Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: A watch built on promises

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: A watch built on promises

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an important device for both Samsung and Google. Not only did Samsung ditch its tried-and-true smartwatch platform, but it’s also relying on Google to not drop the ball on Wear OS (again). Google, meanwhile, is relying on Samsung to show off what the new Wear OS can do, without having much of a say on the user-facing platform or hardware on which it’s presented.

The results, so far, are mixed. Samsung’s heavy-handed approach to software outshines the new Wear OS experience, causing us to wonder what elements are Samsung’s and what elements will appear on future Wear OS 3 watches. Regardless, the Galaxy Watch 4 offers something for most buyers — as long as those buyers are really into Samsung products. Learn more in our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review.

About this Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm) and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (40mm) for nine days running software version R870XXU1BUH9 on the August 1, 2021, Android security patch. They were connected to my Google Pixel 5a and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra throughout the testing period. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review units were provided to Android Authority by Samsung.

What you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

samsung galaxy watch 4 review galaxy watch 4 classic on table

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm Bluetooth-only): $249 / €369 / £369
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (42mm Bluetooth-only): $349 / €269 / £259
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (46mm Bluetooth-only): $379
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (42mm LTE): $399
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (46mm LTE): $429
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm Bluetooth-only): $279
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm LTE): $299
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm LTE): $329

The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung’s new flagship smartwatch for 2021. It’s different from preceding Samsung smartwatches in that it’s running a new version of Google’s smartwatch platform, Wear OS, which was co-developed by both companies.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes in two flavors: the Galaxy Watch 4, which is the sportier version and the direct follow-up to 2019’s Galaxy Watch Active 2; and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which is made with higher-end materials and is the follow-up to 2020’s Galaxy Watch 3. Both the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are offered in small and large sizes and have optional LTE-connected variants.

What we like

Classy, durable designsMultiple size optionsWear OS 3 is all-around goodLarge models have decent battery lifeImproved heart rate sensorUseful body composition metrics

What we don’t like

No solid software update commitments from GoogleNo Google Assistant supportSlow, slow chargingPoor GPS performanceSleep tracking needs tweakingSmall models have short battery life

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are two fantastic smartwatches that we could recommend to most Android users. Those who own Samsung smartphones will feel a little more at home, though, as Samsung’s apps and services are injected throughout the whole experience. All in all, these two smartwatches are great showcases for Google and Samsung’s Wear OS 3 platform.

 

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