BEAUTY IN THE FRIDGE

The Galaxy Watch4 just told me that I’m healthier than I assumed, that’s my win for 2021

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With the simultaneous release of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 at the latest Galaxy Unpacked, it’s safe to say that the Watch4 was far from being the star of the show when revealed.

However, it carries more than just incremental upgrades from the Watch3, which makes it worth talking about. Unfortunately, I’ve never experienced previous smartwatch models from Samsung, so instead of doing hard comparisons, I’ll simply be sharing my thoughts about the Watch4’s new features.

Styled for the youth

I got the 40mm Galaxy Watch4 in Pink gold, which is a very pretty colour for those who want a more delicate-looking accessory.

It comes with silicone straps that would seem more suited for a fitness band, but as the Watch4 offers decent workout options, it makes sense. Those with more active lifestyles will have an easier time keeping the watch clean.

The silicone straps are also quite stylish, though definitely catered more to the younger crowd. One of the features Samsung was highlighting was how your Watch4 face can match your Z Flip3’s cover display, and the foldable phone’s marketing targets the younger generation, so it’s a safe conclusion to draw.

You can choose to be more stylish with your watch face, but for me, cute cat it is.

Overall, the Watch4 is comfortable to wear, even with my very small wrists. It didn’t feel bulky at all. The only thing that was slightly bothersome was how sometimes I would feel the watch’s silicone strap pinching my arm hair, but I suppose that’s a normal affair for my hairy armed comrades who wear wrist accessories.

A better extension of your phone

Setting up the Watch4 to pair with my Samsung Galaxy S20 was a smooth process, and it should be the same for anyone else with a Samsung or Android device. For those using iOS though, this watch isn’t for you, since Samsung has dropped iOS support.

The Watch4 is the first Samsung smartwatch to run the new One UI Watch OS, the result of a collaborative effort between Samsung and Google.

This means that users will no longer have to manually do multiple downloads on the Watch4, as long as the Play Store app has a watch app. Similarly, settings tweaked in your phone would be seamlessly reflected on your Watch4.

Being able to access Google Play Store on the watch also means that you have wider access to different apps outside the Samsung ecosystem, which was lacking on older Samsung smartwatches running on TizenOS.

I had Spotify and Google Maps installed, and you can download some other apps like Calm for meditation, or YouTube Music. I was mostly on Spotify, but the benefit of being able to control it via the Watch4 was lost on me since I was just stuck at home with my phone always by my side.

If I was out and about, I could see myself using the Watch4 a lot more so I could tweak my music without having to constantly touch and sanitise my phone. That being said, I do have one complaint.

Since I could make and answer calls on the Watch4 via loudspeaker, I found it odd that I couldn’t play my Spotify music out loud. Instead, you’d have to use a wireless Bluetooth headset or earbuds.

This is a Watch4 review, but let me just promo my Buds Live review too, because they were an interesting release.

The truth about my health

Let me preface this part with a confession that I’m not a very health-conscious person. But colour me surprised when the Watch4 actually revealed that I was a decently healthy person. Okay, maybe not for my daily activity stats because I move just about as much as a rock, and WFH doesn’t help.

Each day, I clock in just about 1,500 steps, and Samsung tells me the goal is actually 6,000. Oh well. I also don’t touch the exercise function at all, but in it, you’d find the usual activities including hiking, circuit training, and more.

For those who are more active, these used in tandem with the heart rate, blood oxygen levels, and body composition features would give you a more holistic overview of your body and health.

I personally found myself most interested in my sleep stats and stress levels. I’d say I’m a decent sleeper with a relatively consistent sleep schedule. Minus my first night with the Watch4 where I didn’t set it up correctly, over the course of 4 nights I slept the recommended 7 hours minimum.

Hitting my sleep KPIs, and not to boast, but my blood oxygen levels were always above 94%.

It was interesting to get a better insight into how I sleep, but I can’t say it’s pushed me to change anything about the way I do it. The Watch4’s sensors seemed quite accurate, but it also showed that I would wake up quite often during the night even though I had no recollection of doing so. Then again, I’m a sleepwalker, so maybe that was just me on autopilot.

I also learnt that I’m actually not a very stressed person. Sure, my stress spikes every now and then throughout the day, but most of the time, I seem pretty calm. This was interesting data to me because I generally find myself to be quite anxious, but perhaps this was a better week for me.

Not sure why I was stressed at lunchtime, but the body works in mysterious ways.

If you want to access more electrocardiographic (ECG) features and blood pressure monitoring though, you’d likely still have to wait a while before Malaysia gets them. It’s been a coveted feature, but approval for it often seems to be met with a lot of restrictions and regulations.

That aside, the Watch4 is still a smartwatch that’s packed with a variety of features, improved by the new One UI OS.

Verdict

I’m not the target market for the Watch4, so you wouldn’t find me forking out RM899 or more for the 40mm version. I mainly track my sleep and stress levels, so a much cheaper fitness band would suit my needs better.

With me, the Watch4’s many other functions would go underutilised. However, if you’re an Android user who’s in the market for a new smartwatch that packs a punch when it comes to fitness and wellness trackers, along with other lifestyle-enriching functions, then the Watch4 is a strong contender.

If you’re considering it as a Watch3 user, the Watch4 is a definite upgrade, and for half the Watch3’s price (RM1,799 at launch), it’s a very attractive deal.

Its 247mAh battery should last you over a day, even with sleep tracking and your GPS turned on. It doesn’t have a great battery life, but turning off the always-on display, GPS, and putting it in power-saving mode should give you more juice.

Charging it is slow, so my workaround is to charge it when I’m off to shower. Once I’ve carried out my post-shower routine about an hour later, the Watch4 is usually ready to return to my wrist.

ProsCons
Comfortable fit with easy-to-clean strapsCan’t play music on loudspeaker
Clear speaker and mic for callsShort battery life with a long charging time
More watch apps such as Spotify and Google Maps
  • You can learn more about the Watch4 here.
  • Read more VP Verdicts here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion to our Facebook page.

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