While Apple continues to lead the way on the smart watch front, Samsung has been making good strides in its own offerings.
The latest are the Galaxy Watch4 and Watch 4 Classic, which offer plenty of useful features, albeit with a few niggles.
The first thing you can say about the Watch 4 Classic when you take it out of the packaging and put it on is that it looks and feels like a watch.
It has a round face, with a rotating physical bezel (only on the Classic – the other one has a digital bezel), and a couple of push buttons on the right side.
There are two sizes available in the Watch 4 – 44m and 40mm – and the in the Classic, a 46mm version and the 42mm that we tried.
The Classic is made of stainless steel, but it doesn’t weigh too much and feels comfortable to wear.
Available in black and silver, the case is quite compact, so it doesn’t look overly chunky.
Obviously though the 44mm and 46mm versions will be a bit larger in appearance and weight.
The version we tried came with a silicone buckle strap on it, but like most smartwatches there is a range of interchangeable straps available for it.
The screen is a Super AMOLED full colour always-on display.
Covered in Corning Gorilla Glass DX, it feels strong but at the same time is sensitive enough to the touch.
The device carries an IP68 rating, so you don’t need to worry about dust and you can take it to 5 metres of depth under water.
The power and speed of the Samsung Watch 4 Classic wasn’t a problem.
It is driven by one of Samsung’s own Exynos W920 Dual Core 1.18GHz processors and this coupled with the 1.5GB of RAM made for a smooth and quick user experience.
You can have multiple apps running simultaneously and you won’t notice any major lags.
The watch is loaded with 16GB of internal storage which is a respectable enough amount for carrying music and apps with you.
One new feature on the watch is the operating system.
For this device, Samsung has ditched its own Tizen, and embraced Google’s Wear OS 3.
Laid on top of that is a Samsung developed skin, One UI Watch 3.
If you’ve used Samsung and Google devices in the past, it will all feel pretty familiar and works well.
Navigation is pretty straightforward, apps and features are accessible and controls simple to get to grips with.
The beauty of the use of the Google OS is that it gives you access to a wider range of apps through the Play Store.
Battery life is good – up to two days depending on how heavily you use it.
If you use it for a lot of tracking you’ll probably want to top it up each day.
This is done with the wireless charging pad in the box, but as is more or less standard now there is no power block included so you’ll have to find a suitable one to plug the cable into.
The watch has many of the usual features you’d expect from this type of a wearable, and a few more tricks up its sleeve.
Like most of its competitors, the Watch 4 Classic comes into its own for fitness tracking.
There’s the by now standard step and calorie counters and built in GPS for tracking your routes.
It is pretty good at detecting automatically when you have started a workout and more than 90 exercises are supported.
There are plenty of health monitoring features there also.
Aside from the heart rate monitor, the BioActive sensor measures ECG in real time.
You can also check your blood pressure, but you’ll have to connect it to a Samsung smartphone to do so.
Blood oxygen levels can also monitored though the watch.
The newest feature is a body composition measure that claims to be able to tell you body fat percentage and skeletal muscle mass.
They all work fine in so far as one can tell, but as manufacturers continue to add more and more of these health monitoring features, you begin to wonder to what value.
Sleep tracking is also available, if you want to keep an eye on your zzz’s.
There’s a good range of watch faces to choose from, both analog and digital. You can ad AR emojis too for a bit of fun.
Samsung has done a credible job with the Watch 4 Classic.
It has the distinct look and feel of an actual watch, but with plenty of health and fitness tracking features packed inside.
The user interface is friendly and the hardware and battery perform strongly.
A big drawback for many is that it won’t work with an iPhone and in certain cases you’ll need a Samsung device to make features like blood pressure monitoring work.
In truth though, while it has many endearing qualities, there aren’t any new knock-out new features to particularly make it a must have.
Perhaps that’s just a feature of how well-developed Samsung’s watches already are.
So if you are looking for a really solid, reasonably priced (€379 for 42mm and €409 for 46mm), practical, Android/Samsung friendly watch, give it a look.
But if you are looking to be wowed, maybe look elsewhere or wait for the next release.