• December 7, 2021

Samsung’s new smartwatch is the best yet, but it’s no match for Apple

While Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Androids are relatively even, there is one area that Apple has been winning for far too long: wearable devices. The Apple Watch has been without a doubt the best smartwatch on the market since its launch; effortlessly balancing ease of use, simple notifications, and advanced fitness features. Samsung has outperformed Apple on new smartphone features for years, but for whatever reason, watches are an area where it can’t compete.

Don’t get me wrong, previous Samsung watches were among the best available for Android phones, and the physical rotating bezel on some models is wonderful. But the Tizen operating system lacked brilliance, elegance, and simplicity. For a while, my theory was that it was being held back by its compatibility with all phones; It couldn’t specialize in uncovering what made Samsung’s smartphones great, because Samsung wanted to sell it to iPhone and Android users alike.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 works with Google’s WearOS.

The new Samsung Galaxy Watch4 maintains the same look and feel as the recent Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, but runs on Google’s Wear operating system with a custom skin, giving you access to the (admittedly still limited) apps on the Google Play Store. for Wear OS. . It also eliminates the attempt to be everything to everyone, is no longer compatible with iPhone, and reserves its best features for Samsung owners only, such as body composition, blood oxygen, and blood pressure. By the way, two of those are features that the Apple Watch doesn’t have.

But, after a week of use, my experiences have been mixed. Notification reception has been better most of the time, although I still have several cases each day where the watch vibrates and makes a sound, but then does not show any notifications. In those moments I feel like one of the characters in Girl, trying to guess if Timmy has fallen into the well again.

Charging

The directions with Google Maps are excellent, much better than on the Apple Watch. Apple Maps’ vibration-based directions are perhaps a bit more intuitive, but since Apple Maps lacks cycling directions, having the Galaxy Watch4 show me and tell me where to turn was awesome.

Unfortunately, on that same trip, the cycling training was automatically paused when I stopped at the first stoplight, which was helpful, but then it didn’t stop automatically, which I didn’t notice until I stopped the directions at the end of the trip. . That was less helpful.

After all that, I think Samsung has taken a big step towards the Apple Watch. The Galaxy Watch4 is easily the best off-road smartwatch I’ve tested for Android (although the Suunto 7 continues to win as the best fitness watch), while Apple holds the crown for the best overall smartwatch for another year.

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