Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 with Wear OS officially unveiled

New Samsung smartwatch launching 27 August, but there's no love for iPhone users
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 officially unveiled
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Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, as it hits reset on its smartwatch range.

It's replaced its own TizenOS operating system for Google's Wear OS, and killed off the Active 2 range in favour of a singular smartwatch brand.

It was revealed at an Unpacked event, alongside new Galaxy Z Fold3 and Flip3 foldable phones, and confirms a lot of the details that were revealed in a number of leaks over the last few months.

As expected, there are two versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. The Watch 4 looks to be the natural successor to the Watch Active 2 and the Watch 4 Classic will replace the Galaxy Watch 3.

Galaxy Watch 4 specs and screen

The Watch 4 comes in 40mm and 44mm case sizes with both sizes measuring in at 9.8mm thick. This version comes with an aluminium case.

The 40mm Watch 4 features a 1.2-inch, 396 x 396 Super AMOLED always-on display and the 44mm packs a larger 1.4-inch 450 x 450 AMOLED screen.

Galaxy Watch 4 specs and screen

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4and Watch 4 Classic

The Watch 4 Classic comes in the option of 42mm and 46mm cases sizes with the 42mm version including 1.19-inch, 396 x 396 Super AMOLED screen.

The 46mm has a more impressive 1.4-inch, 450 x 450 display. If you want Samsung's signature physical rotating bezel, then this is the Watch 4 you want. The non-classic model features a digital bezel, much like the Watch Active and Watch Active 2. Samsung is additionally offering a Watch 4 edition with designer Thom Browne.

Outside of the size and screen differences, the two versions share the same hardware and software features. Both are powered by Samsung's new Exynos W920 dual-core processor with 1.5GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. That processor promises a 20% increase in CPU performance compared to Samsung's previous smartwatch processor. All models have the option of LTE connectivity, there's Wi-Fi support, NFC for payments and built-in GPS with Glonass and Beidou satellite support for outdoor activity tracking.

Fitness sensors galore

Sticking on all things health and fitness related, Samsung is introducing a new BioActive Sensor, which includes a trio of sensors. The first is a PPG-style optical heart rate sensor, to offer heart rate during exercise, continuous monitoring and enable features like stress tracking. That also brings blood oxygen monitoring too.

There's an ECG heart rate sensor to deliver more accurate heart rate readings than the optical sensor and could help detect signs associated with serious heart health issues like atrial fibrillation.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 sensors

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Last up is a new BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) sensor, which brings body composition analysis to a Samsung smartwatch for the first time.

Much like stepping onto a set of smart scales, placing your fingers on electrodes built into the physical buttons the Watch 4 can perform the analysis and reveal data skeletal muscle, fat mass, body fat, BMI, body water and BMR.

Samsung is also adding new snore detection for its sleep monitoring and will let you monitor blood oxygen levels during that sleep time too. There's SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition for over 100 activities and support to display real-time heart rate and calorie data during workouts onto compatible Samsung TVs.

The headline news though here is that Samsung has swapped its own TizenOS for Google's Wear OS. Samsung has helped to build this new version of Wear and on the Watch 4 includes its One UI Watch overlaid on top.

That UI aims to create a more unified experience between Samsung's phones and its new watches mirroring phone settings like do not disturb and blocking nuisance callers.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 BIA sensor bioimpedence

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

As for bringing Wear into the fold, it means you now have access to apps in Google's Play Store and will have Google apps preloaded like Google Maps, Google Pay, YouTube Music and eventually Google Assistant when that support is rolled out later in the year.

Samsung's software will still be on board with the likes of Samsung Pay, Bixby and the new Galaxy Buds controller app all preloaded. Watches will still be set up using the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app and you will be able to choose between some Google and Samsung services, like picking Google Pay over Samsung Pay or Google Assistant over Bixby.

Perhaps the biggest change is that the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic will only be compatible with Android phones running Android 6.0 or later with more than 1.5GB of RAM. Samsung's previous smartwatches did work with iPhones, so the question is whether this means all new Wear watches will only work Google-running smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic with Wear OS officially unveiled

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Battery life and price

In terms of battery life, the 44mm and 46mm models include a 361mAh capacity battery and the 40mm and 42mm versions pack smaller 247mAh batteries.

Samsung says all models are fit for up to 40 hours of use, which is less than two days and around about the typical battery life we managed with the Galaxy Watch 3 in our testing.

Samsung says it will take 2 hours to get back to a full charge and you can add 10 hours of battery from just 30 minutes on the charger.

All versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Watch 4 Classic are available to pre-order now and will go on sale on 27 August. So how much is the Watch 4 going to cost you? Well, here's the breakdown:

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm, Bluetooth): £249
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm, 4G): £289
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm, Bluetooth): £269
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (44mm, 4G): £309
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (42mm, Bluetooth): £349
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (42mm, 4G): £389
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (46mm, Bluetooth): £369
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (46mm, 4G): £406

The cheapest Watch 4 option is around about the same price you could pick up the Galaxy Watch Active 2 for at launch. While the cheapest Watch 4 Classic model does come in cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 3 at launch.

So those are the nitty gritty details about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. We'll be getting our hands on the new Samsung smartwatches very soon, so stay tuned for more in-depth look on whether the move to Wear OS was the right one.