The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a great option for Android users, and we found almost nothing we didn’t like.
galaxy watch 4
- Bright, bright screen
- Impressive health features
- Support body composition measurement
- Looks good
- Only compatible with Android
wear operating system
GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Heart Rate, Barometer
For just over a year, I’ve been an Apple Watch user switching to other smartwatches only for reviews. Most other smartwatches have fallen short when I compare them to Apple’s wearables, except when it comes to fitness features. Companies like Garmin and Amazfit, with Fitbit close by, offer some excellent fitness features on their devices that are quite detailed and useful. In any case, with Garmin and Amazfit, I found their fitness offerings to be more in-depth than what the Apple Watch offers. Then there is the matter of general usability, user interface, features and appearance. In that department, I found Fossil’s devices particularly impressive.
Essentially, a good smartwatch should be something that ticks a lot of boxes, and these boxes vary from person to person. Personally, I want the watch to look good, I want to be able to take calls and answer messages from my wrist, and I also want detailed health and fitness features. Fitness and health can’t be an afterthought with some basics simply because every other smartwatch on the market has it.
Which smartwatch you should buy depends a lot on the ecosystem you are in – Android or iOS. While most smartwatches are compatible with both platforms, with Apple you’ll find that many features are limited if you’re not going to use the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch itself isn’t compatible with Android devices. The reverse is not true for WatchOS devices, they work on both platforms, but they work better on Android. And in this area of non-Apple wearables, we have a new favorite: the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The latest smartwatch from Samsung meets almost all requirements for us and we are impressed. I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to fully experience all of its features and it’s safe to say that if I go back to Android soon, this is definitely the smartwatch I’ll be getting.
Samsung has made some significant changes to its smartwatches this year, the first being the exit of Tizen and the introduction of Wear OS. The company also launched two smartwatches this year – the Galaxy Watch 4 (starting at ₹28,999 for the 40mm) and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (from ₹36,999 for the 42mm). You get the Galaxy Watch 4 series in LTE and Bluetooth only variants.
This is like Apple launching the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 6 together.
While the Apple Watch SE may look just like the Apple Watch Series 6, it lacks some of its key features. Samsung, on the other hand, has given the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic all the same features, but the latter is made of stainless steel and has a physical bezel rather than a digital one.
When it comes to features, there’s a lot the Galaxy Watch 4 can do. It has a nice clear display, scrolling and animations are smooth, there is plenty of memory for music and apps, it has a new sensor that can measure your body fat and it can track your snoring. Unlike Samsung’s older offerings in the smartwatch space, the Galaxy Watch 4 series only runs on Android.
The design of the Galaxy Watch 4, the one we got for review, is pretty neat and minimal. There are two physical buttons on the right side of the watch face (a Power/Home button and a Back button) and you need the Samsung Wear app and the Samsung Health app to understand the data. We were sent the 44mm Galaxy Watch 4 for review, personally, if I were to buy one I’d pick the smaller 40mm device as I have thin wrists. There’s no physical edge to it either, which is nice. You do get a digital edge on this and you can run your finger along the side of the screen to activate the digital edge.
The Galaxy Watch 4’s watch faces have to be chosen, changed, or customized from within the Samsung Wear app, and you can also rearrange the apps from here, add or remove tiles, use the Find My Watch feature, etc. Considering everything the Galaxy Watch 4 can do, you should be prepared to charge the device at the end of each day, especially if you want to wear it to sleep. Because our test device was paired with my secondary device, so the Galaxy Watch 4 didn’t handle as many calls or texts, the battery (361 mAh cell) on it lasted over 24 hours. The health sensors are all on the back and the Galaxy Watch 4 is quite light and comfortable to wear all day, and even to bed.
The display on the Galaxy Watch 4 is a 1.4-inch on the 44mm watch and a Super AMOLED. It’s bright and vibrant and we had no trouble reading it, even in most situations. Scrolling is smooth and responsive, powered by the Exynos W920 processor, and the wearable comes with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Galaxy Watch 4 has an IP68 rating and 5ATM rating, so it’s water resistant to a depth of 50 meters for 10 minutes. It is also resistant to dust, dirt and sand. The device also meets the military standard MIL-STD-810G, so it must withstand drops, low pressure, high altitude, shock, extreme temperatures, etc.
The fact that the Galaxy Watch 4 is on Wear OS and not on Tizen gives this wearable (and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic) a better selection of apps to choose from the Google Play Store. In my time with the watch, I didn’t need to download an additional app. Google Maps is one of the major additions to the Galaxy Watch 4 and comes pre-installed. It can provide step-by-step walking, driving and even cycling directions right on your wrist. However, when it comes to smart assistants, you get the Bixby on the Galaxy Watch 4 series and not the Google Assistant. There is also no integration with Fitbit yet.
The best feature of the Galaxy Watch 4 is its array of health and fitness offerings. The BioActive sensor on the watch can read your heart rate, take an EKG and also assess body composition. There is also SpO2 tracking. Samsung uses something called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) to measure your body composition. BIA is something you would find on smart scales and it involves sending a low electrical current through your body to measure fat and other metrics. If you have a pacemaker or use other internal medical devices, do not use the BIA on the watch, the current levels are almost imperceptible, but they can affect these devices. You should also not use this feature if you are pregnant.
The body composition check on the Galaxy Watch 4 only takes 15 seconds and you need to place two fingers (middle and ring fingers) on the two buttons and make sure the watch does not touch your wrist. The scan shows fat mass, body fat percentage, BMI (body mass index), skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body water mass. It also tells you whether your results are in the low, normal, or high range for each metric. This is a fun, exciting feature, but what you can do with the data will depend on your understanding of the stats. Ideally, we recommend talking to a doctor or certified fitness trainer to understand the stats and make the necessary changes for better health. This data is intriguing in itself, but it doesn’t tell you what to do next.
When you wear the Galaxy Watch 4 to bed, it tracks your sleep duration, sleep stages and calories burned. You can enable overnight blood oxygen saturation tracking from the Samsung Health app, and if you have a compatible smartphone, you can also track your snoring. We used the SpO2 tracking on the Galaxy Watch 4, but were unable to try out the snore tracking.
The Galaxy Watch 4 supports 95 different workouts and can automatically detect certain types of workouts. I wore the Galaxy Watch 4 while exercising at the gym and the fitness stats were pretty close to what I get from my Apple Watch 6.
I took a few calls on the Galaxy Watch 4, although it wasn’t as clear as what I’m experiencing on the Apple Watch, it wasn’t too bad.
Should you buy it?
We honestly found nothing to complain about with the Galaxy Watch 4. It comes with an impressive array of health features, the user interface is smooth and snappy, it looks good and doesn’t cost a bomb either. If you use Android, this is definitely a smartwatch you should consider without a doubt.