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Samsung has always offered up decent smartwatches - its range are solid, dependable and decent-looking smart wrist warmers. With the Apple Watch always looming in the background, though, the market has always been tough for Apple’s rivals. But it’s time to change all that, thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
This the latest wearable from Samsung is exactly what we want from an Android-based smartwatch. It’s got the looks, the tech and while we wish it had a little bit more staying power, there is a lot to like here.
We’ve had the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on our wrist for a few weeks now. Here are 5 things you need to know…
1. Design is watch first, smartwatch second
There are two types of Samsung Galaxy Watch 4s available, the original and the Classic. We reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and it’s a beautiful smartwatch.
The design flourishes included make it feel like a regular watch, including the fantastic rotating bezel, stainless steel exterior and really comfortable (included) band.
It measures (at its largest watch size): 45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0mm. The original is more of a sportier option, slightly smaller in size (44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm) and has an aluminium case. The chip inside (Exynos W920) is the same, as is the battery (361mAh for the biggest watch face) and they are both powered by Wear OS Powered by Samsung...
2. The software is key
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an almighty team-up in the world of wearables. This is the watch where Tizen (Sammy’s normal operating system) takes a back seat and the Wear OS Powered by Samsung partnership with Google comes on board to look after the software side of things.
It’s a welcomed change and great to see two tech giants do something sensible and team-up to offer the best of both worlds.
Wear OS 3 is on board the Galaxy Watch 4 and this brings with it a bevy of new and improved features.
At first glance, Galaxy Watch users definitely won’t be alienated, it still looks like a similar UI as before but the biggest benefit here is access to the Google Play Store and having Google interconnected means much better notifications if you are an Android user.
Apps such as Spotify (now with downloadable playlists!) and Strava are available and a whole host of other apps that weren’t simply available for Samsung’s custom app store users.
Because of this, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is right up there with our choice of best Android smartwatches.
3. It’s fitness focused and knows when you are exercising
If, like us, you sometimes forget to tell your watch what exercise you are doing, then the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is for you. Every time we went for a run or on a cross trainer, the watch would kick in, knowing what exercise we were doing. It was really accurate and impressive but more so when we dug into the fitness options.
The good news is that Samsung Health works seamlessly with the Galaxy Watch 4 and there are some new metrics to play around with. These include: heart rate, blood pressure, ECG, and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA, to give it its hip-hop name).
As mentioned, many exercises are automatically detected but things like strength workouts will need to be chosen manually. This isn’t an issue and there are a ton to choose from.
There is also sleep tracking on board, which seemed decent to us, mapping out the amount of Light, Deep, and REM sleep we had over the course of a night.
There is also GPS on board, which helps for mapping runs and giving a more accurate reading for distances and the like.
It’s worth noting that while it is Wear OS, the exercise choices are Samsung and your data is tracked via Samsung Health. This is very much a partnership right now and not pure Wear OS.
4. The battery left us wanting more juice
Battery life on the 42mm Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic wasn’t amazing. We found ourselves with a watch that managed to last the day and a sleep then would need to be charged, so we had to figure out where to get a sneaky charge in. After using smartwatches from the likes of Huawei, which pride themselves on battery, this was a little bit of a shock.
The good news is that if you up the size to the 46mm variant, then the battery is also increased.
Charging is done through Samsung’s proprietary charger. There is also wireless charging available.
5. This is one for the Android crowd
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a fantastic wearable, but one for the Android crowd. Samsung has decided to not offer iPhone support to the watch. Given that Apple users will almost certainly turn to an Apple Watch (or Garmin) for its wrist warmer, this does make sense.
Unlike Huawei, though, you don’t need to be a dedicated Samsung user to get the best benefits from the watch. Yes, you have to use Samsung’s Health app but all the data points you would want are readily available through whichever Android smartphone you use.
We were using the OnePlus 9 Pro for some of our time with the Galaxy Watch 4 (as well as the Galaxy Z Fold 3) and didn’t notice any major differences in performance.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Final Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the best Wear OS smartwatch around right now - it’s the device that was needed to breathe new life into Android smartwatches.
It looks fantastic, has cutting-edge software that’s far easier to use than before and really is a viable choice for Android users.
If you have an iPhone, then this one definitely isn’t for you but finally those who don’t want an Apple Watch have a real Wear OS contender to think about purchasing.
The Samsung Galaxy 4 Classic is out now, in black or Silver, priced at £349.
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