We have chosen to do a review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic smart watch because it is an all-round excellent smart watch that Maggie and I both love. The physically rotating bezel makes this watch better than its successor, the Samsung Galaxy 5. We will never understand why Samsung phased out the beloved physical bezel. You can use the bezel as a quick and easy way to navigate through the user interface.
Highlights of the Samsung Galaxy 4
- Looks great, and can be tweaked into different looks with a wide range of physical straps and digital faces.
- Tracks multiple sports.
- Very good at auto-detecting activities.
- Works on land and in the water.
- Offers in-depth sleep analysis.
- Helps you to improve your running with advanced running coaching technology.
- Shows you clearly and graphically the heart rate zones you are working out in, both during and after your workouts. This makes it easier to improve your workout planning, and your fitness.
- In general, just a joy to own and to use.
The Rotating Physical Bezel
We believe this is the best fitness and health tracker Samsung has ever made. Unfortunately, Samsung downgraded this watch when they updated it. They did this by removing the physical bezel that you can use to navigate quickly and easily through the user interface. The newer Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 has all the great functions found in the Galaxy 4 – but it lacks the bezel. For that reason, we choose the Galaxy 4 over the Galaxy 5. Of course, if you can live without the unique bezel, then the Galaxy 5 is also an excellent option.
Video Review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
This video highlights many of the best features of this watch.
Health and Fitness Tracking Features of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Series
I bought this watch because of the amazing range of health and fitness tracking features it offers. There is no other watch on the market that offers as many features. Here is a list of them:
- It tracks your steps (of course) and reports these to the Samsung Health app, and any other apps you choose to link to.
- It tracks your activities and calories burned.
- It can track pretty much any exercise, including yoga. It even tracks push-ups!
- It tracks your bike rides and runs, using a built-in GPS.
- You can track your heart rate 24/7.
- You can use it to measure your body fat percentage (one of the very, very few smart watches that can do this).
- You can use it to measure your BMI (Body Mass Index).
- It can tell you how many pounds of muscle you have (also unusual)
- It can track your stress.
- You can conduct a personal ECG right on your wrist (one of the select few smart watches that can do this).
- You can measure your blood pressure (almost the only smart watch that can do this).
- It tells you the time (!). And the date too!
Heart Rate Zones on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
This smart watch shows you clearly and graphically the heart rate zones you are working out in, both during and after your workouts. On both your watch and your phone. We find this motivating, and believe that it makes it easier to improve your fitness.
Advanced Sleep Tracking and Metrics on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Every night the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 tracks your sleep, and presents the data it collects in great detail. This includes your blood oxygen during the night, your snoring (it can be set to record this), and the amount of time you spent in each sleeping zone. It also provides your sleep score, and information on how you rate relative to other people in your age group.
We find this feature useful and informative. Now that we know that sleep is one of the top three most important things you can do for your health, we work hard to make sure we get enough good quality sleep. (The other two important things are of course exercise and nutrition.)
Daily Activity Tracker on the Samsung Watch
This user-friendly feature gives you a constant update on how you are doing with your daily steps goal and active time goal. It also keeps you updated on how many calories you have burned exercising. All in a multi-colored heart graphic. Of course, this can be viewed on the app on your phone, or on the watch.
And here is what the Daily Activity Tracker looks like on my arm:
We find this feature both useful and motivating. Sometimes we go for an extra walk in the evening, when we notice that our Daily Trackers are showing that we have not put in enough steps for the day, or have not had sufficient active minutes. On my watch above, I had already taken 5517 steps, enjoyed 57 active minutes, and burnt 261 activity calories.
Advanced Running Metrics and Assistance
As you run, this watch records your time and tracks your route with its built-in GPS. At the same time, it also acts as your personal coach, gathering data and preparing a report on your running performance. You can then review the report and pinpoint where you need help. Click on the Info link of the report to get more information about your strengths and weaknesses.
As you can see in the graphic below, my watch gave me feedback that I needed to work on my Contact Time and Flight Time. I did that, and a few runs later, I had improved my Flight Time. But my Contact Time still needs some work!
Choose Your Own Watch Face
There is a wide range of choices for your watch face, most of them free. You can update this on the Samsung watch app on your phone, and instantly see the result on your watch. Here are just a (very) few of the faces available.
Some of the watch faces are customizable, so that you can choose what data you see on your wrist. For example, do you want to be able to constantly see your step count? Or your heart rate? It’s a cinch to get this watch to show you that information at a glance, in a variety of attractive formats.
Choose Your Own Watch Strap
With a wide range of straps available, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic can look like a smart watch, or pass as a regular watch. I have dressed mine up with a metal band for a more masculine/less smart watch kind of look.
Criticisms of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Some reviews critique the relatively short battery life. Yes, it is true that you cannot use this watch for days on end without recharging. On the contrary, you will need to charge it every day. And the more you exercise and use the GPS, the more often you will be charging it.
However, in practice I do not find this a big deal. I just keep a charger handy, and slip the watch onto it at convenient intervals. Such as when I sit down to write a post. This keeps the watch fresh and ready to track my frequent bouts of cycling and other activities.
Accuracy of Measurements on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
We have watched some reviews that complain that the much-vaunted body fat measurement is inaccurate. However, if you watch those carefully, the complaints boil down to the fact that the reading is just one or two percentage points different from a medical measurement. This seems to me to be a ridiculous complaint. Even medical readings will vary from day to day, depending for example on whether or not you have just finished drinking a large glass of water.
In fact, I am currently working on a successful body recomposition program, and I am finding my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to be a very useful and remarkably consistent tool to measure my progress.
Does the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Work with Non-Samsung Smart Phones?
In a nutshell, yes. I use mine with a Pixel phone. This watch will work well with any Android phone. The app you use to review your stats and activities is the Samsung Health app, which works perfectly with any Android phone. You can even use that app to measure your steps if you don’t even own a fitness tracking watch!
Also, the Samsung Health app is free. By contrast, if you buy one of the new Pixel watches, you get six months of Fitbit Premium free, and after that you have to pay for it monthly. For this reason (and its high price relative to what it offers) the new Pixel watch does not even make our list. Even though I waited for it for more than a year before buying my Samsung watch. After its disappointing and expensive debut, the Samsung watch became a no-brainer for me.
Bixby vs. Google Voice Assistant
Some people are put off the Samsung Galaxy Watches because they don’t want to use Bixby voice assist. Well, the reality is that you can quickly and easily download the excellent Hey Google voice assistant to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. Then you just set it up as your default voice assistant. The Google voice assistant is absolutely top tier, even with my accent.
Bottom Line on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
In general, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is a joy to own and to use. If your goal is to really understand and improve your fitness and health, you will not regret equipping yourself with one of these outstanding watches. Of course, you do have to own an Android phone.
You can also buy a used Galaxy Watch 4 Classic at a Lower Price
We have bought used items from Amazon, including a sound system for our TV. Our sound system is still going strong after three years of use. Of course, as with any used item, you buy it at your own risk with a reduced warranty. Still, it is a good way to try out new technology without spending a fortune.
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