5 months on with the Galaxy Watch

As a treat to myself, for my 25th birthday, I bought the latest Samsung smart watch. Or, to be more specific, I bought the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. What a mouthful.

I’d owned a smart watch before, but it was way, way more basic. One of those fitness trackers, except it was a Samsung-branded one. I loved it. I felt like such a techie being able to get notifications on my wrist, even if I couldn’t reply to very many of them. I loved recording bike rides with it, even if it drained the battery. I loved seeing that I was being called on it, since I dislike having my phone on loud yet like knowing when I need to answer.

When it died, I was distraught.

Well, not really, but being hyperbolic on the internet is a good way to keep you reading. I was annoyed, though, since I did genuinely love having a smart watch – as should be clear from how teched-out I’ve been trying to make my house (I have a robot vacuum, for crying out loud).

So when I saw that Samsung had redesigned their main watch series to be thinner and work with WearOS (an objectively better operating system than their older version, called Tizen), I couldn’t resist. It even had a rotating bezel! It simply must be mine, I thought.

It’s been five months since then. Was it worth the price? This won’t be a standard review – you can find those everywhere, and in much greater detail, I’m sure. What I’ll do instead is answer three key questions:

Does it do what I need?

I have a few main use cases for this watch. I need it to show me my notifications and to let me reply. Often there are times when I’m in the middle of something and my phone is in another room, so swiping a quick reply onto my watch is a really handy feature. I can also use my voice to do the same thing.

Likewise, I’ll use the voice assistant (which is still Bixby, despite the promise of Google Assistant coming eventually) to set timers and countdowns. While at work, I’ll set those same timers to ensure I only give students the exact amount of time they should have on certain tasks.

There are a few things that I track on my watch as well. I’ll track my heartrate and stress, though these are more out of interest. I’m more interested in my sleep readings, as the watch breaks it down into sleep stages, whether my blood oxygen levels were good (apparently you should have them above 90%), and whether it was a decent sleep.

I actually used those sleep ratings to measure whether making changes to my sleeping arrangements – such as investing in new pillows and a mattress topper – made a difference, and you know what? They actually did! I could have relied on a general feeling of how I felt after waking up, but having that data to support my findings has been great for confirming that I made the right choices in the sleeping department.

Does it make me happy?

In a word: absolutely. Aside from just generally loving tech, the watch has also encouraged me to work out more consistently, as I like to track what I’m doing on the watch. It also features a work out assistant, who will encourage you once you’re at five reps, and provides a vibration feedback to indicate that you’ve pressed and pushed enough.

Because the watch makes working out more fun, I’m more likely to do it, and therefore more likely to achieve my yearly goals.

A very interesting insight into my stress throughout the day.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Most of my friends have iPhones. I think I’m one of three people who have Androids and, for anyone not sporting a Samsung device, the watch is severely limited in everything you might get out of it. This is, in part, because it’s designed to work the best with S-Health, Samsung’s default fitness app.

So for those friends, no: I wouldn’t recommend it. However, if you’re into technology, want to stay on top of your notifications without your phone’s ringer annoying others, want to be encouraged to stick to your workout goals, and have a Samsung phone, then I would recommend it in a heartbeat. You can buy it from Amazon right here (and I might receive a small kickback).

Are you thinking of buying a smart watch?

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