Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Sports & Fitness In-Depth Review: 7 New Things To Know
com here and today, ive got seven new things to know, as well as a full sport and fitness focused review on the galaxy watch 4 and galaxy watch 4 classic. But the way this review is going to go down is first im going to do these seven new sport, fitness health features and then from there were gon na go into me doing three sports uh swim bike and run im gon na. Take you through those sports and show you how the watch works on each of those sports in real time out on the road with gopros and all kind of jazz, and then after that. Well, look at the accuracy of the heart rate sensor and the gps, things that have ostensibly changed in this particular watch. Now, of course, as youve, probably seen by now, i have the two watches on my wrist. I have the classic here on this one. This is the black edition, 46 millimeter and then on this side i have the non classic uh, which is the white 40 mm or silver 40 millimeter, whatever you want to call that now, of course, there are four different sizes: 40, 42, 44, 46, and then there Are classic and non classic, essentially classic? Has the rotating bezel non classic does not usually a bit smaller different watch bands as well? Now, because this is a sport and fitness focused review im not going to talk about like all the general jazz of these watches.
So i dont really care about processor, stuff and ram, and all that there are plenty of other places to talk about that. But honestly, i havent seen it make any significant difference to the actual using of the watch from like a sport, fitness wearable standpoint or even just day to day usage uh battery life claimed is 40 hours, maybe im seeing like a strong 24. Basically so like im doing 24 hours that im having to recharge it and thats with like one to two hours of gps activity in there, so take that for what you will now. One quick caveat before i get too deep in this review is that this is essentially a samsung focused watch uh. Now it does require android. So, unlike in the past, where you could use both a wear os or a samsung watch with the iphone with ios, you cannot do that at all. Here. It requires a certain plug in thats only available on android. That samsung has only published android. Without that, you cant even set up the watch and then within that there are certain features that are only available on samsung ill talk about exactly what those are in the seven news things section: okay, so with that out of the way, the first one on the List is new, wear os 3.0 and maybe saying yourself that sounds like a non sport and fitness thing, but youd be way wrong and the reason for that to kind of step back for a second is up until now.
Up in the past, samsung watchers have always been on their tizen operating systems, thats their own thing. They danced to their own groove and app companies had to come to them and develop on that platform, and they had to make a choice. Whether i wanted to invest in just a samsung only platform by going to wear os in particular wireless3 that opens up them to all of the apps out there. So as a result, we see tons of new sport, fitness apps that were never on samsung. That can now be on a samsung watch. We even see apps that were on samsung. For example, the strava app received a huge update just today, uh for just wear os three watches and that update makes the strava app way better than it was in the past. In the past, it hasnt been updated like years give or take both on where os on tizen and this new app adds. New support profiles adds beacon support so like live tracking its just a lot easier to use, definitely a lot better change and, of course that goes beyond that to like the adidas, app and swim apps and theres tons of other things that you can do that you Couldnt do without wear os 3., and just since i know folks want my opinion on wear os 3 on the samsung watch, it feels like wear os like it just feels like wear os on a samsung watch with more samsung plugins that you have to have on Your phone so lets get into the next new feature, the one that probably got all the attention out there, which is the body composition tracking.
What samsung claims you got to do here is to be able to take it so that you can get body composition, stats from your wrist, so things like body, fat and muscle mass, just by holding the two buttons right there and its something theyre using electrical impedance Technology for and thats been around for many many years like decades on weight scale. If you win a body weight scale for maybe 30 or 40 bucks at walmart, whatever it probably has that technology in it or you can buy expensive scales from like garmin within fitbit. That do the same sort of thing. The challenge with the electrical impedance technology is, it doesnt tend to be super accurate. In fact, back a couple years ago, i brought nearly a dozen people into a testing center to test that, against, i think, like 10 or 15 scales, and it was a complete dumpster fire. So i was curious to see based on samsungs presentation i had tons and tons of data showing this is super duper, accurate, uh and the way it works is that you go ahead and put your watch on your wrist, as you would expect, and theyve got a Bunch of caveats number one not on the shower, not out of a workout not out of a sauna, no like hot conditions, number two, not if youre super muscular lean or obese number three to do at the same time of day. So i took all those things of consideration and i got to touch on some buttons.
You launch this app and you go ahead and put your ring finger and your middle finger on the two buttons and you keep your wrist away from it like this. And then you just wait about 15 seconds, and sometimes it takes a reset or two to get it to take the measurement, and then you get a measurement and that measurement tells you your body fat percentage, as well as your bmi muscle, mass and water mass. The problem, though, in doing this and testing on both of these watches, is that its all over the map so ive had readings anywhere from 19 up to 29. I dont think thats accurate, just taking a swag of things from my particular body mass, but nonetheless it doesnt really matter whether or not its accurate, its all over the place. Every single reading is substantially different and, given that body fat measurements are supposed to only shift like a quarter percent per day, or something like that. The fact that shifting 10 in just a single 24 hour span makes it completely non useful ive also got a friend that tried that as well. In his case, he went ahead and set up his phone with the app and the weight and all the stuff youre supposed to do correctly and hes. Seeing 50 swings as well, so i mean substantially different numbers: uh also, probably double his actual body fat measurement. So at this point, it just seems like more of a gimmick than something you could actually depend on, given that amount of swing.
Okay, number three on the list is a new optical heart rate sensor and optical heart rate, sensor, placement, uh, and so in this watch. You can see clearly its got a slightly different optical heart rate sensor at first the outer portion looks the same, but if you look really closely in the middle, it is different and samsung mentioned this as well in the presentation. But more importantly, they changed the placement of it slightly. They made it so that your wrist, it comes in better contact with it. Uh theyve basically pushed it down further into the watch, so theres less of a bump uh when you have a bump on an optical heart rate sensor that allows more light in and light in turn reduces optical heart rate sensor. Accuracy now were going to find out whether or not all thats, true later on in my workout, so stay tuned for more the end of the review, where i dive into the accuracy to see if that claim actually holds water. Now, just a quick note: if youre finding this video, interesting or useful go ahead and walk that like, but the bottom there or hit subscribe, it really does help out this channel and the video quite a bit. So next on the list, theyve added, snoring tracking and the way this works is that you take your phone android phone of any sort, and you put it next to you on your bedside, ideally with the microphones facing towards you, and then you just leave it there Overnight, the app then uses those microphones on your phone, in conjunction with the data from your wrist to record your snoring.
In fact, you can actually play back the snoring audio if you want it says ill delete it after 31 days, but if you dont believe it, you can be like no no youre wrong and then you click the play button and it shows you actually snorting now In my case, i dont typically snore, and neither does my wife for the most part. The only time we usually snore is, if were exhausted, like super super tired or maybe have a little too much wine or beer, or something like that. So i managed to catch a couple of brief moments of snorling, but you dont actually know who is snoring. I cant really tell from the audio either because it was relatively short. Also of note is that you can see at the very bottom. It says powered by the sleep cycle app so theyre leveraging some of that technology probably license it, of course, from sleep cycle into the samsung health app to get that snoring piece in there. Next up another night focused feature which is blood oxygen levels. I know this is something when the watch 3 was announced and launched. You know a year ago. It did not actually have blood oxygen night tracking. You could just do one off tracking, but in the last few weeks, samsungs actually pushed out an update both to the app as well as the watches that allows you to do that night, tracking of blood oxygen levels.
Now, in the case of the watch 4, its essentially built in so it just works automatically. You just tap some things and youre good to go. Youll be able to see that data later on on both the watch as well as the app and then thats overlaid into all the sleep data that you have on that same sleep page, so rounding towards home. Here we got two more items left the next one is a new compass in google maps and that probably is like a twofer for the price of one, because youre actually getting google maps on this watch, because maps is supported on wear os and within that you Can use the compass within google maps for navigation now? This is unfortunately, one of the only places youre going to see mapping on the watch itself. For example, you wont see mapping data any maps at all within the samsung sport modes. So if you go out for a run or something like that, youre not going to see that in the native samsung sport apps. But you would see in third party apps that support that, like in this case, google maps or any other third party app. That supports mapping within their particular sport app now last up on the seven new things to know is the two samsung only pieces of functionality and these pieces will only work on a samsung phone because they require a certain app that samsung has not published in the General android app store, but on their samsung, app store that works with samsung phones, and so you cant get it at least officially any other way, and these two components are the ecg functionality and the blood pressure functionality.
So from an ecg standpoint, assuming you have a samsung phone, you go ahead and simply hold that upper right hand button and you can see the ecg graph and then the data is ported into the samsung health monitor app, which is different than the samsung health app. You can install a lot of samsung apps when you use this watch like im guessing between four and six ive installed. So far you just keep clicking. I agree, like click, i agree for like a half an hour and youll finally be done. Setting up your samsung watch, whether its on a samsung phone or on a android phone youre, just gon na, be clicking. I agree for a long time now. The second piece is the blood pressure sensor uh now this ones tough, because this not only requires a samsung phone again thatll set up, but it also requires you get the blood pressure monitor in the watch calibrated with a real blood pressure monitor in the real world. Like in a doctors office or something like that to me, that seems like a pretty high bar to reach for something that should be just working out of the box in the box. So anyways with that lets do something i can do, which is go out for a run. So lets start our workouts with the run and then well go from there into bike and then from there to swim and then look at accuracy and wrap things up.
So, starting out in the run, one of the first things youre going to do is to choose a sport, and if you use this menu right here, what happens is itll actually start but wont acquire gps immediately. So youll see this gap in gps for potentially a long time in your run versus instead whats better to do is to go into the other option and then youll see all the sports show up and itll show you whether or not actually has gps as well As heart rate with that all set, i simply tap to go and give you a three second countdown and youre off and running. However, within a couple minutes, what i noticed is the heart rate had dropped out and just simply showed a null value, as opposed to an actual value. And what i found is this happens occasionally, especially with higher intensity stuff, where it simply stops and the only way to really fix it, is to stop running entirely or stop cycling and wait for the heart rate to relock a bit later into the run. I was into some of the city area to test gps accuracy that ill show you that in just a second and then towards the very end of the run, it started raining out, which is a great time to demonstrate how well the touchscreen side of it works And, as you can see, the answer is not very well its just kind of really finicky to use once that ring gets on the screen.
Doesnt really respond very well. The buttons were fine, of course, but the actual touchscreen itself was pretty much useless. The rain did not impact, though the screen itself, if i just left it alone, but once i started interacting with it, it became almost impossible to use so looking at the heart rate accuracy. First, you can see that green line there, where just like completely drops off thats when it stopped recording heart rate after we recovered about. You know eight and nine minute marker there. It was fine for the rest of time. It was much more accurate than the whip. 3.0 band and on par with the chest, strap flipping over to the gps side of things at a high level. It looked mostly okay, but, as you zoomed in a bit more you can see, it was definitely more wobbly like through this tunnel section here. It was the outlier of the three up here: it sort of overshot the turns and kind of was off on the road here and there uh not horrifically bad, but just not really as crispy as the other ones. If we move into the city side of things, youll see that it got rough quick now it got rough for everyone lets be really clear here, but it got most rough for the samsung side in cases where the other two watches had no problems. Locking the watch for classical was just simply off like a block or two away most of the time.
Okay, so the run behind us lets jump on the peloton for a bit of a hard work out there. Now we initially started recording this on the strava app, but that only updated once a minute for some reason. So instead i switched over to the native app and, as you can see, for the last two thirds of the ride, it was perfectly fine on all these intervals. No issues whatsoever so instead lets bring it outside for a much more difficult, five hour ride in the mountains. This route is good because it has complex gps as well as easy gps, but also theoretically easy heart rate and hard hooray areas to nail so lets. First, look at the heart right side of things here you can see that on the whole, it looks sort of okay from far away, but if you notice that purple line theres a lot of times where it doesnt really match whats going on, if we zoom into The climb portion youll see that its mostly got that correct, except there are cases where it just drops off and due to the scale here, were talking it dropping off for like five to 10 minutes at a time. Meanwhile, once i got the top, it all went downhill. No, really it went downhill. It stopped, recording entirely heart rate stopped measuring heart rate for what it looks like 40 minutes or so there you can see that purple line just goes straight all the way across didnt.
Even try until i stopped there at the base and then it caught back on again sort of as for altitude uh, it was okay, but you can see it drifts over time there uh and then it kind of locked back once you got to the base. So probably some sort of altitude correction not happening there on the gps side, uh heres, just one of the more tough sections – and you can see its mostly pretty good, its not quite perfect on a couple of switchbacks but overall, its fine given the mountains. Now, last but not least, were gon na go outside into the water for a bit of a swim and just see how that open water algorithm works. Open water swimming is super difficult, as i mentioned earlier on, and this is like the top test. You can see my entire open water swim extravaganza from just last week with every other watch on the market out there linked up above. If you want to see how other watches perform in an open water swim. Okay, so we got gps lock there on the swim. Buoy i have another gps, thats gon na act as a reference. You can see it uh back here. It just simply floats along the top there uh so its above the water, and then i also have another watch on this side to compare an open water swimming mode, its actually difference between open water, swimming mode and normal gps running modes.
It handles the fact that your gps watch is under the water, where theres no gps, uh then check out my entire video open the water swimming testing from just a week ago. Okay, with that i got swimming uh. One of the things i tend to do. An open water swim test is make a couple stops and pause and shred water for 10 or 15 seconds. I do this to ensure that the gps can reacquire satellite, and this happens both in training for many people, as well as even races around crowded, churn buoys. You can see here that yellow track of the samsung watch is really quite offset from the rest of them. I mean way way off uh in terms of it looks good at a high level, but once you look at how far away that is thats not good on a second swim day, i did you can see when i did that first stop test. It never resumed. So it only measures 200 meters right there, it stopped and then the entire rest of the swim, some 12 or 1400 meters, or so it just simply never recorded that from a distance standpoint. Thus, i would probably avoid this watch for open water swim, training. Okay, so here we are three weeks later and a bunch of samsung firmware updates later as well. Where do things stand essentially when its good, its good for both the optical heart rate sensor and the gps side? However, when it loses that lock on the optical heart rate sensor its pretty much all over and the same is true of gps, especially you saw on swimming there when it loses it, it doesnt seem to recover very well.
However, if we take swimming out of the picture for the most part, gps is okay, its not great its, definitely not as good as most of the other competitors out there, but its also better than it has been in the past for samsung in terms of general Usability between the two watches, i definitely prefer the classic, with the touch bezel over the digital bezel design of the non classic edition. Just because here it just seems really really finicky versus with a touch bezel its pretty, consistently responsive and functional. To what im doing on the actual bezel itself, things like the body composition does seem to be quite a bit over the map, its a little bit better. If you can be hyper consistent in all the variables everything from what youre doing the time of day, whether youve gone to the bathroom, what youve eaten all that kind of stuff? If you can get that super consistent, then it does seem to be within like two to four percent each time, but honestly thats, just a lot of work to expect all that stuff to be the same every single day in order to get stuff that still isnt. All that much the same, but ultimately thats not much different than a body fat scale, which is also kind of variable as well. When it comes to those sort of measures. Now i will say i am pretty happy with the battery life on the classic, especially in gps activities.
Its actually better than i expected on some of those four to five hour rides and hike.