Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series deep dive review: Best Android smartwatch of 2021?
One ui watch and wear os 3 put them through their paces. Ive taken all that data, distilled it down into this deep dive review, so im gon na run these steps one more time to complete my battery of tests. While i do that, go ahead and click that thumbs up click that subscribe button and ill be right back with you on the other side of this back inside the lab lets go the watchforce series being smart watches with fitness and lifestyle features. I really want to start with my experiences and observations there, but i know there are some hardware advances that we need to talk about which lay the groundwork for all of that fitness and lifestyle stuff. So lets begin our galactic exploration there. This is a samsung gear. S3, frontier and galaxy watch for size comparison. I have the galaxy watch 4 classic. It features a new processor, the exynos w920, the first 5 nanometer processor in the galaxy watch series and thats important, because it enables a few things in terms of the software and hardware. First, with regard to software, samsung says: the new processor is 20 faster than the galaxy watch. 3. youll see this most in launching apps, and i have to say that navigating the interface is peppy. It feels more responsive than previous gen devices. In terms of the hardware, you also have the decrease in size, as you saw with these side by side comparisons. I began with, and the most storage in a galaxy watch to date coming in at 16 gigabytes compared to the eight gigabytes and less of previous gens and battery life.
That is very good for a smartwatch of this caliber, though the bar is kind of low. On that one, i have the 46 millimeter classic four, which comes with a 361 milliamp hour battery. The smaller 42 millimeter version battery will give you 247 milliamp hours of battery life. The watch 4s, 44 and 40 millimeter bodies also have the two different battery sizes on day one. I took the watch off the charger at 5 p.m. It was a thursday and i didnt place it back on the charger until 8 30 a.m. Saturday, i was running out to breakfast, so i didnt have time to fully charge. It 15 minutes took me from seven to 25 charge. This watch will get you a little under two days for the non lte version, but its more likely that youll want to charge daily in the mornings, while youre getting ready for work. You know showering and all that thats, if you wear it to bed at night, like i do the 1.4 inch super amoled display on the classic is bright. The colors are vibrant and it is easily readable outdoors in direct noon. Sunlight with a cloudless sky, unlike the armor aluminum frame of the watch 4, the classic is made from 316l stainless steel, but both are ip68 water resistant and complies with military standard 810g, which means a device has passed 29 tests which include resistance to high and low Temperatures extreme temperature changes, rain, humidity, sand and dust and ingress and vibration and shock resistance, and that includes five atmospheres of water pressure: water resistance.
What does that mean? Theres, an important distinction between ip68 and five atm or five atmospheres? The difference is, you could say, one is more like resistance to splashing and short shallow dips in water, accidental. The other is water pressure resistance if youre snorkeling, shallow scuba, diving things like that, or maybe somebody pushes you into the swimming pool. The watches also come with nfc for those samsung pay moments pro tip. If you havent used it before or use it infrequently, you can still make payments without your phone in tow. If you dont have the lte watch, yes, the payment will be made offline. Then, when your watch reconnects to your phone itll reconcile the transaction, all watch 4 series devices feature samsungs bioactive center, which features an optical heart rate, sensor, electrical heart rate sensor and bioelectrical impedance analysis, sensor or bia. It also includes a blood pressure sensor, but that hasnt been approved for use in the us yet so i didnt get a chance to test it out. The exterior of all devices in the 4 series featured two buttons on the body, a home key with a red band and a back key. There are options to change what both buttons do. The classic has samsungs physical rotating bezel, which i actually thought was the best navigation paradigm on a smart watch from the very first version. The watch 4 has the capacitive digital bezel, both of which help you navigate the new one, ui watch and wear os 3.
, and let me help you navigate that, while were at it frankly, aside from the breadth of app library, ive, always preferred tizen over where, but With one ui and where os 3, what we get is the best of both worlds. Where tizen users are concerned, the changes arent major. It all feels very familiar aside from small tweaks that youll notice, as you navigate one ui watch swiping up from the bottom of the watches screen, brings up the most noticeable change access to those google apps rotating. The bezel still has the same functionality as previous iterations of tizen, where rotating counterclockwise will take you to notifications. Clockwise takes you to your titles, along with swiping, right and left of course, but gone are the circular row of apps. You can hit the watch app and organize the new drawer of apps to your liking. As long as that liking is a vertical three column. Endless scrolling type jumble of icons, quick settings, looks more one ui than previous iterations and the selection of watch faces as a forebearer of things to come seeming to take visual cues from material you. The other big change is that one ui watch will mirror many of the important settings on your phone to your watch and vice versa, do not disturb hours, alarms and more. You can also interact with the watch via gesture or via bixby, no google assistant included. Yet, though it may come in a future update, ultimately what these watches are all about is you.
Studies have shown that using a fitness tracker can go a long way to helping you be your best healthiest you and the watch 4 series aims to do just that. There are plenty of sensors to help you along the way, but how effective are they i wanted to know? So i put them to the test so im walking over to la fitness, i went to a local big box, gym yeah, im gon na hold it up. Yeah and then put start whenever youre ready had my body composition tested. I used my pharmaceutical grade. Fingertip pulse oximeter and i tracked my workouts via polars h10 chest strap regarded as one of the most accurate ways of tracking heart rate. The results are promising the bia or bioelectrical impedance sensor, which measures things like body, fat percentage, skeletal muscle and body. Water is new to the galaxy watch line, but comparing it to the commercial grade measurement my gym uses it was within plus or minus two points of it in all measurements. I even compared it to my smart scale, which has bia sensors, the gems sensors and my scale measure things a little differently, one being a handheld sensor and the other placing sensors at your feet and samsungs sensor still came within plus or minus two points. Next up, i tested the spo2 sensor in the watch against my fingertip pulse, oximeter and again, plus minus two and last. I went outdoors to test that heart rate sensor, and this is where things get a bit more nuanced.
The optical heart rate sensor in the watch was indeed just within that plus 2 deviation from the polar h 10, but it was slower to track sudden increases in my heart rate. What does that mean? Well, when i perform interval, training exercises like running stairs. The watch would be between 10 and 20 seconds behind the polar chest, straps heart rate readings in practice. It looks like this lets say that, starting at the bottom of the stairs, my heart rate is around 125 beats per minute. I take off and run those three flights. My heart jumps to 154 beats per minute. My polar sensor immediately displays that, but due to the bioactive sensors latency in this instance, its still showing an older reading now, if you arent an elite athlete this, probably isnt going to be a big issue for you. So, in sum, samsungs bioactive sensor is a very solid performer in my testing. So far as accuracy is concerned, sidebar i really enjoyed the voice prompts. I got from the watch after each mile of work on my walks and runs. It would tell me which mile i was at how many steps my heart rate and how long ive been exercising and the buds control feature, which is new its an app that does just that. It controls your buds. It allows you to control more than just volume right from the watch. If youre exercising go ahead and activate block touches, once you get to sweating and have to reposition those capacitive touch buds in your ears, youll be glad you did youre welcome another element to helping you be your best.
You is sleep and samsung has also expanded. Their sleep tracking, if you sleep with your phone close enough to you, it will record your snoring to quote that poet, laureate busta rhymes, like a dungeon dragon, those terrible sounds were recorded, as i slept with my phone about six feet from my face. I never sleep with my phone close to my head, so its on a desk across from my bed and at the end of the desk closest to my feet. In addition to that, the phones, blood oxygen sensor now records data every minute instead of every 30 minutes, and will give you a sleep score in the morning, based on the data collected, while you slumber or growl through the night, like a dungeon dragon to help you Get a more holistic view of your overall sleep, sleep patterns and recovery. My only gripe with samsungs, deeper, sleep, metrics and insights is that it doesnt include a smart alarm which would wake you up within 15 to 30 minutes of your actual alarm time. Based on your sleep cycles, a feature on other watches, which i found to be quite effective in not feeling groggy when i wake up, and that takes me to some other issues i have with the watch faster charging, please it took me approximately an hour and 45 Minutes to charge from 7 to 100 right now i get that 16 gigabytes of storage for my workout tunes, but theres no offline, playlist support for spotify premium or online streaming at all.
That should be added soon, but as of the time of this recording, no joy and lastly, i wish you could change the screen orientation. I wear the watch on my left arm and would like the buttons to be on the side facing my elbow, not my hand. So if i use wrist wraps or lifting straps in the gym, changing orientation makes it less likely ill have any accidental presses of these push buttons and when you add credit cards to your watch via samsung pay. Even though one ui watch has a deeper connection with your phone, you have to rescan the card youve already scanned into samsung pay on your phone. Why cant? I just transfer those cards over to the watch and then re enter. The cvv codes for security purposes seems like unnecessary steps with having one ui watch integration and all despite those minor annoyances. I cant help but still feel like. This is the best smart watch on the android platform period, the most complete experience and for a guy. Like me, who never actually stopped wearing watches and who likes huge watch bodies and watch faces like those found on nixons this round, body 46 millimeter watch is almost perfect. For me sure there are some refinements id like to see samsung make, but one ui and wear os 3 are a new thing, so we could see those items checked off in future updates and iterations. For now, though, if someone asked me to recommend a full featured smart watch for android users, i tell them.
This is the one well one of four you just have to decide which size is right for you and whether or not you need or want lte personally im a big fan of standalone lte watches. But you do you boo, hey! I dont take it for granted that you spent your time with me today here at android central, if this video has helped go ahead and hit that thumbs up and subscribe for future videos and content and ill catch.