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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: First Trial with Google

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Review: First Trial with Google

SBefore starting my review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, I’d like to flashback a bit first to circa 2017. The time when I just sold the Pebble 2 (which was just released, but whose future is already dark thanks to the acquisition with Fitbit), and decided to switch to the Galaxy Gear S2 Classic.

If I can say, using the Gear S2 at that time was like using a Lumia smartphone. Feels luxurious, navigation is easy and intuitive, but lacks apps. So it’s not as helpful as other smartwatches running Wear OS or watchOS (for Apple Watch). Well, this situation will no longer be repeated through the 2021 Samsung smartwatch.

Instead of going with Tyzen OS, Samsung decided to work closely with Google, to develop a custom version of Wear OS with a familiar look, but much better application situation. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is also the first to run the latest version of Wear OS 3. Where there are other vendor releases that will only get it in 2022.

Indeed, if you do the math, this is the umpteenth smartwatch that Samsung has released. The public may also expect that the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is absolutely better than the previous generation. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely true, even though it’s one of the best smartwatches of 2021. Here’s the full review.

Design

While the standard variant appears simpler with a flat glass surface, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic variant comes with a rotating bezel which has been a hallmark since the past. Unlike other smartwatches, this bezel can be rotated to navigate. The plus? Being able to read notifications in full without being covered with fingers—in addition to the feeling of “click” each round which is really satisfying and precise.

Oh yes, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic that I reviewed is the 46mm LTE variant, aka the largest. Even so, the dimensions are still relatively more compact than the previous generation, with a weight of around 50grams. I think it will still be suitable for the hands of Asian users. The body itself is made of stainless steel, but the strap is a bit less ‘balanced’.

Usually, the Classic variant comes with a leather strap, but this time the material used is sweat-resistant rubber. It’s comfortable, it’s comfortable, but of course it’s not optimal to look premium, aka you have to buy a 20mm strap separately. For durability, it has pocketed the MIL-STD-810G certification plus it is dust and water resistant to a depth of 50 meters.

With a black display, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic looks quite premium, with a red accent on the top button which is quite attention-grabbing or not too much. At least give a leather strap option or maybe give a rubber strap as a bonus—although this option can make the selling price go up, yes.

Screen

Just like Samsung’s flagship line, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic’s display is the best I’ve seen on a smartwatch. With dimensions of 1.4 inches, the Super AMOLED panel has a high resolution, 450 x 450 pixels with a density of 321ppi. It has been coated with Gorilla Glass DX to make it more scratch resistant.

Besides having high saturation and contrast, it is also very bright for outdoor use, complete with auto-brightness features. There are three options for turning on the screen, namely by lifting the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, touching the screen or rotating the bezel. The sensitivity can also be increased, for use with gloves.

Samsung provides a large selection of watch faces, and there are not many, all of them are quite good with intuitive animations and personalization of each. It also supports an always-on display which also supports color, not just monochrome like previous Wear OS smartwatches.

The combination of the large screen and rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic makes reading notifications very easy. Samsung also provides the best flexibility to reply to messages. Starting from presets to choose from, emoji, voice input, swipe to the T9 keyboard aka ABC. Just choose whichever is easiest.

Features of Wear OS 3

Even though it looks familiar, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic no longer runs Tyzen OS, aka Wear OS 3 with a One UI interface. In addition to previous Samsung smartwatch users, new users will also find it easier. Right from the start there’s a really easy tutorial to show you how to scroll through the menu until the notification. The two buttons on the right can be customized according to taste, to launch applications or access Bixby.

Yes, even though it’s already running Wear OS, we still can’t give voice commands to the Google assistant—it’s reportedly being worked on in the future. At least, now the application is more and more useful. For example, when navigating via Google Maps from a smartphone, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic screen automatically displays directions and maps automatically.

Things like this are useful for various scenarios, whether you’re driving or walking in a crowd, instead of holding the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on the street, we only need to look at the screen on our wrist. Also the Telegram application that can start sending messages directly from the smartwatch.

However, there is a bug that is very annoying and made me a bit dizzy when I first setup it. At that time, the smartwatch was able to connect but the Google account could not sign in. After doing 5 – 10 minutes of research, on a certain page of the Samsung support site, someone suggested turning off WiFi and using cellular data during setup. I repeated the process, then everything worked.

This is why I call it “trial” in the title, because despite the umpteenth release, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the first to use Wear OS. Things like this shouldn’t happen, and hopefully it can be fixed through software updates both on the smartwatch and smartphone side.

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