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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: What we want to see from Samsung’s next smartwatch

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Galaxy Watch 3 is arguably the best smartwatch for Android users, and one of the few wearables that can truly go toe-to-toe with the Apple Watch. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect — there’s still room for improvement in hardware, and the software could stand a significant overhaul as well. The company has been playing it safe for a while, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 represents a good opportunity to leap forward.

Just what could the Galaxy Watch 4 bring to the table, though? We have a few ideas for what we’d like to see, including some significant advancements as well as fixes for things that are, frankly, rather broken.

More processing power and storage

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung hasn’t substantially improved the internals of its smartwatches since the original Galaxy Watch from 2018. The Galaxy Watch 3 still revolves around a dual-core Exynos 9110 chip, and the 4GB of built-in storage isn’t exactly spacious. It’s clear the Galaxy Watch 4 could stand some fresh internals, whether to improve responsiveness or offer headroom for new features.

Unfortunately, it’s not clear just what Samsung might do next. There aren’t any follow-ups to the Exynos 9110 as we write this. The simplest option might be an Exynos 9110 built on a newer manufacturing process (say, 7nm instead of 10nm), but that might not lead to a major leap in speed. There’s a real chance that any CPU upgrade for the Galaxy Watch 4 will be iterative unless Samsung introduces a genuinely new design.

There are still ways the company could boost performance, though. More RAM could help the Galaxy Watch 4 juggle more tasks at once, not to mention enable tasks that might require more memory. And a storage upgrade is both simple and frankly overdue — Apple has had smartwatches with 32GB of storage for a while, so there’s no excuse for Samsung to stick with 8GB.

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Also read: The best smartwatches you can buy

More (and better) sensors

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

The best smartwatches are valuable health and fitness tools. Samsung already knows this and has features like ECG readings and blood oxygen monitoring, but there’s clearly room to grow for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. For that matter, it could improve the sensors that are already in place.

The most likely addition is a blood glucose monitor. Rumors have already swirled of such monitors in both the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Apple Watch Series 7. Moreover, it simply makes sense. About 10.5% of the US population has diabetes, according to the CDC. If those diabetics can keep track of their blood sugar levels without drawing blood or wearing more than the Galaxy Watch 4, that could greatly improve their quality of life.

However, we’d most like to see Samsung fix existing sensors. The GPS and heart rate sensors in the Galaxy Watch 3 are inaccurate at times. While the failures aren’t usually extreme, they’re enough to skew your fitness and health data. More accurate measurement could help the Galaxy Watch 4 compete against both conventional smartwatches and (in some cases) dedicated fitness watches.

Before anyone asks: no, we don’t expect Samsung to bring back MST. The company is clearly shying away from its magnetic card stripe emulator, having dropped it with the Galaxy S21, and you’re unlikely to see a change of heart by the time the Galaxy Watch 4 is available.

A better software ecosystem

Credit: Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Samsung’s version of Tizen is considered one of the best wearable software platforms outside of the Apple Watch, and for good reason. Its circular interface is generally easy to understand, responsive, and even pleasing to use if you have a rotating bezel. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the Galaxy Watch 4 included little more than a slight refinement of the experience you see today.

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Tizen hasn’t evolved much, though, and the cracks are starting to show. The app selection is still modest, most notably. You’ll find useful apps like Spotify and Strava, but you just can’t count on finding niche apps like you can with Apple — and Google’s Wear OS at least has Android underpinnings to make app conversions easy. No matter how much the Galaxy Watch 4’s hardware improves, it might struggle if people can’t find the utilities they want. Samsung could do more to court developers, or at least pay to make certain apps available.

Read more: Why Samsung should ditch Tizen for Wear OS (and why it shouldn’t)

Will Samsung simply switch to Wear OS, however? Not necessarily. Although there are rumors of the company releasing a Wear OS watch, that might not be the Galaxy Watch 4. And while we’d like to see Samsung shake things up with fresh software, it might need to heavily customize Google’s platform if it’s going to preserve the rotating bezel and other features you know from the Galaxy Watch line. We’re ultimately interested in Samsung refining its experience and widening the app selection — it doesn’t particularly matter how the company gets there.

This does include better support for non-Samsung phones, mind you. While you can certainly use existing Samsung smartwatches with non-Galaxy phones and even iPhones, it’s cumbersome to pair with those handsets. No, we wouldn’t expect the Galaxy Watch 4 to work as well with an iPhone as the Apple Watch (Apple’s own policies prevent that), but it would be great to use the wristwear with a Pixel or Mi phone without feeling like we’ve taken a step backward.

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More design choices

Credit: Samsung

Ask an Apple Watch owner about their favorite design feature and they might well point to the sheer amount of case and strap choices. You can get a wide range of case colors and materials along with many, many official straps. If you’re adventurous enough, there’s a real chance you’ll never run into another person with a similar look. You don’t get that variety with Samsung. There are only three effective Galaxy Watch colors, two material choices and a handful of official bands.

The Galaxy Watch 4 deserves a wider selection. Samsung doesn’t have to match Apple, but it would be appreciated if there was enough choice that you could get a watch that’s as extroverted or reserved as you are. Why not offer a full range of colors across materials and case sizes, and first-party bands in more than just a few styles? Your watch would ideally coordinate with your wardrobe, not just your phone.

There have been nods in this direction with a create-your-watch Samsung Design Studio feature for current watches. However, we’d really like to see this come alive for the Galaxy Watch 4 with the chance to create a highly individualized timepiece. The ingredients are there — Samsung just needs to follow through.

You tell us: What do you want from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4?

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Of course, we can’t possibly cover every feature you might wish for here. What would you like to see in the Galaxy Watch 4? Please let us know in the comments!

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