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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: A game-changing Android smartwatch that does not compromise on form or functionality

Moneycontrol logo Moneycontrol 22-10-2021 Carlsen Martin
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: A game-changing Android smartwatch that does not compromise on form or functionality © Carlsen Martin Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: A game-changing Android smartwatch that does not compromise on form or functionality

Earlier in 2021, Samsung announced its collaboration with Google to work on a new and intuitive operating system for the Galaxy Watch. And the Galaxy 4 series were the first to swap out the company’s custom Tizen OS for the new and improved Google Wear OS. The new Watch 4 series features a vanilla Galaxy Watch 4, which opts for a sportier look, and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic that leans more towards luxury.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Price in India

Before we delve into the specs and features of the Galaxy Watch 4 series, let’s take a look at their pricing. The Galaxy Watch 4 is offered in a 40mm and 44mm case, which will set you back Rs 23,999 and Rs 26,999, respectively. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is offered in 42mm and 46mm sizes, which costs Rs 31,999 and Rs 34,999, respectively. However, the LTE versions of all the watches will set you back an additional Rs 5,000. After a boring breakdown of pricing, let’s take an in-depth look at the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

Design and Build

The unboxing experience for the Galaxy Watch 4 Class was pretty simple. The box includes the smartwatch, charger, a warranty card, and a quick start guide. Moving on to the design, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic screams premium. The watch case is available in Black or Silver (Our model) and is made of stainless steel. As a first-time user, I found the watch’s design to be quite exquisite. The more I looked at it, the less it seemed like a smartwatch and more like a luxury watch.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also retains the rotating dial, which comes in handy for navigating through to the different features of the watch. This also means that the Watch 4 Classic has noticeable bezels but that did not bother me too much. The one thing that did bother was the rigid silicone strap, which does not fit the luxurious appeal of this watch. I feel a leather strap would have made more sense here, especially when you consider the Watch 4 Classic does have a heftier price tag than the standard Galaxy Watch 4.

However, this can easily be rectified by going for a leather strap, which should match the appeal of the watch. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic comes with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. It has also gone through military standard testing to withstand extreme temperatures and shock impacts. Lastly, the AMOLED display is protected by Gorilla Glass DX, making it scratch resistant.

Display

And since we are on the subject of the display, the Watch 4 Class sports a 1.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen. The Super AMOLED display has a 450x450 pixels resolution and get plenty bright, allowing you to easily view content on the screen, even under direct sunlight. The display is quite sharp and is capable of showing even the tiniest of details without any pixelation. Samsung also has a myriad of different watch faces.

Hardware

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic uses Samsung’s custom Exynos W920 chipset paired with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The chipset is pretty capable, and the watch runs quite smoothly without any lag or stutters. It is worth noting that you can only use 7GB of the to store music, apps, and files on the watch, the pre-installed apps and operating system takes up the rest of the space.

Interface

And since we are on the topic of the OS, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic runs on Wear OS and also incorporates several features of Samsung’s Tizen OS. Samsung calls it One UI Watch. The overall interface is pretty refined, although the app drawer is now accessible with a bottom swipe. Thanks to Wear OS you also have access to the Google Play Store and Google Play Services.

The apps themselves appear in little circular icons and are well spaced out so as to not feel cluttered, which makes navigating through the OS quite convenient. You can use swipes to navigate through the UI, although I used the rotating bezel for the most part. One UI Watch also features an expansive watch face library with an editing suite for developers. If there was one word to describe the interface on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, I’d say “seamless”.

Health Features

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also comes with a new BioActive Sensor, which combines a myriad of sensors including an optical heart rate sensor, electrical heart sensor, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) sensor. The new BIA sensor sends a weak electric current through your body to analyse body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, body fat percentage, bone mass, body water percentage, and more. Other sensors on the Watch 4 Classic include an Accelerometer, a Barometer, a Gyro sensor, a Geomagnetic sensor, and a light sensor. These are traditional sensors found on most smartwatches.

You can take a BIA reading by placing your fingers against the crown buttons for around 15 seconds without pushing them. It takes around 15 seconds to get a measurement if you get it right the first time that is. It goes without saying that the BIA sensor on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is pretty much game-changing. Samsung does say that a pregnant person or one with a pacemaker should not use BIA. I did not have a smart scale to check how accurate Samsung’s BIA sensor actually was, but I’d recommend checking with a doctor first and not assuming that a reading is accurate.

Sleep and Stress Tracking

Another major improvement on the Watch 4 Classic is the improved sleep tracking metrics. SpO2 readings are taken every minute while you sleep providing better insight on the quality of sleep. Additionally, the watch can also track snoring on compatible smartphones. The watch analyses your deep sleep, REM sleep, light sleep, and time spent awake to give a sleep score. Since I am not used to sleeping with a watch, and the Watch 4 Classic is pretty heavy, I found the watch to be a little uncomfortable when using it while sleeping.

But it is not just sleep, the stress app on the Watch 4 Classic to show your levels of stress. You want to ensure that you do not go into the red zone here, but I cannot speak to the efficacy of stress tracing on smartwatches. The good part is that it will give you the option to launch breathing sessions. All the health tracking features on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic work with the Samsung Health app, which is available on the Play Store. However, ECG and Blood Pressure tracking only work on Galaxy phones with the Health Monitor App, which was a bit of a let-down.

Activity Tracking

You can also use the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to track a variety of indoor and outdoor workouts and activities. The list of workouts ranging from running, cycling, hiking, swimming, walking, and more. Apart from the preloaded workouts, you can also add other workouts or activities using the Samsung Health App.

The watch also tracks several parameters during your workout. While cycling, the watch provides information about aerobic heart rates, speed, duration, calories burnt, distance, and more. It also tracked data for each kilometre I covered and provided an average breakdown as well as data about the maximum metric. The GPS tracking is also accurate for the most part, although Samsung is being quite generous with Calories burnt during a workout.

Lastly, the Watch 4 Classic also has automatic workout tracking, which can automatically pause a workout session when you stop to take a break. I found the feature to be pretty useful while cycling, lifting weights, and playing badminton, primarily because it is easy to forget to resume a workout after a short break.

Battery Life

Samsung claims that the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic with the 361 mAh battery could last up to 40 hours with average use. However, I was getting around 25 to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge. With GPS tracking, activity tracking (2 Hours), YouTube Music running in the background (2 hours), and the always on display turned on, you should expect to reach for the charger in 24 hours. I always found myself charging the watch daily before going into a workout. Despite Samsung’s 40-hour claim, I could not workout two days in a row with a single charge.

However, I would not say that the limited battery life is a criticism of the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, but a criticism of smartwatches in general. Smartwatches have a long way to go before they can offer the same kind of battery life as fitness trackers. The premium Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also takes about 90 minutes to reach a full charge and also provides a charging reminder two hours before your slated sleep time to ensure that there’s enough battery life to track your sleep.

Verdict

With the Watch 4 Classic, Samsung is not compromising on anything, delivering a perfect blend of form and functionality. The Watch 4 Classic features a premium design, a refined interface, a ton of health and wellness features, in-depth activity tracking, and excellent hardware to ensure zero performance hiccups. And with Google and Samsung working together on Wear OS, I can only see the interface getting better in time. However, the Watch 4 Classic is not without its flaws, as some features are only accessible using compatible Galaxy smartphones, which may be a deal breaker for some consumers.

Battery life could also be better and this could be a bigger problem on the smaller models, which are more suited to slender wrists. I’d recommend going for the most affordable vanilla Galaxy Watch 4 model if you are only here for all the health and activity tracking features. After using the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for well over a month, it is safe to say that this is one of the best Android smartwatches on the market and can give the Apple Watch cause for concern, especially if Samsung enables ECG and blood pressure tracking on all phones.

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