Apple’s got a firm grip on its smartwatch ecosystem, but there’s always been a “but” when it comes to Android smartwatches. However, Samsung’s Tizen OS lacks Google Play Store, which makes it the most disappointing of the group. Similar to Google’s Wear OS, the platform has failed to deliver on its promises. Well, hopefully, everything is about to change. In addition to the Galaxy Watch 4 series, Samsung has announced the Wear OS platform co-developed with Google that runs the Galaxy Watch 4. As for my early impressions, I’m going to share them today.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Series Specifications:
- Body: Stainless steel (Classic) / Aluminum frame, 5ATM certification, MIL-STD-810G compliant, Physical rotating bezel (Classic)
- Watch 4 (40mm) / 4 Classic (42mm): 1.2-inches, 396 x 396 pixels
- Watch 4 (44mm) / 4 Classic (46mm): 1.4-inches, 450 x 450 pixels
- Display Type: Super AMOLED, Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ (Watch 4), Corning Gorilla Glass DX (Watch 4 Classic), Always-on Display
- Protection: IP68, and 5 ATM water resistance, MIL-STD-810G
- Processor: Exynos W920 Dual Core, 1.18GHz, 5nm
- OS & UI: Wear OS, One UI Watch 3
- Memory: 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (dual-band), NFC, GPS/Glonass/Beidou/Galileo
- Battery: 361mAh (44mm/46mm), 247mAh (40mm/42mm)
- Battery Charging: WPC based wireless charging
- Sensors: Samsung BioActive Sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Light Sensor
- Compatibility: Android 6.0 or higher and with more than 1.5GB of RAM
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Series Impressions:
- Circular watch face
- Interchangeable straps
- 5ATM/IP68, MIL-STD-810G certification
By retiring the “Active” name, Samsung has simplified its smartwatch portfolio, resulting in the Watch 4, while the classic offerings have been renamed Classic. The round bezel and physical rotating bezel combination on previous Galaxy smartwatches have been unanimously referred to as a classic.
The Watch 4 Classic is available in either Black or Silver cases, while the regular Watch 4 is also available in Pink Gold. As far as cases are concerned, the Watch 4 is available in a 40mm and 44mm size, while the Classic edition comes in 42mm and 46mm sizes.
With this variant of Watch 4, the sport band is made from soft silicone and does not include a band retainer. Meanwhile, for my Watch 4 Classic (pun intended), it has a similar strap, though with band loops. Alternatively, you can choose from a variety of silicone straps or hybrid leather straps on either device.
In addition to the differences in size, their cases are made from different materials as well. Compared to the stainless steel-cased Watch 4 Classic, Samsung’s new Watch 4 has a lightweight aluminum case. Thus, it’s pretty clear what you’re going to buy. Are you looking for a compact and sporty design? Your Watch 4 standard is perfect for you. The Watch 4 Classic is the smartwatch to get if you’re looking for a more premium smartwatch experience with a bold design.
All in all, durability won’t be a problem whichever one you choose. These wearable devices are dust and water resistant to 5ATM and IP68. In addition, the Watch 4 series has been certified to MIL-STD-810G, just like the Watch 3 from last year. The system is designed to withstand severe environmental conditions like shock, vibration, etc. Moreover, the strap has also been redesigned to be stronger and sweat-resistant.
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- Either 1.2 or 1.4-inches circular Super AMOLED display
- Corning Gorilla Glass DX+ (Watch 4), Corning Gorilla Glass DX (Watch 4 Classic) protection
You’ll find a Super AMOLED screen with Always-on Display on the front screen of either the 1.2″ or 1.4″ models. Samsung has installed Gorilla Glass DX+ protection on the Watch 4, since its screen lacks sapphire glass or any additional shock-absorbent layer like the rotating bezel on the Classic. However, the display of the Watch 4 Classic is covered with Gorilla Glass DX.
- Wear OS 3
This is what makes these smartwatches the crown jewels. It’s been long overdue for Samsung’s Tizen and Google’s Wear OS to work together as a smartwatch platform for Android. Finally, the two goliaths have risen to the occasion. Wear OS Powered by Samsung, on the other hand, is the name Google gave to this co-developed platform.
I get why the company would want to highlight its participation, but there’s no denying that Wear OS 3 is more memorable. This platform was first unveiled at Google I/O 2021 a few months ago, where Google promised improvements such as better battery life, up to 30% faster app loading times, fluid animations, and more.
Compared to last year’s Tizen-based Watch3, I definitely noticed superior responsiveness on the Watch 4 series. I wouldn’t necessarily discard the legacy of Tizen OS right away due to this difference.
The best bid — One UI with Wear OS 3
The Watch 4 series is topped with the One UI Watch 3 skin, which is reminiscent of Samsung’s One UI on smartphones. As a result, this is not how Wear OS 3 looks like stock, so other watchmakers can really customize their products, or they cannot. Google says other Wear OS 3-enabled smartwatches won’t arrive until the second half of 2022, so we’ll have to wait until then to find out.
Similarly, this is a solely Android-based platform, so the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic aren’t compatible with iOS. In addition, Huawei makes it clear that the newer Huawei phones need to support Google Mobile Services (GMS), which makes them incompatible with the Watch 4 lineup. There’s a possibility that iOS compatibility is in the works, but neither Samsung nor Google have confirmed this.
Anyhow, Wear OS 3 is by far the greatest addition to the Watch 4 series with Play Store support. Due to this, I can now use Google Maps on my Samsung smartwatch, as well as other applications like Strava and Telegram. Bixby has supplanted Google Assistant, which is to be expected.
- Dual Core Exynos W920, 1.18GHz, 5nm
- 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage
The new W920 chipset is what powers these smartwatches, besides the software upgrade. Their internal storage capacities are 16GB and 1.5GB respectively. In addition to a 20% faster CPU, and a ten-fold faster GPU, this chip is built on a power-efficient 5nm architecture compared to the Exynos 9110 on Watch3 and Watch Active 2.
Watch 4’s lineup of health-tracking features isn’t shabby either. Whether it’s over 90 workout modes, tracking your sleep or monitoring your blood oxygen levels—it’s all here. Then again, that’s still a bit of a basic smartwatch for 2021, isn’t it? It’s good to see Samsung showcasing some new health-tracking features. A 3-in-1 BioActive sensor contains an optical heart rate sensor, an electrical heart sensor, and a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) sensor. Blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, blood oxygen levels, and body composition are all monitored.
Your body fat, skeletal muscle, and body water level can be measured with Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic instantly. Blood pressure, ECG, and other medical monitoring are also more widely accessible this time around (40 countries in total). The U.S. doesn’t support blood pressure measurement, neither do Nepal and India.
On the topic of smartwatches, Samsung has also introduced snore detection on its new smartwatches. The smartphone keeps track of snoring habits, whereas the watch monitors SpO2 levels while you sleep. The Watch 4 series combines sleep tracking with the most advanced watch technology available. Additionally, group challenges motivate you to keep fit by providing real-time competitions between your family and friends.
- 361mAh (44mm/46mm), 247mAh (40mm/42mm)
- WPC based wireless charging
While Samsung’s new devices boast lots of new features, their battery life remains the same across all models: up to 40 hours. In contrast, the 44 and 46mm options have a much larger battery in the 44 and 42mm options. The LTE model is expected to take up even more battery power. Although they do not support the WPC wireless charger, the Galaxy Watch 3 does.
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Here are our thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. There’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to these Android smartwatches, from the new Wear OS platform to the body composition tool. We’ll be bringing you a video of their detailed comparison to the Watch 3, so keep an eye out for that.