Review, Smartwatch, Wearable

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review: The Best Got Better

Samsung’s range of smartwatches have always been considered to be the best options for Android users. With the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series, this still remains very true. Simply put, the best smartwatch for Android got even better, thanks to more robust tracking capabilities and the integration of Google’s Wear OS 3.

Even though it still has its fair share of shortcomings, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a very easy smartwatch to recommend. On top of that, it doesn’t cost a premium either with a RM899 starting price.

What It Is

There are two distinct variants of the Galaxy Watch 4. The standard model – which we received for this review – is offered in 40mm and 44mm sizes for RM899 and RM999 respectively. The bigger Classic version, on the other hand, costs RM1,299 and RM1,399 for the 42mm and 46mm models respectively.

Since this is a review of the standard Galaxy Watch 4, let’s focus on that. We got the 40mm model, and it’s packed with a 1.2-inch 396 x 396 circular Super AMOLED display, an Exynos W920 processor, a 247mAh battery, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and it runs on Google’s Wear OS 3 platform with Samsung’s own customisations.

Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch 4 is quite a bit more capable when it comes to health tracking. It can still do the usual heart rate tracking and blood oxygen measurement, but what’s particularly interesting is its ability to measure a user’s body composition – more on this in the next section.

The Good Stuff

One of the features I was eager to try out on the Galaxy Watch 4 is its body composition analysis. By using the Samsung BioActive Sensor on the back of the watch, the sensor can give me interesting data such as my skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, BMI, and even my body water percentage.

These data are useful as a guideline for health tracking, and I find it really convenient (and impressive) that I can get these stats from the Galaxy Watch 4 itself. However, even though Samsung said that these measurements are up to 98% accurate, I wouldn’t use it as a diagnostic tool. Still, it can be useful if you know how to make sense of these data in the right context.

Another feature of the Galaxy Watch 4 that I find particularly useful is its sleep tracker. Yes, every smartwatch worth its salt is able to do this, but what sets the Watch 4 apart is its ability to measure blood oxygen throughout the night (a very important health indicator) and snoring pattern.

In fact, the Watch 4 – with the help of the paired phone’s microphone – can even record your snores! I’ve put this feature to the test, and it really does work. I now know that I occasionally snore when I sleep (and exactly how long), much to my chagrin. It’s quite surreal listening back to audio clips of the recorded snores.

Anyway, aside from that, the Galaxy Watch 4’s workout tracking works great too. It shows how much calories I’ve burnt, my heart rate throughout the workout, and if I’m walking or running, it can even record the distance I’ve covered. All in all, it’s a robust workout tracker that can detect over 95 different activities.

I also dig the design of the Watch 4. It has a nice, minimalist aesthetic, and with the always on display enabled, it almost looks like a traditional wristwatch. Of course, this is also thanks to the the bright and vibrant Super AMOLED display. Outdoor visibility is not an issue at all with this screen.

Most smartwatches – especially more affordable ones – don’t feel particularly responsive, but this is not an issue at all with the Galaxy Watch 4. While the interface does get a little sluggish when it first powers up, the watch feels fast and zippy once it’s up and running.

The Watch 4’s strap is worth a mention too. It’s nice and soft, which makes it really comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The white strap doesn’t seem to get stained easily either, though I do wonder if it will start yellowing after prolonged use.

Last but not least is the software experience of the Galaxy Watch 4. The user interface remains as intuitive as ever, it’s easy to navigate through the menus, and Google’s Wear OS 3 integration is nice. When I’m navigating with Google Maps, for example, I get turn-by-turn navigation on the watch.

The Bad Stuff

As much as I absolutely enjoy using the Galaxy Watch 4, it does have some shortcomings, such as its battery life. Granted, it’s not horrible by any means – especially for such a feature-packed smartwatch – but if you’re expecting to only charge the watch every other day, well…you won’t get that here.

On average, I can get about one and a half day of battery life on a single charge with the always on display enabled. This is long enough for the Watch 4 to track my sleep and still have enough battery life to last throughout the day.

I can extend the battery life slightly by disabling the always on display, and if I don’t track my sleep at night, I can (just barely) get two days of use out of it. Whether or not this is a worth tradeoff – it isn’t, if you ask me – will depend on how you plan to use the watch.

And then there’s the touch-sensitive bezel of the Galaxy Watch 4, which is fiddly. It works reasonably well when it does, but most of the time, it has trouble recognising my input. If Samsung’s bezel navigation is something that you’re really fond of, consider picking up the Watch 4 Classic instead – that one has a more precise physical rotating bezel.

Is It Worth It?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is easily one of the best (if not the best) smartwatches for Android in the market now. It is jam-packed with features, it has robust tracking capabilities, and most of all, it doesn’t demand a premium with its RM899 starting price.

Unless you need a smartwatch with longer battery life – though you will be sacrificing quite a number of features for such a wearable – the Galaxy Watch 4 is absolutely worth it. This is especially the case if you want a smartwatch running on Wear OS 3; the Watch 4 is the only wearable on this platform right now.