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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 — what it needs for me to skip Apple Watch 7

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
(Image credit: 91 Mobiles)

If the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 dreams of dethroning the Apple Watch 7 this year, it’ll need to bring outstanding wearable innovation to the table — err, wrist. 

Although the Galaxy Watch generally caters to different users than the Apple Watch, the direction of smartwatch trends is often determined by the new features both companies introduce to their flagship devices.

While I gravitate towards the Apple Watch, I’m not blindly loyal to Apple's wearable. I dabble with several of the best smartwatches, usually settling on whichever one  best caters to my needs at that time.  

Thanks to my many hours testing smartwatches and trailing rumors leading up to major smartwatch launches, I have a good sense of what the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will need for me to skip the Apple Watch 7. Here are the key features I’ll be looking for when the next-generation Galaxy Watch makes its debut.

Breakout health monitoring tools

Since neither the Galaxy Watch 4 nor Apple Watch 7 are believed to get blood glucose monitoring, I’m itching to see how both companies push health monitoring boundaries this year. While the lack of Apple Watch 7 wellness intel is discouraging, a recent Galaxy Watch 4 leak points to the smartwatch supporting body composition analysis. 

I hashed out some concerns with Galaxy Watch 4 body composition analysis, but I mostly believe it’s packed with potential in terms of helping people better understand their bodies. Using a BIA sensor, or an electrical current system, the Galaxy Watch could estimate a user’s fat and muscle make ups. For someone with targeted health goals, tracking changes in body composition might be more insightful than checking weight. 

If body composition analysis comes to fruition, is as convenient as advertised and promotes responsible use, I'm convinced I'll want to use it myself. 

Better yet, with how much Fitbit pushed this forward the most last year, it could translate into better health tracking in Wear OS.

Wear OS at its best

Based on what we've seen, the new Google Wear OS — officially called Wear OS 3 — could change the tides for the divisive platform. It's getting a major boost from software providers Google once called competitors, absorbing Tizen's users and borrowing Fitbit's industry-leading fitness tools. And the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will be its maiden voyage.

While the buzz surrounding Wear OS is generally positive, Samsung is taking a big bet on ditching Tizen. Not to say I cherished Tizen, but it performed better than the current Wear OS. 

To keep things cohesive, Samsung developed a One UI Watch skin to accompany Wear OS on the Galaxy Watch 4. One UI Watch is tailored toward unified the Samsung device ecosystem, and it looks awesome from what Samsung has teased. 

But the Apple Watch 7's watchOS 8 software promises to provide the seamless cross-product experience I've come to expect from Apple over the years. The Galaxy Watch 4's Wear OS software will need to do the same. 

Impressive battery life

Samsung hasn’t revealed the Galaxy Watch 4 battery life estimates yet, but I know what I'm hoping to see. At minimum, I expect Samsung's latest smartwatch to outlast the Apple Watch 7, if only by a few hours.

I'm not sure that will be enough for me, though. I really want the Galaxy Watch 4 to last at least two full days, even with fitness tracking and other premium features in use. When I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, I could hardly eke out a full day.

The Apple Watch made me accept charging my smartwatch every day, but it doesn't mean I like it. If the Galaxy Watch 4's battery life could look more like the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2's, which lasts two and a half days, I'll be impressed.

It's not long now until the Galaxy Watch makes its case against Apple Watch. The smartwatch is expected to debut at the Samsung Unpacked keynote on August 11, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

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.