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Galaxy Watch 4 vs Classic (2021): What’s The Difference?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are flagship wearables packed with advanced smart and tracking features. But while they offer many of the same capabilities, they serve as upgrades to different devices. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, for instance, is a lightweight wearable that builds on the sportier form and function of the Galaxy Watch Active 2. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, on the other hand, brandishes a more sophisticated aesthetic similar to the Galaxy Watch 3. Beyond appearances, however, how different are the two?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Watch 4 Classic Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Watch 4Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Sizes40mm, 44mm42mm, 46mm
MaterialAluminumStainless steel
DisplayFull-color AMOLED Always-On displayFull-color AMOLED Always-On display
Display Size1.4″ (44mm)
1.2″ (40mm)
1.4″ (46mm)
1.2″ (42mm)
Display ProtectionGorilla Glass DX+Gorilla Glass DX
Heart Rate MonitoringYesYes
Blood Oxygen MonitoringYesYes
Sleep TrackingYesYes
ECG AppYesYes
Activity TrackingYesYes
DurabilityWater-resistant up to 5 ATM, IP68Water-resistant up to 5 ATM, IP68
ConnectivityBluetooth, NFC, LTEBluetooth, NFC, LTE
OSAndroid Wear OS, One UI Watch 3Android Wear OS, One UI Watch 3
Dimensions44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8mm (44mm)
40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8mm (40mm)
45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0mm (46mm)
41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm (42mm)
Weight30g (44mm), 26g (40mm)52g (46mm), 46.5g (42mm)
Available ColorsBlack, green, silver, pink goldBlack, silver


The Galaxy Watch 4 is lighter and sportier, while the Classic is bulkier and more sophisticated.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Watch 4 Classic Design Comparison
On the left, the Galaxy Watch 4; on the right, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

With the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and Watch 3, the design language has always been contrasting. One is sportier while the other looks more sophisticated. On the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic, these distinctions are largely minimized. Instead, the devices build on the circular form of previous Galaxy Watch iterations.

To highlight this design element, the Watch 4 and Classic adopt a strap that seamlessly connects to the watch body. Gone are the gaps. Their circular displays are also bordered by a flat edge, further emphasizing the new aesthetic. Inspired by the Watch Active 2, both watches use flat and discreet side buttons, although the Watch 4’s are smaller.

As the direct replacement to the Watch 3, however, the Watch 4 Classic comes in larger 46mm and 42mm size options. It’s also crafted from stainless steel, making it considerably heavier than its sibling. Samsung’s Watch 4 Classic retains the intuitive physical rotating bezel. The border surrounding the screen is etched with numbers, too, lending the Classic the look of a traditional timepiece.

The Watch 4, on the other hand, is made from aluminum. It also comes in smaller 44mm and 40mm sizes. In place of the rotating bezel is a touch bezel that, though futuristic, isn’t as responsive as the physical version. You can get the Watch 4 in a handful of colors, while the Watch 4 Classic is only available in black and silver. Both watches are water-resistant up to 50 meters and are IP68-rated as well.


Despite being smaller, the display specs of the Watch 4 are the same as the Classic. Samsung’s flagship wearables boast 1.4-inch full-color Super AMOLED displays on their bigger models. They also share a similar 450×450 resolution. The 40mm Watch 4 and 42mm Watch 4 Classic, on the other hand, have smaller 1.2-inch screens. Here, you get a 396×396 resolution. Designed for active users, the Watch 4 comes with a more scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass DX+ display, too. Meanwhile, the Watch 4 Classic gets the Gorilla Glass DX.

Fitness and Health

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic have the same fitness and health features.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Watch 4 Classic Fitness and Health Features
The Galaxy Watch 4 and Classic boast improved heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Classic are marketed to track your fitness progress. You’ll find standard metrics are covered by both โ€” from steps taken to calories burned, distance traveled to heart rate. There’s also a built-in GPS to keep you on the grid. Since the devices now run on Google’s Wear OS, there’s improved compatibility for third-party apps like Calm and Strava.

Compared to its predecessors, however, the Galaxy Watch 4 devices track more workouts. On the Watch 3 and Active 2, you were limited to around 40. Now, you get support for over 90 exercises, with each activity boasting a variety of metrics. Samsung says the Watch 4 and Classic are equipped with improved automatic workout detection, too.

The biggest upgrade with these wearables is the 3-in-1 health sensor. Called the BioActive sensor, it records electrical heart rate, optical heart rate, and bioelectrical impedance analysis. The last metric is the newest, providing users a body composition measurement similar to smart weight scales.

Of course, you’ll also find your standard features here. According to Samsung, the new Galaxy watches come with improved sleep tracking capabilities. Snoring patterns, for instance, can now be recorded with the help of a compatible smartphone. Blood pressure monitoring and ECG are also available, although limited to select markets.

Software and Smart Features

The return to Google’s WearOS is perhaps the biggest change in the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Watch 4 Classic Software
Users can now access more apps with the switch to the Google WearOS and One UI Watch 3 hybrid.

On the Galaxy 4 lineup, Samsung returns to Google’s WearOS. It’s a welcome change that gives these powerful devices access to even more apps. These programs include go-to’s like Google Maps, Google Pay, and YouTube music. Previously, the limited app catalog of the Tizen OS the Galaxy wearables ran on was a common gripe among many users.

Despite the switch, the Galaxy Watch 4 and Classic’s interface feels familiar. Why? Well, through its partnership with Google, Samsung employs its custom UI aptly called One UI Watch 3. The platform also gives users access to favorite Galaxy services, including Samsung Pay and Samsung Health. For many, the collaboration brings the best of what both worlds offer. However, it also means the devices are no longer compatible with the iPhone.

Like its other flagship watches, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are equipped with several smart features. Among them are core functions like smart notifications, customizable watch faces, and contactless payments. If you get the Bluetooth models, then you can connect to your nearby smartphone to take and answer calls. The LTE models, on the other hand, allow users to make and take calls remotely.

Click here to read our Galaxy Watch 4 vs 3 comparison.

Battery and Charging

Although the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup’s battery life is modest, charging speeds have improved.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs Watch 4 Classic Battery and Charging
Depending on usage, the actual battery life of the Galaxy Watch 4 devices varies.

The 44mm Galaxy Watch 4 and 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic have 361mAh batteries. It’s a modest increase from the 340mAh capacity on the Watch 3 and Active 2. Meanwhile, the smaller 40mm Watch 4 and 42mm Watch 4 Classic get 247mAh batteries, just like their predecessors. Despite the bump in capacity, the larger models of the Watch 4 lineup are advertised to last 40 hours. It’s a dip compared to the Galaxy Watch 3, which was rated to last up to two days.

With an Always-On display, activity tracking, and GPS turned on, the Galaxy Watch 4 battery life ranges between 24 to 25 hours. You get the same numbers for the Watch 4 classic. Suffice to say, you’ll be charging these wearables every day if you’re one to use them actively. Fortunately, charging time is faster. Samsung shares both devices take under two hours to be fully-charged. They also support a 30-minute quick charge that gives 10 hours of battery life.


Given their design and features, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a more compelling purchase over the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

Amazon product

The Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 classic represent Samsung’s move towards a more unified identity for their wearables. They share the same features and differ only in their build materials. With the Galaxy Watch 4, you’re getting the sportier model. As the direct replacement of the Watch Active 2, it’s also more scratch-resistant and lightweight, thus ideal for fitness enthusiasts and avid gym-goers.

In contrast, the Watch 4 Classic retains the physical bezel, offering a more traditional aesthetic similar to the Galaxy Watch 3. It’s crafted from stainless steel, too, making it sturdier and heavier. This also means it’s more expensive than the Watch 4. Since the rest of their specs are identical, however, it’s hard to justify getting the Classic over the Watch 4. A rotating bezel isn’t enough of a game-changer, especially given the price gap between the two.


๐Ÿ“Œ What is the key difference between the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic?

The Galaxy Watch 4 serves as the replacement for the Galaxy Watch Active 2. As such, it has a sleeker and more lightweight design ideal for active users. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the upgrade to the Galaxy Watch 3. It features a physical bezel and is crafted from stainless steel.

๐Ÿ“Œ Where can I buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 bands?

Customers can get their hands on Galaxy Watch 4 lineup bands from the Samsung website and official Samsung stores and resellers.

๐Ÿ“Œ When is the Galaxy Watch 4 release date?

The Galaxy Watch 4 lineup was released on August 27, 2021.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic support wireless charging?

Yes, the new Galaxy Watch 4 supports WPC-based wireless charging.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.