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

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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The Galaxy Watch 4 is Samsung's watch for fitness fiends thanks to its lightweight design and smaller case sizes. Complete with excellent performance and advanced health monitoring sensors, this watch is ready to go everywhere you are. But, the lack of a physical rotating bezel could make it less than ideal to use with sweaty fingers.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Oh-so clean

Lighter weight than Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Best for smaller wrists
Same performance for less money
Minimal design
Capacitive rotating bezel
Aluminum case is more easily damaged
No physical rotating bezel

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

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As the name suggests, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic offers a more traditional aesthetic as well as the power and processing capability to be one of the most advanced smartwatches available. Its rotating bezel is perfect for navigating around the new One UI Watch, and a suite of health-tracking sensors means this watch can go from meetings to the gym with ease.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

The new classic

Looks more like a traditional watch
Durable stainless steel case
Physical rotating bezel
Offers the largest case size
Excellent performance
More expensive
Heavier than the Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Watch 4 Classic: Choose your style

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic continue the technology giant's run at the top of the best Android smartwatch list, thanks to everything each variant is packing. Most notably, these watches are the first to launch with the new Wear OS 3 platform, which will likely be a key selling point for a lot of prospective buyers.

They're also the first to offer a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) sensor to give you even more tools to help you reach your health goals. Aside from the fancy technology included with these watches, they're also some of the best-looking smartwatches. But for all that's similar in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 series, what sets them apart? Your decision will come down to style and size preferences. So let's dig in and see what separates these two wearables from one another.

It's what's on the surface that counts

In past versions of Galaxy smartwatches, Samsung offered watches with similar internal specs and variations in the external appearance — ala Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the Galaxy Watch 3. This approach worked well for Samsung in the past, so why not continue that trend with this new round of smartwatches?

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Size44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm
40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm
45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0mm
41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2mm
Weight30.3g
25.9g
52g
46.5g
DisplaySuper AMOLED 1.4-inch (330PPI)
Super AMOLED 1.2-inch (330PPI)
Super AMOLED 1.4-inch (330PPI)
Super AMOLED 1.2-inch (330PPI)
MaterialAluminum caseStainless steel case
Operating SystemWear OS Powered by SamsungWear OS Powered by Samsung
ProcessorExynos W920 (5nm)Exynos W920 (5nm)
Memory1.5GB RAM
16GB storage
1.5GB RAM
16GB storage
Battery361mAh
247mAh
361mAh
247mAh
SensorsAccelerometer
Barometer
Gyro
Geomagnetic
Light
BioActive Sensor (heart rate)
ECG
BIA
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyro
Geomagnetic
Light
BioActive Sensor (heart rate)
ECG
BIA
ConnectivityLTE
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi
NFC
GPS
LTE
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi
NFC
GPS
Durability5ATM
IP68
MIL-STD-810G
5ATM
IP68
MIL-STD-810G
ColorsGreen
Black
Silver
Pink Gold
Black
Silver
Band size20mm
20mm
20mm
20mm

Looking over the spec table above, you can see these two watches match up exactly when it comes to what's inside. However, Samsung takes the adage, "it's what on the inside that counts," and flips it on its head. In this case, you'll need to focus on what's on the surface when choosing between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic.

Previously, Galaxy watches would be close in matching internals with a few key differences. This time around, both Galaxy Watch 4 models offer the same internal specs across the board. Yet, aside from the display, these two watches are different in nearly every way on the outside.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is perfect for minimalists

Galaxy Watch 4 Star Wars Face Galaxys Edge

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

The Galaxy Watch 4 will be the perfect smartwatch for anyone who likes minimal design aesthetics, wants a smaller watch size, or prefers the lightest option available. The Galaxy Watch 4 checks all these boxes and is significantly lighter in its aluminum case, especially when compared to the heavy stainless steel that envelops the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

While aluminum certainly shaves off some grams, it's also much easier to scratch and ding your watch. This isn't as big of a problem with a durable stainless steel case. Thankfully, both watches have the same MIL-STD-810G durability rating. You can also consider buying Galaxy Watch 4 screen protectors or Galaxy Watch 4 Classic screen protectors to further protect your investment.

One of the primary visual differences I found when comparing these two smartwatches is the bezel. Of course, you'll find the same display size for each wearable, but the addition of a physical rotating bezel on the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic does add a couple of millimeters to its overall case size.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is for making a statement

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review

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

The other noticeable difference in the exterior of these watches is the design of the two buttons on the right side of each device. Both Galaxy Watch 4 series models feature dual buttons. However, on the Galaxy Watch 4, these pushers are much more flush against the watch case. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic's buttons are more pronounced. Additionally, you'll notice the case flares outward a bit in between the two buttons, which gives it some separation.

In terms of performance, you'll find that both new watches offer the most responsive interface and some of the most advanced health monitoring sensors available. You'll also appreciate that the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are equipped with the company's ultra-fast Exynos W920 processor. So regardless of which smartwatch you decide to go with, you won't have to worry about missing out on any features or performance.

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

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Review

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

Samsung is replacing its fitness-focused Galaxy Active 2 smartwatch with the Galaxy Watch 4, which makes sense. With its lightweight design and smaller case sizes, it's truly the perfect fitness companion. While the style of the device doesn't exactly scream "fitness watch," it's excellent for those who prefer to make a subtle fashion statement with their wearables.

On the contrary, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is ready for nearly all situations. Thanks to the stainless steel casing and traditional watch stylings, it's the ideal pick for those seeking a more refined aesthetic. This device looks great in business meetings and fancy dinner dates. What's more, it can easily handle all of your fitness goals as it offers the same fitness features as the Galaxy Watch 4.