Samsung Watch4 Classic Review: Best Android Smartwatch on the Market?
Updated: Sep 2, 2021
Hopes were definitely high coming into this review for the Samsung Watch4, after months of teasing from Samsung on how this watch would come with One UI, even better performance as well as the ability to use Google Maps and other apps from Google.
So let's talk about how the watch looks first. We got the Classic model for review, which comes with the physical rotating bezel that we've come to associate with Samsung smartwatches. This bezel allows you to scroll through the list of apps and such, and even allows for volume control when you're listening to music and you have the music widget open on the watch.
There are two sizes, the larger 46mm and the smaller 42mm, which we have. The Classic model comes in stainless steel, while the normal Watch4 uses aluminium. That being said, the Classic 42mm weighs in at just 46.5 grams, and it actually feels pretty light on the hand, although it is a bit thicker than the Apple Watch Series 6 I'm used to wearing. The watches also come with either just Bluetooth or Bluetooth + LTE.
The silicon band that comes along with it is one of the most comfortable I've tried, with no overheating issues or skin irritation at all, despite me wearing it around 23 hours a day for two weeks straight. The band uses a pretty traditional spring bar system, so it's easily removable if you want to swap out straps.
Samsung has stuck to the round watch display, which I do like a lot. It looks more like a traditional watch, instead of a smartwatch like how the square Apple Watch does. The display itself is a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display that is vibrant and sharp, meaning there's no problem at all when reading notifications or other text on the watch itself.
There are two pill-shaped buttons on the right of the watch, which minimises the chances of clothing snagging on the buttons. The top button serves as an easy way to exit to the main watch face, or you can double click to switch to the last app you opened. A press and hold pulls up Bixby.
The bottom button shows you all the apps you have open, kind of like your phone's app manager, while a long press and hold pulls up Samsung Pay. We tried searching for ways to change what these long press and holds do, but it seems like it's not configurable at this point in time.
As for connectivity, clearly, this watch will do best with a Samsung phone, similar to how an Apple Watch would work most seamlessly with an iPhone. It can work with other Android phones too, but you'll need to download Samsung's apps - Samsung Pay, Samsung Wearable, Samsung Health and more - to get the full experience. For some reason, Samsung Pay didn't come pre-installed on the Galaxy Z Fold3 I was using for testing, so I had to get it installed separately.
Unfortunately, the watch doesn't seem to be able to connect to the iPhone 12 I have on hand, so iPhone users will probably still want to stick to getting an Apple Watch.
On the back of the watch is where most of the new hardware lies, including a new 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor that runs on a single chipset and is able to measure three health metrics thanks to the Optical Heart Rate Sensor (PPG), Electrical Heart Sensor (ECG) and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Sensor (BIA).
As for the accuracy of the sensors, I tested the heart rate sensor of the Watch4 Classic against the one on the Apple Watch Series 6 and they're pretty much identical, with occasional variances of around 2bpm. Pretty good.
That's not all though, there's even sensors in the two pill-shaped pushers to measure body fat through that bioelectric impedance analysis sensor. This seems to not be a very precise measurement, however. I took a few readings in a row, and the readings ranged from 25% all the way to 19% in a matter of minutes. After a few more readings spread over a number of days, my body fat average seemed to hover around 23-25%. Of course, Samsung is quick to reiterate that this isn't a diagnostic tool, but it's nice to have something that's able to give me a rough gauge of my average body fat, skeletal muscle, body water content, BMI and more.
When it comes to sleep tracking though, the results are also a bit... off. The watch does record a few instances of me waking up in the middle of the night almost every day, but it's not quite accurate. The timings as to when I sleep and wake up is pretty exact, so that's nice. As of now, the Huawei Watch 3 Pro is still the most accurate smartwatch in terms of tracking sleep patterns. There's also snore detection, but as I don't snore in my sleep, this feature didn't do much for me and I opted to keep it turned off in favour of slightly better battery life.
Speaking of battery life, it's pretty decent. A full charge easily lasted me over a day, although it was teetering around 15% by around 11 a.m. the next morning. That's good enough for me though, I got used to charging the watch whenever I took a shower in the evening, and I never really ran out of battery at all.
On the rare occasion that I forgot to drop the watch on the charging puck before I headed out of the house, I could easily use the wireless power sharing feature on the Z Fold3 to wirelessly charge the watch. Very convenient.
So is this the best Android smartwatch on the market? I think yes, but only if you're using a Samsung phone. Samsung has done a great job building up their ecosystem, and I daresay they're pretty much on par with Apple in terms of how seamless and how convenient it is when you're using everything Samsung.
Have the new Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and the Watch4? Well then, you'll be pleased to know that you can easily turn ANC on or off from a widget on the watch, and even use the rotating bezel to control the volume! And if you have a Samsung phone, you can even have the earbuds connect to your watch for music playback for example, and the earbuds will switch back to the phone automatically if a call comes in.
The Watch4 starts at S$398 and the Watch4 Classic starts from S$548, with preorder collection starting from 2 September and general availability in Singapore starting from 10 September. More information about the Watch4 series can be found on Samsung's website.
Written by Cheryl Tan