Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 series might be the newest, hottest thing in wearables, but the previous-gen Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are still two of the best Android smartwatches you can buy. If you’re unconvinced by the newer, pricier watches Samsung is offering, you might be in the market for a Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic—but you probably don’t want to buy both. So how do you decide? Let’s get into it.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. 4 Classic: What’s the same and what’s different?
|Galaxy Watch 4||Galaxy Watch 4 Classic|
|Sizes||40mm, 44mm||42mm, 46mm|
|Colors||Black, Pink Gold (40mm only), Green (44mm only), Silver||Black, Silver|
|Display||40mm: 1.2-inch 396×396 OLED 44mm: 1.4-inch 450×450 OLED||42mm: 1.2-inch 396×396 OLED 46mm: 1.4-inch 450×450 OLED|
|CPU||Exynos W920||Exynos W920|
|Battery||40mm: 247mAh 44mm: 361mAh||42mm: 247mAh 46mm: 361mAh|
|Connectivity||NFC, GPS, LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n||NFC, GPS, LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n|
|Water resistance||IP68 certified, MIL-STD-810G compliant||IP68 certified, MIL-STD-810G compliant|
|OS||Wear OS Powered by Samsung||Wear OS Powered by Samsung|
|UI||One UI Watch 3||One UI Watch 3|
|Health sensors||Heart rate, EKG, bioelectrical impedance||Heart rate, EKG, bioelectrical impedance|
There’s not a whole lot that differentiates the two devices—and the watches have more similarities than differences. They have the same smooth 60Hz displays, the same sensors, the same Samsung-built chipset, the same storage, the same batteries, and the same RAM. They also run the same software and should get the same updates.
While they didn’t at launch, both watches now enjoy Google Assistant access, so you don’t have to talk to Bixby to get hands-free help. You can set the Assistant to respond to either a long-press of the Watch 4’s home button or “Hey, Google” (or both), so using it is a breeze.
Functionality isn’t perfect. Hotword detection is rough on the Watch 4’s battery life, and smart home controls are a little finicky. Still, it works as you’d expect most of the time.
The differences between the two watches mostly come down to materials and aesthetics. The Watch 4’s case is made of aluminum, and it gets two exclusive color options that might make Classic owners jealous: pink for the 40 mm and green for the 44. It generally has a more svelte, athletic look (think Samsung’s older Galaxy Watch Active models).
The Watch 4 Classic, meanwhile, has a chunkier, stainless steel case and the physical rotating bezel longtime fans love Samsung wearables for (the non-Classic version mimics this functionality with a touch-sensitive bezel). That rotating bezel may also help protect the display—the non-Classic Watch 4’s face is completely flat.
The only differences between the two sizes of each watch are the sizes of the display and the battery. The smaller watches have a 1.2-inch OLED display with a resolution of 396×396, while the larger models have 1.4-inch 450×450 OLED screens. The smaller watches house 247mAh batteries, and the bigger ones pack significantly beefier 361mAh cells.
Samsung says all Watch4 models can last up to 40 hours on a charge, but in our reviews, we found the smaller versions don’t quite make it there. Given the discrepancy in battery size, the larger 44- and 46-millimeter models should last longer between top-ups.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. 4 Classic: How much do they cost?
With two trim levels, each available in two sizes and in either Wi-Fi or LTE varieties, there are a lot of different SKUs on offer here. Let’s break it down.
|Galaxy Watch4||Galaxy Watch4 Classic|
|1.2-inch display, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi||$250||$350|
|1.2-inch display with LTE||$300||$400|
|1.4-inch display, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi||$280||$380|
|1.4-inch display with LTE||$330||$430|
For each watch, you can expect to shell out an additional $50 for the mobile data-enabled version that can function independently of your phone over any of the major wireless networks. Likewise, moving from any SKU of the regular Watch4 to the equivalent Classic version is a $100 upcharge.
These are MSRPs, though, and with a newer version available, prices will surely be falling fast—so if you’re put off by the cost, keep an eye out for sales.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. 4 Classic: Which is the better buy?
It depends on your priorities, but for most people, we’d recommend the regular Galaxy Watch 4. It’s $100 cheaper than the Watch 4 Classic at MSRP, and all you’re missing out on is the steel case and physical rotating bezel. Everything else—battery life (among like sizes), display quality, performance, you name it—is identical. Unless you want a more traditional-looking smartwatch or can’t live without that clicky goodness (an entirely defensible position!), there’s not much reason to pay extra.
There are also the new Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to consider. Those watches mostly offer marginal upgrades over the Watch 4 series; both the Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro have sapphire crystal covering their displays, and the Watch 5 Pro’s case is made of titanium instead of stainless steel. The Pro, in particular, also has an enormous battery—about 40 percent larger than the like-sized Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.
But the Watch 5 series offers identical performance to the Watch 4, so unless you’re especially keen on premium materials (or long battery life, in the case of the Pro), it’s hard to justify springing for the latest watches. The Watch 5 starts at $279, the Pro goes for a staggering $449.
If you’ve already got a Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic and you’re thinking about upgrading to the Watch 5 or splurging on a Watch 5 Pro, we’ve got handy guides to help there, too.
Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
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Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
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