Samsung’s Galaxy Watch line is the only consistently solid option on the market if you're looking to buy an Android smartwatch. This year, things get more interesting as the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic may be the first wearable to launch as part of Samsung’s partnership with Google on Wear.
That partnership should be an advantage for all Android wearables, which will also get a new Qualcomm processor for the first time in years. Still, there’s no question that Samsung has the advantage. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and its sportier sibling, the Galaxy Watch 4, will look to capitalize on this before a sea of new Wear OS smartwatches arrives.
Here's everything we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, including the expected price, release date, design, features and more.
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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic price
The lone rumor regarding pricing for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic originates from MySmartPrice and, if accurate, would represent a steep price hike from previous models. Their sources reported a starting price of 470 to 500 euros for the smaller model and 500 to 530 euros for the larger model. One mistake people make is applying the exchange rate to determine U.S. pricing. Doing so would put the watches at $470 to $500 and $500 to $530, respectively. Keep in mind, however, that US and EMEA pricing are rarely equivalent.
Regardless, this could be a fairly major jump from the $399 starting price for the Galaxy Watch 3. While Samsung has the more affordable Galaxy Watch 4 coming as well, it’s hard to picture the company giving up starting price parity with the market-dominant Apple Watch, which also starts at $399.
Samsung has the pricing advantage when it comes to its cellular models with a $50 upcharge for LTE on the Galaxy Watch 3 versus the $100 Apple charges. Hopefully, we see that carry over, but there have been no specific rumors on cellular pricing yet.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic release date
The Galaxy Watch is typically released in early August and, at MWC 2021, Samsung confirmed that its Wear OS-based Galaxy Watch would launch "at Unpacked this Summer." Rumors suggest August 11 will be the date for Galaxy Unpacked, which will also serve as the launch for the Galaxy S21 FE and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3.
Another set of leaks from Evan Blass (@evleaks) reaffirmed that Samsung plans to launch the Galaxy Watch 4 series at an August 11 Galaxy Unpacked event, while still not a guarantee that's a lot of support behind this release date.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic design
The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic leaks have included a series of renders and images that cover every inch of the watch, and it looks like an evolutionary upgrade from the Galaxy Watch 3. That’s far from a complaint; the traditional round watch face and overall design of the Galaxy Watch and its brilliant rotating bezel remain a standout in the smartwatch market.
That isn’t to say there are no changes; the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic appears slimmer than its predecessor and the fastening mechanism has been updated to more seamlessly flow directly into the bands. Finally, the two buttons on the right side of the watch are now rounded rectangles rather than circular, which should offer a better feel.
Sizing has been slightly conflicting. A report from Android Headlines that accompanies numerous leaked images of the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic indicates there will be 42mm, 44mm, and 46mm options. While possible, that is hard to believe as it would spread the line pretty thin. Time will tell.
The body of the watch will be available in either silver or black with a stainless steel or aluminum option available for each. The default band options aren’t the spray of color we saw on the Galaxy Watch 4 with just white, grey, or black in either silicon or leather, but we expect many more to be made available post-launch.
The display will be protected by Gorilla Glass DX on the stainless steel model and Gorilla Glass DX+ on the aluminum model, which offers slightly better scratch resistance. Both versions have the same durability overall with a MIL-STD-810G certification and water resistance up to 5ATM (water resistance depth). While the dive watch crowd will argue about what that rating really means, most smartwatch manufacturers would say that you can take the watch swimming or snorkeling.
pic.twitter.com/A090015v7kJuly 10, 2021
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic features
While the updated hardware will be the attention-grabber, the software is the major overhaul this time around. Along with the Galaxy Watch 4, this should be the first wearable launched with the new blended Tizen and Wear OS operating system announced at Google I/O 2021.
Highlights include a 30% boost to performance and improved battery life. Now, those figures are compared with watches using Wear OS, so the hope is that current Samsung owners aren’t taking a step back on either metric in this transition.
Sameer Samat, Google's VP of Product Management for Android and Wear, joined Samsung’s MWC presentation last month to offer some additional insight into what is coming in the new Wear OS. As was clear during the Google I/O presentation, the biggest benefit for Tizen is the larger developer ecosystem and access to Google apps.
Some other additions include eSIM support, which should bring Galaxy Watch 4 Classic to more carriers. Health tracking enhancements will partially come from smaller, lower power cores that allow for constant BPM tracking and sleep tracking with less battery impact.
Christina Burton from Samsung's European Marketing team covered some additional hardware and software details. This included Samsung sensors that deliver constant health tracking, eSIM improvements, a new watch face tool for developers, and a new One UI experience.
The new One UI experience allows for automatic app installs on your watch when you install a compatible app on your phone. The settings menu on your phone and watch are nearly identical now. The watch will pick up if you use multiple time zones on your phone and display them on your watch as well. Blocking calls or callers through your watch will also add them to the block list on your phone.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic specs
The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will most likely use the same new 5-nanometer processor that was tipped for the Galaxy Watch 4 by leaker @UniverseIce. We don’t know anything else about the processor at this point, but we assume this is Samsung’s own. This also highlights how far behind even the improved Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 is with its 12nm process.
There have been a variety of rumors regarding other potential sensors in the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. As with the Apple Watch 7, a glucometer for reading blood sugar levels has come up in some leaks, but others have specifically dismissed this possibility. Leaker Max Weinbach has asserted that the Galaxy Watch 4 will feature BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis), allowing for a body composition reading of body fat and muscle mass. He specified "Galaxy Watch 4" in the leak, but it would be surprising for Samsung to limit this feature to its less expensive smartwatch (and not the Classic model).
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic outlook
While it feels like Samsung has more to lose than Google with the new partnership, the company may also give users the best of both worlds with Samsung’s typically stellar hardware combined with software that blends the performance of Samsung’s Tizen with the functionality of Wear OS.
Google has already stated that Fitibt will be producing smartwatches using the new Wear OS. You also have rumors of the Pixel Watch, and other companies like Garmin, Casio, Mobvoi and more are sure to follow. With that said, Samsung has a limited window to trade on both its established success with its smartwatches as well as its position as the sole new Wear OS manufacturer.
All of the pieces are in place for Samsung to not only remain the dominant player in the Android smartwatch space, but to extend it beyond Samsung phones with broader support from the new Wear OS. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic hardware looks up to the task, but it remains to be seen if Android users are ready to embrace wearables in the same way that Apple fans have.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.