If the recent Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rumors are to be believed, we can expect to see the successor to last year's excellent Galaxy Watch 3, along with an accompanying Active variant, a bit sooner than originally anticipated. That's great news, since Samsung makes some of the best Android smartwatches around, but right now we're still not entirely sure what upgrades to expect in these upcoming models.
While we await more concrete details on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, which could launch as early as Q2 2021, I've got some features in mind that I'd love to see make their way to the final product.
Maintain Tizen support
While we don't have any official confirmation just yet, it's been suggested that the Galaxy Watch 4 may ditch Samsung's in-house Tizen operating system in favor of the same Wear OS platform we've seen on virtually every other Android-compatible smartwatch. This would make sense for a lot of reasons, namely wider compatibility with non-Samsung phones and considerably better app support — something Tizen has been woefully lacking in for years.
Still, I've enjoyed past Galaxy Watch models because of the Tizen software they ship with. Wear OS has come a long way in the last few years, but at least in my opinion, it still feels like an afterthought of a project for Google. Fitness tracking — an area in which Tizen has comparatively excelled — is particularly lacking in Wear OS, and performance has generally felt underwhelming on most devices I've tested.
I love the rotary-like interface of Tizen's app launcher. I like that Samsung Health automatically detects certain workout routines and begins tracking my stats. Admittedly, Bixby is more of a nuisance than a helpful voice assistant, but no software is perfect. I think Tizen is a great platform for smartwatches, and I'd hate to see it begin to disappear if Samsung starts to transition towards Wear OS.
I'm sort of surprised this hasn't been mentioned in any leaks or rumors yet, but I think that as Samsung continues to establish itself as a major 5G player in the smartphone space, it only makes sense to extend that reach to its smartwatches, as well. We've seen LTE variants of nearly every Galaxy Watch sold at a premium for years now, and while I still think 5G is mostly unnecessary, I also don't see much benefit in leaving the latest networking technologies out of the latest products.
Would 5G bring an entirely new set of capabilities to the Galaxy Watch 4? Almost certainly not, but it could at the very least cut down on load times when streaming music or pulling down notifications when you leave your phone at home.
Better haptic feedback
I'm a sucker for great haptics. Whether you even notice them or not, haptics are a huge part of the smartwatch experience, just as they are with your phone. Apple knows this, and dedicates a large portion of the internal space on their phones and watches towards the Taptic Engine, that complex series of motors that can deliver incredibly precise vibrations, replicating the feeling of someone tapping on your wrist.
The Galaxy Watch 3 already had great haptics, but I'd love for an Apple Watch-like experience on the next model. It wouldn't even be entirely new territory for Samsung to explore; the Galaxy S8 was able to detect different levels of pressure put on the software home button, and used precise haptic feedback to create an artificial "click" that, like the Force Touch trackpad on Apple's MacBooks, was oftentimes genuinely convincing as a real "button."
I think this sort of subtle touch is a particularly great feature for a device that straps onto your wrist. The Galaxy Watch 3's vibration motor is by no means overly aggressive, but I'd love for the same type of gentle nudge for incoming notifications that Apple Watch users have enjoyed for years — the same goes for silent alarms in the morning.
This one is a bit of a softball answer, but frankly, the Galaxy Watch 3 was a bit underwhelming compared to the competition. Battery life in particular was unimpressive; in my review of the 41mm model, I mentioned that its two- to three-day endurance dropped to just a single day of battery life — sometimes even less — with the always-on display enabled.
In addition to better optimizing the software to stretch that battery life a bit further, I'd love to see Samsung up the 247mAh capacity. Of course, that's not the only area that could stand to be improved; the Galaxy Watch 3 features just 8GB of internal storage, a quarter the capacity offered by the Apple Watch Series 6.
Blood pressure monitoring in the U.S.
Remember when Samsung rolled out blood pressure monitoring for the Galaxy Watch 3? If you live in South Korea or any of the other 32 countries where the feature is currently supported, your answer might be "yes," but for those of us Stateside, the feature never actually came.
This isn't entirely Samsung's fault; its metaphorical hands are tied until the FDA gives its official approval for blood pressure monitoring, as it did for the Galaxy Watch 3's electrocardiogram monitoring. Still, I'm hopeful the company will have better luck with its followup models. While your smartwatch is by no means guaranteed to give you perfectly accurate readings, features like built-in blood pressure monitoring can give you baseline approximations for your own personal records.
What features do you want to see?
Are you as excited for Samsung's upcoming smartwatch models as I am? Do you plan to upgrade to the Galaxy Watch 4, or were you never much of a smartwatch user to begin with? And perhaps most importantly, do you see the potential move to Wear OS as a step in the right direction, or are you already lamenting the decision? Whatever your thoughts, let me know in the comments below!
Samsung's best (for now)
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
Still my favorite smartwatch on the market
No matter what Samsung does with the followup model, the Galaxy Watch 3 is a terrific smartwatch with an attractive, modern design and a rotating bezel that makes navigating the Tizen software an absolute joy. Better yet, it's packed with health and fitness features to help you stay on top of your personal well-being.
Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.
I have the Galaxy Watch 3 and love it, I've had previous Galaxy watches and my still my favorite was the Gear S2 as I felt it was the best looking, loved the Smooth rotating bezel, no edges, which is what I wish would be replicated
Better battery sure? Samsung actually made the battery smaller in the SGW4 to the OG SGW.
I sent the current one back as it would not pair with a Note 20, had a smaller battery with the same chipset as the original witch I have.
I'll look at the new one's specs and wait for them to fix the usual software problems they have with released products. Still get 2 days battery with the original and a solid day with the Sport.
Skip 5G. Simply put, the benefit of faster load times is generally irrelevant for the connectivity needs of a watch, and not remotely worth it against the additional expense - not to mention additional drain on the battery. One thing I would very much like to see added is support for compass. Absurd that this isn't already integrated.
- Native podcast app (all the ones on the Galaxy store do not work well)
- Better battery
- Newer chipset, performance on the GW1 and 3 is pretty good, but not Apple Watch good.
It has already been said that the US Gov't has held back the BP measuring feature but this should be prioritized by Samsung tech development folks so FDA will approve the feature. Many of us NEED this feature to get away from BP Cuffs and such for high BP management. Please make it happen.
Stick to the cuff. The wrist monitors are not accurate at all. No pharmacist I've ever worked with in the past 18 years has recommended one.
No one should be using a watch to monitor their blood pressure.
Please use a standard monitor and cuff for Christ Sakes.
Just for clarification. My Omron is gold standard but I travel a lot and during the day at time I have pressure concerns and I felt the watch would give me some reassurance until I got to hotel for regular Omron check.
Thanks for constructive and informative post.
First and foremost is better GPS accuracy or at least sampling rate for sports tracking. It's not 'bad' but definitely not as good as Apple Watch nevermind dedicated trackers like Garmin and Suunto. Better Haptics would be a biggy too. Again Apple Watch has that nailed to the post. And will we ever be allowed to add our own custom notification tones? 5G? Why? It'll eat battery like never before I'd love Wear OS to have GPay, Assistant and Maps but that would also mean having Google Fit which is truly awful. Samsung Health is actually pretty good so Tizen/WearOS is a toss up for me right now
ABC is required
I have the Active Watch 2 and Watch 3. Honestly, I'm not the least but impressed with the Watch 3. It's just not that much of an improvement over the Active Watch 2. Furthermore, it's slow and the software is buggy. Sometimes I take my dog for a walk/run and it only records part of the walk. Also, battery life is all over the place. Sometimes it lasts a day and a half, other times it barely makes it through the day. For me to even consider another Samsung watch it would have to be at least twice as fast and have better battery life.
Unless some magic has been done Wear OS will not be helpful in better battery life.
I know it's a niche thing, but I really hope the CGM thing is true. Any extra help for diabetics is very welcomed.
I want longer battery life. 5G will do nothing to make this happen. Coming from a fitness tracker with a 20+ day battery life, less battery life = no buy. The only thing that I want from the 4 is for ALL of features to be enable AT LAUNCH. No more promises that things are coming. Watch prices keep going up and I will ride the Active 2 until it dies if we get more "coming soon" promises. A new processor, more memory and a bigger battery are all things that should be on the list. 2 days should not be considered great.
If they do plan to switch to wear os I'm going to have to see considerable upgrades to even consider it. App support aside (more of a developer issue) tizen feels better in every field.
A larger variant would be a welcomed addition. The 46mm version feels a little small at times.
-camera like og model
-bigger size watch I had all samsung watches and g3 has horrible battery life
Bragging rights are nice, but 5G on the watch 4 would be a spec for chumps.
solar charging in a dumb os ABC mode.
Make Google Assistant the one and only voice assistant! No. More. Bixby!
I had an S2, now have an S3, and loved them both. One thing I'd love Samsung to do is to revert to the strap attachment mechanism from the S2. I change straps a lot, and the S2 had that nice, positive spring clip mechanism that made changing straps a 2 second job. The S3 has a spring-pin mechanism like boring old conventional watches, and it's MUCH more fiddly to use...up to a few minutes trying to line the pins with the holes, and frequent pop-outs due to misses. An (accurate!) BP monitor would be good, but the biggest downside of the S3 is the strap attachment fiddliness.
10 ATM water rating. The current watches can't handle extended lap swimming.
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