Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: A well-rounded smartwatch

For smartwatches, it’s Apple against the world. Per recent numbers from CounterPoint, the Apple Watch commanded more than one-third of global shipments in Q1. Samsung/Tizen is in second place with just 8% market share. Google’s Wear OS is fifth at just under 4 percent, making it easy for both companies to seek out competitive advantages.

Google has two options. The first is that the Fitbit purchase effectively doubles Google’s existing market. After a long period in Tizen, Samsung was finally convinced to switch to Wear OS. A return to Google’s operating system was logical for Samsung from the perspective of developer access and the resulting applications. It’s great that Google will take care of the support issues.

Samsung holds the market share advantage. While the company’s Tizen version has not been a huge success, it has secured a strong second position. It was clear that the company would have to make its return to Google on its terms if it wanted to be successful.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung unveiled last week the Galaxy Watch 4, the result of a collaboration between the companies at Google I/O. This new watch, which is available in the Classic and Standard versions, has “Wear OS powered by Samsung.” It means that Samsung and Google worked together to create a custom version of Wear OS that looks, feels, and swims just like Tizen.

This is a move to create a strong, but struggling, wearable OS ecosystem without losing the familiarity that Samsung has spent many years creating. It’s a great idea, and I am all for it. Samsung/Google have done an excellent job of identifying what is working in their ecosystems, and creating an experience that combines the best from both. This is a great situation for Google. It would be a good opportunity to recruit other large hardware companies, even though they don’t have the same momentum as Samsung.

This is accompanied by several generations of hardware improvement and health improvements, making the Galaxy Watch 4 one smartwatch that can compete with Apple. And like Apple, the new wearable is explicitly tied to the Samsung ecosystem — after all, even the other week was nothing if not an ecosystem play.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds are undoubtedly the most popular earbuds. The same goes for its solid smartwatch. While the company may be opening up its services to third-party vendors through Wear OS, it is still a Samsung smartwatch. It works best when using first-party Samsung applications on Samsung’s smartphone hardware. This is the kind of risk you take when your company is the No. The world’s No. 1 smartphone manufacturer. The rest of non-iOS markets will be dominated by the Huaweis Garmins Fitbits and Garmins.

The Galaxy Watch has not always been the easiest to use, as with the earbuds and smartphones. Although the company tried many models and different SKUs, I believe it has finally found a system that works. The Galaxy Watch Active, which is the lower-end, bezeled Galaxy Watch Active, is now known as the Galaxy Watch Classic.

After I have typed it, I realize that it isn’t as simple as I thought. It basically boils down to: Galaxy Watch 4 = slimmer, lighter and sportier. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic has a classier look, and trades the digital bezel to get Samsung’s iconic rotating hardware bezel.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

It’s something I have said before, and it’s still true: Samsung’s spinning bezel is its ace in every hole. This is the spot where Apple has undisputedly beaten in the smartwatch market. While Apple has the crown, the bezel remains the most effective way to use a smartwatch’s interface. It was a surprise to me that the Galaxy Watch 2 ditched the crown in favour of a digital one. It was clearly a mistake by the company, who brought it back for the 3.

You can read my previous review to see my main complaint with older Samsung watches. These watches were huge. They were huge. I am not small nor have a very small wrist. But I found it difficult to walk around with them. People like large, bulky watches. However, only offering them in one size will severely limit your audience.

There are many options available. You can get the Galaxy Watch in two sizes: 40mm or 44mm (both $225 and $300), and Classic in 42mm or 46mm (both $380 and $355, respectively). This is a significant premium that mostly reflects design differences. LTE is added to the Classic and it’s $379 or $429. This is still a good deal compared to Apple Watch Series 6 at $399.

The 42mm Galaxy Watch Classic was the choice of me. After wearing the watch for several days, I feel pretty happy with the decision. The design is so small that I think 46mm would be too big for me to use every day. It would also have been impossible to get to sleep in it.

It’s still a mystery to me how the 44mm model of the Standard Watch will fit. But, if you have the option of rotating bezel, choose rotating bezel. For users who have smaller wrists, a 40mm Classic version would make sense. However, Samsung is moving in the right direction with the four sizes.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Samsung, like many of its competitors, is leading the way in health products. The watch is great at detecting workouts. I have been working hard to improve my fitness since the outbreak. The Apple Watch is about the same as it in auto-detecting runs and walks. It does an excellent job at running and rowing. This is why it’s so difficult to do my morning HIIT and yoga routines.

An ECG is available onboard for detecting heart abnormalities. This is a standardizing tool which many doctors recommend to detect early signs of heart problems. The new Body Composition feature is an outstanding addition to this device. It provides key metrics such as skeletal muscle mass, body water, metabolism rate, and body fat percentage. Simply place two fingers onto the device.

The sleep tracking app provides solid insights, such as blood oxygen, light/deep/rem, and your total sleep score. (Leave it to me, my is very low). The app can also tell you how long you have been snoring throughout the night if you are able/willing. The numbers together can provide valuable insight and actionable information about your sleep patterns.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Wearing a watch while you sleep isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about battery life. It’s okay. I was able go for a full day of light to standard usage with the Watch Classic. It’s sufficient to track sleep and do some fitness, provided you have time to recharge it again. It’s fine for the majority of uses, but nothing to be proud about.

These elements all add up to an excellent smartwatch experience. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the most popular smartwatch. It’s also the best Android-compatible watch, in my opinion.

Publiated at Thu, 19 August 2021 21.22:15 +0000

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