Launching alongside the Note 20 Ultra, Samsung’s mid-year Unpacked event last August also gave us the Galaxy Watch 3, which went on to become one of our favourite smartwatches of 2020. So what can we expect from its successor – the Galaxy Watch 4?
Aside from pulling Samsung’s smartwatch naming convention back into line, the Galaxy Watch 3 offered a refined take on its original namesake, added some appreciated improvements to signature features and introduced wholly new functionality (even though some was market-dependant).
When can I buy the Galaxy Watch 4?
28 June, 10:15 PT/13:15pm ET/18:15 BST/19:15 CET – this now looks to be the most likely date on which Samsung would reveal the Galaxy Watch 4 series.
While the Korean company formally pulled out of having any physical presence at the Mobile World Congress trade show this year, it still intends to participate virtually, with SamMobile spotting a virtual session on the agenda, held by Samsung on the opening day (28 June) of the show called ‘Galaxy Ecosystem / New Watch Experience / Mobile Security’.
To avoid any confusion over whether Samsung means ‘watch’ in the context of its TVs, rather than timepieces, the event description also includes the phrase, “We’re reimagining smartwatches, creating new opportunities for both developers and consumers.”
There’s a chance that this might simply be the reveal of the company’s Tizen ✕ Wear OS user experience, built in partnership with Google, rather than any wearable hardware, but we’re crossing our fingers for the latter.
For context on the Watch 4 line’s release, the original Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch 3 both arrived in the August of their respective launch years, with the Galaxy Watch Active and Active 2 changing tact, making their debuts in April and September of the same year (2019).
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce)
March 6, 2021
Prior to the discovery of Samsung’s MWC 2021 keynote, established tipster Ice Universe had cited a Q2 launch window (between Apr and June) for both the Galaxy Watch 4 and the (then unheard of) Galaxy Watch Active 4 (skipping ‘Active 3’ entirely).
This is however was also refuted by (now, somewhat confusingly) SamMobile, who claimed that the Galaxy Watch 4 would land alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 2/3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3, at some point in Q3 2021 – between July and September – aligning with previous releases.
Such a discrepancy within SamMobile’s own reporting, however, could now be attributed to the expected late-June launch of the Watch 4 line, with an on-sale release set for Q3.
How much does the Galaxy Watch 4 cost?
Unless Samsung takes a markedly different tact with next year’s Galaxy Watch, it’s assumed that the standard timepiece will adopt the same (or similar) premium smartwatch pricing as the current offering.
For reference, the Galaxy Watch 3 comes in two sizes – 41mm and 45mm – and costs £399/US$399 or £419/$429, respectively.
There’s a cellular version of Watch 3 which costs a little more at £429/$449 and £459/$479, depending on the size you swing for.
As for the Active 4, it’ll likely lose the crown and opt for a smoother, less-obtrusive design with a lower price tag to boot. The Galaxy Watch Active and Active 2 started at £199/$199.99 and £249/$249.99 respectively but depending on functionality, the Watch Active 4 could keep pushing the price up to £299/$299.99.
What features does the Galaxy Watch 4 offer?
Based on a combination of every leak we’ve encountered so far, alongside Samsung’s previous Galaxy Watch entries, here’s everything we’re expecting the next entries to bring to the table.
Wear OS – The first leak for the watch came from Ice Universe too, who said “Samsung’s new watch will use Android to replace Tizen”, which was later backed up by another Twitter leaker.
Jumping forward to Google I/O 2021, in mid-May and Google officially revealed that it was teaming up with Samsung to fuse Wear OS and Tizen OS into a single platform, which Samsung then confirmed would be powering the next Galaxy Watch; pulling in additional wellness and fitness features, supplied by the now Google-owned Fitbit.
The new OS after Wear OS integrates Tizen OS
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce)
May 19, 2021
Neither company gave this OS fusion a proper name, referring to it as “Wear” on stage but Ice Universe once again stepped in shortly afterwards to reveal more specs – specifically about the Galaxy Watch 4 Active but including traits that will undoubtedly grace the standard Watch 4 too.
Wear OS watches have typically been criticised for their performance too and talk of a new 5nm chipset would serve as a huge leap forward, based on the best Qualcomm has to offer – the Snapdragon Wear 4100+, with its 12nm design – or even the 10nm chip currently at play inside the Galaxy Watch 3.
A thinner design – Samsung already made the Galaxy Watch 3 a slimmer and less cluttered watch than its 2018 predecessor, but we’d like to see the 2021 rendition go on an even more extreme diet – in terms of both weight and thickness – provided such a move doesn’t impact performance or battery life.
One leak initially suggested this could be the case, with 3C (China’s certification board) certifying a 240mAh battery for a yet-unnamed Samsung wearable with codename SM-R880. It’s widely believed that it’s in fact the smaller 41mm version of the Galaxy Watch 4, which if true, shows a reduction of 7mAh compared to the Galaxy Watch 3.
Later, as spotted by 91mobiles, the Finnish certification authority – SGS Fimko – had Samsung smartwatches with Galaxy Watch 4-associated model numbers (SM-R865F and SM-R860) pass through, citing a capacity of 247mAh; the same as the 41mm Galaxy Watch 3.
If this turns out to be true (and in contradiction to the 3C certification from months prior), it stands to reason that the larger Galaxy Watch 4 will also sport the same-sized battery as its direct predecessor, clocking in at 340mAh.
The above Ice Universe tweet also makes mention of narrower bezels, even if that may only be in relation to the Galaxy Watch Active 4.
More premium materials – Steel and aluminium have been go-to material choices for Samsung’s top smartwatches for a few years now but with Apple’s Watch Edition series and entries like the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro weaving titanium and the like into their designs, it’d be nice to see a wider choice of materials and finishes on the Galaxy Watch 4.
The Ice Universe post that revealed the “TizenWear OS” name specifically mentioned “excellent frame texture, suspected to be titanium alloy.” Fellow established tipster Roland Quandt did, however, chime in, in response to Ice Universe’s tweet on the matter with the following:
1 model Aluminum, 1 model stainless steel.
— Roland Quandt (@rquandt)
May 19, 2021
Wider feature support – The Galaxy Watch 3 boasts Apple Watch-rivalling heart-rate, ECG, blood pressure and blood oxygen tracking, but not all of these premium health-tracking features aren’t available in all markets, stuck behind certification from various countries’ health boards.
If Samsung can work on getting approval for the technology inside the Galaxy Watch 4 ahead of its launch, more users worldwide will be able to enjoy functionality that some Galaxy Watch 3 owners already make use of.
A rugged version – Samsung has made hardy smartwatches in the past but despite their intended use as fitness trackers, even the Watch Active line sported designs that looked great but weren’t particularly hard-wearing.
Taking queues from wearables like the Amazfit T-Rex and its own Galaxy Tab Active tablets, an alternative rugged version of the Galaxy Watch 4 would likely appeal to a wider array of potential users.
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