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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: What will be different?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: What will be different?
(Image credit: Android Headlines/@OnLeaks x @GizNext)

Rumors suggest Samsung will launch two new smartwatches later this summer: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Active.

Though the official device names aren’t confirmed, recently published renders revealed Samsung’s possible next-gen smartwatch strategy. Instead of releasing one model at a time as it has the past few years, customers could have a couple of options from which to choose.

We’re expecting to see both follow-ups to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 — two of the best smartwatches currently available. We also expect the upcoming watches to run the new unified Wear OS software, as well as One Watch UI, Samsung’s approach to improving integration within its product ecosystem. 

Here’s how else Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active might compare, from price and release date to features and battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: Release date and price

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Galaxy Watch 4 Active don’t have an official release date, but Samsung has confirmed its next smartwatch launch will take place during an Unpacked event "later this summer." 

The Galaxy Watch 3 starts at $399 for the 41mm mode and $429 for the 45mm model. You can pay an additional $50 for LTE. Considering the Galaxy Watch 3 brought a price bump compared to the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, we don't expect Samsung will hike the cost again for the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

The Galaxy Watch Active has been less expensive than Samsung's flagship. When the Galaxy Watch Active 2 launched, it cost $249 for the Bluetooth model and $299 for the LTE-equipped model. 

We'd expect Samsung to stick to this pricing model. And if it does, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic would be a direct competitor to the Apple Watch 7, while the Galaxy Watch 4 Active price would make it a direct competitor to the $279 Apple Watch SE and $229 Fitbit Versa 3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: Design

Design will likely differentiate the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active. While we expect the Classic model will retain the Galaxy Watch’s iconic rotating bezel, we think that the Active version will have a slimmer casing for a more workout-friendly fit. 

Beyond the bezel and thickness, it seems the two smartwatches will receive similar design changes compared to previous models. Android Headlines published several alleged images of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, while supposed renders of the Galaxy Watch 4 Active surfaced shortly prior.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 renders

(Image credit: @OnLeaks/@GizNext)

If the images are accurate, both the Classic and Active models will feature a redesigned frame that allows for gapless transition from the smartwatch chassis to the straps. The pair of crown buttons also seem to sport a uniform, oblong shape.

We’d guess the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active will come with different straps, too. The Classic version will probably get leather straps, while the Active version will stick to a more sweat-resistant silicone.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: Features

It was confirmed at Google I/O that the Galaxy Watch 4 would be running WearOS, rather than Tizen. This means that Galaxy Watch 4 owners will have access to the plethora of apps, such as the Google Play store, Google Pay, Google Maps — long a weakness of Tizen. Better yet, some Samsung-specific tools will be skinned on top of WearOS, courtesy of One Watch UI. 

The One Watch UI platform promises to better extend Samsung's smartphone apps, tools and settings to user's wrists. Based on what the company has shown off so far, it looks like a pretty convincing watchOS 8 rival. 

We’re less sure of what new health features the latest Galaxy Watch lineup will bring. It was believed the next Galaxy Watch would get blood glucose monitoring, but that rumor has since been squashed. Instead the smartwatches could be the first to measure body composition. According to leaker Max Weinbach, the Galaxy Watch 4 will feature a bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) sensor for estimating body fat percentage.

Either way, both Galaxy Watch 4 models should get some spec upgrades. It could build on the storage to match the Apple Watch's large storage offerings, plus a faster processor. The Active version could get fall detection, VO2 max readings and other tools that came with the Galaxy Watch 3, as well.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: Battery life

We're highly interested to see how Samsung handles the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and Galaxy Watch 4 Active battery life. 

It would be great if the next Galaxy Watch Classic gains some battery life back. Based on our usage, we found the Galaxy Watch 3 lasted just over a day with the always-on display and frequent activity tracking. The Fitbit Sense, by comparison, lasts an epic six days.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 lasts a more considerable 60 hours, depending on workouts and display. Samsung could maintain the Active 2's stamina, or it could shorten it like it did the Galaxy Watch 3's battery life compared to the first Galaxy Watch. It would be hard to justify drastically different battery life estimates for two smartwatches released together, though.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active: Outlook 

Shoppers may soon find themselves deciding between the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Active. We can’t say for sure how the two models will differ, but based on our experience with the company’s smartwatches, we’re confident price and design will be deciding factors.

It’s possible the two Samsung models will mirror the relationship of the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE, with both being capable activity trackers with similar battery life and important safety features, but the flagship providing certain exclusive tools. 

It won't be long until we know more. Samsung usually holds a summer Unpacked event sometime in August, which just a few weeks away. We plan to update this story as we learn more about each new smartwatch, so stay tuned.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.