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Samsung Galaxy Watch4 hands-on: Good body composition metrics, smooth performance

Gelo Gonzales
Samsung Galaxy Watch4 hands-on: Good body composition metrics, smooth performance

Photos by Gelo Gonzales/Rappler

Lowkey design, great build, smooth performance – these are the elements we love about the Watch4

(Disclosure: Samsung lent a unit for this article.)

We’ve been spending some time with the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung’s current latest smartwatch, and it looks to be still one of the best non-Apple Watch smartwatches in the market. Its refined looks and the addition of some key features make it a top choice.

Here are some of our favorite changes, improvements and features. 

Adopting Wear OS

Samsung’s Tizen OS says goodbye in this version of the smartwatch. Taking its place is Google’s new Wear OS, and it’s so far been a very smooth ride. The Tizen wasn’t bad, but the Wear OS feels cleaner, and more responsive and intuitive than the previous version. It responds fast as you swipe down for settings, up for the app tray, right for the notifications, and left for the app data. 

With just a swipe you can check your results or your weather or get a quick glimpse of your messages. 

The Watch 4 just has fast performance, kind of like running a stock Android UI.

One of the best parts of the UI though is that you can easily start a workout from the main screen. Tap the icon of the person and it starts a countdown for your run or whatever exercise you have programmed. It’s likely the most used function of a smartwatch, so it’s great that it’s readily accessible there. 

The touchscreen bezel also lets you easily get to other functions such as body analysis and blood oxygen check.

Body analysis report

Speaking of the body analysis report, the whole process takes just a minute or two. You start it up, and then you put your two fingers on the two buttons as shown below, and the watch scans your body, leading to various metrics such as body fat percentage, muscle mass, and water percentage. While the numbers given to you might be a little less accurate than what you can get at a real dedicated body analysis machine at a gym, at the very least, you have on your wrist a way to track your progress as far as increasing muscle mass and controlling body fat is concerned. 

Even if one can question how accurate the percentages given are, you can at least see whether you are seeing changes in your body composition. 

For runners, the watch can also now analyze your gait, and tell you if you’re too stiff when you run, or if you’re not sufficiently getting enough air with your strides. 

This is a great smartwatch for swimmers too as it has an IP68 waterproof rating, meaning it’s water resistant up to depths of 50 meters. 

Bright display, hip design

The Galaxy Watch 4 has quite the lowkey design but the materials of the strap and actual watch feel great, and don’t feel cheap. The Super AMOLED display is sharp and crisp too, and easily viewable even under sunlight. 

It feels good to wear the watch too, with an interesting strap design that has one end going through a hole, and under the opposing strap, so there’s no loose strap you’ll have to tuck in, as what you’ll find in more traditional designs. It leads to a very clean look. It’s also very light, so it’s good to exercise with. It almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all, similar to the experience of wearing a Fitbit. 

As a casual user who just uses a smartwatch mainly for running, the Watch 4 ticks off the things I need. It looks good, it’s very easy to use, it’s light. The body composition is a bonus feature for me, that allows me to have a goal and keep track of it easily.

If I had a gripe though, it’s battery life. At most, it’ll last two days probably, but if you’re fiddling around with it, if you’re at the gym example, and you’re constantly checking your heart rate, the battery life will be much shorter. You’ll have to charge it almost everyday, which is a pain for a device such as a watch. 

If you can endure that, the Watch 4’s a solid entry in the Google Wear OS line. –

It’s time… for your next watch! Use these vouchers when you buy from Samsung’s Shopee store.

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.