GGoogle and Samsung are now working closely together on the development of the smartwatch operating system. The Korean manufacturer is no longer bringing its new Galaxy Watch 4 onto the market with its own Tizen operating system, but using Google’s Wear OS. However, the first product of the young partnership was subject to fierce criticism: Anyone who buys a smart watch with the genes of Google expects the Google Assistant and the Google Pay payment method. Both were originally missing on the Watch 4.On board only the incompetent Mr. Bixby takes acoustic commands, and you have to warn against Samsung Pay: It requires the complete screening of your own bank account and worsens the Schufa rating, because at the same time an installment loan agreement with Solarisbank is completed. In the meantime, at least Google Pay has been submitted.
The hardware of the new Samsung watches is convincing. The Watch 4 comes in four sizes from 40 to 46 millimeters, as a Classic model variant with a rotating bezel, in an aluminum or stainless steel housing with Bluetooth and WiFi, and in a cellular version with LTE. The prices range from 270 to 450 euros. The bracelets can be changed (with a cheap-looking mechanism), the quality of workmanship of the watch looks good. The smooth, glass-coated watch back also contributes to this. The Watch 4 is charged inductively, so there are no pogo pins and no fiddling with the charging cradle.
The Watch 4 is also waterproof up to 5 ATM. The Amoled display with strong contrasts and high brightness is pleasing all along the line, the resolution is 396 × 396 pixels in the smaller model variants and 450 × 450 pixels in the larger ones. The watch is operated with two physical buttons on the right and finger gestures on the touchscreen.
The new Samsung cannot be used with an iPhone and in our tests it could not be brought to life with a non-Samsung smartphone, but theoretically it should work. Some functions such as measuring blood pressure and creating a single-channel EKG definitely only work with Samsung smartphones. If you put the watch into operation, numerous Samsung apps are responsible for the settings, the measurement of health values and fitness activities. You can also use Google Fit, but then you only get an extremely reduced ecosystem.
What the watch can measure are the usual health parameters such as heart rate and oxygen saturation. When training outside, GPS switches on, all of this data is collected very precisely. The single-channel ECG, like that of the Apple Watch, only works to detect atrial fibrillation. To measure blood pressure, you have to take reference measurements with a calibrated conventional device, then the measurement is only possible with the optical sensors of the watch. The accuracy left a lot to be desired, in some cases the deviation was 15 percent.
Snoring noises as an audio file
A new feature is the bioelectrical impedance analysis, which, like a body analysis scale, determines, among other things, the fat or muscle percentage of the body mass. The values corresponded to those of our scales with small deviations. A snoring analysis is interesting, for which you have to wear the watch at night and also put the smartphone next to the bed. Snoring noises are then saved as an audio file and can be called up later.
Unfortunately, the health and workout data only end up in the Samsung apps, but not in a web interface that can be opened more clearly via the browser. The export of the data is also only partially successful. Thanks to Wear OS, apps can be installed from Google’s Playstore, such as Komoot and other helpful tools. This is a plus point over the previous operating system.
While the hardware is convincing, Samsung has to improve the software. The battery life of the models we tested with 40 and 46 millimeters, i.e. with small and large batteries, are disappointing. With the always-on display activated, the small watch lasted half a day, the big one not a whole. If you deactivate the permanent display of the time, the running time can be doubled. Sports activities, in turn, drastically reduce them. We did not use the LTE cellular module with e-SIM card. There are user reports here that the battery is empty after just a few hours.
Friends of the brand might be interested in a premium version of the watch: The “Thom Browne Special Edition” is currently available in America for $ 800 and is characterized by a luxurious choice of materials, including rhodium. Three bracelets made of fabric, rubber and leather are included. The charging station also has individual design elements from the American fashion designer. It is uncertain whether this variant will also come to Europe.