Exactly one year ago, we reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatch. So why are we here again? It’s because Samsung decided to launch the 4G version of the Galaxy Watch in India a year later. The Galaxy Watch 4G was launched last month alongside the Galaxy Tab S6 and Watch Active 2. The biggest change compared to the old Galaxy Watch is that the new one comes with 4G/LTE support at a price starting at Rs 28,490.
The Galaxy Watch 4G looks exactly like the non-4G version. So our review will sound very much like last year’s review for the most part, especially when we talk about the design and display. Even after a year, the Galaxy Watch looks and feels relevant. And with 4G support, the Galaxy Watch 4G now becomes the only cellular Android smartwatch that users should buy in India. We review the Galaxy Watch 4G to find out how well the smartwatch holds up in the deep end of 2019.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G Design
As we mentioned before, the Galaxy Watch 4G is identical to the non-4G version. So, you get a circular dial that comes in 46mm and 42mm sizes. The 46mm is big and can feel heavy on the wrist, while the 42mm feels more manageable. The biggest issue I faced while using the 46mm variant is that the watch kept leaning to the side of my wrist, forcing me to constantly bring it back to the top every time I wanted to see the time. You’ll have to strap the Galaxy Watch thightly for it to stay in place, which can be quite uncomfortable.
The best feature about the Galaxy Watch is the rotating bezel. This is by far the best solution to navigate through the UI on a smartwatch, and it’s kind of sad Samsung ditched that this year with the Watch Active. The Watch Active 2 has a touch-based rotating bezel, which is nice to see.
A physical rotating wheel on the Galaxy Watch has another charm to it. The haptic feedback with every turn of the bezel clockwise or anticlockwise is quite satisfying. The rugged buttons on the side have a decent tactile feel to them. Out of the box, the Galaxy Watch 4G comes with standard silicone straps, which feel comfortable enough when worn loosely, but they do attract a lot of dust.
Galaxy Watch LTE sports a 1.3-inch AMOLED display on the 46mm dial size and a 1.2-inch display on the 42mm variant. As you would expect, Samsung’s AMOLED screen looks extremely pleasing on the Galaxy Watch LTE. The display is attractive with rich colours and deep blacks. Brightness is not an issue on the Galaxy Watch as I could easily read the screen outdoors on less than full brightness levels. As much as I love the rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch, it can block the screen when viewing the watch at extreme angles. Here, I prefer the Apple Watch’s 3D-like display thanks to its curved glass design.
4G support makes the Galaxy Watch better
With LTE support, the Galaxy Watch 4G can be used without needing your phone by your side at all times. Once you setup a mobile data plan for the Galaxy Watch, you can forget your phone at home while you’re out for a run and still receive calls, messages and stream music on the smartwatch.
There are two ways to add 4G service on the Galaxy Watch. The first and easiest way to do this is through the Galaxy Wearable app. All you need to do is add an Airtel or Jio number during the initial pairing process, since these are the only two carriers in India that offer eSIM support. I found it difficult to pair my Airtel number, but it worked fine with my Jio number.
Alternatively, you can head over to a Reliance Jio or Airtel store and request a new eSIM. You can get an eSIM of the same number as your physical SIM card or you could get a brand new eSIM number for the Galaxy Watch. Do note that eSIM works on only one product at a time, so you will have to disable it on the watch if you ever want to use the eSIM for some other product.
One mobile data service is activated on the Galaxy Watch 4G, the smartwatch becomes a completely separate entity. You can receive calls and talk through the microphone and a tiny speaker on the watch. It works flawlessly although you will probably need to connect the watch to a pair of Bluetooth earphones to make calls as the speaker volume is fairly low and won’t be useful in a noisy environment.
Galaxy Watch 4G performance, software and fitness tracking
The Galaxy Watch 4G works smoothly, and you won’t feel that it’s a 2018 smartwatch. It runs on Samsung’s in-house Tizen OS instead of Wear OS, which is fine. The OS is well-optimised for the circular display and rotating bezel. Unfortunately, the problems I had with the Galaxy Watch back then remain the same on the LTE variant as well.
My biggest issue with the software is how slow the notification animations are. This can get quite frustrating when you want to get a quick look at a message you’ve received but have to wait a few seconds for the animation to pop-up and disappear first. The other issue with the software is the limited third-party apps support. If this is not a major issue for you and if you’re satisfied with the apps on the watch, Tizen OS will work just fine for you.
A major plus point with the Galaxy Watch 4G is the wide-selection of watch faces. Not only do you get some nice faces pre-loaded, but the Galaxy Wearables app offers a massive catalogue of watch faces to choose from, making sure you won’t get bored with the watch anytime soon.
The Galaxy Watch 4G gets close to 40 workouts that includes running, hiking, swimming, treadmill and crunches. It can auto detect some workouts, which is nice because sometimes you may forget to start an exercise on the watch. The Galaxy Watch will also buzz you when it detects that you’ve been inactive for a while, reminding you to do a torso twist.
Samsung’s smartwatch also comes with sleep and stress tracking features. The former is fairly limited in that it doesn’t offer a comprehensive summary of your sleep pattern. But at least there is a sleep tracking feature which is something the Apple Watch still misses. That being said, the reason I prefer watchOS is the app ecosystem that gives you access to some really nice third-party sleep tracking apps like Pillow and Sleep++.
Galaxy Watch 4G battery life
The Galaxy Watch offers a terrific battery life for a smartwatch. As a person who uses an Apple Watch Series 3, I was quite delighted that I did not need to charge the Galaxy Watch every second day. Samsung’s smartwatch can take you through around 6 days on a single charge if you keep the brightness level at around 60-70 per cent.
Even with Always On display enabled, the Galaxy Watch 4G would take me through four days before I needed to charge. The wireless charging dock that comes with the box takes roughly three hours to fully charge the device, which makes you appreciate the battery life of the Galaxy Watch even more.
Should you buy the Galaxy Watch 4G?
Samsung took its time to launch the LTE variant of the Galaxy Watch in India. But the smartwatch market isn’t as volatile or competitive as the smartphone segment, so the delay won’t really hurt Samsung. The fact is that the Galaxy Watch was a terrific Android smartwatch last year, and the added 4G support only makes it better this year.
The Galaxy Watch 4G is a unique Android smartwatch simply because it comes with LTE connectivity. At Rs 28,490, the Galaxy Watch 4G is an easy recommend for anyone who wants to use a smartwatch so that they don’t have to depend on their smartphone always. While it is an Android smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 4G isn’t too bad for iPhone users as well, although they may prefer the Apple Watch Series 3 LTE model that costs just a little bit more at Rs 34,900.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4G review8/10
- 4G connectivity
- Great battery life
- Rotating bezel
- Attractive display
- Slow notification animation
- Tizen OS offers limited app support
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