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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review

An incredible smartwatch for Samsung phone users but a little underwhelming when it comes to battery life
samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review
Credit: Samsung
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $280 List | $194.04 at Amazon
Pros:  Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great price
Cons:  Subpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be better
Manufacturer:   Samsung
By Benjamin Hickok ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2021
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 8.0
  • Smart Functions - 20% 7.0
  • Display - 20% 9.0
  • Fitness Impact - 15% 6.0
  • Battery - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 scored near the top of our lineup of the best smartwatches for its great performance across most of our tests. This is an ideal choice for current Samsung phone users with a gorgeous display and excellent usability. Unfortunately, battery life is somewhat underwhelming, and the fitness tracking was disappointing with regard to accurate step counting and stair counting. However, Samsung did introduce a very cool digital bezel with haptic feedback, making the watch easy and enjoyable to use. Outside of that, this most recent iteration doesn't make huge strides over previous models, but it's our top recommendation for dedicated Samsung users.

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Price $280 List
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Loaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great priceGood value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery lifeSpecialized fitness tracking features, good battery lifeIncredible battery life, great fitness trackingSupports mobile payments, good display, Android OS friendly
Cons Subpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be betterCould be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functionsPricey, not our favorite touchscreenLack of smart features, could be easier to useFinicky to setup on the charger, just okay at everything
Bottom Line An incredible smartwatch for Samsung phone users but a little underwhelming when it comes to battery lifeThe fitness features packed into this wearable make it an excellent choice for the priceOffering features like skin temperature, SpO2, and stress management, this is a great wearable for specialized fitness trackingIncredible battery life and great fitness tracking abilities make this watch a notable fitness wearableA great value option for Android users that want to add a little convenience to their wrist
Rating Categories Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Fitbit Sense Huawei GT 2 Pro Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Ease of Use (30%)
8.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Smart Functions (20%)
7.0
5.0
5.0
4.0
6.0
Display (20%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Fitness Impact (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Battery (15%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Specs Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Fitbit Sense Huawei GT 2 Pro Mobvoi Ticwatch E3
Water Resistance 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM IP68
NFC (contactless payment) Yes, Samsung Pay Yes, Fitbit Pay Yes, Fitbit Pay Yes, Google Pay Yes, Google Pay
GPS? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR Monitor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Microphone? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Speaker? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display 40mm or 44mm AMOLED 1.58 inch OLED 1.58 inch OLED 1.39 inch AMOLED 1.3 inch AMOLED
Resolution 396 x 396,
450 x 450
336 x 336 336 x 336 454 x 454 360 x 360
Other Sensors Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyro
Geomagnetic
Light
Electrical heart
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
Ambient light
Altimeter
3-axis accelerometer
Skin temperature
Ambient light
Electrical heart
3-axis accelerometer
Altimeter
Gyroscope
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic
Air pressure
Accelerometer
Gyro
SpO2
Low Latency Off-Body
Processor Dual-core 1.18 GHz Cortex-A55 N/A N/A Kirin A1 + STL4R9 Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor
Available Sizes 40mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm One size One size One size One size
Size Tested 44mm N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Galaxy Watch 4 is a top-tier wearable explicitly designed for Samsung phone users. It is easy to use, sleek, ergonomic, and has an attractive display. It offers several fitness tracking functions and features, though we don't think it is the best product for Android or iOS users, as there are better wearables specifically meant for those operating systems. Overall, this watch lives up to its potential, and its performance results are outlined below.

Performance Comparison


samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - a good smartwatch adds convenience and fitness tracking to your...
A good smartwatch adds convenience and fitness tracking to your wrist while maintaining a stylish look.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


We started our testing and review process by looking at how easy it was to use the Galaxy Watch 4 based on the interface, responsiveness of the touchscreen, bezel and side buttons, water-resistance, wristband, and charging method. The watch did well in this metric, earning one of the top scores, performing how you would expect from a premium device.


Samsung has evolved the mechanical bezel of previous models by integrating a completely digital touch bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4. The touch bezel provides great haptic feedback and allows you to swipe the edge of the watch with your finger to easily scroll between apps and screens. The digitization of the bezel enhances the user experience, and the watch interface and display are both very snappy and responsive. This watch is also easy to charge and connects seamlessly to other Samsung devices.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - digital bezels and haptic feedback enhance user-friendliness.
Digital bezels and haptic feedback enhance user-friendliness.
Credit: Laura Casner

Smart Functions


The Galaxy Watch 4 provides the wide array of smart features that you would expect from a well-refined device manufactured by a premium manufacturer like Samsung. It expands on the features and functionality of supported apps from previous models.


The Galaxy Watch 4 has one of the top selections of popular apps, including Spotify, Strava, IFTTT, Shazam, and many more. Phone calls are also easy to take on the watch, with audio that is crisp, clear, and with good speaker volume. Controlling music is easy to do from your watch as well; you can play, pause, adjust volume, and skip with ease. Google Wear OS supports Google Pay for wireless payments, there's standalone GPS for tracking your adventures, and cellular-capable versions are available for those who want to leave their phone behind. All in all, this is a top-tier watch that offers a lot to the user.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - conveniently take phone calls from your wrist, no phone required.
Conveniently take phone calls from your wrist, no phone required.
Credit: Laura Casner

Display


The Galaxy Watch 4 has a display quality, features, and performance you would expect from a top-tier wearable. The combination of a sharp AMOLED display and auto brightness adjustment makes it easy to read text on the screen in either bright or poorly lit environments.


This watch also has an always-on setting for those that want the convenience of a display that is always visible. If this isn't to your liking it can be turned off in your settings.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - the galaxy 4 is easy to read, even on super bright days out in the...
The Galaxy 4 is easy to read, even on super bright days out in the sun.
Credit: Laura Casner

Fitness Impact


Even though the Galaxy Watch 4 runs Wear OS, pairing with a Samsung Galaxy device enhances the fitness features of the watch by adding some health and fitness tracking features. For example, ECG and blood pressure monitoring are only available with Samsung's proprietary Samsung Health. Unfortunately, in our fitness impact testing, the watch averaged a large discrepancy in step and stair counts, something that we would expect to be more accurate from a premium product.


If you have experience with the Samsung Health ecosystem for health and fitness tracking, then you'll be right at home using the Galaxy Watch 4. The watch does a great job detecting when workout activity starts and stops and has a wide variety of workout apps and features, including support for Wear OS apps that didn't exist on previous models.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - use it for workout apps and fitness tracking.
Use it for workout apps and fitness tracking.
Credit: Laura Casner

While the Galaxy Watch 4 has a great workout app offering and does a decent job with heart rate monitoring, the accolades sort of end there. Unfortunately, the watch proved to be less accurate than the best fitness trackers we tested. Compared to the control device data we collected, the step counter was consistently inaccurate. It ranged from about 1.8% to 10% incorrect across the different step tests, for an average error of 5.9% in step counting. The watch also does not have a true stair counter and instead makes stair counts a calculated sub-metric of a floor counter, which was also quite inaccurate.

Samsung added body composition measuring and blood oxygen sensors to this current iteration. While the concept is great, the accuracy of those measuring devices was also poor, making the data something you wouldn't want to rely on exclusively. We still think this is the watch to choose if you own a Samsung, but some of these findings were quite disappointing, and we hope they are addressed in future iterations.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - fitness tracking is easy with samsung's huge selection of workout...
Fitness tracking is easy with Samsung's huge selection of workout apps, though we had some minor issues with accurate data collection.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery


Our battery testing metric evaluated battery life under normal use and charging rates. The battery life of the Galaxy Watch 4 was a little underwhelming. However, with a massive array of smart app and fitness tracking features and functions, it's no surprise that this watch consumes so much power. While it's not the best battery life of all the watches we tested, it is on par with premium wearables, like Apple's Series 7.


The Galaxy 4 builds on the battery charging performance of the previous model by reducing charging times by about 30% for a half charge (50%) and about 25% to achieve a full recharge (100%). While that is an impressive improvement over its predecessor, it is, as already mentioned, still only an average performance when compared to the other smartwatches we tested.

The watch is easy to charge, with a charging cable that aligns with magnets. The magnets could be a little stronger, as it doesn't take much effort to break the watch free of the charger, so users will have to be mindful not to knock it off of a countertop or nightstand and disrupt it from recharging.

samsung galaxy watch 4 smartwatch review - the wireless style charging is incredibly convenient.
The wireless style charging is incredibly convenient.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


This watch is not what we would consider a budget-friendly watch, though it is cheaper than some other premium options. Despite a few areas that need improvement, this is a great option for current Samsung phone users, with a willingness and means to afford it.

Conclusion


We think that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is an excellent smartwatch for anyone with a Samsung phone, but expect to have to charge it more frequently than others. It is loaded with smart features and functions, looks incredible, and is very convenient and easy to use, especially with a completely digital bezel. It is also a great fitness and health tracker, even if it could be a little more accurate regarding the step counter. Our biggest issue with this compared to other best smartwatches is its battery life because charging requirements make it a poor option for anyone who wants to wear it at night for sleep tracking. However, just like the other high-performance devices with a beautiful display we tested, the battery life and recharging requirements are similar.

Benjamin Hickok
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