This article is a little nostalgic as we are checking out some new watches from Samsung. The reason it is nostalgic is because our review of the original watches was the main catalyst to get this channel off the ground and it certainly brings back some memories. Regardless - we are going to be checking out the two new Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s and comparing them to the original Galaxy Watches.
We actually have both types right here and we have been using them since day one. If you look very closely you can tell that they have serious wear and tear on them and trust me they have been through some stuff! Over the years I’ve changed the strap a few times based on use case, but generally always come back to the original as it is really comfy.
The new 4th generation line-up now consists of two different styles - Classic comes in two sizes and two colours. The other style is called just Galaxy Watch, it also comes in two sizes, but features three colours on the smaller version, while the larger model has green instead of pink gold.
There are of course LTE versions for those who want to use them on the go without a phone. Personally, I don’t ever leave my phone behind but if you are a fan of going for a run without extra things, then the LTE version may be a good choice.
Before we get into the differences between the old and new, let’s quickly talk about the difference between the Galaxy watch and Classic. The current Galaxy Watch used to be Galaxy Watch Active, it looks a little bit more slick. As mentioned earlier, it is also smaller in comparison to classic.
The key differentiator between these models is the rotating bezel that is made out of steel.
As far as intenals go - they are almost identical under the hood, they both feature all the same sensors and both have two buttons for control, with one exception - battery size depends on the size of the watch. The larger 44 and 46mm models have 361 mAh capacity while both 40 and 42 feature only 247 mAh.
Now let’s cover what you get in the new model and what is different from the original. The first and probably biggest difference is the change of operating system. Back when the original Galaxy Watch was released - Samsung made a big deal saying that they will develop and maintain their own OS called Tizen.
While this was working ok, it did have one main issue - lack of app support as the ecosystem was not yet developed. It took a while, but over the years it did get better. Now Samsung has partnered up with Google and the new watch features Wear OS. This opens up the Google ecosystem and more mature apps.
If I am being honest - the apps that I use on a daily basis are on both platforms, so I didn't even notice that it is a completely different system besides things being in slightly different locations.
There are two more large changes - the actual screen size and resolution has increased from the original version and on the larger watch the weight went down by 10 grams which is over 17%. If you look closer at the specs you can see that Samsung has also reduced battery capacity by 23% which is likely why it is so much lighter. Unfortunately we can’t speak for the battery life of the larger unit as we did not manage to get our hands on it, however both 40 and 42mm watches we did test last just over a day of normal use, but considering the main features include sleep tracking, I would recommend juicing it up during the day or before bed.
Based on this, it seems battery life between new watches and older watches is about the same, which means older 46mm would probably still have the best battery life mostly due to battery size. Even after years of using it I still get over two days of battery life on mine.
Moving on to the feature changes - the new watches have all your standard fitness trackers, support for notifications and voice commands as well as a whole range of Google Play applications. They also have new sensors for body composition analysis, and forgive my pandemic ridden body - my results aren’t pretty. There is also a continuous blood oxygen saturation tracker as well as ECG. To top all of this off Samsung has improved sleep tracking with snoring detection, so if you want to settle the argument between you and your partner of who snores more - this is a great tool to get into trouble.
Other than these key changes, the watches are pretty similar in look and feel, which is not a bad thing. As with almost any smart watch out there - the biggest issue is battery life and charging becomes part of the routine.
If you currently own the original Galaxy Watch and are looking to upgrade, then unless you have a specific need for the new features or want to get something new and shiny, I would recommend keeping what you got. If, on the other hand, you are new to these watches and trying to decide between Galaxy Watch or Classic, then I’d personally recommend going with the Classic it as it looks more sophisticated and the rotating bezel is very useful in day to day use, plus it's an extra protection for the screen. We have certainly knocked the original watches into the walls multiple times and they are still fine.
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