Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: Google smartwatch raises bar

The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung and Google’s attempt to combine efforts and compete with Apple’s smartwatch – and it gets about 80% of the way there.

The Android smartwatch comes in two designs and four sizes, starting at £249 ($250) for the Watch 4 and £349 ($350) – as tested – for the Watch 4 Classic. They succeed the £269 Watch Active 2 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 aluminium Watch 4 has a touch-sensitive ring instead.

The watches are slimmer and have slightly more flare than their predecessors. The 42mm Classic is extremely comfortable and not sweaty to wear with its traditional silicone strap.

The AMOLED screen is excellent: bright, pin-sharp and on all the time if you want it to be. The display is covered in scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX+ and the watch is water resistant to 50-metre depths so should prove durable.

Specifications

  • Screen: 1.2in or 1.4in AMOLED (~467/455 ppi)

  • Case size: 40/44mm or 42/46mm 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

  • RAM: 1.5GB

  • Storage: 16GB

  • Operating system: One UI 3/Wear OS 3 (Android 11)

  • Water resistance: 50 metres (5ATM)/IP68

  • Sensors: barometer, gyro, HR, ECG, bioelectrical impedance, microphone, speaker, NFC, location, compass

  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, wifi n, NFC

Faster chip, shorter battery life

On paper the new Exynos W920 chip in the watches is 20% faster with 10% improved graphics performance than their predecessors.

The Classic certainly feels fast and much smoother compared to most Wear OS watches, on a par with the TicWatch Pro 3, but not quite up to the rapid experience of the Apple Watch Series 6.

The battery of the 42mm Classic lasts for just under 25 hours with the screen on all of the time and sleep tracking overnight. The watch typically ends the day with just under 40% battery remaining, falling short of the 36 hours of the Watch 3’s battery. Larger Watch 4 sizes have bigger batteries and may last longer.

A power-saving mode can extend the battery by a few hours, while a “watch only” setting turns everything off except the watch face to last more than nine days. It takes 82 minutes to fully charge using the provided magnetic puck and a standard 2.4A USB power adaptor, reaching 70% in 50 minutes. A power adaptor is not included.

Sustainability

Samsung does not give an expected lifespan for the battery in the Watch 4 but provides a one-year warranty. Batteries in similar devices typically maintain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles.

The Watch 4 is generally repairable and the battery can be replaced by authorised service centres. Its predecessor was one of the most repairable smartwatches available, scoring seven out of 10 with the repair specialists iFixit. The Watch 4 has yet to be rated.

Samsung did not comment on the use of recycled materials in the construction of the watch, but does offer recycling and trade-in schemes and publishes an annual sustainability report and commitments.

One UI 3 on Wear OS 3

The big change for Samsung is the switch from its own Tizen operating system to One UI 3, which is a customised version of Google’s Wear OS 3 that the two companies have co-developed to relaunch the Android-maker’s smartwatch efforts.

On the surface the software looks and behaves almost exactly the same as that on Samsung’s previous watches, which is no bad thing providing a smooth and refined experience.

From the watch face, notifications are shown in panes to the left and customisable “tiles” with at-a-glance information for various apps and functions are to the right. You can swipe between them or turn the bezel. Tapping a tile or notification expands it to access the app or read text, including quick replies to messages via canned responses, voice dictation, keyboard, drawing letters or emojis with your fingers.

Press the top button once to go back to the watch face, twice to switch to your last-used app or press and hold it to speak to Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby, which is quicker than before but still not as slick or capable as competitors. Press the bottom button once to go back one step in an app or press and hold to bring up Samsung Pay.

Samsung plus a little Google

Despite being a Google Wear OS watch, most of the apps and services are from Samsung. Google Maps and Google Pay are significant additions, but Google Assistant is not yet available.

Access to the Google Play Store adds a larger library of third-party apps, including Spotify and YouTube Music, both with offline playback support and health and fitness apps, including Strava, Citymapper, Accuweather and lots of third-party watch faces. The 40-strong selection of customisable built-in watch faces is excellent too.

Unlike other Wear OS watches, the Watch 4 cannot be used with an iPhone and many of the more advanced features, such as 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 other smartwatches from Fossil et al use.

Samsung Health

Health and fitness tracking is handled by the comprehensive Samsung Health. It can automatically track walks, runs, swims and a few others, with similar accuracy as high-end running watches. The watch will track 95 different activities covering all the basics and more exotic activities such as skiing, hang-gliding and kitesurfing.

The watch records your heart rate and rhythm (ECG), blood oxygen levels, stress, steps and calorie burn, while prompting you to do some guided stretches if you’ve been sedentary for too long. New for the Watch 4 is advanced sleep tracking, including snore detection that links up to a nearby phone on a bedside table, and body composition analysis. It uses bioelectrical impedance, similar to some smart scales, to estimate the percentage of fat, muscle and water in your body as a better way to monitor health than BMI.

The data it produced matched that from a set of smart scales. Similar to weight measurements, both can vary wildly influenced by how much water I had drunk or how long since my last workout, meaning consistency was the key to useful results.

Observations

  • You can answer or dismiss calls and notifications with shakes of the wrist, which were a bit hit and miss.

  • The watch has a small impact on the battery life of the phone it is connected to, consuming roughly 5% battery during a day.

Price

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 starts at £249 ($249.99) for the 40mm version and £269 ($279.99) for the 44mm version. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic costs £349 ($349.99) for the 42mm version and £369 ($379.99) for the 46mm version.

Models with 4G cost an additional £40 ($50) plus a data contract.

Verdict

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 nor a tremendous relaunch of Google’s Wear OS efforts.

The switch to Wear OS 3 hasn’t hurt functionality and will probably pay dividends later on, opening up greater third-party app support. But for now you have the best of Samsung’s services and experience with the addition of Google Maps, Pay and the 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 controller on the Watch 4 Classic is great. But while the battery life is at least a full 24 hours, it is a little short of best in class, Bixby, is still slower and less capable, you can’t use the Watch 4 with an iPhone and some features don’t work if you use it with an Android device not made by Samsung.

Pros: the best of Samsung plus a little of Google, fast and smooth, excellent display, attractive traditional watch design, bezel control, 50-metre water resistance, comprehensive health and fitness tracking, body composition measurement, Play Store, Google Maps and Pay.

Cons: no Google Assistant yet, leaving the less capable Bixby the only option for voice, some top functions limited to Samsung phones, not compatible with the iPhone, only 25-hours battery with screen on during day.

Other reviews

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: the previous king of Android smartwatches

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: one of the best smartwatches for Android

  • Fossil Gen 5 review: Google’s Wear OS 2 smartwatch at its best

  • TicWatch Pro 3 review: faster, slicker Wear OS smartwatch misses mark

  • Fitbit Sense review: a good smartwatch that fails on sustainability

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Dad's horror after finding plastic in son's baby food after feeding him most of it

A DAD says he found pieces of plastic in a jar of baby food – after his tot had eaten “90 per cent of it”. Cathal Gallagher said his nine-month-old ... Read more »

I'm only 15 but work & count Molly Mae, Tommy Fury, Gary Neville & Ryan Giggs as clients

A SALFORD teenager with OCD turned his love for cleaning into washing cars and has quite the collection of celebrities using his service. His car-wash business has attracted big celeb ... Read more »

Mystery as teenage girl is found injured in car crash yet police cannot ‘ascertain her identity'

POLICE are trying to track down the family of a teenager who was hit by a car on Sunday. The identity of the girl remains unknown after she was involved ... Read more »

Boxing comeback king Tyson Fury inspired us to lose weight and get in shape

BOXING comeback king Tyson Fury has inspired ordinary blokes whose fitness was on the ropes. Like the heavyweight champ, who lost 9st before defeating Deontay Wilder again earlier this month ... Read more »

Covid cases ‘will PLUMMET this winter even without Plan B restrictions and could fall to 5,000 daily cases before Xmas'

COVID cases are set to plummet within weeks even without Plan B restrictions, according to modelling seen by the government, it's reported. Experts believe coronavirus cases could sink to around ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin 'Devastated' By Fatal On-Set Shooting, Dealing With 'Grief and Shock,' Source Says

© Instagram Alec Baldwin is “devastated” by the fatal accidental shooting on the set of the film Rust. The actor discharged a prop gun that was inadvertently loaded with a live ... Read more »

Tom Brady took a mid-game break to give his hat to a young fan who had beaten brain cancer

© Provided by INSIDER Tom Brady. AP Photo/Alex Menendez Tom Brady gave a hat to a young fan in the stands during the final seconds of the game. The fan ... Read more »

Bottled water now 'readily available' amid contamination crisis in Iqaluit, says mother

© Submitted by Taylor Marchett Taylor Matchett’s three-year-old daughter, Declan, waits in line at a water distribution point with a refillable water jug in Iqaluit. Matchett said her husband had ... Read more »

India to lift quarantine requirement for international travellers from today

© Provided by Hindustan Times All passengers shall also submit a declaration with respect to the authenticity of the report and will be liable for criminal prosecution if found otherwise. ... Read more »

Missouri hit by tornados, quarter-sized hail, strong winds on Sunday

Tornados touched down throughout northern Missouri on Sunday along with quarter-inch-sized hail and strong winds of 50-60 mph.  Pictures posted by storm chasers showed structures ripped apart and tractors overturned ... Read more »

Ibrahimovic otai masih berbisa di Serie A

© Provided by Sinar Harian PENYERANG AC Milan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic menjadi pemain keempat tertua meledak gol dalam saingan Serie A ketika membantu Rossoneri mengatasi Bologna 4-2 di Stadium Renato Dall’Ara. ... Read more »

New Zealand reports second-highest daily COVID-19 cases in pandemic

FILE PHOTO: New Zealand holds a COVID-19 single-day vaccination drive, seen in Auckland (Reuters) – New Zealand reported 109 new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Monday, the bulk of them ... Read more »

CNN 10 - October 25, 2021

October 25, 2021 A week of potentially dramatic weather descends on the United States. What appears to be a failed Russian satellite streaks across the night sky. A toy store ... Read more »

Trevor Hemmings: Billionaire tycoon who dabbled in many industries

Rarely seen without his trademark flat cap, Trevor Hemmings, who has died aged 86, was a somewhat reclusive, self-made billionaire, a former bricklayer who made a highly successful business career ... Read more »

Teresa Giudice pays touching tribute to new fiance Louie A. Ruelas as she shares firework filled video from right after proposal in Greece: 'I adore you endlessly'

Days after the romantic Grecian proposal, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice shared a video of her fiancé Louie A. Ruelas getting down on one knee. Under a ... Read more »

How this little girl with a toothy smile grew up in poverty to become one of Australia's most influential Aboriginal women... as she reveals her traumatic memories as a cop removing Indigenous children from their families

Dorinda Cox, 45, is the seventh Indigenous member of the federal parliamentShe replaced retired Greens Senator for Western Australia Rachel Siewert Senator Cox grew up in poverty in Fremantle, Perth and became a cop at 17She pushed back on the removal of First Nations children from their families  Read more »

Snoop Dogg takes to social media to announce death of 'angel for a mother' Beverly Tate at age 70

The 50-year-old rapper posted a tribute to Beverly Tate for his roughly 65.2 million followers on Instagram 'Thank u god for giving me an angel for a mother TWMA,' Snoop wrote in the caption of a photo showing showing his late mother Snoop's father Vernell Vardado, 71, confirmed Beverly's death on Instagram and asked for prayers for his family posting that 'we need it more than ever' Beverly, who had two other sons with Vernell, was hospitalized in July for an undisclosed illness Snoop in May also asked his fans and followers on social media to pray for her Beverly raised her family in a church environment in Long Beach, California  Read more »

Saudis set goal to hit net zero carbon by 2060 with £130billion investment in carbon-capture technology and a hydrogen plant

Saudia Arabia has pledged to slash its carbon emissions to net zero by 2060 The promise from the oil-rich nation comes ahead of the Cop26 climate summit It is also investing £130billion into methods such as carbon-capture technologyThe Gulf state said it will also double the emissions cuts it had planned by 2030  Read more »

Why this super-flattering $24 bikini is a 'must have' for summer - and it suits every body type

Kmart is selling a flattering swimsuit that has caught the attention of shoppers The white palm v-wire top and matching high waisted brief only cost $12 each Perth blogger Chrystal stunned in the bathing suit on InstagramThe top and bottoms are available in sizes six through to 20  Read more »

Don't expect supply-chain or price relief any time soon

Port officials say that they’ve almost doubled their operations throughout the pandemic to help ease the supply chain backlog in other cities. Nathan Howard/Getty Images President Joe Biden, Federal Reserve ... Read more »

Australia gives in-principle support for net zero by 2050

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Cabinet on Monday will consider conditions the government’s junior coalition partner has placed on committing the national to a target of zero net carbon emissions ... Read more »

Be cosy & chic! FEMAIL picks out the best knitwear buys

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Sweater weather has returned and, luckily, this season’s knitwear is as comfortable as it is chic. From the AW21 runways, we were inspired ... Read more »

MAD Lions owner faces heavy backlash after publicly voicing criticism about AD carry Carzzy

© Provided by Dot Esports It hasn’t been that long since the LEC’s MAD Lions were eliminated from the 2021 League of Legends World Championship. However, team owner Luis Miguel ... Read more »

Why less really is more: Young mum shares her top tips for decluttering and organising your kitchen - and why a 'minimalist' lifestyle is the key to happiness

Financial advisor shared tips for decluttering and organising your kitchen spaceCanna Campbell, from Sydney, started living minimalist lifestyle seven years agoShe credits minimalism for keeping her home clean, organised and clutter-freeMinimalism started in her kitchen after she simplified 'busiest room' in her home  Read more »

Barnaby Joyce's big flip flop: Devastating quotes show he was Australia's biggest opponent of global warming action... but NOW he's brokered a climate deal

National Party declared it will support a 2050 net zero carbon emissions targetThe move finally harmonises Labor and Coalition climate change policy The target also marks a major shift for Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby JoyceMr Joyce has previously questioned climate change and opposed any action  Read more »

Devastated mother of little Cleo Smith shares adorable new photo of the four-year-old with her sister – as eerie new CCTV footage from a beach shack captures her voice the day before she vanished

The heartbroken mother of Cleo Smith has shared an adorable new photo of the four-year-old in another desperate plea for answers as eerie CCTV footage captures the little girl’s voice ... Read more »

Video: Riverdale star KJ Apa calls Clara Berry his 'wife' while drinking her breast milk three weeks after welcoming their son

Read more »

DAP ‘shortage' and how it has become a big issue in Haryana

© Provided by The Indian Express Written by Sukbir Siwach AN ACUTE shortage of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) in Haryana has seen desperate farmers pelting stones at the police, blocking roads ... Read more »

Kerala Hindu leaders form body for issues confronting community

© Provided by The Indian Express Various Hindu ashrams and prominent monks in Kerala have formed the Kerala Dharmacharya Sabha (KDS), a forum to form an authoritative opinion on all ... Read more »

Nepal's Chief Justice says will stop allocating cases to benches at his discretion

© Provided by The Indian Express Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court, Cholendra Shumsher Rana, announced on Sunday that he would give up the discretionary practice of allocating cases to ... Read more »

Ex-Rep. Vito Fossella's comeback attempt headlines local elections

Former Congressman Vito Fossella is attempting a political comeback by running for Staten Island borough president. Daniel William McKnight Ex-Rep. Vito Fossella’s attempted political comeback in the race for Staten ... Read more »

Pinarayi Vijayan urges Stalin to draw water from Mullaperiyar dam as levels rise

© Provided by The Indian Express Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin, urging his government to draw maximum quantities of water from ... Read more »

Paris Hilton Rocks Toilet Paper Wedding Dress at Her Backyard Bridal Brunch

© Provided by People Artagee/Instagram Paris Hilton has proven that she could walk down the aisle in just about anything and still be the definition of bridal goals. The This ... Read more »

SNL 'scrambling' to replace Ed Sheeran as he battles COVID-19

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Saturday Night Live producers are ‘scrambling’ to replace Ed Sheeran for the show’s November 6 broadcast after the singer revealed Sunday that he ... Read more »

IS claims responsibility for bomb attack in Uganda

CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic state claimed responsibility for a bomb attack that killed at least one person in Uganda’s capital Kampala on Saturday night, the militant group said in a ... Read more »

Kane Brown Injures Ankle During Onstage Mishap In Memphis

Kane Brown is nursing a twisted ankle after a bit of onstage fun led to an injury during a Saturday night concert in Memphis, Tennessee. © Shutterstock Kane Brown In ... Read more »

World Pasta Day: What Pasta, Which Sauce - Singaporean Explanations Included!

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to how you enjoy your food, but actually hor, pasta is shaped differently for good reason. There’s no right or wrong when ... Read more »

Japanese tourism after Covid-19 looks to build on Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, but some doubt official strategy

Visitors on the observation deck of the Shibuya Sky tower in Tokyo. Japan is looking to attract nearly twice as many visitors by 2030 as it did in 2019. Photo: ... Read more »

World Pasta Day: What Your Fave Pasta Says About You

Are you a Sassy Old Soul, a Chin Chai Loner or a Ma Fan Boomer? Are you a Sassy Old Soul, a Chin Chai Loner or a Ma Fan Boomer? ... Read more »

Self-driving race cars make history in Indianapolis

© Provided by New Straits Times INDIANAPOLIS: The winner was not a driver but an algorithm on Saturday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the top car clocked an average ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic