Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review
With a relatively robust third party, app library from google and samsungs popular and intuitive system, the platform promised to get even more useful and now the galaxy watch 4 and watch 4 classic are the first devices to run the new wear os powered by samsung. But software isnt their only intriguing new feature: samsung also upgraded the biometric sensor to offer, among other things, body, composition, measurement and improved sleep tracking, throw in new 5 nanometer processors and sharper screens, and the watch 4 series looks like a midi upgrade, has the apple watch? Finally, met its match: Music, the watchful and the watchful classic are two very similar devices, with the key differences between them being the fact that the classic has a physical rotating bezel and a stainless steel case, as opposed to just a touch sensitive one on the regular And thats, why were bundling the two of them in this review? Theres, really not that much reason to split them up. Lets start with the most intriguing change in both watches were os. Honestly, if i didnt know that both the watch fours were running a whole new os, i would have just assumed that this was a minor tizen update, youll, still swipe sideways or spin the physical bezel on the classic to scroll through all your widgets or use the Touch sensitive ring around the regular watchforce screen, but instead of all apps being one of the pages on the right theyre now below the home screen, theres also a customizable quick settings panel above the main page, of course, the dead giveaway that theres something more going on Here is that you can now download apps from the play store directly from your wrist.
A section in the play store shows all the apps on your phone that have wear counterparts, and i easily added telegram and spotify from this page. This seamless installation of apps that are already on your phone onto your watch is one of the features that samsung said its one ui software would enable. I was expecting them to just automatically show up without any work on my part, but i still had to go into the play store and look for this section to install them one by one. One ui also allows for settings on your watch and phone to sync. So that when you enable do not disturb on one the other activates it too, when you play a song on your phone, a media controller is supposed to appear on the wearable. These only work with samsungs phones, though so, if youre using some other android device, this doesnt apply. Oh and while were at it, the watchforce series doesnt work with ios, either unlike its predecessors, but if youre an iphone owner, you probably werent, considering an android watch to begin with one last thing that samsung added via one ui, just your controls. In theory. This will let you answer or dismiss calls by flicking your wrist or lifting your arm. I enabled the setting and was able to answer a call by raising my wrist as instructed, but dismissing them by rotating my fists did not work. This could potentially make it easier to use the watch with one hand or when i have my arms full, but they dont work very well at the moment and are limited to responding to calls or messages in addition to brand new, yet familiar software.
The watch 4 series also got a serious hardware. Upgrade samsung used a new three in one biometric sensor that not only should allow for faster and more consistent readings. It also uses bioelectrical impedance analysis to give you your body fat percentage. The watch will first ask for basic information like your weight and then tell you to place your middle and ring fingers on the two buttons on the edge. Itll. Also instruct you to stay still and lift your arms away from your body, while it scans, which takes about 15 seconds once its done. The system spits out a comprehensive breakdown of your body, telling you how many pounds of water, fat and skeletal mass it detected. Ive been excited about this new feature, since body composition is generally a better way to understand your overall health than pure bmi id been using amazons camera based system in its halo, app to determine my body fat percentage and, though thats been a handy and seemingly accurate Method, bia is a more conventional and common means. The problem i realized after a few days is that a watch might not be the best place to have bia sensors, since the scan requires you to be fairly still and not touch other parts of your body. It can be quite awkward to do that would be kind of the only issue were standing in an uncomfortable stance for 15 seconds every now and then, but small changes in your posture can affect your result.
I took two scans just seconds apart, one with my arms lifted, further away from my body than the other. The first time i got a 26 fat scan result and the next i got 30. I wasnt expecting complete accuracy, and i know that consistency can be affected by time of day and how youre standing, but so far the results are unreliable. Something else that requires more time for me to get a sense of its usefulness is continuous blood oxygen detection thats. One of the new sleep tracking features that the upgraded sensors enables and that data feeds into samsungs sleep score algorithm, which considers other things like duration and restfulness in older galaxy watches. You can get your blood oxygen saturation readings at will, but the watch 4 is able to do a constant measurement overnight. When i woke up the watchfour told me, my spo2 was between 93 and 97, which is slightly lower than id like, but could explain why ive been so fatigued. Blood oxygen is one of five factors that go into samsungs sleep score, which the company said, considers a variety of metrics. Another new thing the watch 4 can detect this year is snoring. If you want to enable snore detection, youll not only have to wear the watch to bed, but also place your phone on a stable surface near your bed within two feet of your person and have the bottom of the phone pointing at you, you can choose to Have snoring detection on always or only for one night, and you can also opt to record audio, to hear your sleep noises the next day.
Samsung also gives you the option to delete those recordings after a day, 31 or 100 days. The one thing id like samsung to fix here is very minor. I couldnt find the setting to enable snore detection in the health app until after i recorded a night of sleep. This was pretty easy to do. I just manually added an entry. The rest of the updates that the new sensor brings about are less noticeable like faster heart rate, monitoring and updated calorie count, algorithms that take into account continuous and discrete pulse readings. These are mostly under the hood, which makes it hard to tell whether theres a meaningful difference until ive spent a lot more time with both watches another area where the watch series 4 got a not very obvious upgrade is its screen. The larger versions of the devices now have sharper 450×450 displays, but otherwise they arent very much different in size from their predecessors. The small watch 4 still has a 1.2 inch display as before, while the watch 4 classic. Similarly has the same size panel as its predecessor im used to the daintier apple watch se, so even the smaller galaxy watch force felt a little large on my wrist. Its case alone is an acceptable size and weight, but the 20 millimeter strap. That samsung includes is a little stiff out of the box and felt uncomfortable over time, though this should get more pliable and less cuff like, and you can also swap it out for something softer because of its physical rotating bezel and stainless steel case.
The watch for classic is heavier and chunkier than the watch 4, which has a touch sensitive ring. While i did like using the mechanical wheel to interact with ties, excuse me wear os. It made the device bulky enough that i didnt want to wear it when working out or going to sleep, though they look similar to their predecessors. The watch 4 and watch 4 classic boast a significant upgrade inside theyre powered by new 5 nanometer processors, with significantly more storage than before that additional space should allow you to load more songs and pictures on the device. While the processor should make the system fly and for the most part, the watch force ran smoothly and quickly. The only times i had to sit around waiting for something to happen were when i loaded the play, store or accidentally triggered bixby speaking of samsungs assistant, its set to launch when you long press the top button by default. But you can set it to bring up the power menu instead. One of my favorite features of galaxy watches is how quickly they auto, detect a workout and samsung has now updated the software, so that happens after just 10 minutes instead of 15 like before, it was really gratifying to have a session automatically recorded after it spent exactly 10 minutes brisk walking from the long island railroad platform on penn station to the path and avenue away. The watches are also capable of tracking 95 different workout types, which is nice.
If you like to get specific with what youre doing at the gym, i found the running coach mode a little too aggressive with its suggestions, and there are little differences between samsung and apples systems. That would take too much time to spell out like which brand undercounts distance traveled on treadmill and which one is too eager to tell me it thinks ive stopped walking, but overall the galaxy watch, 4 and watch for a classic are capable activity trackers. Unfortunately, though, it seems like all the upgrades samsung did has impacted battery life now most smart watches last about one to two days, but for some reason the galaxy watch 4 barely hangs around. For a day. I removed my watch 4 from the charger at 3 pm. One afternoon and enabled always on display 2 hours later and the device died the next day at 5 pm short battery life is my biggest issue with the galaxy watch 4 and watch for a classic which are otherwise capable useful, smart watches, though some of the newer Features like body, composition, measurement and snore detection might not seem immediately useful. They could provide helpful insight over time. The new wear os powered by samsung isnt, a huge departure from tizen, which means were still getting a powerful intuitive interface with comprehensive health tracking features throw in a bigger ecosystem of third party apps, and the watchforce series has the potential to offer even more functions than Before i wish, samsung could make them thinner, lighter and smaller and extend their run times.