If you own Android phone, most likely, you enviously craved the equivalent of Apple Watch. A smart watch with a reliable app store, detailed features for tracking health and fitness, and a fast and intuitive interface — apparently that’s too much to ask for! Don’t worry, all hope is not lost. It may have taken a little more than that seven yearsbut the Google Wear OS smartwatch platform has woken up and is finally moving forward to make a viable competitor.
The latest version of Wear OS 3 was developed by Samsung, Google and Fitbit (the latter owned by Google). The first watches that launched it – it’s Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic from Samsung. Yes, you heard right. Samsung, which for several years has been honing Tizen’s home-grown smartwatch operating system — and produces a variety of high-quality watches — has decided to try a different approach and replace it with Google.
The idea is to combine Android phone owners into one SmartWatch operating system, which encourages app developers to build apps for the platform. Both Tizen and Wear OS suffer from a lack of apps in their respective stores – and we all know what happens when you don’t have enough of them (sorry, Windows Phone).
It will take time to see the new apps on Wear OS, but the latest line of Watch4 already gives me hope. And if you’re a fan of Samsung’s previous Galaxy watches, you’ll be happy to know that the software feels the same, with a few new improvements (and some regressions).
There are two models: the Watch4 ($ 250), available in sizes 40 and 44mm, and the Watch4 Classic ($ 350), which is available in 42 or 46mm. Internally, they are quite similar, and both have bright OLED displays, but the design is different. Watch4 is minimalist, and Classic – more traditional and sporty. All sizes have a common silicone strap of 20 mm, but they are easy to change to a design of your choice.
The classic is made of stainless steel, so it is more durable than aluminum watches4. It also retains the popular mechanical turntable, so you can physically move the edges around the screen to scroll the interface on the watch. The Watch4 has a digital bezel that performs the same as the Galaxy Watch Active series, but doesn’t have a satisfying, tactile click when you navigate the menu.
Both are attractive round watches, they sit comfortably on the wrist, but do mechanical frames and stainless steel cost more than $ 100? I don’t think so. You need to worry more about choosing the right size and about whether you want LTE. Smaller wrists will last for less hours, but be careful: you will get a smaller battery.
I tested the 40mm Watch4 and the 46mm Watch4 Classic. The first barely lasted all day, and it’s without a constantly on display (AoD) that absorbs power. It always takes a charge before bed if I want to track my sleep. The larger Classic, however, held the light for a whole day and a half, even after tracking sleep. With AoD there was a little less, but not much. Choose larger sizes if your wrist allows it.
If you told me that this Galaxy Watch runs Wear OS, I would say “liar, liar, pants on fire.” Run through the interface and it looks almost the same as its Tizen predecessors. This is one of the new changes in the Wear OS 3 – manufacturers will be able to combine software with their own unique style. On the left – all your notifications, on the right – tiles (also widgets), and holding your finger down allows you to access the clock settings.