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Smartwatches

I bought a Galaxy Watch 4, but I want my Apple Watch back!

Apple has the better "smart"watch!
By Aryan Suren June 4, 2022, 4:00 pm
Galaxy Watch 4 and Apple Watch Series 7 placed on a cloth surface Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow
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Comparisons between platforms are never-ending because everybody wants to understand what product or ecosystem will offer the best value for their money. I've been a part of Apple's walled garden for the better part of the last two years and got my hands on an Apple Watch a year ago. Since then, I've upgraded to the latest model and been a happy customer, but I always wondered how things worked on the other side of the spectrum.

It's been a common sentiment that the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch around and the de facto choice if you own an iPhone. Unfortunately, a device with such a reputation didn't exist for Android phones, at least until the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

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The Galaxy Watch 4 lineup and Samsung's shift to Google's WearOS platform led to many saying there's finally an Apple Watch competitor on the horizon. Thus, with the recent launch of Google Assistant support on Galaxy Watch 4, I figured I'd finally dip my toes into the unknown waters.

But, after spending close to two weeks with the Galaxy Watch 4, I can't wait to put my Apple Watch back onto my wrist, and here's why!

Apple Watch Advantages

Better Build Quality

Apple Watch Series 7 placed on a tiled surface Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

Apple's hardware is known for its robust and impressive build quality, and the Apple Watch is no less. Even the basic aluminum models feel great in hand and have a welcome heft. The front and back are both made of glass, while the aluminum chassis holds it all together, just like the iPhone.

In comparison, the Galaxy Watch 4 looks good but feels cheaply made. Not only is it light, but the back panel even uses plastic around its BioActive Sensor array. One may argue that the Classic variant will feel better due to its higher price. But even the cheaper $279 Apple Watch SE — which is more comparable to the $249 Galaxy Watch 4 — outdoes it.

Yes, you might have your personal preference for a round face, and it's a boon how the Galaxy Watch 4 works with traditional bands — which you may already own — but if we're looking at just quality, Apple has this one in the bag.

Better Voice Assistant Integration and Speaker

an image showing the Siri interaction screen on Apple Watch Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

This part may be controversial because I deem Siri on Apple Watch better than Google Assistant and Bixby. While Google holds its crown for smart assistant functionality due to its wider knowledge base, Siri does the basic actions one may need so well that I find no reason to complain.

Yes, Galaxy Watch 4 finally supports Google Assistant, and it has had Bixby since its launch. But neither voice assistant offers the level of functionality Siri does on Apple Watch.

Google Assitant on Galaxy Watch 4 can do smart activities well by pulling information from the internet and sending messages or making calls. Still, it can't access core health functions like starting a workout. On the other hand, Bixby can't pull all types of data from the internet but can access every nook and cranny on the watch.

Siri can do both parts of the equation, as it can access every inch and app available while also being capable of pulling information from the internet. Furthermore, I had a lot more misinterpretations with Google Assistant and Bixby. Both voice assistants felt a tad slower at understanding what I was asking them to do.

Another point to mention regarding voice assistants and smart functionality would be the speakers. This component is critical when interacting with the watch, and what's the point of having the ability to take calls and speak to a voice assistant if it's hard to hear the output. The 44mm Galaxy Watch 4's maximum output is probably around 70% of the 41mm Apple Watch Series 7's, but when combined with the speaker's placement, it does become hard to hear the watch when out in crowded areas.

It's not guaranteed that every user might find this an issue, but the sub-par speaker output is one of the primary reasons I wish to switch back to using an Apple Watch.

Smoother Animations

apple watch 7 on a wrist showing grid app view Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

Next, the push for better and interactive user interfaces came with animations in tow, and the Apple Watch does these a lot better. It feels a lot more fluid while in use and doesn't jitter as much. The Galaxy Watch 4 isn't bad, but it's just that the Apple Watch is nicer to use.

This difference can be owed to multiple factors; it could be vertical integration or experience developing a chipset that Apple possesses. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Watch 4 falls a bit short, in my opinion.

Faster Charging

Charging Bases for Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch 4 Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

You've probably heard dissent about the Apple Watch and its one-day battery life; well, that claim is accurate, and if you're a moderate user, the smartwatch should last you 24 hours, with the always-on display feature activated.

My usage includes leaving the always-on feature active, asking Siri to set timers and make calls throughout the day, interacting with about 10-20 message notifications, and tracking two workouts. Heart Rate Monitoring, Blood Oxygen Monitoring, and Sleep Tracking are always active. This pattern leaves me 10-15% on my watch when I wake up the following day after charging it roughly 24 hours ago.

I charge my Apple Watch around 7:30 AM every morning.

The Galaxy Watch 4 fared slightly better with 20-30% left in the morning, but the story flips around completely when it comes to charging times for the two wearables. My Apple Watch charges from 10-15% to about 95-100% in 45 minutes or less. The Galaxy Watch 4 needs an hour and 30 minutes.

Yes, I can use either device by giving them a boost in the middle of the day, but I don't take my watch off unless heading to the shower. The difference in battery endurance here is marginal, in my opinion, and I wouldn't dock points for the Apple Watch, but the slower charging on the Galaxy Watch 4 is a miss.

Better Connectivity

Apple Watch and Galaxy Watch placed next to each other, showing their connectivity status Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

Lastly, we come to the main reason I'm moving back to my Apple Watch: Device Connectivity. The Apple Watch remains connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth — when nearby — or via WiFi when you're away. And in my case, the mesh WiFi network at home leaves my iPhone and Apple Watch always connected. Unfortunately, that was never the case for the Galaxy Watch 4.

The wearable was aggressive in disabling WiFi; it even showed text within the settings window which stated that WiFi would be disabled when deemed unnecessary. The Apple Watch doesn't do this, which means I can move around my house without care, leave my smartphone behind, and not miss out on any calls or notifications. I can't say the same for Galaxy Watch 4. A walk from the bedroom to the backyard (over 15 feet) led to a disconnect; this isn't something I ever experienced on the Apple Watch.

Galaxy Watch 4 Advantages

Better Wellness Features

the screen of Galaxy Watch 4 showing fitness metrics Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

But for all its drawbacks, the Galaxy Watch 4 does one thing very well: Wellness Tracking. I'd put everything like workouts, sleep, and overall feature set under this criteria. Here in India, the Galaxy Watch 4 can even measure your body composition, a neat little feature, but ECG and Blood Pressure Monitoring are still absent.

Nevertheless, I found the wearable to be a lot better than the Apple Watch because of its ability to avoid logging metrics when I am traveling on my bike and its proficiency in sleep tracking. The Apple Watch would needlessly add exercise minutes and calories to my Activity Rings, while the Galaxy Watch 4 negated almost every movement from all the vibrations.

And speaking of Sleep Tracking, Apple's default tracking system depends on a schedule set on your iPhone. This means that if you go to sleep in the middle of the day, your watch will have no record of it, plus the data presented has close to no additional details apart from the time of waking up and time of falling asleep. Galaxy Watch 4 presents nap data in addition to metrics like time spent in deep sleep, light sleep, and REM, along with the ability to detect snores if you activate the feature.

These little bits make the Galaxy Watch a much better option if wellness is one of your primary concerns.

Why do I want my Apple Watch back?

an image showing sleep tracking on iphone Source: Aryan Suren for Pocketnow

Now, coming to the end of this article, the reasons behind wanting my Apple Watch back is simple. It's the better smartwatch due to its rock-solid connection with my iPhone and its ability to access every feature with relative ease — via the Voice Assistant or applications installed on the device.

It shocked me that the Galaxy Watch 4 didn't feature a workout app and needed me to use the Workout Tile to access exercises. The Apple Watch clearly defines what it offers and makes it easy to access. This isn't the case with the Galaxy Watch 4.

Hence, summarizing my thoughts in a line; The Apple Watch offers me the ability to stay connected without my phone in sight and access features with ease, and that is why I want my Apple Watch back.


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