The Galaxy Watch4 Classic is among the first smartwatches to come out from the partnership between South Korean electronics maker Samsung and American technology giant Google. Based on the WearOS platform, the smartwatch gains capabilities that the previous iteration of Samsung Galaxy-series smartwatches lacked simply because they were running on its proprietary operating system, Tizen. But how big are these gains and what else is new in the Galaxy Watch4 Classic? Let’s find out.
Some radical changes in design would have been in order to mark the beginning of new era for Google WearOS platform-based Samsung Galaxy smartwatches, but Samsung chose to stick to its classic design language. That said, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic looks identical to its predecessor. The existing Galaxy Watch users might find that boring. First-time users, however, would appreciate the classic design with a rotating ring on the bezel and stainless steel case (46mm review unit). While the watch’s body has not been through any design change, the straps have improved dramatically. They look premium and feel comfortable on skin – thanks to their sweat-resistant properties. The straps are removable, so you can replace them with the ones you might like even better, if required.
Like the predecessor, the watch sports a circular 1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen. As for the upgrades, the screen gets a bump in peak brightness levels which makes it easy to read in bright outdoor conditions, so the sunlight legibility is much better. The benefit of a bright screen panel also comes to your notice while using the always-on display feature, which keeps the screen active to show basic information on the customisable watch face. The display is covered with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX+ and the watch is water-resistant up to a 50-metre depth.
Though based on the Google WearOS platform, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic boots the Samsung OneUI 3 user interface with UI elements similar to its Tizen OS-based smartwatches. It should be seen as a good thing because the vanilla WearOS UI is anything but user-friendly.
The watch’s gesture-based OneUI 3 is easy to use and understand. Swipe down from top to access quick settings, swipe inwards from left or rotate the ring on the bezel clockwise for notifications, and swipe inwards from right or rotate the ring on the bezel anti-clockwise for quick-view windows. It also supports the wrist gesture for the screen wake function, which works like a charm.
As for the apps, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic gains access to apps in Google Play Store for smartwatch. Though most of the preloaded apps are from Samsung, one can now download from a flourishing library of third-party apps from Google Play Store, including some of the most commonly used Music streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music – both with offline play support (subscription required).
While the Galaxy Watch4 Classic gains third-party apps and watch faces support, and close integration with Google services, it loses out on compatibility with Apple iPhones. Moreover, some of the core features of the Watch4 Classic require it to be connected to a Samsung phone. Surprisingly, the Watch4 Classic depends on the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app to pair, connect and manage settings, not the Google Wear OS app that other WearOS platform-based smartwatches use.
Health and fitness
The Galaxy Watch4 Classic is a robust health and fitness tracker. From monitoring heart rhythms and sleep patterns to measuring blood oxygen saturation, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic covers everything that one expects from a health and wellness device. Cherry on top is the new body composition analysis feature, which takes about 15 seconds to provide an estimated percentage of fat, muscle and water in your body. As for fitness-related features, the Watch4 Classic supports auto-tracking of more than 90 types of workouts, including basic ones like walks, runs, swim. That said, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic is as good a smartwatch as it is a health and fitness tracker.
The Galaxy Watch4 Classic is powered by Samsung’s 5nm process-based Exynos W920 processor. The smartwatch shows some lag in early days when it learns the usage pattern, but works swiftly afterwards. While the performance is top-notch, the watch’s battery leaves you asking for more. It works for a day and half on full charge with always-on display enabled. When used extensively to track fitness workouts, the on-battery time drops to about 10 hours. The charging time could have been better. The supplied charger takes around three hours to charge the battery to 100 per cent.
At Rs 34,999 (Bluetooth, 46mm), the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic is a solid smartwatch, which loses less and gains more from the Google WearOS platform. For Android smartphone users, especially Samsung smartphone owners, this is the best smartwatch currently available in the market for a wholesome smartwatch experience.