Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Which should you buy. Galaxy watch4 classic 46mm

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung’s latest Galaxy Watch series has landed, and this time around, we’ve got the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro instead of the “Classic” variation of Samsung’s earlier series. If you’re wondering what’s different this time around and whether you should splurge on the top-of-the-line Galaxy Watch 5 Pro — the model designed for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a tougher smartwatch — or stick to the tried-and-tested Watch 4 Classic, we’re here to help. We’ve compared the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic across categories like design and display, battery life, and special features to help you decide.

samsung, galaxy, watch, classic


Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Display size 1.36 inches

46mm: 396 x 396 pixels (330 ppi)

Design and display

Though the Watch 5 Pro has arrived instead of a Classic variant this time around, there are some pretty obvious differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and the Watch 4 Classic. Where the Watch 4 Classic retains the rotating bezel around its display, the Watch 5 Pro foregoes the physical rotating bezel — and the capacitive bezel control — in favor of a touch bezel. Since this is a feature that has helped Samsung wearables stand out from the competition, it’ll be interesting to see how fans react. The removal of the rotating bezel means the Watch 5 Pro profile is even more svelte than the 46mm Watch 4 Classic, with a 10.5mm depth.

The Watch 5 Pro weighs 46.5 grams and comes in just one size: 45mm. The Watch 4 Classic comes in 42mm or 46mm sizes, weighing in at 46.5 grams and 52 grams, respectively. There’s really not much noticeable difference here at all, though if weight is a concern, the Watch 5 Pro is lighter than the 46mm Watch 4 Classic.

Whichever you choose, you’re getting a Super AMOLED display, though the Watch 5 Pro boosts the resolution to 450 x 450. Either way, things look pretty sharp, but the newer model’s display ensures everything looks exceptionally crisp and clear. The Watch 5 Pro is also the first Samsung smartwatch display to feature a 29GPa sapphire crystal display, providing a 60% harder outer layer compared to the Watch 4 series, and there’s a raised bezel around the display for added durability.

samsung, galaxy, watch, classic

There are some differences in the frame, too. The Watch 4 Classic has a stainless steel case, while the Watch 5 Pro has a titanium body. On a final note, the Watch 5 Pro features an all-new D-Buckle Sports Band with a magnetic attachment for improved fit compared to the traditional buckle mechanism on the Watch 4 Classic.

Finally, the Watch 4 Classic comes in black or silver, while the Watch 5 Pro is available in Black Titanium and Gray Titanium, which actually looks a bit more like a beach sand gray.

The differences here are fairly minimal, so we’re calling it a tie. If a physical rotating bezel is a must for you, you’ll probably want to stick with the Watch 4 Classic. If you’re happy to forego that rotating bezel for a titanium body, higher-resolution display with sapphire crystal, and a more secure D-Buckle clasp, go for the Watch 5 Pro.

Fitness and health-tracking features

When it comes to fitness and health-tracking features, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Watch 5 Pro have all the usual sensors you’d expect. Both watches feature Samsung’s 3-in-1 BioActive sensor with a Bio-Electrical Impedance (BIA) sensor, electrocardiogram (ECG), and PPG heart rate sensor. The BIA sensor presents you with information previously only available from Smart scales, such as body mass index, basal metabolic rate (BMR), and more. Using the ECG feature requires an app on your Samsung phone to see the data, though. There’s also a SpO2 blood oxygen monitor, stress measurement tracker, and women’s health tracker, plus fall detection. Despite the identical features here, Samsung promises better accuracy with the Watch 5 series due to a more secure fit and more contact with the wrist. It’s worth noting here that U.S. users can’t yet take advantage of blood pressure monitoring through their Samsung Galaxy Watch, as it hasn’t been given regulatory approval yet.

The Watch 5 Pro’s main new feature is an infrared temperature sensor, which uses infrared technology to monitor your temperature accurately, even if the temperature of your environment changes. This could be used for period tracking or as an early indicator of sickness.

Both watches also offer sleep scores to monitor stages of sleep, snore detection, and blood oxygen levels. Samsung has also added personalized Sleep Coaching to the Watch 5 Pro, a month-long tailored and guided program to help improve your sleep habits.

With both watches, you can track over 100 different workouts with automatic workout detection. There’s also the familiar digital running coach from earlier watch models, plus VO2 max data, which tells you the amount of oxygen you’re using during your training, and it’s an excellent indicator of aerobic fitness.

The Watch 5 Pro adds GPX, available for the first time on a Galaxy Watch, so you can download or display routes as well as record new routes and share them with friends. Samsung has added turn-by-turn directions to keep cyclists and runners on track, plus the new trackback feature, which takes you back the way you came, should you get lost. These features may be staples on Garmin and other multisport watches, but they’re not usually found on advanced flagship smartwatches, so Samsung could be onto something here.

We’re giving this round to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but it’s a close one. The addition of the temperature tracker and added features for runners and cyclists just push Samsung’s latest into the lead, though most of the same health and fitness features can be found across both watches.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Battery life

Another area where you’ll notice a big difference between the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Watch 4 Classic is battery life. The Watch 4 Classic packs a 247mAh battery in the 42mm model, while the 46mm variant is powered by a 361mAh battery. Both should give you around 40 hours of running time, depending on how you use your watch. The Watch 5 Pro tops them both with a 590mAh battery that promises up to 80 hours of battery life on a single charge or 20 hours of continuous GPS usage.

In our review, we found this translates to three working days of battery life without a recharge, provided you don’t wear your watch overnight. That’s with a 30-minute activity tracked each day. Because the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro isn’t the best choice for sleep tracking due to its size and weight, this gives battery life a noticeable boost too. In reality, you won’t get close to Samsung’s promised 80 hours if you activate the always-0n screen and continuous heart rate and stress monitoring.

Faster charging speeds are on offer with the Watch 5 series, too, taking around 20 minutes to get to 40% from almost flat, reaching 65% in around 40 minutes and a full charge in 90 minutes.

We’re giving this round to the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro for that beefier battery and those faster charging speeds.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Special features

If you’re a fan of that rotating bezel, you may want to stick with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, as the Watch 5 Pro favors a touch bezel instead.

The infrared temperature sensor on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is probably the watch’s stand-out feature, but at Unpacked, Samsung mentioned it plans to work with developers to explore new ways to use this in the future, so users can benefit from it in the “near future.” This means we could be waiting a while before there’s actually a use for it.

Both watches run WearOS 3 and Samsung’s One UI Watch. The Watch 5 Pro ships with One UI Watch 4.5, with dual-SIM support and an improved typing interface, plus a ton of new accessibility features. Coming soon to Wear OS 3 are music apps like Deezer and SoundCloud. Soon, you’ll also be able to navigate using your voice in Google Maps directly from your Watch. Wear OS 3 also gives Galaxy Watch owners access to Google Assistant on their wrist.

We’re calling this round a tie as it probably comes down to personal preference — if you absolutely can’t live without a physical rotating bezel, the Watch 4 Classic is the one for you. If you’re more interested in the latest features like an infrared temperature sensor, you should probably pick up the Watch 5 Pro.

Price and availability

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is currently available to buy from Samsung. Pricing starts at 450 for the Bluetooth version and 500 for the LTE variant. There’s also a special Golf Edition available. Samsung has some great trade-in discounts that are worth checking out if you have an eligible device to trade in. You can also find the Watch 5 Pro at other retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at 300 and is available to buy from Samsung. Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers. The LTE version is supported by all major carriers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

We could probably call this a tie, as it was so close, but we’ve crowned the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro our overall winner. In reality, the differences between these two watches aren’t that significant, and which one you choose will probably come down to personal preference. Ultimately, the Watch 5 Pro’s more durable display with sapphire crystal, beefier battery and faster charging, temperature sensor, and new fitness features just see it take the lead.

So who’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for? Those who can’t live without a physical rotating bezel — and you could save 150 while still packing in most of the same health and fitness tracking features found on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. The Watch 4 Classic is still an excellent buy, but the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the watch we’d recommend if you’re buying your first Galaxy Watch, though whether it’s worth it if you’re upgrading probably comes down to cost.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Which should you buy?

Wondering what’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic? If you’re going to get one of these Galaxy smartwatch, you’ll want to decide which version is right for you.

These two smartwatches are follow-ups to Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 ditches the ‘Active’ branding while maintaining a slim, sporty-looking exterior. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic tries a bit harder to pass as a traditional timepiece, complete with leather straps and a rotating bezel.

But the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are identical on the inside. From the new Wear OS software and Samsung’s One UI skin to the 3-in-1 health sensor and expansive watch face collection, you’ll get the same software experience. Instead, the differences stem from the exterior — and from the price tag.

Here’s everything you need to know about how the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic compare. Yet note only the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 classic remains on sale, as the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro have arrived. See all differences between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs. Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Specs compared

Starting priceSize optionsDimensionsWeightBattery capacityBattery lifeProcessorConnectivityMemorySmartphone compatibilityDurabilityColor options
249.99 349.99
40mm/44mm 42mm/46mm
40mm:40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8 mm; 44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8 mm 42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm; 46mm: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0 mm
40mm: 0.91 ounces 44mm: 1.06 ounces 42mm: 1.64 ounces 46mm: 1.83 ounces
40mm: 247mAh; 44mm: 361mAh 42mm: 247mAh; 46mm: 361mAh
40 hours 40 hours
Exynos W920 Exynos W920
Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE (optional), NFC Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE (optional), NFC
1.5GB RAM 16GB 1.5GB RAM 16GB
Android 6.0 or higher Android 6.0 or higher
5ATM IP68 / MIL-STD-810G 5ATM IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Black, Silver, Pink Gold, Green Black, Silver

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Price and availability

Both the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will become available on August 27. If you pre-order yours between August 11 and August 26, you’ll get 50 credit to the Samsung store.

The standard Galaxy Watch 4 starts at 249.99 for the 40mm Bluetooth model and 299.99 for the 40mm LTE model. The 44mm model costs 279.99 for Bluetooth and 329.99 for LTE.

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at 349.99 for the 42mm Bluetooth model and 399.99 for the 42mm LTE model. The 46mm version is priced at 379.99 for Bluetooth and 429.99 for LTE.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Design

Both the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic have redesigned frames that create a gapless transition from the smartwatch chassis to the straps. The uniform crown buttons also sport an oblong shape, rather than one protruding round crown accompanied by a flat side button.

The Galaxy Watch 4 pays homage to the Galaxy Watch models of the past, too. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic gets the rotating bezel, which is both a handy navigation tool and excellent fidget spinner. Since the original Samsung Galaxy Watch debuted the bezel, it’s become the device’s iconic design element. This version of the smartwatch makes a stronger fashion statement than many other popular wearables on the market.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic features fancier materials such as a stainless steel case and leather straps. Think of it like the Apple Watch’s ‘Edition’ line, except the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is far more affordable than the Apple Watch Edition models, which are typically made from high-end materials like ceramic and titanium. Though it costs 100 more than the standard Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, it’s starting price is still less expensive than the entry-level Apple Watch 6.

For something more subtle, the standard Galaxy Watch 4 opts for a capacitive bezel and lightweight, aluminum case. The included silicone straps make this version of the smartwatch look and feel more athletic. The Galaxy Watch 4 sits more flush on your wrist than the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, too.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Features

There’s no difference in features between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. You’ll experience the same user experience, no matter which smartwatch you go with.

Still, here’s what new with the Galaxy Watch 4 Series. Most notably, Tizen has been absorbed into a unified Google Wear OS, which is now called Wear OS 3. The home screen and your favorite apps are navigated by swiping through tiles, while the greater collection of apps exists in a Cloud menu. Samsung’s own programs like Samsung Pay and Samsung Health still take priority, but the smartwatch is loaded with Google’s programs, too.

Complementing Wear OS, Samsung’s One UI Watch skin better integrates the Galaxy Watch 4 with the rest of Samsung device ecosystem. The settings from a Galaxy smartphone transfer to a Galaxy smartwatch, and vice versa, automatically. One UI Watch also leverages an expansive watch face library with bubbly numbers, animal animations and color-coordinated complications that might remind you of Android 12.

As for health and fitness features, the Samsung’s new health sensor for the Galaxy Watch 4 combines heart rate monitoring (PPG), an electrocardiogram reader (ECG) and bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA). Similar to what you’ll find on the best Smart scales, BIA sends a weak electric current through your body to analyze body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, bone mass, body water percentage and more. You take a reading by holding your fingers against the crown buttons for about 15 seconds.

Samsung improved sleep tracking metrics for its latest smartwatches, too. Blood oxygen is measured once a minute overnight on the Galaxy Watch 4, compared to once every 30 minutes on the Galaxy Watch 3. SpO2 readings could mean more insight on rest quality, especially for those with conditions like sleep apnea. When you sleep next to a compatible smartphone, the sounds of your snores get tracked, too.

Lastly, let’s talk about battery life. Samsung estimates both smartwatches will last up to 40 hours on one charge. But with GPS, activity tracking and the always-on display enabled, it could be less.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: Which is right for you?

When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, the choice comes down to price and design.

For a starting price of 249.99 the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the versatile Android smartwatch most shoppers should consider. It’s not as eye-catching as the Classic model, but it’s fit for the gym yet sleek enough for everyday wear.

But if you’re all about that bezel, and prefer a smartwatch that looks more like a traditional timepiece, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is your gadget. And while you’re essentially paying an 100 premium for flashier wrist candy, it’s still less expensive than the Apple Watch.

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Crush workouts, fitness goals, and your to-do list with Galaxy Watch4 Comfortable, sleek and fashionable design Measure body composition with the powerful Samsung BioActive Sensor. Make every.

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New Wishlist

Crush workouts, fitness goals, and your to-do list with Galaxy Watch4 Comfortable, sleek and fashionable design Measure body composition with the powerful Samsung BioActive Sensor. Make every.

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Crush workouts, fitness goals, and your to-do list with Galaxy Watch4 Comfortable, sleek and fashionable design Measure body composition with the powerful Samsung BioActive Sensor. Make every.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic Review

I’m PCMag’s expert on fitness and Smart home technology, and I’ve written more than 6,000 articles and reviews in the 10-plus years I’ve been here. I unbox, set up, test, and review a wide range of consumer tech products from my home in Florida, often with the help of my pitbull Bradley. I’m also a yoga instructor, and have been actively teaching group and private classes for nearly a decade.

The Bottom Line

The high-end Galaxy Watch4 Classic features a stainless steel design and a rotating bezel backed by a better software experience and more third-party apps than previous Samsung smartwatches, though you can get a similar experience for 100 less with the standard Watch4 model.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.


  • Attractive classic watch design
  • Rotating physical bezel for easy navigation
  • Bright, sharp display
  • Fast processor
  • Body fat and composition measurements
  • Tracks snoring
  • third-party apps than previous Samsung watches

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic Specs

Despite earning high praise for last year’s Tizen-based Galaxy Watch3, Samsung ranked third (Opens in a new window) in the global smartwatch market, behind Apple and Huawei. This year, Samsung is hoping deeper Google integration will help attract more buyers to its latest flagship smartwatch, the 349.99 Galaxy Watch4 Classic. Featuring the unified Google/Samsung Wear OS platform, the Watch4 Classic brings Google Maps, the Play Store, and a better selection of third-party apps to your wrist than any of Samsung’s previous Tizen watches. Though its battery life remains the same, the Watch4 Classic offers a few other notable updates from last year’s model, including a faster processor for smoother scrolling, a higher-resolution display for crisper visuals, expanded memory for music and app storage, a sensor that can measure your body fat, and a useful snore-tracking feature. It’s the best high-end Wear OS we’ve tested, though we give slight preference to the standard Watch4, which costs 100 less and sports a more streamlined design. Either way, if you’re in the market for an Android-compatible smartwatch, the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 series is hard to beat.

A Stainless Steel Design With a Rotating Bezel

Samsung’s 2021 smartwatch lineup includes two models: the flagship Galaxy Watch4 Classic featured in this review, and the more affordable Watch4. The watches are compatible with smartphones running Android 6.0 or later with 1.5GB of RAM (sorry, iPhone users, they don’t work with Apple’s iOS).

The Galaxy Watch4 Classic features a stainless steel case and the same rotating bezel as the Watch3. It comes in 42mm and 46mm sizes in black or silver, starting at 349.99 for the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi model or 399.99 for one with LTE connectivity. The company also plans to offer a limited edition rhodium-plated Watch4, created in collaboration with fashion designer Thom Browne, in September.

samsung, galaxy, watch, classic

The standard Watch4, which replaces the Galaxy Watch Active line Samsung last updated in 2019, sports a minimalist design with no rotating bezel and an aluminum case. It starts at 249.99 for the Bluetooth/Wi-Fi model, or 50 more if you want LTE connectivity. It comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes in black or silver; the 40mm model also comes in pink gold while the 44mm one is also available in green.

Apple Watch SE

Garmin Venu 2

Fitbit Sense

Amazon Halo

For this review, Samsung sent me the 42mm Bluetooth-only Watch4 Classic in black, as well as a Galaxy Note20 Ultra phone to pair with the wearable for testing.

The Watch4 Classic comes with a Ridge Sport fluoroelastomer (FKM) rubber Band in size small/medium (which fits wrists ranging from 5.1 inches to 7.5 inches) or medium/large (for wrists 5.7 to 8.1 inches). The Watch4 comes with a plain FKM Sport Band with no ridge detail. Samsung sells a variety of accessory straps for the Watch4 series, including a 49.99 Hybrid Leather Band for a classier look, and a 39.99 Extreme Sport model with air holes for sweaty workouts.

Aside from the Watch4 Classic’s rotating bezel and stainless steel case, there are no other upgrades from the standard Watch4. Both have the same battery, connectivity, internal memory, operating system, processor, sensors, and user interface. They have 5ATM and IP68 ratings, meaning they are waterproof to a depth of 164 feet for 10 minutes, and can withstand dust, dirt, and sand. They also meet the MIL-STD-810G military standard, so they shouldn’t have any trouble withstanding drops, extreme temperatures, shock, vibration, low pressure, or high altitude.

Samsung says the 42mm Watch4 Classic measures 1.63 by 1.63 by 0.44 (HWD) and weighs 1.66 ounces (sans strap), while the 46mm model measures 1.79 by 1.79 by 0.43 inches and weighs 1.83 ounces. But there’s a catch: Samsung’s depth measurements exclude the health sensor that protrudes slightly off the back, so the watches are actually a bit thicker than stated. Including the sensor, my 42mm review unit is almost 0.5 inches thick. It’s noticeably thicker than the Apple Watch Series 6, which measures 0.42 inches in depth.

For everyday wear, the watch should feel “snug but comfortable,” with enough room to let the skin underneath breathe, Samsung says. During workouts, the company recommends tightening the watch for the most accurate health measurements.

The 42mm Watch4 Classic has a 1.2-inch, 396-by-396 Super AMOLED display, while the 46mm model features a 1.4-inch, 450-by-450 screen. No matter the size, the display is bright and beautiful, offering a resolution bump from last generation’s already vibrant and easy-to-read 360-by-360 screen.

Scrolling is smooth and responsive thanks to the Exynos W920 (Opens in a new window) processor. Samsung says the 5nm chip delivers 20% faster CPU performance and 10 times better graphics performance than the Watch3’s Exynos 9110. As for memory, it packs 1.5GB of RAM (a 50% boost from last year’s model) and 16GB of internal storage (up from 8GB).

The Watch4 Classic and the Watch4 both have two physical buttons on the right side: a Power/Home button on top, and a Back button below. You also use these buttons when taking a body composition scan, which I’ll discuss in detail later in this review.

Like the Apple Watch, battery life is a major limitation here. Samsung says the 42mm model’s 247mAh battery and the 46mm’s 361mAh cell offer up to around 40 hours of juice on a charge, similar to the Watch3. In my testing, the Watch4 Classic lasted 29 hours with normal to heavy use and the always-on display disabled before its battery dropped down to 5% and I put it back on its charger. In other words, you should expect to charge the watch daily. With the always-on display enabled during a day of heavy testing, it only lasted 19 hours. The Apple Watch Series 6 lasted around 25.5 hours in testing with the always-on display enabled.

Fortunately, you won’t have to wait around very long for the Watch4 Classic to charge. Samsung says it juices up faster than the Watch3, and just 30 minutes of charging provides 10 hours of battery life. While it’s charging, the watch lets you know how long it will take to get to 100%.

To preserve battery life, the Watch4 Classic offers a power-saving mode that disables the always-on display, limits CPU speed, decreases screen brightness by 10%, limits background processes (including network usage, location, and syncing), reduces the screen time-out to 15 seconds, disables wake-up gestures, and disables software updates. When the battery gets low, it will ask if you want to enable power-saving mode.

If you’re in search of a longer-lasting wearable, the Fitbit Versa 3 promises more than six days of battery life on a charge. In testing, it still had 79% battery life after 24 hours of heavy use with the always-on display enabled, so you definitely don’t need to charge it on a daily basis.

Google on Your Samsung Watch

One of the biggest changes in this generation of Samsung smartwatches is the switch from the company’s own Tizen mobile operating system, which powers the Watch3 and its predecessors, to the new Wear OS platform.

Earlier this year, Samsung partnered with Google to merge the Tizen and Wear OS systems in an effort to attract more third-party developers and better compete with the Apple Watch and watchOS. The Watch4 Classic and Watch4 are the first wearables to run the new unified platform, which features popular Google apps such as Google Maps and the Play Store, as well as Samsung standbys like Samsung Pay for mobile payments and SmartThings for Smart home control. The Google Maps app is a particularly welcome addition to the Watch4 series, bringing turn-by-turn driving, walking, and cycling directions to your wrist.

This is the first time Samsung has used an Android-based smartwatch operating system since the Gear Live in 2014. On Galaxy smartwatches, the new operating system is officially called Wear OS Powered by Samsung. On other smartwatches, it will somewhat confusingly have a different name: Wear OS 3 by Google (Opens in a new window).

Google says certain previous-generation Wear OS smartwatches, including Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3 and TicWatch E3, will be eligible for an upgrade to Wear OS 3, but the update won’t arrive until mid 2022 at the earliest. Samsung tells PCMag that the Galaxy Watch3 and other Tizen-based Galaxy smartwatches will not be eligible for an upgrade to Wear OS. Instead, Samsung has promised (Opens in a new window) to continue providing software updates for its Tizen-based smartwatches for three years from their launch date. As I detailed in my Watch3 review, third-party app support on Tizen is fairly limited. The new Wear OS platform offers a wider selection.

In the Google Play Store on the Watch4 Classic, you can find some big name apps like, AccuWeather, Citymapper, Google Fit, Google Keep, Google Pay, Google Slides, IFTTT, iHeartRadio, Lifesum, Nike Run Club, Kamoot, Pandora, Shazam, Telegram, and Todoist. Samsung and Google are also promising new and improved versions of Spotify, Calm, Strava, adidas Running,, and Flo Period Tracker in the near future. They say YouTube Music and Bitmoji will also be coming to the platform.

Still, some popular apps available on the Apple Watch are missing from Wear OS, including Audible, CNN, Messenger, ESPN, Runkeeper, Starbucks, The Weather Channel, and Uber. At this point, Apple’s watchOS still has the widest selection of third-party apps.

The Watch4 series also features Samsung’s new One UI Watch interface, which is designed to offer a more seamless cross-platform experience across Galaxy smartphones and watches. With One UI Watch, compatible apps downloaded to your phone via Google Play are automatically installed on the watch. Certain settings, including Do Not Disturb hours, blocked callers, and world clocks, also automatically sync from your phone.

Setting Up and Getting to Know the Watch4 Classic

In the box, you get the watch, a quick start guide, and a power cord (though you’ll need your own USB port or power adapter).

To set it up, you need to download the Galaxy Wearable app if you don’t already have it on your phone. When I opened the app on the Note20 Ultra, it automatically started searching for devices to add, and quickly found the Watch4 Classic. Next, it displayed a number on the watch’s screen and in the app, and asked me to confirm that they were the same.

During the setup process, the app asks for permission to access your device’s location and link the Watch4 Plugin (Opens in a new window). In a series of pop-ups, the Watch4 Plugin then asks for permission to access your contacts, calendar, phone call logs, and the photos, media, and files on your device. It also asks for permission to make and manage phone calls and send and view SMS messages. Next, it asks you to agree to Google’s terms of service, optionally link your Google account, and copy your account details to the watch.

Just like with any feature-rich smartwatch, you have to spend some time exploring the Watch4 to figure out where everything is and what it does. You can navigate its interface in several ways: with swipes and taps on the screen, the physical buttons on the side of the watch, the rotating bezel, gesture controls, and by voice with Bixby.

From the watch face, you can swipe left to access the various tiles (including daily activity, workout tracking, body composition, sleep, weather, calendar, ECG, heart rate, and stress), swipe right for notifications, swipe down for the quick panel menu (to enable Bedtime mode, the always-on display, connect Bluetooth headphones, and more), and swipe up for apps (including Google Maps, the Play Store, Samsung Health, Samsung Pay, Bixby, and others, which you can organize as you like).

To go back, swipe right or press the physical Back key (the lower button). To go to your most recently used app, double press the Home key (the upper button).

In Settings, there’s an option to select your favorite app, so you can quickly launch it by double pressing the Home key. You can also optionally change the Back key to show your recent apps when pressed.

The default watch face is pretty cluttered, so changing it was one of the first things I did after setting up the watch. You can easily change and customize your watch face in the Galaxy Wearable app. On the watch itself, you can touch and hold the watch face screen, swipe left and right to browse the various options, then tap the one you like to set it. There are lots of fun, customizable watch faces to pick from, but if you don’t like any of the default options, there are more available for download via the Play Store.

With gesture controls, you can accept calls by waving your forearm up and down, or dismiss calls, notifications, and alarms by rotating your wrist twice.

With Bixby, you can use your voice to open apps, compose messages, and more. To talk to Bixby, just press and hold the Home key. There’s also a Voice Wake-Up option, which when enabled will let you summon the virtual assistant by saying, “Hi, Bixby.”

Connecting wireless headphones to the Watch4 Classic is easy. Just swipe to the quick panel menu, then tap the Bluetooth headphones icon and it will begin scanning for devices. Just make sure you have your wireless headphones in Bluetooth pairing mode and you should be good to go. In testing, I had no problem connecting a pair of OnePlus Buds with the watch.

To take a screenshot on the watch, press the Home and Back keys at the same time. Screenshots are automatically synced to your phone’s Gallery.

For security, it’s a good idea to set a screen lock pattern or pin code to prevent others from accessing your data. To do so, navigate to Settings Security.

Measure Your Body Composition

On the health front, the Watch4 series has a new three-in-one BioActive Sensor, which can not only read your heart rate and take an ECG, but also assess your body composition using a process called bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA).

Commonly used in Smart scales, BIA involves sending a low-level electrical current through your body to measure fat and other metrics. The BIA current moves quickly through tissue that contains a large amount of fluids and electrolytes like muscle and blood, and faces resistance—or impedance—moving through fat. The watch measures that impedance to assess your body composition.

After a 15-second scan, the watch displays your skeletal muscle mass, fat mass, body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI, a measure of body size based on your weight and height), body water mass, and basal metabolic rate (BMR, or the minimum necessary energy needed in an inactive state). A graph below each metric indicates whether your results fall within the low, normal, or high range.

It’s important to note that the small electric current sent through your body during BIA measurement can affect pacemakers. For this reason, you shouldn’t use the watch to measure your body composition if you have a pacemaker or any other internal medical device. There’s no evidence that this process is dangerous for pregnant women, but Samsung also warns against using the watch to measure your body composition if you’re expecting. Also keep in mind that the measurement results may be inaccurate if you’re under the age of 20.

To take a scan, navigate to the body composition tile and press Measure. It will then ask you to select your gender (there are only options for Female and Male), height, and weight. “Body composition monitoring is for fitness and wellness only, not for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition,” the watch says.

Next, it offers instructions for taking a scan: Move the watch higher on your wrist than usual, then place the middle and ring fingers of your opposite hand on the Home and Back buttons, with your palm facing up. While taking a scan, you need to raise your arms to chest level, hold them away from your body, and make sure that your two hands aren’t touching. The position is a bit awkward, but you only need to hold it for about 15 seconds before you get your results.

For the most accurate results, it’s best to take your scan at the same time each day (preferably in the morning) on an empty stomach and with an empty bladder. Samsung says to avoid taking a scan if you’re on your menstrual cycle, “right after exercise, showering, going to a sauna, or any other activity that might make you hot.”

The first time I took a body composition scan with the Watch4 Classic, it said I had 25.1% body fat, 68.6 pounds of body water, 31.3 pounds of fat mass, 49 pounds of skeletal muscle, a BMI of 20.3, and a BMR of 1,287 calories. According to the watch, my body water was slightly low, but the rest of my body composition measurements were within the normal range.

One interesting observation: The watch reports your body water, fat mass, and skeletal muscle in pounds (whereas most Smart scales show your body water as a percentage), and when I added up these three values, the total was higher than my actual weight. A Samsung spokesperson acknowledged that those three metrics aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, so water weight can also be counted as part of muscle, for instance.

For the sake of comparison, I then stepped on two different Smart scales that also use BIA to calculate your body composition. They don’t track all of the same metrics as the watch, but I was able to directly compare my results for a few, including body fat percentage, BMI, and BMR.

The Arboleaf Smart Fitness Scale said I had 15.6% body fat, a BMI of 20.3, and a BMR of 1,403 calories. Meanwhile, the FitTrack Dara said I had 18.6% body fat, 23.6 pounds of fat mass, a BMI of 20.7, and a BMR of 1,339 calories.

Overall, the Watch4 Classic’s body fat percentage calculations were about 6.5 to 9.5 percentage points higher than the measurements from the Smart scales, which is a pretty significant difference. Meanwhile, its BMR calculation was a bit low, and its BMI calculation was pretty much spot-on compared with the scales.

“You may notice differences between your watch results and results from other body composition measurement devices,” Samsung acknowledges. The company also says watch results might be “less accurate if you have an unusual body composition, severe obesity, or a very muscular body.”

For fun, I also took a body fat scan using the Amazon Halo app, and this is where things got a bit more interesting. It said I had 25.9% body fat and 32.4 pounds of fat mass, more closely aligning with the results from the Watch4 Classic. Instead of BIA, Amazon uses your smartphone’s front-facing camera along with computer vision and machine learning technology to analyze the shape of your body and calculate your body fat percentage. Amazon says its body fat percentage tool, which requires you to stand in front of your camera in your underwear, is nearly twice as accurate as Smart scales that use BIA to estimate your body fat, though we can’t verify these claims.

Since your results can vary widely from one device to the next, I recommend picking one and sticking with it to track your changes over time. Over two days, I took about a half dozen scans using the Watch4 Classic and the results were pretty consistent, each time saying I had between 23% to 26% body fat.

This feature is neat, but I wouldn’t specifically buy the Watch4 Classic for it given the affordability of Smart scales, which track more body composition metrics than Samsung’s wearables—most notably, weight. The Wyze Smart Scale, an Editors’ Choice winner, costs less than 35, tracks 12 metrics, and has a safe mode for pregnant women and people who wear pacemakers.

Track Your Snoring and SpO2 When You Sleep

When you wear it to bed, the Watch4 will automatically track your sleep duration, stages (awake, light, deep, and REM), and calories burned. In the Samsung Health app, you can optionally enable overnight blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) readings. When paired with a compatible smartphone, the watch also lets you keep tabs on a fairly uncommon sleeping metric: snoring.

To record this, you first need to enable snore tracking in the Samsung Health app (available in version 6.18 or higher). When setting it up, there’s an option to have your phone record your snoring audio, just in case you want proof.

In the morning, you can visit the sleep tile on your watch, or the Samsung Health app to view your data. After enabling snore tracking in the app and sleeping with the Note20 Ultra on my nightstand while wearing the Watch4 Classic to bed, I woke up to no snoring data. On my nightstand, I also have a Google Nest Hub Smart display that tracks snoring, and it confirmed that I didn’t make a peep. I’ve worn the watch to bed several nights since and haven’t yet received any snoring data, which I guess is a good thing, but makes it difficult to confirm that the feature actually works.

The Watch4 Classic also gives you a Sleep Score from zero to 100, based on your total sleep time, sleep cycles, movements and awakenings, physical recovery, and mental recovery. The first night I wore it to bed, the watch said I slept for 6 hours, 55 minutes and gave me a sleep score of 50, which falls below the average of 70 for women in my age range.

For that night, the watch said I had a minimum overnight SpO2 level of 84%, which seems low. In general, an SpO2 level between 95 and 100 is considered normal.

In the sleep section of the Samsung Health app, you can also view a graph of your overnight SpO2 level. For that night, the graph showed my blood oxygen saturation level dipped below 90% several times, which I doubt was actually the case.

According to the University of California San Francisco (Opens in a new window). blood oxygen saturation levels are typically lower during sleep versus when you’re awake. Even so, if your SpO2 level is greater than about 94% while awake, “it is unlikely that your saturation during sleep will fall below 88%,” the school notes.

Concerned by my minimum overnight reading, I took several on-demand SpO2 measurements using the Watch4 Classic and an Apple Watch Series 6 while awake, and all were much higher, between 98% and 100%. The following night, I wore the Watch4 Classic on one wrist, and the Apple Watch Series 6 on the other, to compare my overnight SpO2 measurements from both devices. The Watch4 Classic said my SpO2 level ranged from 93% to 100% while the Series 6 said it ranged from 91% to 100%. That initial low overnight reading seems to be an anomaly, as I haven’t seen an overnight SpO2 measurement less than 90% from the Watch4 Classic since.

Workout Tracking

The Watch4 Classic currently supports 95 different workouts, including the following default tracking options: circuit training, cycling, elliptical trainer, exercise bike, hiking, other workout, running, running coach (which I detailed in last year’s Watch3 review), swimming (outdoor), swimming (pool), treadmill, walking, and weight machine. In the Samsung Health app, you can browse the other workout tracking options—including aerobics, alpine skiing, archery, ballet, baseball, basketball, canoeing, dancing, flying disc, football, golf, hockey, jump rope, kayaking, mountain biking, pilates, rowing machine, step machine, stretching, volleyball, and yoga, to name a few—and add an additional 28 to the watch.

When tracking a workout, you can press the Back key to pause or end. If you pause tracking, just press the Back key again when you’re ready to resume.

In testing, I found the Watch4 Classic’s fitness metrics to be accurate. During a 30-minute workout on the Aviron Smart rowing machine (Opens in a new window). another product I’m testing for an upcoming review, I wore the Watch4 Classic on one wrist and the Apple Watch Series 6 on the other. The Watch4 Classic said I burned 186 calories while the Series 6 said I burned 177. The Watch4 Classic said my average heart rate was 133bpm and the Series 6 said it was 138bpm.

The Watch4 series can automatically detect walking, running, elliptical usage, rowing, swimming, and dynamic workouts, a useful feature that in testing worked perfectly during walks with my dog Bradley. Just like the Apple Watch, it automatically starts tracking after you’ve been walking for about 10 minutes (and gives you credit for the time that has already elapsed).

On the downside, the new Wear OS platform doesn’t yet appear to offer much integration with Fitbit. Google has promised (Opens in a new window) to bring “the best of Fitbit,” which it now owns, to the unified smartwatch platform, including health progress tracking and on-wrist goal celebrations, but those features don’t seem to be available at the time of this writing. You can, however, still keep track of your daily activity and goals via Samsung Health.

Samsung’s Best High-End Smartwatch

The Galaxy Watch4 Classic and its more affordable sibling are the best Android-compatible smartwatches on the market, hands down. The 349.99 Classic model features a rugged stainless steel design with a rotating bezel that’s a pleasure to use. At night, it can track your snoring (when paired with a compatible smartphone) in addition to your blood oxygen saturation. It also features a body composition scanner that can help you keep an eye on your body fat percentage. And the new Wear OS platform delivers more in the way of apps, including Google Maps. Ultimately, this is the closest competitor to the Apple Watch Series 6, but since both watches are specific to either Android or iOS phones, the choice is easy to make.

That said, the Watch4 Classic falls short of earning our Editors’ Choice award, because for most people, the standard Watch4 is the better buy. It’s 100 less than the Watch4 Classic, features a functional digital bezel, and comes in green or pink in addition to black or silver. Unless you like the more rugged design of the Classic and think its rotating bezel is worth the premium, we recommend you go with the Watch4.

Also keep in mind that both models offer limited battery life and require daily charging. If you can’t deal with that, the 229.95 Fitbit Versa 3, another favorite non-Apple smartwatch, offers much better battery life and costs less, but feels a bit laggy compared with the snappy Galaxy Watch4 series.

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