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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic review: Best Android smartwatch?

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Working together on the new Galaxy Watch 4 series, Samsung and Google have become closer partners than ever. Samsung was previously selling Galaxy Watches running its in-house TizenOS, on its own. Google, on the other hand, is trying to help manufacturers take on the Apple Watch with its Wear OS. Now, both the efforts have been merged. So does the Galaxy Watch 4 series bring the best from both Google and Samsung? Or should you continue to wait for the Apple Watch equivalent in the Android world? Here is my review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

samsung galaxy watch 4 price in india

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series is divided into two models, the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Each of them comes in two sizes, and all models are only available in Bluetooth and LTE variants. The 40mm Galaxy Watch 4 is priced at Rs. 23, 999 and Rs. 28,999 for the Bluetooth-only and LTE variants respectively. The price of 44mm Galaxy Watch 4 is Rs. 26,999 and Rs. 31,999 respectively for the same variants.

You can get the 42mm Bluetooth-only Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for Rs 31,999, while the LTE version of the same size will cost you Rs. 36,999. Lastly, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic 46mm is priced at Rs. 34,999 and Rs. 36,999 for the Bluetooth and LTE variants respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 design and specifications

The design of the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic is completely different. The former will appeal to active people looking for a compact device for tracking fitness, while the Watch 4 Classic looks more like a traditional watch. I had a Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for this review.

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic with 1.4-inch AMOLED display and rotating bezel

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic looks premium and has a stainless steel case which gives good weight when wearing it. It has a rotating bezel that reminds me of its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch 3 (Review). This rotating bezel has a satisfying clicky feedback and I never had to guess the input I dialed in. Not only that, you can use it to navigate around the clock as well as within various features, which is convenient.

You get a 1.4-inch AMOLED display on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and it sits slightly lower than the rotating bezel. You won’t need to worry about the display getting damaged as it has Gorilla Glass DX for protection. There are two buttons on the right side; The top one is red in color and acts like a home button, while the other is a back button. To invoke Bixby on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, you can long press the Home button.

The case has lugs that extend outward to hold the fluoroelastomer strap of the watch. The included strap has an excellent feel and did not irritate my skin during the review period. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic uses 20mm straps and you can switch to any standard you like. The supplied strap has quick release pins, and is easy to remove.

There’s a Samsung Bioactive sensor on the bottom of the Watch 4 Classic. It can measure heart rate and SpO2. It also works with electrodes in the side buttons to calculate body composition. Internationally, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is capable of taking ECG readings as well as tracking blood pressure, but these features are not yet available in India. Samsung told Gadgets 360 that it is working with relevant stakeholders to bring these capabilities to India. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has a mic at the top while the speaker is on the left. It packs the largest battery in this series at 361mAh, and charges wirelessly using the bundled charger.

Galaxy Watch4 Classic Strap Gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic may use the standard 20mm watch strap

Without the strap, the Watch 4 Classic weighs in at around 52 grams. I found it noticeable, especially when wearing the watch to bed. I think the Galaxy Watch 4 could be more comfortable for sleep tracking, and its smaller size could make it more convenient while working out.

Samsung has gone with new hardware for the Watch 4 Classic. It is powered by the company’s own Exynos W920 dual-core processor clocked at 1.18GHz. It also has 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, of which around 7GB is available to the user. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has support for Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, and four satellite navigation systems. Samsung has also managed the IP68 rating for this watch and it is claimed to be water resistant up to 5ATM.

samsung galaxy watch 4 classic software

This is where the Samsung-Google partnership comes in. Samsung has merged its homegrown TizenOS into Wear OS, and that’s what you’re getting on these new wearables as well, along with One UI customization. My Galaxy Watch 4 Classic unit had the August security patch. Unlike other Wear OS smartwatches that pair with your smartphone using the Wear OS app, the Galaxy Watch 4 requires the Galaxy Wearable app. This is the first sign of Samsung’s control over Wear OS on this smartwatch. The Galaxy Watch 4 can only be paired with an Android smartphone running Android 6.0 or higher. Unlike previous Galaxy Watch models, there’s no support for iOS, at least not yet.

I found the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to be highly customizable. You get many watch faces to choose from and can download more. Not only that, you can also customize these watch faces by choosing the dial color and watch hands of your choice. Some faces even let you add some complications to show you more detail.

Galaxy Watch4 Classic User Menu Gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review

Google Apps Available on Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

The UI on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is a bit different than on a typical Wear OS smartwatch. You’ll need to swipe down from the top of the screen to access the quick toggles, and swipe up to view your installed apps. Swiping right from the lockscreen shows your notifications, while swiping left shows “tiles” that are the widgets for most of the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic’s features. You get stock Google apps like Contacts, Calendar and Messages, and they seem to have been revamped to match OneUI. Google Maps is available on the Watch and also has the Play Store so you can download Android apps that support Wear OS.

Long press and hold the Home button and Bixby pops up; Another sign of Samsung calling the shots here. Bixby is the only assistant on the watch, and you’ll need to sign in to your Samsung account before it can listen to you. Bixby has been my favorite digital assistant, no more. I missed the Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. At this point I can only hope that Google Assistant makes its way onto this watch with a future software update.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Performance and Battery Life

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is one of the best Wear OS smartwatches I’ve ever used. The UI feels responsive and the hardware never felt like it was running out of steam. Quickly turn the bezel, and the UI manages to keep up and respond. I could access my notifications on the watch itself, and it’s possible to type or dictate the clock answer, or choose from a list of predefined quick replies.

While the Galaxy Wearable app is used to manage settings on the Galaxy Watch 4, the Samsung Health app shows all health metrics that you need to download if you pair this device with a non-Samsung smartphone. Will happen. I used the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to keep track of my workouts, and was pleased with the watch’s ability to track specific exercises. However, I needed to select each exercise each time instead of selecting a traditional strength training like I can on the Apple Watch. Still, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic tracks individual exercises well. Automatic tracking is available for certain types of activities and the watch detected them during the review period.

Galaxy Watch4 Classic Fitness Gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic tracks heart rate accurately

Step tracking was fairly accurate on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, with this smartwatch tracking 1,003 steps for 1,000 that I manually counted while walking. In terms of distance, the Galaxy Watch 4 clocked 1km for a distance of 1.02km. Heart rate tracking on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic was in the same range as the treadmill readout and Apple Watch SE (Review). However, I found the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to occasionally fail to register heart rate while tracking workouts.

Sleep tracking was also accurate on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and the watch recorded the time I went to bed and the time I woke up. The Samsung Health app gives you complete information about the different stages of your sleep. It also has the ability to track blood oxygen levels while you sleep; A setting that needs to be enabled in the Samsung Health app. Samsung has introduced a snoring detection feature, which uses your smartphone’s microphone to record you while you sleep. I enabled it but the watch failed to detect any snoring during the review period.

The SpO2 reading on the watch is always over 95 percent which is the correct range for a healthy person. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic can also display readings of your stress level. A body composition analysis requires you to touch and hold two buttons side by side. These buttons have tiny electrodes that enable the Watch 4 Classic to calculate BMI, muscle mass, fat mass, and metrics in conjunction with the sensors below. I compared the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic’s readings to its weight scale, and found a difference in water weight, while there was slight deviation in other metrics. While you shouldn’t treat the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic as a medical device, it does allow you to keep track of a wide range of health metrics accurately.

Galaxy Watch4 Classic spo2 Gadgets360 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review

SpO2 tracking and body composition analysis possible on Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

There’s a speaker on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, so you can take calls on the watch itself. Callers didn’t have a problem when I received their calls on the watch, and speaker volume was adequate when I raised it to my face. You can also play music using the speaker but that is definitely not fast or good for battery life.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic lasted about a day and a half with my usage. This included tracking workouts every morning and then receiving WhatsApp notifications throughout the day. The watch will also track sleep at night. I had to charge it by the evening of the second day. I don’t often measure SpO2 and body composition on the watch. Also, SpO2 tracking and snoring detection were disabled by default. If you enable all of these with Always On Display, expect less battery life from this watch. I haven’t tested the standard Galaxy Watch 4, but I think it will last more than a day with similar usage due to its smaller battery.

Charging the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic was a slow process. It went up to only 23 percent in 30 minutes and 43 percent in an hour. It took over two hours to fully charge the watch. You may have to plan when to charge it accordingly.

Decision

The Galaxy Watch 4 models are the first products to be launched as a result of the Samsung-Google partnership. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is easily one of the best Android wearables I’ve used, but it has drawbacks you should be aware of before taking the plunge. First, the UI feels a lot more Samsung than Google’s, and you’ll have a better experience if you pair it with a Samsung smartphone. Using Bixby feels a bit awkward and Google Assistant would have been better. Lastly, charging is slow and faster charging would have definitely helped.

If you’re in the market for a premium, feature-rich Android smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 4 series is your best bet. These models are more expensive than some competitors, but their capabilities are pretty much unmatched. For active individuals, I would recommend the Galaxy Watch 4 over the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

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