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  • Fitri Aiyub

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: Unnecessary But Necessary

Are smartwatches really necessary? Not to say it could be life changing in any way, but thinking that your phone is the only extension of yourself is short from reality. Especially with the Galaxy Watch that has made major improvements since its first rendition.

Yeah spoiler alert, I want one. Not just because it's the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch, but because I'm an analog watch type of guy. And having used the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for the last 2 weeks makes me wonder why I wasn't intrigued by smartwatches in the first place.

I somehow seemed to always have thought smartwatches were completely unnecessary.

Not to say it's been life changing in any way, but thinking that only your phone has become an extension of yourself is nowhere near to what a smartwatch could do for your day to day life. Well at least in terms of my experience with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

From a design standpoint, it's hard to distinguish the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic from your typical analog watch from afar. Especially when compared to the more traditionally rounded made ones which I adore the understated look of a normal looking watch but packed with 21st century goodness, running on an Exynos W920 Mali-G68 for smooth animations on Android Wear OS and Samsung's One UI Watch 3 interface.

Keeping a low profile as your wearable accessory throughout your day and not drawing too much attention. But if you choose to want the attention, the 1.4 inch Super AMOLED screen gets very bright even in broad daylight and most likely will stand out at night if you have it on full brightness. Regardless if you have it tucked away underneath your sleeve, it's bound to shine through.

I remember being blown away by the aesthetics of the first Galaxy Watch when it came out in August 2018. But I remember trying it out at a Samsung shop at the time and it felt like it was way too chunky and heavy to be even considered as a wearable. Fast forward to four generations later, shrinking down in thickness from 13mm to just 11mm and weighing 45.5g from 49g. The improvements made in the last 3 years may not sound like much when compared to on paper, but it definitely will show its significant advancements as a smartwatch when you strap it around your wrist. After all, if you intend to wear this throughout the day, the last thing you want is paper weight swaying back and forth as you walk.

To me, I'm more used to big watches anyways like the one here at 46mm in diameter, so having it on for long hours never really felt strenuous especially with Samsung's Ridge Sports Band that feels really comfortable to wear throughout the day.

The rotating bezel feels oddly satisfying with every click and I found it to be a more intuitive way to engage with a watch when breezing through different apps as compared to Apple's digital crown and it didn't bother me in situations like weight lifting in the gym, which could get in the way for a lot of wrist movement would be involved. So ergonomically, it feels perfect to me.

Although, I never really got around to wearing it for sleep mainly because I'm not much of a person who wears a watch to sleep anyways. But on nights that I did, having it able to track sleep patterns and the quality of sleep within those hours was a nice touch in adding value for ways that could improve certain parts of your daily routine.

But obviously I haven't been living under a rock, after all this is a tech channel, and yes I am aware of it being able to track so many other things too like fitness performance, which I personally found to be the most useful during for my active hours in the gym or swimming which has an IP68 rating, so going down to about 1.5 meters would theoretically do just fine. Unless swimming or diving to deeper depths is your thing, then probably looking at other dive focused watches like the Garmin Descent series would be an ideal choice. Then again, they are however twice or even triple the price being a more premium watch.

Samsung Health does a great job at displaying your progress and setting personal milestones that would inform you when you do, or notify you when you've hit the 30 minute mark during a workout, which again I found to be super useful just so I can keep track how long I've been in the gym, as well as a heart rate monitor to keep an eye on my BPM.

Oddly though, the heart rate monitor somehow just doesn't seem to give readings correctly. Even when I'm just sitting down, I'll have readouts up to 95bpm which is realistically unnatural. Even when I did the test on someone else, it still gave the same results. So I'm not entirely sure how this inaccuracy could just be a faulty sensor or a software bug that could improve over time, because somehow the heart rate tests on my S9+ (that also came with a heart rate monitor)- seemed to be giving the same results.

So maybe it could be more of a Samsung Health inaccuracy thing rather than the actual sensor performing inaccurately OR maybe I should just start consulting a doctor as soon as possible. Although there is an ECG monitor, for some reason it's not available to certain countries such as Malaysia. So I couldn't get around to testing that feature.

For convenience wise, being able to pick up a phone call with the watch while driving or glancing at notifications is theoretically a safer way compared to reaching out to your phone, but it's still no excuse to be using any devices while driving, drive safe guys!

Text messaging using the keyboard is reminiscent of old numbered keypads we used to get in older phones, dictating each word as you type each letter and filling in the options automatically, an efficient way to manage screen real estate instead of having the full QWERTY keyboard cramped in a small space.

Other features like being able to tether the camera weren't as useful for me, but having it there is a nice touch if you take a lot of selfies and remote triggers in general are always a welcome.

Battery life is decent enough at 381mAh, which gave me about two days standby time and some casual fitness tracking sessions. You could extend it further by a day's worth of battery life if you have Always-on-display turned off, which would be the ideal way of treating the battery for longevity if you intend to use it for the years to come.

The Galaxy Watch 4 starts at RM999 \ S$448 and The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at RM1,299 / S$598. There are however other alternatives if your on a budget such as the Realme Watch 2 Pro priced at just RM299 \ S$99

At the end of the day, it depends on how you see watches overall and how you rely on what you want them to do for you. But without question I do always have to remind myself that we're not in the age of timepieces, but more so of satellites and the internet. Keeping everyone around the globe more connected than ever at the tips of our fingers, or at the slap of our wrists in the form of these smartwatches.


Written by : Fitri Aiyub

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