[Review] An Android Samsung Smartwatch - The Samsung Galaxy Watch4
Samsung Galaxy Watch4
+ Lightweight design
- Inconsistent battery life
+ Excellent performance
- Digital rotating bezel
+ Compatible with certain Google apps
+ Features body composition measurement tool
In a new episode of Samsung's latest products, we'll be testing the Galaxy Watch4 after the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G smartphone I reviewed last month. It is said to be the first smartwatch that Samsung co-developed with Google, featuring its new Wear OS.
The Galaxy Watch4 features an aluminum body with a 1.2" Super AMOLED display mounted on a flexible silicone strap. On the right side, you'll find two oblong-shaped buttons - the power button accentuated with a red stripe around it and the back button. Sadly, you will miss a traditional rotating bezel on this model that you'll find on the Classic version.
The model that I received is in Black, which is a common but minimal colour that can go with any outfit since smartwatches are more of a lifestyle accessory today. It is available in two sizes: 40 mm and 44 mm. The one I have is the former version with Bluetooth connectivity. Besides Black, you can also get the Galaxy Watch4 Bluetooth (40 mm) in Silver and Pink Gold.
The lightweight watch has a slim design that sits comfortably on my wrist. It's not too big and chunky to exhaust my wrist at the end of the day, which is great if you're planning to strap it on the whole night for sleep tracking.
Different from Tizen OS, while the new watch runs on Android-based OS, it's actually topped with Samsung’s One UI Watch interface. Pressing the power button will wake the screen and swiping up will give you access to the apps list. Make sure you swipe up from the lower end of the watch's face as it won't register if your finger is a bit higher closer to the middle. At first, it was a little frustrating but I got used to it after a few times of use.
Swipe right to check your notifications, swipe down for quick settings, and swipe right for the tiles, where you can configure widgets for easy access to the apps and fitness features. When you're on an app's interface, you can tap the screen for more details.
To go back from an app or a menu, you can press the back button. You can also press the power button to jump straight back to the home screen if you're too lazy to press one by one. Hold the power button to turn on or off the device.
Before we move on to the health features, let's customise the watch face first. I mean, isn't this one of the few things that excite us when we get a new smartwatch? You can choose the tons of selections of watch faces from the downloaded Galaxy Wearable app under the Watch Faces tab.
Samsung has kindly categorised the types of faces that users would use based on their personalities and tastes, including Classic, Graphical, Informative, Simple, Health, and Basic.
If you're up for a larger variety of watch faces, you can click on the "Get more watch faces" button at the bottom of the page and it will lead you to Play Store, where you can download more looks that appeal to you.
You can even further play around with each watch face with different kinds of customisations available for each watch face. And if you prefer to have a custom face, you can also upload your own images.
Features and Functions
To set up the Galaxy Watch4, you must connect it with the Samsung Wearable app. The model that I have here has Bluetooth connectivity so I can sync the two devices with just a tap.
For fitness enthusiasts, it features a total of 95 workout modes with accurate reporting on a bunch of metrics for each activity, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, bench press, pilates, and more. For example, if you go on a walk, it will record the workout duration, distance covered, calories burned, walking speed, heart rate, and more. The watch uses a new 3-in-1 BioActive sensor that boasts a smaller design to provide body composition measurement with more accurate readings. The sensor is able to measure metrics, including skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, BMI, body water, and basal metabolic rate.
However, Samsung warns that users who have an implanted pacemaker or similar medical devices shouldn't use the body composition measurement feature. It also says no for users who are pregnant. This is probably because the sensor works by sending a weak electrical signal throughout your body when you place your fingers on the two side buttons, which have built-in electrodes.
For health tracking features, it supports heart rate tracking, stress tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, menstruation cycle tracking, SpO2 monitoring, and ECG. Unfortunately, the ECG feature is not available in Malaysia. The sleep tracking feature has been upgraded from its predecessor with continuous blood oxygen monitoring and advanced sleep scores, which show your actual sleep time and how much deep sleep, light sleep, REM sleep, and waking periods you have experienced during your sleeping session.
In terms of specs, it is powered by the Exynos W920 chipset, which is said to deliver 20% and 10 times faster CPU and GPU performances respectively. It also has 50% more RAM at 1.5 GB and 16 GB storage as compared to Galaxy Watch3. Scrolling and animations on the interface are very smooth, and I haven't experienced any lags when jumping between apps and screens.
For lifestyle features, it can display text messages, play music, locate your phone, show weather and world clock, as well as your daily schedule. It also comes with GPS onboard so you can easily find your way out if you got lost while jogging. With the onboard storage, you can import images and local music from your smartphone to the watch. Also, when you install compatible apps like Spotify on your phone, they will automatically be downloaded to the watch too.
Inside, it packs a 247 mAh battery which supports WPC-based wireless charging so all you need to do is place the watch on top of the charger and it will click nicely on the spot. On between light to average use, it can last for two days but on days when I play music, track activities, and turn on the screen frequently, it manages to last through the entire day. However, I did notice some inconsistency in the battery usage as some days it drowns pretty quickly and some days it doesn't, even though my habits remain almost the same.
Buy or no buy?
Overall, the Galaxy Watch4 is a bold decision that Samsung has made in collaboration with Google, featuring Wear OS while ditching the original Tizen OS. After a week of use, I have grown to love it as I get to enjoy the benefits from the Android ecosystem apart from the basic smartwatch health and fitness features.
At RM899, I would definitely recommend you to get it if you compare its price with Galaxy Watch3. The cheaper model was priced at RM1,699 when it was launched and it costs around the same price as the Watch4. Even still, I would go for the new model as it supports Google apps and comes with better specs than the last device.
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