Samsung has retained its spot as a true pioneer in producing wearables that have a chance of competing with Apple’s Series lineup. With the two trading bouts every year, the Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s latest contender in the increasingly competitive space. Featuring a few nifty tricks up its sleeve, like the inclusion of BP measurement, is the watch truly the best Android smartwatch to date?
The company has made the much-expected decision of leaving Tizen, their proprietary IoT / Wear-focused OS, in favor of Google’s own WatchOS. In essence, the watch now aims to be the de-facto standard for Android smartwatches for this year.
Our playthrough of Watch 4 was nothing less than enjoyable. In this review, though, we’re going to keep things extremely simple. Firstly, we’ll talk about how the watch tackles basic smartphone tasks, from home automation to tracking your fitness. Next, we’ll be mentioning all the unique features that the watch has alongside comparing it to various contenders within the space and seeing how it stacks up among them.
Most of what we’ll be mentioning in this review can also be applied to the Samsung Galaxy Watch Classic. It offers the same sensors and internals as the Galaxy Watch. However, it is a tad bit bulkier and comes with a rotating bezel and a more contemporary design language.
You might be interested in checking out the newest Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Ratings
Activity / Fitness Tracking: 7
The sensors on the Galaxy Watch 4 are accurate, trustworthy, and get the job done in almost every situation. However, the absolute need to install Samsung Health in order to track most of your data can feel quite tedious if you don’t own a Samsung device.
Battery Life: 8
With heavy use, expect the watch to last you through a full day of sleep tracking and notifications. However, with lighter use, you can expect the watch to last you through 2 days with relative ease.
Phone Calls / Texts: 8
The Galaxy Watch 4 features a telephone keyboard for texting alongside quick replies, hand-writing identification, and voice dictation. For calls, you can listen to and make your own using your mobile phone.
The Detect Fall feature automatically sends an SOS message whenever the watch detects an extreme fall. Moreover, the inclusion of LTE allows you to make Emergency Calls by using just the watch as well.
Media Control: 9
There’s something extremely satisfying with using the rotating bezel to control your volume. While it doesn’t match Apple’s Digital Crown, it still does get the job done in every situation.
With a respectable variety of watch faces and the inclusion of an Always-On Display at this price point, the Galaxy Watch 4’s vivid and bright display allows you to see the time in every situation. You’ll also be able to add third-party watch faces and customize them to your liking.
Alarm Clock: 8
The Galaxy Watch 4’s speakers are loud enough to wake you up from any hangover. Plus, the haptic motor and the inclusion of a decently sized battery ensure that your watch will be able to wake you up every single day.
Home Automation: 7
The Galaxy Watch 4 comes integrated with Samsung’s SmartThings app. While it works great for devices that support it, you’ll have some trouble connecting it with every smart device / appliance available in your home. Compared to Apple’s Home Kit, some serious strides need to be made.
What’s In The Box?
- Galaxy Watch 4 with pre-installed loop
- Wireless Charger
- Quick Start Guide
Pros and Cons:
- Price: Coming in at $299 for the 42mm variant, the Galaxy Watch 4 is reasonably priced. With the number of features that you get, it is still $100 cheaper than the Apple Watch SE while having an Always On Display and a greater amount of sensors and features.
- Sensors: The Galaxy Watch 4 can measure your blood oxygen, heart rate, can perform an ECG, calculate your body fat, measure your blood pressure, track your sleep, count your steps, detect a fall, and much more. With that said, Samsung truly has created a one-stop shop for all your fitness needs.
- Notification Management: WearOS brings great notification management to the Galaxy Watch 4. Unlike Tizen, you won’t find everything clumped up with your watch vibrating with every needless notification. Instead, you’ll find a more refined, less intrusive experience that helps you focus.
- Build Quality: It is clear that Samsung had to cut their costs somewhere. As compared to the fit and finish of the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch 4 is seriously lacking. The design, while cohesive, don’t use premium materials. Even the most expensive variant, the Galaxy Watch Classic, has quite a tacky-feeling rubber band.
- Lack Of Physical Customization: There’s not a lot of customization when it comes to the Galaxy Watch 4. You can’t change your finish, there are not a lot of OEM band options and the color choice is bleak at best.
- Best Used With A Samsung: While any Android phone is compatible with the Galaxy Watch, you’ll need to have a Samsung account and install their suite of applications to take full advantage of all the functionalities your watch has. Without a Samsung phone, you can’t access a couple of key features such as taking ECG readings which can be a big disappointment for those who have another Android device and can’t use certain hardware features until they pair the watch up with a Samsung device.
Galaxy Watch 4 Features
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a flagship offering from Samsung. Therefore, it has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern smartwatch alongside chiming in some innovation under its belt. Here’s a quick gander at everything the Galaxy Watch 4 can do:
- WearOS: Making the jump from Tizen straight to Google’s pocket has proven to be quite advantageous for Samsung. Now collaborating, we can expect periodic updates, and integration with various third-party applications as the platform matures.
- BioActive Sensor: Samsung’s BioActive Sensor provides you with detailed information about your body composition, fat percentage, skeletal muscle, and body water in fifteen seconds through an extremely simple measurement.
- Workout Tracking / Fitness: With a GPS sensor right in, the watch will be able to detect your physical activity and with support for over 90 different exercises, provide you with detailed statistics on everything you need to know.
- Sleep Tracking: Partnered with the National Sleep Foundation, the Galaxy Watch Active tracks your sleeping habits, checks your blood oxygen levels, and also lets you know if you snore during your sleep!
- Music: You can either play music from the watch’s speakers or use any third-party application such as Spotify to be able to stream music to your headphones from your watch seamlessly.
- Water / Dust Resistance: The Galaxy Watch 4 will be able to last through a quick dip in the pool with it being rated for 30 minutes in about 50 meters of water. It also is resistant to dirt, grime, and sand. All in all, it is quite a rugged and durable package even though it doesn’t have the best quality.
- Calls / Texts: You’ll be able to use the telephone keyboard, voice dictation, or quick replies to respond to texts. With a microphone and speaker built right into the watch, listening to and responding to calls is also possible.
- Bixby: While Google Assistant is not officially available, Bixby, Samsung’s proprietary assistant is smart enough to set up alarms, read out your notifications, Google things for you, or set up reminders.
- Samsung Pay: You won’t ever be holding lines up again with the integration of Samsung Pay in the Galaxy Watch 4. Now, you’ll be able to use your pre-stored credit / debit cards to perform quick contactless products on the fly using just your watch.
Galaxy Watch 4 vs Galaxy Watch 3
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a direct successor of the Active 2 while the Watch Classic is the protege of the Galaxy Watch 3. In terms of looks, the Galaxy Watch 4 has a more casual, sporty, and casual look while the Watch 3 features a more traditional, contemporary formal look.
The Galaxy Watch 4 is also considerably thinner due to Samsung’s BioActive sensor that integrates all health units into it. Moreover, it features more health and fitness-related features as well.
The largest change, however, is the move from Tizen to WearOS with this iteration of the Galaxy Watch. While you will experience better battery life on the Active 2, Tizen was severely lacking in terms of overall software, third-party app integrations, and customizability.
The Galaxy Watch 4 and a Watch 3 have a few key differences between them that differentiate them from one another. Generally speaking, though, the Watch 4 is a monumental leap over its predecessor.
- BioActive Sensor: The vast one-unit sensor array of the Galaxy Watch 4 consists of blood pressure measurements, body-fat percentage, and more!
- Wear OS: The addition of Wear OS is a welcome change on the Galaxy Watch 4, while the previous run on Tizen. Better notifications, integration of third-party applications, and the addendum of longer support time add overall value to the Galaxy Watch 4.
- Physical Bezel: While the Galaxy Watch 3 has a physical rotating bezel you can use for navigation, you’ll have to make do with a touch-sensitive rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4 that uses haptics for feedback
- Faster Processor: The Exynos W920 featured on the Galaxy Watch 4 is quite snappy as compared to the Exynos 9110 found on the Galaxy Watch 3. It allows for fluid animations even though the watch runs a much more demanding OS.
- Battery Life: One particular advantage of having Tizen on the Galaxy Watch 3 was a 2-3 day battery life. Sadly though, you won’t be able to enjoy the same battery capacity on the Watch 4 with it lasting for about a day at max.
Galaxy Watch 4 vs. One Plus Watch vs. Fitbit Sense
Samsung has always taken the lead over other Android smartwatches, and the Galaxy Watch 4 seems to be no different. As compared to the One Plus Watch and the Fitbit Sense, Samsung’s offering feels the most complete.
While the switch to WearOS has led to some issues with long battery life popping up, you do end up getting a noticeably better experience. Plus, the watch runs its own flavor of WearOS in collaboration with Android’s OneUI, which feels more seamless. Moreover, the addendum of a fast processor in WearOS enabled watch is a welcome change as both the One Plus Watch and Fitbit Sense feel sluggish compared to the Watch 4.
The Fitbit Sense and the Galaxy Watch 4 both have tons of health-related features. Both watches are active, precise, and get the job done. However, the Galaxy Watch 4 is much more well-rounded, it has a comprehensive list of features and is arguably more useful. But, if you’re a sucker for battery life, the Fitbit Sense will last you for more than a few days. Plus, for individuals who just want to take a glance at their notifications and take care of their health, the Fitbit Sense seems to be a better choice.
The One Plus Watch is the newest contender on this list. While the watch checks all the boxes, it falls short in terms of its overall build quality, fluidity, and a comprehensive list of features. While it is priced much lower, it simply doesn’t compete with the well-rounded offerings of the Galaxy Watch 4 in terms of both hardware and software!
|Property||Galaxy Watch 4||One Plus Watch||Fitbit Sense|
|Size||40 or 44 mm||46 mm||40 mm|
|Display||Super AMOLED (450×450) ~328 ppi||AMOLED (454 x 454 pixels) ~326 ppi||OLED|
|Coating||Corning Gorilla Glass DX+||None||None|
|Always On Display||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Connection Types||GPS and WiFi + Cellular||GPS and WiFi + Cellular||GPS and WiFi + Cellular|
|Input Type||Haptic Feedback||Haptic Feedback||Haptic Feedback|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Barometer, NFC (Samsung Pay), BioActive Sensor||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Compass, Heart Rate||Gyroscope, Accelerometer, ECG, EDA, Blood Oxygen, Light, Altimeter, Skin Temeprature|
|Safety||High and Low Heart Rate Notifiications, Irregular Rhythm Notification||None||None|
|Miscelenaeous||Body Composition, ECG, Blood Pressure||Intelligent Heart Rate Detection||ECG, Fast Charging|
|Water Resistance||50m (Swimproof)||1.5m||50m (Swimproof)|
|Connectivity||LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth 5.0||LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.2||WiFi, and Bluetooth 5|
|Battery Life||24 hours||14 Days||6 Days|
|Capacity||16 GB||4 GB||4 GB|
|Charging||Qi Wireless Charging||Qi Wireless Charging||Qi Wireless Charging|
Who Is The Galaxy Watch 4 For?
The Galaxy Watch 4 is for individuals who are looking for arguably the best smartwatch for their Android smartphone. While it does compete with Apple Watch Series, it lacks behind in terms of build quality and customization. However, when compared to any other Android smartwatch, it is the most well-rounded and comprehensive offering out there.
On an individual sense, the Galaxy Watch 4 contains an amazing vivid display, reasonable battery life, great fitness tracking with unique new features, an intuitive UI that has better third-party integration alongside a commitment to providing more updates with the introduction of Wear OS.
With that said, while the Android space has seen a ton of improvement in terms of their wearables over the recent years, there still aren’t a lot of devices that give the Galaxy Watch 4 a run for its money. Therefore, it’s quite obvious that Samsung still holds the crown for producing the best Android-compatible smartwatch that gets the job done.
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I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.