will receive a stunning Super AMOLED display no matter what variant of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 that you choose. The smaller model has a 1.2-inch screen with 396×396 resolution. The larger model has a 1.36 inch display with 450 x 450 resolution. Both displays are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass X protection to increase durability and scratch resistance.
Galaxy Watch 4’s touch responsiveness is incredible. While the screen is set to maximum brightness, it can still be used outdoors. However, it could have been brighter. The Galaxy Watch 4’s screen is dimmable, however, a software glitch apparently increased the brightness while I lifted my wrist to check the nighttime time. Regardless of the brightness setting, text legibility and colours are excellent.
It also features an Always On Display that makes it a useful timepiece. Galaxy Watch 4 was quick to show the time, unlike other fitness bands and watches on the market. This is what I would expect from a high-end watch. It worked almost instantly. You can also use the screen as a flashlight to turn it all white if you find yourself in a darkened room.
I tested the Galaxy Watch 4 with a virtual rotating watchzel. You can use this by moving your finger around the black screen bezel. It works well, but sometimes it is annoying due to the absence of physical feedback. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is for those who prefer a simpler solution and a satisfying click. Samsung has some issues, but overall the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic does a great job.
Software and Performance
Samsung has partnered up with Google to integrate Wear OS3 into its new smartwatch line. The Galaxy Watch 4’s Wear OS 3 brings many new and improved features. It’s important to note that the Galaxy Watch 4 features the One UI Watch experience. This makes the software experience feel and look much the same as its predecessors.
Samsung’s 5nm W920 chipset powers the Galaxy Watch 4. It’s optimised for greater performance and better power efficiency. It does exactly what it says.
The Galaxy Watch 4 performed flawlessly. Every tap, swipe, and touch was smooth and effortless. The smartwatch was easy to use, from navigation through the UI and scrolling through the menus to seamlessly accessing a range of apps, there wasn’t any lag. The Galaxy Watch 4 is slow to start up after being turned off or restarted. Although I know that your watch won’t be restarted very often, this is something that caught my attention during my time with it.
Samsung has moved away from Tizen and now uses Wear OS 3. Users can search for and download many apps via the Google Play Store. It was easy to search for apps and then download them from my watch. New applications and integrations have been created by the Tizen OS to WearOS 3 transition. Google Maps for the Galaxy Watch 4 allows you to view turn-by-turn directions on your wrist. You also have a fully-featured YouTube Music app available on the watch.
Third-party tiles support has opened up new opportunities for the Galaxy Watch 4, with many apps deploying their Tiles experiences for easy access. The Galaxy Watch 4 integrates with Calm, which allows for quick meditation using tiles. Google Fit has its own features, such as workouts and heart rates.
Google also offers a curated section that lists many apps available for download. Although the current selection is not great, it will grow as more app developers build for Wear OS 3, and learn its intricacies. The Galaxy Watch 4 also has 16GB storage and 1.5GB RAM. Wear OS takes up some storage, but still has enough space to install apps and download music for offline playback. Spotify lets you stream music and listen offline to Spotify on Wear OS 3 watches .
Samsung’s OneUI Watch skin is a great base for the Galaxy Watch 4. It’s easy to use and understand. It still feels the same as Samsung’s older version but users get the double advantage of a familiar UI and enhanced features with Google’s smarts. During my testing, the smartwatch was flawless. Software integration made it easy to receive timely notifications from my smartphone to the smartwatch. Although I don’t like Samsung’s keyboard for the Watch 4, there are many other input options. You can use preset responses, voice typing, and text drawing to customise your input.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a good selection of watch faces, with many options available in the Samsung Wearable App and Google Play Store. As time goes by, I expect more to become available. It is also very easy to change your watch face with Samsung. This guide will show you how to customise and change the watch face of your Galaxy Watch 4.
No Google Assistant Support Yet
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s software lacks a voice assistant. This is a major problem. Although Samsung has moved to Wear OS 3 for this wearable, Bixby remains as the default assistant. Bixby on the smartwatch is not my favourite feature. Being deeply integrated in the Google ecosystem, Google Assistant support is something I eagerly await. This is why the assistant automation is slow right now.
You should also be aware that it will require Samsung’s Health software in order to fully use its fitness and health tracking capabilities, even though Wear OS 3 is available. Android users won’t have the ability to switch ecosystems.
The Future is a Big Deal
Although I love Google’s WearOS 3 with Samsung One UI Watch and Google Watch, there is something to be said about the future. Although this integration between tech giants has opened up a market to app developers, we will need to wait until we see how diverse the experience will be. The functionality and variety of apps depends on more than just performance.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is the most recent smartwatch, so it will be fascinating to see how many apps it gets and whether or not this partnership will hinder its growth. We can also see how the ecosystem grows and competes with the Apple Watch once other Android smartwatch manufacturers have access to the results of this partnership.
Health and fitness tracking
Samsung is well-known for including many health features in its wearables. The South Korean giant went one step further by including a BioActive Sensor on the Galaxy Watch 4. The BioActive sensor, which is a combination of several sensors that covers almost all aspects of the body, doesn’t complicate the matter.
The Galaxy Watch 4’s BioActive sensor can monitor your heart rate and perform an ECG check to ensure your health. A stress testing feature on the watch monitors stress levels and displays them in real time. This can be extremely helpful during times of crisis like the pandemic.
Positive results were obtained from my testing of the health sensors. I compared the watch’s health sensors with a Mi Band 4 and a medical-grade oxygen monitor to get an accurate metric. The Galaxy Watch 4 recorded everything, including my heartbeat and the blood oxygen percentage. These results were displayed on the watch in real time. For those who need continuous monitoring, it is possible to continuously measure heart rate and gather stress data.
The revamped Samsung Health app works well with the Galaxy Watch 4 as it acts as a control centre. You can find all your health data and graphs on the Samsung Health app if you regularly check your phone for it. You can track your health data for the past 12 months.
The Samsung Ecosystem’s Price
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 offers a wide range of health features and accurate ratings. There is one caveat. The watch can be used with any Android smartphone. However, Samsung has restricted some health features to non-Samsung smartphones.
Samsung devices are required to access features such as the ECG test, blood pressure monitoring and the camera controller. This is a serious problem. My OnePlus 8T couldn’t take advantage of these features, limiting the Galaxy Watch 4’s capabilities. Samsung may unlock these features in the future, but Android users need to be aware that they will not be available.
Analyse of Body Composition
The new BIA sensor, which is designed to measure body composition, is perhaps the most remarkable of all the health features in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The Watch 4 measures your body composition by passing a weak electric current through two fingers. It can also measure your body fat percentage, muscle mass and body water percentage. It took me about 15 seconds to position my ring, middle finger and other fingers on the buttons.
The Watch 4’s BIA sensor is a great addition and shows Samsung is adding meaningful features to its wearables portfolio. People will find the body composition feature useful for gathering accurate information about their bodies. During my testing, the Galaxy Watch 4’s BIA sensor revealed a 5% difference in body fat when compared with a BMI scale. It is important to note that pregnant women and people with pacemakers should not use the Watch 4 for measuring their body composition.
Although the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s body-composition feature can be used by users, it is not a definitive guide. If you feel something is not right, we recommend that you see a doctor. It’s important to mention that Galaxy Watch 4 has just been released and will receive many enhancements with the upcoming software updates.
My experience with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has shown it to be a one-stop destination to access health information for Android owners. The smartwatch gave me real-time insight into my health as I monitor it regularly. It inspired me to take action and improve my numbers. The new BioActive sensor will be a great choice for anyone who wants to monitor their health. The BIA analysis is also useful for those who are trying to lose weight.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has almost all of the health features right, but there are still improvements to be made in the body composition. The lack of certain features on non-Samsung phones is also a problem that can put users at disadvantage. You can still buy the Galaxy Watch 4 for tracking your health but you will be missing out on certain features.
For me, step tracking is a must. In 2020, I started walking regularly and now average around 14,000 steps per day. Google Fit is my primary tool to track my daily walking and calorie expenditure. Two weeks ago, I used my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to keep track of my daily walking and other heart-intensive activities. The Galaxy Watch 4 offers many workout options, including simple walking and niche ones such as arm curls or bench presses, lateral raises, and more. You can add additional workouts to your Galaxy Watch 4 if you want.
Watch 4 recorded my workouts during my testing. The smartwatch was very helpful in tracking steps, especially for someone who has lost some steps due to Google Fit hibernating. Apart from my step count, I was able to see my calories burned, distance travelled and my heart rate in real time. You will also find additional information on the results screen, including different fat-burning zones. The BioActive sensor was able to make this possible.
The auto recording feature of the watch was a great addition to the activity tracking. The watch sensed my movements and gave me a little buzz to indicate that it was tracking my activity. Similar to before, I could view real-time data which made it even more convenient.
The activity data was automatically synced to Samsung Health, which allows you to easily track your daily goals. Although the Galaxy Watch 4 does not have Google Fit integration, I think I may switch to Samsung’s app due to the ease of cross-syncing.
One of the many new features that Samsung introduced to the Galaxy Watch 4 is sleep tracking. I was a sleepy sleeper and was eager to find out if the smartwatch could accurately track how much. After using the Galaxy Watch 4 for one week, I was shocked at how accurate the watch’s tracking of my sleep was.
The smartwatch not only recorded my sleep session accurately, but also kept track of when I went to bed and how many times I woke up. If the setting was on, the Galaxy Watch 4 could keep track of my snoring and record my blood oxygen levels every minute.
As you can see, all this data was compiled in the Samsung Health app. This report shows you the sleep score, along with the different stages and SpO2 ratings. Galaxy Watch 4’s data on sleep is quite comprehensive.
The lack of direction is a major problem. Apart from the score of 100, there were no tips or tricks that could help me improve my sleep habits. Although I was able to find out more about my sleeping habits and how often I wake up, I found it disappointing that there were no videos or pop-ups to help me. Although Samsung does not provide medical advice, I feel that the app should include some simple tips and tricks.
There are some meditation videos available from Calm and other apps in the Samsung Health app, but that’s it. Although the Galaxy Watch 4’s sleep tracking is accurate, it falls short of the ideal. Users are responsible for improving their sleeping habits.
Charging and Battery Life
Smartwatches have a variable battery life. Some users don’t mind charging their watches every night while others prefer a product that is easy to maintain and lasts for a few days. I was pleasantly surprised at the battery life of my Galaxy Watch 4 44mm Bluetooth model. Samsung claims that the larger models, like the 44mm, have a greater battery capacity. However, all variants can last up to 40 hours on one charge. This is more or less true.
During testing, the Galaxy Watch 4 had the always-on display, auto-brightness, tilt and touch to wake modes on. All the new sensors that track my health data were also working. The Galaxy Watch 4 lasted for 25 hours after my primary use. The watch indicated that the battery would last for another 8 hours. However, the actual time it took me to get around 29-30 hours before it died.
The results can be either impressive or disappointing depending on your user type. The Galaxy Watch 4 is able to last quite a long time, especially considering all the hoops it had to jump through. This can be a problem for smaller models, as they will require a faster charge. You should definitely consider the larger models if you want your smartwatch to last longer.
The slow charging is what I think breaks the deal. It takes approximately 2 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to fully charge to. It was particularly painful for me to wait hours just to see the battery charge. I prefer to have 100% before I leave the house.
This could be excused if the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery lasted for a few days. The slow charging of the watch is a problem, as it requires charging every 1.5 days. Although Wear OS optimization may make the battery last longer but, as it stands now, the battery is no-go. This is the obvious solution. However, charging your watch at night will not allow you to track your sleep.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The Pros and the Cons
- Beautiful, slim design
- Secure and comfortable fit
- Wear OS 3 is like a breath of fresh, clean air
- Sensor for body composition analysis
- Exact workout tracking
- Larger models have longer battery lives
- Samsung phones only have certain health features
- There is no Google Assistant yet
- It is painfully slow to charge
- The guidance provided by sleep tracking is not sufficient
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: The Best Smartwatch for Android Users
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has many new features and is the first smartwatch to be released with Google’s Wear OS 3. There’s a lot of great features here, including the new BIA sensor and improved heart rate and sleep tracking. The Galaxy Watch 4 comes with some necessary improvements, including a fluid user interface, better sleep tracking and future commitments from Google. Samsung must improve the software experience and make all health features available to more Android users, if you are to be objective.
Despite this, the Galaxy Watch 4’s 40mm Bluetooth version starts at Rs. 23,999. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which comes with a rotating bezel and costs Rs. 23,999, is available for purchase. 31999. The Galaxy Watch 4 is available now if you’re a Samsung fan and want to join the first wave Wear OS 3 smartwatches. Non-Samsung Android customers can choose from competitors such as the Fossil Generation 6 (starts at Rs. 23.995 and other Wear OS 3 smartwatches in the future for greater variety.