Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 3: Should you upgrade?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Hands On
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Hands On (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung has taken all of the features that made its previous generation of smartwatches great and made them even better with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. With improved performance, battery life, new advanced health sensors, and more, along with the new Wear OS, this is now the ultimate smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

The new king

Runs the new Wear OS 3
Advanced 3-in-1 health sensor
Faster performance
More memory and storage
Longer software support
Improved display resolution
Fewer color options

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

As Samsung's premium smartwatch from 2020, the Galaxy Watch 3 is still a fantastic device, with great performance and excellent build. Though since it is running Samsung's Tizen OS, it does have a limited support life. This also means that because of that OS, it also has a limited number of apps available.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Reliquishing the crown

Still has two years of Tizen OS support
Has more color choices
Snappy performance
Has a titanium case option
Larger and heavier than Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Older, slower processor
Less memory and storage
Tizen won't be supported as long as Wear OS 3
Missing new health sensors
Few available apps

Since the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 was released, it has been one of the best Android smartwatches available. But, with the new Galaxy Watch 4 Classic out in full-force, last year's model may have met its match. This isn't to say that the older version is suddenly a bad smartwatch. It still has fantastic performance and is one of the best-looking smartwatches to this day. However, with Wear OS 3 being the new software for Samsung smartwatches moving forward, time is limited. So, with that being said, if you are currently rocking the Galaxy Watch 3 should upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic — maybe. Let's take a closer look.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 3: Keeping things current

Looking at the pros and cons above, it might seem like the Galaxy Watch 3 is a bad smartwatch, but that couldn't be further from the truth. It's an excellent one. The crux of the situation is that we're comparing that watch to the latest offering from Samsung, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

While on the outside these two wearables have a lot in common, on the inside, the differences can become vast.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 3
Size45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0 mm41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm46.2 x 45 x 11.1 mm42.5 x 41 x 11.3 mm
Weight52g46.5g53.8 g48.2 g
DisplaySuper AMOLED 1.4in (450x450, 330PPI)Super AMOLED 1.2" (396x396, 330PPI)Super AMOLED 1.4in (360 x 360, 364PPI)Super AMOLED 1.2" (360 x 360, 364PPI)
MaterialStainless steel caseStainless steel case
Operating SystemWear OS Powered by SamsungTizen OS
ProcessorExynos W920 (5nm)Exynos 9110 (10 nm)
Memory1.5GB RAM16GB storage1GB RAM8GB storage
SensorsAccelerometerBarometerGyroGeomagneticLightBioActive Sensor (heart rate)ECGBIAAccelerometerBarometerGyroGeomagneticLightECG
ConnectivityLTE (optional)Bluetooth 5.0Wi-FiNFCGPSLTE (optional)Bluetooth 5.0Wi-FiNFCGPS
ColorsBlackSilverMystic BronzeMystic BlackMystic White
Band size20mm20mm22mm20mm

Many of the specs in the table are the same or very close, but the differences add up to be significant in daily usage. For starters, even with the larger battery in the 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, it's still lighter than the Galaxy Watch 3. The new watch is smaller in every other dimension while still offering the same display size.

Speaking of the display, Samsung has improved the resolution of the already great-looking screen that was on the Galaxy Watch 3 for its new wearable. When we're talking about a small display, in comparison to a smartphone, even the slightest increase in visual clarity is impactful.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 3: The OS makes the difference

Galaxy Watch 3 on AC's Joe Maring

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Samsung smartwatches over the past few years have all had great overall performance. This has been primarily because Samsung used its self-made processors and optimized them with the in-house OS, called Tizen. Peak evidence of that excellent optimization is seen on the Galaxy Watch 3, and it would be understandable if there were concerns that there could be a drop off in performance now that Samsung is moving to Wear OS 3 on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

With a hand in creating the new Wear OS 3 along with a new, more powerful processor and 1.5GB RAM, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic absolutely flies in daily use.

However, because Samsung is not only still using its own processor, albeit a much-improved version over the 2020 model, it also had a hand in co-developing Wear OS 3 with Google. Because Samsung has influenced how the new software is made, it can also ensure that the new Exynos chipset powering the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic continues to provide excellent performance.

This move to Wear OS 3 brings added functionality that was missing from Tizen. Not only will the new wearable now have access to things like Google Assistant and Google Pay, but it also gains access to far more apps than before thanks to the inclusion of the Google Play Store.

Tizen on the Galaxy Watch 3 is still working and will continue to. However, that won't be forever. Samsung has said that the OS will continue to be supported for existing watches for three years from the device's launch date. For the Galaxy Watch 3, that will be until August 2023. After that, the future of the Galaxy Watch 3 is up in the air as it won't be updated to Wear OS 3.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic Hands On

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

If you've used a Wear OS or Tizen OS, you likely have seen that both operating systems have their merits, from the way the UI looks to the app support. On the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, Samsung has done a good job of merging the utility of Wear OS 3 with the visual cues that fans of Tizen enjoy onto the new smartwatch with One UI Watch.

One of the other things that Samsung has been leading the pack with is how it does fitness, and that doesn't change with the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. In fact, it extends. Samsung has created a new 3-in-1 health sensor that keeps the core functionality in the Galaxy Watch 3, but it's faster and adds new features.

For example, the new BIA sensor (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) in the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic can provide a more complete picture of your overall health. Similar to what the best smart scales can provide, this new sensor can provide you with your skeletal muscle mass, basal metabolic rate, body water, and body fat percentage markers all from your wrist.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 3: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic BIA Sensor reading

Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

The Galaxy Watch 3 is still a very capable smartwatch so upgrading to the new Galaxy Watch 4 Classic comes down to your personal needs. If you want to be sure that you have the most up-to-date software, want more comprehensive personal health analysis from your wrist, and need more options for apps, and have the funds to upgrade, then the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is a fantastic choice.

But, if you are still happy with your Galaxy Watch 3 and want to hold off on upgrading for a couple of years, then, by all means, continue to use one of the best Samsung smartwatches ever made.

Chris Wedel
Smart Home Writer
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.