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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic isn’t worth the money — here’s why

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 lineup gives shoppers a few design options depending on what best suits their lifestyle. Whether you want a big-screened device that still looks like a traditional timepiece or a sleek and small smartwatch, there’s a Galaxy Watch 4 for you. Your style preferences could result in spending over $100 more than other customers, though.

If you’ve read our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review or our guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, you’ll know the two models have essentially identical internals, which start at $249.99 and $349.99 for the 40mm and 42mm sizes, respectively. 

The larger sizes of each model (44mm for Galaxy Watch 4 and 46mm for Galaxy Watch 4 Classic) have slightly higher battery capacity than the smaller sizes, but that’s about it in terms of technical specs. 

Instead, all the differences lay on the outside. Though Samsung dropped the ‘Active’ branding, the standard Galaxy Watch 4 is slim and sporty-looking while the ‘Classic’ version carries on the iconic characteristics of last year’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

Better yet, this year’s Classic version starts at a lower price than the Galaxy Watch 3. You can find the previous-generation smartwatch on sale right now, but it cost $399.99 at launch. Sounds like a score, right? Perhaps to some, but after spending time with both versions of Samsung’s new smartwatches, I'm not convinced the Classic option is worth the money. 

The rotating bezel is fun, but Samsung is holding onto it the same way your dad is holding on to your family's old VCR player. Except your dad probably isn't expecting anyone to pay $100 for it.

In my video review of the Galaxy Watch 4 smartwatches shared to YouTube, I joked how the $100 premium for the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic just gets you a fidget spinner. I meant that in respect to the fan-favorite rotating bezel that first debuted on the original Samsung Galaxy Watch, I promise.

But my sarcasm didn’t seem to land with some commenters, who pointed out the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic’s premium also includes a stainless steel case, rather than an aluminum one. Thanks, I know. I just didn't think most people care about materials as much as functionality. 

I’m not saying $349.99 for stainless steel wrist candy isn’t enticing. For comparison, the Apple Watch 6 in stainless steel starts at $799.99. Still, if you really care about luxury materials, what are you doing buying a Samsung smartwatch over a designer timepiece? The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic doesn't even include leather straps. Those cost extra, and don't come in the contoured shape like the silicone ones included in the box.  

The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic gives me dad vibes, and that's the best way I can describe my opinion. It doesn't quite make the fashion statement Samsung attempted. While the bezel is fun, it's like Samsung is holding onto the mechanism the same way your dad is holding on to your family's old VCR player. Except your dad probably isn't expecting anyone to pay $100 for it.

Look, if you're attracted to the chunkier look of the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, don't let me stop you. It has all the best Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Wear OS features, so spend your money how you please. 

But if you wanted to hear from someone who used both the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic whether the price for the latter version lives up to the higher price, it's doesn't. For the lower price, slimmer shape and modern design, the $249.99 Galaxy Watch 4 is the ultimate steal. 

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.


  • Viking79
    I definitely prefer the clean look of the Watch 4, but ended up ordering the Classic black version for the durability of stainless steel and the screen protecting nature of the Bezel. A couple of accidental whacks of my watch into a door frame left the aluminum marred and screen scuffed. What can I say, I am clumsy. The price difference is a bit much.
    Reply
  • secondphase
    I think there should be some offense taken by someone insisting something gives off a "dad vibe" as their main reason for not recommending the increased cost of this device. Is this a fashion device or is it a piece of high-tech equipment whose additional feature, made with superior materials, enhances use? Make no mistake, the bezel enhances the Watch's usability, nevermind that, much like Viking79 notes, the bezel has saved my phone's screen on multiple occasions. There's a reason Samsung is still including it as a main feature.

    The price difference of $100 to include a waterproof rotating bezel and an upgrade in material durability is 100% justified.

    And if we are trafficking in sexist tropes like "dad vibe," I will counter that perhaps the meatier bezel option, in addition to being a usability enhancement, is also a purposefully more-masculine design aesthetic. And it's one that can be better appreciated by a male user, who posses in general, larger bones and more muscle around their arms. A meatier watch looks better-proportioned on their wrist, and it may be something they desire.

    I don't think a woman would appreciate a man reviewing women's accessories and dismissing them for having "grandma vibes" or "little girl vibes" or "unprofessional vibes," so I'm thinking maybe a woman shouldn't pass judgement on the kind of aesthetics a man desires in their tech equipment. Especially, again, when that aesthetic enhances usability as opposed to detracting from it.
    Reply
  • SandaruLewis
    secondphase said:
    I think there should be some offense taken by someone insisting something gives off a "dad vibe" as their main reason for not recommending the increased cost of this device. Is this a fashion device or is it a piece of high-tech equipment whose additional feature, made with superior materials, enhances use? Make no mistake, the bezel enhances the Watch's usability, nevermind that, much like Viking79 notes, the bezel has saved my phone's screen on multiple occasions. There's a reason Samsung is still including it as a main feature.

    The price difference of $100 to include a waterproof rotating bezel and an upgrade in material durability is 100% justified.

    And if we are trafficking in sexist tropes like "dad vibe," I will counter that perhaps the meatier bezel option, in addition to being a usability enhancement, is also a purposefully more-masculine design aesthetic. And it's one that can be better appreciated by a male user, who posses in general, larger bones and more muscle around their arms. A meatier watch looks better-proportioned on their wrist, and it may be something they desire.

    I don't think a woman would appreciate a man reviewing women's accessories and dismissing them for having "grandma vibes" or "little girl vibes" or "unprofessional vibes," so I'm thinking maybe a woman shouldn't pass judgement on the kind of aesthetics a man desires in their tech equipment. Especially, again, when that aesthetic enhances usability as opposed to detracting from it.
    Exactly. This is one of the dumbest reviews I have seen
    Reply
  • NicR
    Wow harsh. One should actually have a good sense of fashion before diving into aesthetic commentary. The classic absolutely has the style of a typical fashion watch, definitely masculine, with moving parts, metal, and when paired with the leather bands looks great. It's a good compromise between wanting a sophisticated look and wanting to track your health and have access to the tech. The base watch looks sleek and modern too but it's a sporty, modern tech look. It looks good but it and the Apple Watch aren't "fashionable". They're slabs of glass that obviously look like a mini computer screen.
    Reply
  • Danc13
    100%.
    secondphase said:
    I think there should be some offense taken by someone insisting something gives off a "dad vibe" as their main reason for not recommending the increased cost of this device. Is this a fashion device or is it a piece of high-tech equipment whose additional feature, made with superior materials, enhances use? Make no mistake, the bezel enhances the Watch's usability, nevermind that, much like Viking79 notes, the bezel has saved my phone's screen on multiple occasions. There's a reason Samsung is still including it as a main feature.

    The price difference of $100 to include a waterproof rotating bezel and an upgrade in material durability is 100% justified.

    And if we are trafficking in sexist tropes like "dad vibe," I will counter that perhaps the meatier bezel option, in addition to being a usability enhancement, is also a purposefully more-masculine design aesthetic. And it's one that can be better appreciated by a male user, who posses in general, larger bones and more muscle around their arms. A meatier watch looks better-proportioned on their wrist, and it may be something they desire.

    I don't think a woman would appreciate a man reviewing women's accessories and dismissing them for having "grandma vibes" or "little girl vibes" or "unprofessional vibes," so I'm thinking maybe a woman shouldn't pass judgement on the kind of aesthetics a man desires in their tech equipment. Especially, again, when that aesthetic enhances usability as opposed to detracting from it.

    100%. I made an account on here just so I could chime in about how much clickbait trash this review is.
    Reply