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The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a few limitations you should know about

The specs are in but so are the setbacks, namely exclusivity.
By
February 19, 2022
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ECG app asking to download the Samsung Health Monitor app
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

In August 2021, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, marking the debut of Wear OS 3, Google’s operating system co-developed with Samsung. These watches boast a boatload of impressive features, but a closer look shows exclusivity that leaves some users out to dry. The Galaxy Watch 4 lineup packs a few disappointing limitations, including compatibility limits and missing features.

The devices aren’t compatible with iPhones

This is a bit of a departure for Samsung. In the past, Galaxy Watches worked with iPhones, as did previous Wear OS watches. And while most iPhone users will probably buy Apple Watches, the lack of iOS support eliminates these devices as an alternative. It also raises the question of whether future Wear OS 3 watches will work with iPhones or if it is just Samsung’s watches (with the Samsung One UI overlay) that aren’t compatible. What’s more, these watches won’t work with smartphones that don’t have GMS. This means most recent Huawei phones are also out of luck.

Unfortunately, the limitations don’t end with non-Android phones.

Read more: The best smartwatches you can buy

Android users also face Galaxy Watch 4 limitations

Unless you own a Samsung phone, or you’re tossing a Galaxy S22 into your shopping cart, you might want to pump the brakes. Not all of the Galaxy Watch 4 health tracking offerings will be available to every Android user.

In our Galaxy Watch 4 review, we hype Samsung’s BioActive sensor combining an optical heart rate sensor (PPG), electrocardiogram (ECG), and a bioelectrical impedance (BIA) sensor. However, some of these health-tracking features only work if the watch is paired with a Samsung smartphone. Other Android users will not have access to measurements, including the ECG, which requires the Samsung Health Monitor app. Blood pressure measurements are also exclusive to Samsung smartphones.

Some of the most anticipated health features are, however, available on all Android phones. The BIA sensor, a device highlight, offers users the ability to determine body composition metrics. This includes basal metabolic rate (BMR), water retention, skeletal muscle, and body fat percentage. These measurements, as well as SpO2 and VO2 max, are available to all Android users.

Google Assistant is not available on Galaxy Watch 4 (yet)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 on red background, showing Bixby question about Google Assistant
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

While the Galaxy Watch 4 is a product of the Google/Samsung dream team, it seems Google wasn’t made an immediate priority. Users will find Google Maps and Google Play Store, but months in, Google Assistant has still yet to make an appearance. This leaves us with Samsung’s default assistant, Bixby. Bixby hasn’t gained traction like other voice assistants and can’t compete with Google Assistant in terms of popularity.

Samsung says it is working closely with Google to onboard Google Assistant and other popular Google services. However, users are getting antsy and theories are on the rise. We’re still hoping the feature isn’t pulled off the table completely. Some user hope that Samsung is simply working to develop the best version yet. Whether that’s the case or the company is facing other hurdles, the result is the same regardless: We’re still waiting.Google Assistant is supposed to be available later on, but we don’t know when.

Still an exciting pick for Samsung phones, and probably other Androids too

If you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a no-brainer. For iPhone users, it’s not even an option. For other Android users, minor annoyances may add up. Whether the Galaxy Watch 4’s compatibility and other issues above combine to call the device’s price tag into question is up to your budget. For now, it seems two companies combined forces to create an Apple Watch competitor, and the result is rather impressive. It’s just not as accessible as we may have hoped.