Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review
Pros: Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great price
Cons: Subpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be better
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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
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|Pros||Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great price||Good value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery life||Specialized fitness tracking features, good battery life||Incredible battery life, great fitness tracking||Supports mobile payments, good display, Android OS friendly|
|Cons||Subpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be better||Could be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functions||Pricey, not our favorite touchscreen||Lack of smart features, could be easier to use||Finicky to setup on the charger, just okay at everything|
|Bottom Line||An incredible smartwatch for Samsung phone users but a little underwhelming when it comes to battery life||The fitness features packed into this wearable make it an excellent choice for the price||Offering features like skin temperature, SpO2, and stress management, this is a great wearable for specialized fitness tracking||Incredible battery life and great fitness tracking abilities make this watch a notable fitness wearable||A great value option for Android users that want to add a little convenience to their wrist|
|Rating Categories||Samsung Galaxy Watch 4||Fitbit Versa 3||Fitbit Sense||Huawei GT 2 Pro||Mobvoi Ticwatch E3|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Smart Functions (20%)|
|Fitness Impact (15%)|
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy Watch 4||Fitbit Versa 3||Fitbit Sense||Huawei GT 2 Pro||Mobvoi Ticwatch E3|
|Water Resistance||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM||5 ATM||IP68|
|NFC (contactless payment)||Yes, Samsung Pay||Yes, Fitbit Pay||Yes, Fitbit Pay||Yes, Google Pay||Yes, Google Pay|
|Display||40mm or 44mm AMOLED||1.58 inch OLED||1.58 inch OLED||1.39 inch AMOLED||1.3 inch AMOLED|
|Resolution||396 x 396,
450 x 450
|336 x 336||336 x 336||454 x 454||360 x 360|
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
Low Latency Off-Body
|Processor||Dual-core 1.18 GHz Cortex-A55||N/A||N/A||Kirin A1 + STL4R9||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor|
|Available Sizes||40mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm||One size||One size||One size||One size|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Galaxy Watch 4 is a top-tier wearable explicitly designed for Samsung phone users. It is easy to use, sleek, ergonomic, and has an attractive display. It offers several fitness tracking functions and features, though we don't think it is the best product for Android or iOS users, as there are better wearables specifically meant for those operating systems. Overall, this watch lives up to its potential, and its performance results are outlined below.
Ease of Use
We started our testing and review process by looking at how easy it was to use the Galaxy Watch 4 based on the interface, responsiveness of the touchscreen, bezel and side buttons, water-resistance, wristband, and charging method. The watch did well in this metric, earning one of the top scores, performing how you would expect from a premium device.
Samsung has evolved the mechanical bezel of previous models by integrating a completely digital touch bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4. The touch bezel provides great haptic feedback and allows you to swipe the edge of the watch with your finger to easily scroll between apps and screens. The digitization of the bezel enhances the user experience, and the watch interface and display are both very snappy and responsive. This watch is also easy to charge and connects seamlessly to other Samsung devices.
The Galaxy Watch 4 provides the wide array of smart features that you would expect from a well-refined device manufactured by a premium manufacturer like Samsung. It expands on the features and functionality of supported apps from previous models.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has one of the top selections of popular apps, including Spotify, Strava, IFTTT, Shazam, and many more. Phone calls are also easy to take on the watch, with audio that is crisp, clear, and with good speaker volume. Controlling music is easy to do from your watch as well; you can play, pause, adjust volume, and skip with ease. Google Wear OS supports Google Pay for wireless payments, there's standalone GPS for tracking your adventures, and cellular-capable versions are available for those who want to leave their phone behind. All in all, this is a top-tier watch that offers a lot to the user.
The Galaxy Watch 4 has a display quality, features, and performance you would expect from a top-tier wearable. The combination of a sharp AMOLED display and auto brightness adjustment makes it easy to read text on the screen in either bright or poorly lit environments.
This watch also has an always-on setting for those that want the convenience of a display that is always visible. If this isn't to your liking it can be turned off in your settings.
Even though the Galaxy Watch 4 runs Wear OS, pairing with a Samsung Galaxy device enhances the fitness features of the watch by adding some health and fitness tracking features. For example, ECG and blood pressure monitoring are only available with Samsung's proprietary Samsung Health. Unfortunately, in our fitness impact testing, the watch averaged a large discrepancy in step and stair counts, something that we would expect to be more accurate from a premium product.
If you have experience with the Samsung Health ecosystem for health and fitness tracking, then you'll be right at home using the Galaxy Watch 4. The watch does a great job detecting when workout activity starts and stops and has a wide variety of workout apps and features, including support for Wear OS apps that didn't exist on previous models.
While the Galaxy Watch 4 has a great workout app offering and does a decent job with heart rate monitoring, the accolades sort of end there. Unfortunately, the watch proved to be less accurate than the best fitness trackers we tested. Compared to the control device data we collected, the step counter was consistently inaccurate. It ranged from about 1.8% to 10% incorrect across the different step tests, for an average error of 5.9% in step counting. The watch also does not have a true stair counter and instead makes stair counts a calculated sub-metric of a floor counter, which was also quite inaccurate.
Samsung added body composition measuring and blood oxygen sensors to this current iteration. While the concept is great, the accuracy of those measuring devices was also poor, making the data something you wouldn't want to rely on exclusively. We still think this is the watch to choose if you own a Samsung, but some of these findings were quite disappointing, and we hope they are addressed in future iterations.
Our battery testing metric evaluated battery life under normal use and charging rates. The battery life of the Galaxy Watch 4 was a little underwhelming. However, with a massive array of smart app and fitness tracking features and functions, it's no surprise that this watch consumes so much power. While it's not the best battery life of all the watches we tested, it is on par with premium wearables, like Apple's Series 7.
The Galaxy 4 builds on the battery charging performance of the previous model by reducing charging times by about 30% for a half charge (50%) and about 25% to achieve a full recharge (100%). While that is an impressive improvement over its predecessor, it is, as already mentioned, still only an average performance when compared to the other smartwatches we tested.
The watch is easy to charge, with a charging cable that aligns with magnets. The magnets could be a little stronger, as it doesn't take much effort to break the watch free of the charger, so users will have to be mindful not to knock it off of a countertop or nightstand and disrupt it from recharging.
This watch is not what we would consider a budget-friendly watch, though it is cheaper than some other premium options. Despite a few areas that need improvement, this is a great option for current Samsung phone users, with a willingness and means to afford it.
We think that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an excellent smartwatch for anyone with a Samsung phone, but expect to have to charge it more frequently than others. It is loaded with smart features and functions, looks incredible, and is very convenient and easy to use, especially with a completely digital bezel. It is also a great fitness and health tracker, even if it could be a little more accurate regarding the step counter. Our biggest issue with this smartwatch is its battery life because charging requirements make it a poor option for anyone who wants to wear it at night for sleep tracking. However, just like the other high-performance devices with a beautiful display we tested, the battery life and recharging requirements are similar.
— Benjamin Hickok
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