Samsung Galaxy Watch4 44mm Review: They Did It!

Yay! or nay? (Spoiler: It's Yay! for the most part)

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Galaxy Watch4 review
Image: Abubakar Mohammed---Fossbytes

Wear OS experience has always left us with much to be desired. Not only is the OS the least popular among wearables, but people also show little to no interest in buying one with the same, thanks to the likes of the Apple Watch. However, the recent Google-Samsung partnership to revive Wear OS looks promising, and the Galaxy Watch4 is the first product of their combined efforts. So, is the Watch4 the ultimate Wear OS smartwatch we all wanted? Here’s our Galaxy Watch 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review

Specifications

  • Display: 1.4” super AMOLED display with 450×450 pixels of resolution
  • RAM/Internal Storage: 1.5/16GB
  • SoC: Exynos W920
  • Battery: 361mAh
  • Waterproofing: Yes, IP68
  • Software: Wear OS 3.0
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11/a/b/g/n, LTE (optional), GPS 

1. Build Quality, Design, and Comfort

Right out of the box, the build quality feels excellent. Most of the smartwatches in the sub 250$ price range, like Mobvoi’s Ticwatch E3 and Watch4’s predecessor Watch3, are bulky, which takes away the premium feel. Watch4, on the other hand, is slim. The polished silver aluminum frame (on the silver color variant) with two buttons on the right, one of which has a red accent ring running through the edges, is eye-catching.

Galaxy Watch4 review

The bezels are on the thicker side due to the digital crown. However, they’re not too thick to ruin the watch’s overall look. When it comes to the build quality and design, the Watch4 is one of the prettiest Wear OS smartwatches I’ve ever used.

The included strap isn’t the best, though it gets the job done. Some might not like how the remaining part of the belt needs to be inserted beneath the strap once you buckle it, but it’s pretty. As someone with sensitive skin, I had no issues wearing it comfortably all day long.

2. Software and Performance

Watch4 is currently the only watch in the market that ships with Google’s latest Wear OS 3.0, but the software is a mixed bag. I’m not a fan of Tizen UI and would’ve preferred the vanilla Wear OS 3.0 UI as it looked great when Google showcased it at the Google I/O 2021. Part of the reason why the UI on the Watch4 has a heavy Tizen element to it could be to make it easier for people switching from older Samsung watches.

As a Wear OS smartwatch, you expect it to ship with Google Fit and Google Pay out of the box, but it ships with Samsung Health and Samsung Pay. Bixby replaces Google Assistant, which requires you to make a Samsung account and sign in.

This doesn’t mean that Samsung’s services are inadequate, but they make the Watch4 feel like it was made only to be used with Samsung smartphones. On the other hand, the digital crown didn’t feel as good as a physical rotating crown, but the haptic feedback is excellent. I, however, ended up disabling the same, as I prefer swiping. Given an option, I would trade the digital crown for thinner bezels any day.

Fitness and health-related software features are integrated very well into the watch. The Watch4 can track over 20 exercises, sleep, body composure, heart rate, stress, and SpO2 levels, all work flawlessly.

You can see the Notifications by swiping left from the home screen, which instinctively feels better and easier than swiping down on Wear OS 2.0. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen reveals the app drawer, which is inspired by Apple’s Watch OS launcher. Those who have never used Samsung devices or services might feel like they’re not home, but it doesn’t take much time to adapt to the same. Navigating the UI feels smooth with occasional stutters when switching between multiple apps.

The Watch4 Still Doesn’t Have Google Assistant

Update: Google Assistant for Watch4 is coming soon!

During the launch, Samsung said that it will be bringing the Google Assistant in future updates. However, six months after that launch, the feature is still nowhere to be found. The watch does come with Bixby as the default assistant but it’s lacking features and heavily struggles with speech detection. There’s, however, an option in the settings settings to change the default assistant app.

3. Display and Battery

The display panel of the Watch4 is a 1.4” Super AMOLED with 450×450 pixels. It’s vivid, crisp, and bright enough for a comfortable outdoor viewing experience. There’s also an ambient light sensor that automatically controls brightness based on the lighting conditions, and it works flawlessly. However, I would highly recommend disabling it in exchange for better battery life.

Galaxy Watch4 side buttons

I wouldn’t describe the battery life as “Excellent,” nor would I describe it as “Below average.” While testing, it lasted for a solid one and a half days, which is impressive. Although, I would’ve preferred a slightly bigger cell as that would have made it a 2-day watch.

Galaxy Watch 4 Review - Battery Stats

As I write this, the battery is sitting at 70%, and the last time I charged was 13 hours ago. However, with AOD, the Watch4 lasts for around a day, which isn’t great but very respectable for a Wear OS smartwatch. The charging speed isn’t the fastest. It takes around an hour and fifteen minutes to fully charge the watch.

Overall, the battery life is up to the mark or even better than the competition, but it’s still not a two-day watch.

4. Is The Watch4 Worth Your Money?

Galaxy Watch4 front bezels

The Galaxy Watch4 is undoubtedly one of the most feature-rich Wear OS smartwatches available in the market currently. Things like the battery and the lack of Google Assistant or the presence of Samsung services could be a deal-breaker for many. For an asking price of $250, the Watch4 isn’t exactly cheap, but compared to the latest Wear OS devices like the Ticwatch E3, which sells for $200, the premium feel, latest Wear OS 3.0, and the additional features and sensors are very well worth the extra $50.

What are your thoughts about the Samsung Galaxy Watch4? Do you own one? How has your experience been so far? Let us know your opinions in the comments section below.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Review

Abubakar Mohammed

Build and Design
Battery
Software and UI (Subjective rating)
Health and Fitness-related features
Speaker and Microphone
Display

Summary

This review was written after rigorously testing the Watch4 for over two months. The Galaxy Watch4 is currently one of the best Wear OS smartwatches that you can get. It’s worth considering if you’re looking to buy a smartwatch to get serious about your fitness.

4.4
Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a passionate tech writer whose love for tech started in 2011 when he got a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Linux and open-source, you'll find him binge-watching anime or Tech content on YouTube.