The new smartwatch of the South Korean company came out with an upgrade. Instead of Tizen, they have Wear OS 3, an operating system created jointly by Google and Samsung. We tested the Galaxy Watch4 Classic model with a stainless steel case, a bright Super AMOLED screen and a lot of advanced options for monitoring activity and health. The characteristics are impressive, but what in practice?

For lovers of the classics

When choosing wearable devices, it is important to consider their dimensions. Galaxy Watch4 Classic is available in two sizes – with a case diameter of 42 and 46 mm. We received the first version, which is compact and fits well on thin wrists. And for fans of large models like G-Shock, it’s better to look towards the 46 mm option. Watches are supplied to Europe without support for cellular networks – inserting a SIM card and connecting an eSIM will not work.

The prefix Classic is not accidental here: the design is strict and close to traditional mechanical chronometers. The case is made of stainless steel, and the display is covered with tempered glass Corning Gorilla Glass DX. Available for purchase in black and white colors. The new product is protected from water and can withstand immersion to a depth of 50 meters. There is certification according to the military standard MIL-STD-810G – the watch is not afraid of extreme changes in temperature and pressure, vibration and other adversities. The strap fastening is standard, so it is easy to replace it with any other one. The width of the bracelet is 20 mm.

The display is located in a small recess and is reliably protected by a massive bezel, which protects the glass from scratches and cracks during active use.

On the right side of the watch there is a microphone and multifunction buttons. They allow you to go to the main screen and go back a step. Double-clicking the top key by default activates the Bixby assistant, which currently does not work in EU on wearable devices. The bottom one launches Samsung Pay.

The rotating bezel is a signature feature of Samsung’s flagship watches. You can use it to scroll through screens, navigate menus, and change settings. It eliminates the need to constantly point your fingers at the display. The developers have thought out the control element well – it rotates in both directions evenly and with pleasant clicks, all movements are read accurately.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

A screen that always works

The watch is equipped with a 1.2-inch round Super AMOLED matrix with a resolution of 396×396 pixels, which gives a density of 470 ppi – more than many modern smartphones. The display has excellent color reproduction and clarity, and its maximum brightness is sufficient for use on the sunniest days.

Galaxy Watch4 Classic received the Always on Display function – a constantly active display. If you activate the appropriate setting, the screen does not go dark, but always shows arrows and other information. Although not all built-in watch faces are well adapted for AOD. In many versions, the multi-colored picture fades only a little, rather than disappearing, which negatively affects autonomy.

New OS – new opportunities

The South Korean operating system is a thing of the past – Samsung and Google announced the combination of Tizen and Wear OS into a single platform back in May 2021. Galaxy Watch4 became the first devices on Wear OS 3. The transition to it was supposed to significantly expand the capabilities of smartwatches due to access to the Play Market application store.

After all, Play Market means installing popular applications like Spotify, Telegram, Outlook, Google Maps, Strava or Shazam. However, there are not many programs specifically adapted for the gadget. Apart from the above-mentioned software, there is practically nothing to install from the store. Over the past seven years, Google’s watch OS has failed to achieve serious success in the market, so many developers are in no hurry to adapt their programs to wearable devices. Perhaps cooperation with Samsung will correct this situation.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

The watch does not support Google Assistant – instead it offers Bixby, which does not work in our country. So the gadget is not at all friendly with voice assistants in EU. Double tapping the bottom button launches Samsung Pay. You cannot reconfigure or disable the function, even if you use a different payment instrument. However, you can still launch Google Pay – the service can be reconfigured to the top key or activated from the application menu.

Samsung installed its own One UI Watch shell on top of Wear OS, so the interface is reminiscent of the company’s past models.

The controls are simple: there is a main screen where the watch face is displayed, as well as additional desktops where you can display the necessary applications and widgets. There is a curtain with quick access to various functions and settings. A menu with all installed software is pulled out from below. The choice of dials is not as large as we would like: there are a lot of preset options with cats, bears and monkeys, but there are only a few neutral ones that would look appropriate in a strict design.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

The new Wear OS is not very pleased with its stability. During the week of testing, the built-in keyboard stopped working several times, sometimes downloaded software like Telegram did not launch, and the promised automatic installation of compatible applications from the smartphone never made itself felt – the programs had to be downloaded manually. The Body Composition feature displays your weight in pounds—you can’t change that in the settings at this time. In addition, there are just one or two customization options. For example, you cannot hide unnecessary utilities from the main menu, as was the case with Tizen, so you have to scroll through the entire list of installed software.

Smart guy

The gadget’s performance is driven by a 5-nanometer Exynos W920 processor and 1.5 GB of RAM. Compared to last year’s models, the chip has become 20% faster, and the speed of the video accelerator has increased 10 times. The difference is noticeable right away – the Galaxy Watch4 Classic interface works smoothly, everything starts and scrolls as quickly as on top smartphones. Powerful hardware is also needed to work with applications. Google Maps gives you directions without delay, and in Telegram you can read chats with smooth scrolling. 16 GB of internal memory is enough for a large music playlist and installation of the necessary software.

Note that the work with notifications in the system is implemented efficiently.

In most cases, you can not only read the text, but also respond to it. You will be able to choose from prepared short phrases or write a new one – for this, the new product supports both handwriting recognition and an alphanumeric keyboard. The presence of a built-in microphone and speaker allows you to use the Watch4 Classic as a headset if you cannot get a smartphone. The vibration is powerful and pleasant.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

Smartwatches do not work with iOS, as well as Android devices on older OS and models without Google services. All other smartphones with a “green robot” run almost all the declared functions. The only exception is related to ECG and blood pressure measurement – these options only function in conjunction with Samsung gadgets. To use the new product, you need to download three utilities to your phone: Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Health and Samsung Health Monitor.

Sports and health features

Galaxy Watch4 Classic received a new BioActive sensor. It is used for three measurements at once: pulse, ECG and bioimpedance analysis. The last one is the most interesting, because it shows blood pressure levels, detects heart problems and assesses blood oxygen saturation.

The watch has learned to determine body composition. The process lasts about 15 seconds.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

Just follow the instructions on the screen: tighten the strap tightly on one hand, and place the fingers of the other on the side keys and hold still. Built-in sensors measure electrical resistance between two points, thereby roughly calculating the water content of tissues. From these parameters, fat percentage, skeletal muscle mass and basal metabolic rate are calculated. It is difficult to assess the accuracy of the data obtained without medical equipment, but they practically coincide with the information provided by smart bathroom scales with a similar function.

The test model refused to display blood pressure. Otherwise, all modes worked without problems: the watch measured saturation, heart rate, duration and quality of sleep, stress level and physical activity. The ECG function is not intended to seriously diagnose the disease, but it can identify problems with atrial fibrillation. Galaxy Watch4 Classic can constantly monitor blood oxygen levels, but only does this while you sleep. Why it is impossible to automatically monitor such an important indicator during the day, as gadgets from competitors can do, is a mystery.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

In total, the device supports more than ninety workouts. In addition, it automatically detects five types of activities and independently includes recording of sports indicators. The new product is equipped with its own GPS module, which allows it to remember routes while running or walking without the help of a smartphone.

Every day for exercise

A powerful processor, a bright screen, a bunch of sensors and a new operating system from Google that tirelessly synchronizes its data – all this negatively affects battery life. Even if you put the watch on the nightstand and leave it for a day, it will be discharged by 40%. Two hours of cycling with GPS turned on took up 30% of the charge. 60 minutes of playing tennis with continuous recording of indicators drained the battery by 10%. In applications like Telegram and Yandex.Maps, the battery drains before our eyes.

On average, the autonomy of a gadget is comparable to modern smartphones – most often 30-40% remains at the end of the working day. If you rarely use smart functions, do not activate AOD, turn off geolocation and NFC, then you can last a day and a half, but most often you will have to charge the watch before going to bed. This is a big step down from the previous generation Galaxy Watch on Tizen, which easily lasted 2-3 days.

Review of Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic

The 42 mm version of the Galaxy Watch4 Classic received a 247 mAh battery. And the 46mm model has a 361 mAh battery, so in theory it should last a little longer. The gadget charges in about 90 minutes from the included charger. It is also possible to recharge from regular wireless charging. However, in this case, you will have to wait about two hours to fill the battery.

Specifications

DIMENSIONS
41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm
WEIGHT
47 grams (without strap)
MATERIALS
case – stainless steel and Gorilla Glass DX, strap – silicone
DISPLAY
1.2”, Super AMOLED, 396×396, 470 ppi
BATTERY
247 mAh
SENSORS
accelerometer, barometer, gyro sensor, light sensor, BioActive sensor, GPS and GLONASS
PECULIARITIES
90 training modes, Wear OS 3, water resistance up to 50 m (5 ATM), sleep analysis, ECG, blood pressure analysis, body composition determination, contactless payment support

Results

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic could become the standard of smart watches. They combine strict design with reliable construction and rich functionality, and the new operating system was supposed to provide access to popular utilities. However, Wear OS 3 turned out to be a rather crude product. The fullness of the application store leaves much to be desired, and battery life has deteriorated significantly – at best, you can count on one day of active use. If you turn off everything – from geolocation and NFC to all sensors, you can last a day and a half. We can only hope that updates will improve the situation. At least the latest update increased autonomy by about 10%.