Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

We investigate all the latest talk and rumours

Though Samsung was expected to continue its line of smartwatches with the Gear S4 late last year, it surprised everybody by releasing the Samsung Gear Sport and keeping the Gear S3 as its flagship.

The pair will form the front line of Samsung's wearable army until the release of its next watch, and also hints that the Korean giant is still interested in keeping the S line alive and ready for a new instalment in 2018.

Essential reading: Inside Samsung's Design Lab

So users now have plenty of options to choose from, with two sporty designs packed with features and a more classic smartwatch watch that still offers that coveted rotating bezel. Not to mention the Gear Fit2 Pro, for those who want more of a fitness band kind of wearable.

But just how will Samsung top things next time around? Well, the Gear S4 is likely some way off yet, but we've explored what it could look like and what features users may potentially have on their wrist when it arrives.

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Gear S4: Design

Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

Switching gears

At this stage, there's still a strong possibility that the next Samsung smartwatch will continue the Gear line and be named the S4. However, that took a hit recently with a trademark filing granted to Samsung for a different moniker, the Galaxy Watch.

Of course, the Galaxy term has been ever-present through the company's smartphone, and it would make some sense to tie the smartwatch line under the same banner. However, at this stage it's all speculation. Though Samsung also filed for the 'Galaxy Fit' tag, hinting it could also be looking to switch the name of its fitness tracker line, it could just as easily let these tags waste away.

Time to lose some weight

With the Gear S3 duo still considered by Samsung to be the leader of its smartwatch army, this is likely still the reference point to judge the next design from, and not the sleeker Gear Sport.

With some sensors taken out of the latter in order to get to the final design, we wouldn't be surprised if the next watch sat somewhere in the middle - all the same functionality under the hood of the Gear S3 but with the slimmer design of the Sport.

Read next: The patented history of Samsung's smartwatches

Earlier this year, Samsung announced mass production of its Exynos 7 Dual 7270 chipset, which is likely to power its next generation of wearables. It packs a lot of guts, including a 4G LTE modem (which didn't feature in the Sport), into a smaller package than is currently on offer. We expect it to feature on this year's device.

Samsung Gear Edge

Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

So we've seen Samsung phones with curved screens, but will the S4 be next in line to get the edge treatment? A patent filed suggests that could well be the case, showing off a thin strip of a display formed on the edge of the dial. It would offer users a shortcut to apps with basic information like the date, time and weather available, too. The display would also only be rotated 90 degrees and is split into an upper and lower section, although it's not clear why.

You should always take patents with a pinch of salt, largely because many ideas end up getting dumped, but Samsung has showcased this kind of design before and is clearly a fan of the idea.

Bringing the juice

Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

As we've noted above, slimming down is something that's fairly likely from the next line of Gear watches. But with companies consistently looking to pack more and more sensors under the hood, losing mass isn't exactly an easy thing to achieve.

That's why Samsung could move towards placing the battery for its watches in the strap, leaving it with plenty of options from a design perspective. While freeing up the space typically taken by a battery could signal a move towards more external sensors, it could also be used to reduce the size of the bezel dramatically.

Essential reading: Samsung Gear Sport v Gear S3

And let's not rule out the possibility that these extra batteries in the straps could simply be used to help push life past the typical couple of days, with no dramatic changes coming to the current internals.

Is it something that's likely for the Gear S4? It's hard to say. While Samsung has been at the forefront of developing flexible technology, seeing it drop later this year would still be a surprise.

Sub-display for rotating bezel

Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

Similar to one of the patents above, which also shows off a second display, Samsung could be looking to bring more functionality to its rotating bezel through a future Gear watch. However, instead of a sub-display that appears on the outer edge of the bezel, this filing (image above) shows off a plan to upgrade the outer ring of the watch face.

According to the patent, users would navigate the Tizen OS by twisting the bezel to a specific segment on the ring, with each section dedicated to a certain app or feature. For example, between 4 o'clock and 6 o'clock you may have a segment, which shoots you straight into your music when you rotate, and twisting further could send you into your unread notifications.

Read next: Samsung Pay v Apple Pay v Android Pay

Since introducing this wouldn't bring a drastic change to how the watch currently functions, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Samsung pack some kind of sub-display into the Gear S4.

Charging through the phone

As we all know, most traditional smartwatches haven't yet cracked short battery life issues, leaving you prone to a blank screen if you forget to charge for a day or two. But, as a recent Samsung patent indicates, the Gear S4 could make use of a smartphone in order to spring back to life and take on some juice.

Essentially, the device could be charged by a smartphone case simply by resting on top. The case would use a USB-C port to take power from a phone that, in turn, would provide power to the smartwatch using a hidden coil, just by touching it to a conductive plate on the case.

As we've mentioned, any patent faces an uphill battle to make it to a finished product, but this would be a nifty addition to help your wrist remain in the loop.

Samsung Gear S4: Features

Under pressure

We've explored the subject of blood pressure tracking in great depth, with the area presenting a big opportunity for wearable tech companies to make more elaborate methods a thing of the past, and now we know it's something that sits on Samsung's radar.

According to a recent patent filed by the company, it's created a method that uses light technology to take a blood pressure measurement. The device in the patent refers to a Samsung Gear X, which looks similar to the Korean company's older smartwatches, though there's a strong chance this is a placeholder design.

The big challenge for Samsung, as with any wearable company exploring the technology, is receiving FDA approval. If it's able to do so, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the feature pop up through the Gear S4, though this does feel like something that's still a couple of generations away from mass market devices.

Wherefore art thou Bixby?

Samsung's Bixby digital voice assistant launched alongside the previous generation of Samsung smartphones last year, and with its omission from the Gear Sport we expect it to eventually replace S Voice on the Gear S4.

After all, when we asked a Samsung rep if Bixby was coming to the Gear smartwatches in the future, he said: "Definitely, Bixby is the assistant that we're going to empower many other Samsung devices with – the watch, the TV, the fridge."

The rep noted that there's no specific roadmap for when the fully-fledged Bixby will arrive on wrists, but given that the smart assistant sat out of this year's smartwatch, it would be a major shock if it didn't make it onto the next flagship.

Where does S Patch fit in?

Samsung Gear S4: What to expect from Samsung's next smartwatch

Since it first teased the idea of the dedicated health and wellbeing device back in January 2016 at CES, we've been waiting to see what would become of the S Patch. And while things stayed silent for some time, a FCC listing for the device recently surfaced, indicating Sammy is gearing up to launch an S-Patch 3 to the masses.

Just when that might happen is obviously unknown. But when it does eventually drop, it could feature some interesting interactivity with the company's next smartwatch, since Bluetooth connectivity is on board for the ride. This could potentially deliver data – such as PPG, skin temperature, galvanic skin response and body fat analysis – in real-time to the Gear S4, which could be fed into the wider Samsung Health picture.

Going big on health?

Samsung already bet the farm on sport and fitness with the Gear Sport, but it's likely this emphasis continues into its next smartwatch.

In an interview with CNBC earlier this year, Samsung Mobile chief DJ Koh said: "If we can put in place properly a smartwatch that can monitor everything for your health and provide the information, then the market will grow."

That sounds like a fairly solid ethos in place for the company, and would also fit in with the rebranding of Samsung Health and potentially even the launch of the S Patch discussed above. We expect the Gear S4 to tap into health in a major way, hopefully with some new sensors à la Fitbit, too.

Sleep tracking on the horizon

A recent report from SamMobile not only indicated that the Gear S4 is in the works, but also that it bears the model number SM-800 and has the codename Galileo.

That tells us little about the actual features of the watch, even if true, but interestingly the same report also noted that the device will have a renewed emphasis on the health and fitness offerings by Samsung Health. That also includes the company's first dive into serious sleep tracking, which would help it level the playing field with the likes of Fitbit.

It would be a long overdue addition, and also potentially points to stronger battery life, if Samsung is planning to pull the sleep monitoring off convincingly.

LTE returning to the mix

Following on from the report we mentioned just above, SamMobile also recently noted that an LTE variant of the Gear S4 is being developed in the United States.

The carriers for the device are rumoured to be Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, while the smartwatch is also said to potentially be coming in two different versions or sizes. This, of course, would bring back LTE after it was absent through the Gear Sport.

Whether it's a part of the watch from the start, though, is obviously unknown - especially given the fact there could be two models on the horizon. As we saw with the Gear S3, the Frontier launched with an LTE variant, while the Classic model had to wait roughly six months to receive the same feature.

Samsung Gear S4: Release date

With Samsung's last two smartwatches, an announcement has come at the end of August before a launch in November.

It's almost certain we see the Gear S4 unveiled at IFA 2018 in late August/early September, with this generation's Gear Sport representing a stop-gap before the Gear S3 is replaced as the flagship smartwatch.

With Apple, Fitbit and Wear competitors consistently releasing their rival options in the run-up to Christmas, it would be a shock to see Samsung deviate from its now-routine launch cycle.


  • JlamarJ says:

    My Gear S2 3G just received Samsung Pay Beta. Had to authorize cards which are already authorized on my phone then found out I need to maintain a password on my watch. The point, these benefits were promised nearly a year ago. The S3 seems like a great watch for me, but we are all waiting two months since the intro. Now we're talking about the S4. 

    • hav says:

      yup the battery probs on note 7 hmmmm gear s3 batteries a bit of a worry were they out of same factory???

      • Gadgetonomy says:

        I know what you mean. I wouldn't buy an Apple watch now after i heard about that iphone 7 exploding. I don't eat toast anymore either after a piece of bread caught fire in my toaster. It's worrying. I don't blame you for worrying too poor lamb. 

  • HowitzerUK says:

    Come on guys, 30 seconds of research and you would see this on the Gear S3 microsite:


    Exynos 7270, Dual 1.0GHz

    Why else would they announce mass production of the chip a month before their next smartwatch comes out?

  • EdM says:

    just because of a smaller nanometer processor capability doesnt mean that the devices size 'should be decreased; the bulky smartwatches are far more appealing than a small device. I hope Samsung recognizs this and also that its a benefit too have a larger sized smartwatch device for more room of heat dissipation within the enclosed smartwatch. I would highly prefer a larger smartwatch size like GearS3 or larger compared to an smaller!  

    • EdM says:

      Exynos 7 is said too be the 14nanometer 'sized' processor chip with many other, additional operations inside. This smaller sized chipset 'Doesnt mean' that Samsung 'should' decrease the size of a Smartwatch device; which many 'internet- commenters' are directing their assumptions towards within public anouncement of the smaller chipset! "Internal heat dissipation" will be a bonus feature of a physically large, internally spacious smartwatches!   

  • Gadgetonomy says:

    Please stop with LAME jokes about fires and explosions. It's bad enough when trolls hit the comments section with a joke that they think is original when in reality it's been said a thousand times, but for tech sites like yourself is kind of cringeworthy. 

  • pipeline says:


    Salt Waterproof. I want to surf with this watch. 

    It would be a total game changer.

    • HanTatar says:

      At this moment, I would be extremely happy if they would make S3 waterproof - really waterproof, so I can swim with it.

  • acer24xc says:

    I'll never buy another samsung smart watch until late they get rid of the turn bezile. I can't use that at work!. I have the gear s and I love it and hope they come back with a smooth version like that agian.

  • Freddy says:

    I am sure glad that I didn't buy an Apple watch.  I was waiting for Apple to come out with stand alone phone capability and Samsung beat them to it.  Then I noticed that samsung has additional features like longer battery life and rotatable bezel and knew instantly that was the watch for me.  The square looking Apple watch looks like a childs toy next to the samsung watch!  Samsung is so far ahead of Apple that I expect Apple to drop out of the watch business.

  • Tigerfly says:

    I've looked at a lot of info but can't seem to get an answer. WILL the S3 watch record your steps while using a Golf app at same time. Want to use for playing golf and getting my distances. Friend of mine has the Garmin Approach and it will do that. Thanks.

  • Sleekguy says:

    Image of the new Gear Sport has leaked and it looks slimmer then Gear 3. Run Tizen 3.0 from the box. Also a new version of IconX is going to be realesed on the Gear event 30th of August. Model nr is SM-R140 and looks like it going to arrive in three colours. Hopefully battery life is better now.

  • fianto.rief says:

    What to expect? Here some advice for a runner (half-marathoner) like me:

    - Upgrade the GPS performance

    - Pre-installed Nike+ App/Make it competible again with Nike+ App. Or make the a Nike+ edition, would be fine.

    I just want to continue what I started in Nike+. But also, I love Samsung device.

  • johnnygrinter says:

    Very interested unless they make only one small model. I want a big watch with a big screen. I've been waiting a long time for this and if they don't at least make a bigger model (at least the size of the S3 - not thickness but overall screen size and manliness, I will be very annoyed.

    I need Google Pay as Samsung Pay is extremely bizarrely not available with my major UK bank.

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