Samsung Galaxy 4 Smartwatch 2022

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Samsung Galaxy 4 Smartwatch, I must admit that I never liked connected watches. As a tech journalist, it's quite controversial, but I've always opted for a traditional watch over a high-tech wearable.

It's not that you don't see the benefits of having what is essentially a miniature smartphone strapped to your wrist, it's more of a personal preference. On a certainly classy level, I just don't think smartwatches look particularly good. The big boxy face of the Apple Watch in particular strikes me as extremely unappealing.

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Also, while it's pretty impressive that the best smartwatches can do everything from measuring body fat percentage to monitoring blood oxygen levels, these are measurements that I don't feel the need to follow on a day-to-day basis. Of course, some people probably find such a comprehensive fitness tracker motivating, but for me, it triggers the obsessive side of my personality.

Although I have deliberately avoided smartwatches for the past five years, earlier this month I decided it was time to get a proper firsthand experience. After using the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 extensively for the past two weeks, to my surprise, the wearable has won me over. This is how it happened.

Off to a mixed start

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Image credit: Future 

One thing that struck me when I took the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 out of the box was how stylish it looked. Unlike an Apple Watch with its distinctive square dial, the Galaxy Watch 4 fits in perfectly with my existing collection of traditional wristwatches.

Of course, if you give it more than just a glance, it's clearly a smartwatch, but I like that the circular dial invokes a more traditional watch design. Unlike some wearable products, the Galaxy Watch 4 doesn't immediately yell "look at me" at passersby. This gave a big checkmark right out of the box for me.

Unfortunately, my initial positive impression quickly waned when I began the installation process. Of course, this is an Android-only device and I'm mostly an iOS person, which may be partly to blame, but I had a lot of trouble logging into my Samsung account on the Galaxy Watch 4. I was forced to reset the watch. smart twice to restart the process before it finally works.

I also think that the number of options and settings that Samsung expects first-time users to select during initialization is overwhelming. I prefer a gradual approach. Run the essentials for me right away, then let me tweak the rest as needed.

Testing out the tracking

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Image credit: Future

Once the Galaxy Watch 4 was set up and linked to my Samsung account, I was ready to start acclimating to the device. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to navigate the menus on the 40mm display and really appreciated the clickable side button that instantly takes you to the main watch display.

In fact, using the smartwatch for fitness tracking turned out more or less as expected. It's nice, but personally, I find it over the top. To be honest, I am also quite skeptical about the quality of the tracking. For example, on a brisk ten-minute walk to the movies to see Spider-Man: No Way Home, the watch reported that it had burned 135 calories, which I think is high.

I've learned to appreciate the Galaxy Watch 4's auto-tracking feature. Not having to manually ask the watch to start tracking before exercise is pretty neat, especially since I'm notoriously bad at remembering. To activate the Strava app before a race.

I’ve observed that fitness tracking features typically headline the promotional material of not just the Samsung Galaxy Watch range, but most smartwatches in general. While I understand the appeal of comprehensive exercise and health tracking, what really won me over about the Galaxy Watch 4 was all the other (often less publicized) stuff it can do. 

Excellent for everyday use

In fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment when I really felt like having a smartwatch strapped on my wrist was worth it. I went out for a Christmas meal with my partner, and once the bill came in, we were arguing over the tip (we are both a bit mathematically challenged).

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Image credit: Tom's Guide

I initially turned to the Galaxy Watch 4 for a standard calculator, but with a quick swipe, I was able to access a widget that allowed me to enter the total bill, desired tip amount, and a number of diners and get an instant split. It almost looked like something out of a science fiction movie! Now of course the latest smartphones offer this kind of functionality too, but the convenience of having a tool like this on your wrist should not be overlooked.

It's these smaller features of the Galaxy Watch 4 that really impressed me the most. Being able to use Samsung Pay to complete transactions with just a flick of the wrist, swap songs on Spotify without having to take my entire phone out of my pocket, and be able to quickly check my location at a glance via GPS has been extremely helpful over the past two weeks.

These everyday features aren't usually promoted as well as fitness tracking, but for me, they're the features that justify choosing a smartwatch over a traditional watch. I'm fine not knowing how many steps I took in a day, but I love being able to pay by pressing my watch against a card machine.

Not quite essential (but almost)

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Image credit: Future

As much as my general opinion on smartwatches has changed in general, I still don't see one completely replacing my traditional watch.

On the one hand, waking up the Galaxy Watch 4 to check the time requires a very exaggerated movement of the whole arm. Which may seem a bit silly in public. Of course, some users will no doubt prefer that their watch only wakes up after clearly intentional movement, but Samsung should really add sensitivity options so everyone can find their sweet spot.

I'm also not convinced that aggressive fitness tracking is something anyone who's not a professional athlete really needs constant access to. At least it's not something that I personally need. However, the sheer number of daily features the Galaxy Watch 4 offers certainly adds up.

I'd still be pretty comfortable leaving home without my Galaxy Watch 4, if only because my smartphone can do pretty much the same things, but still, the wearable makes a pretty convincing argument on its own. Just two weeks with the Galaxy Watch 4 and I've gone from a smartwatch skeptic to something of an evangelist. That is no small achievement.

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