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Galaxy Watch 4: 48 hours with Samsung's new smartwatch – CNET

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Drew Evans/CNET

Trying the latest Galaxy Watch 4, unveiled earlier this week at Samsung’s August Unpacked event, feels like a peek at where Android watches are heading. The Samsung watch is the first with Google’s newest version of its Wear OS, and it’s a partnership between two companies that don’t normally align.

It’s early days yet when it comes to seeing where this Galaxy Watch 4 and Google’s Wear OS platform are heading, and the watch doesn’t even become available until Aug. 27. (The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3, unveiled alongside Samsung’s new smartwatch, also arrive Aug. 27, but you can preorder them now.) But here are some things I’m already figuring out from a couple of days with both models. Keep in mind that my thoughts here may change as new software or app updates possibly roll in, and as these health features spend a longer period of time collecting data on my wrist.


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My first day with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are basically the same, except for that physical bezel

The two watch models feel pretty interchangeable, which means you should probably get the model you like the looks of most. Or the most affordable one: I prefer the sleeker Watch 4, which starts at $250 (£249, Australian prices TBD). The Classic starts at $350 (£349), and does have a stainless-steel body instead of aluminum, but it’s that physically spinning bezel that’s really different.

What do you use it for? Mainly, swapping between quick views of information mini apps, called Tiles. On the Watch 4 they’re mainly health metrics, and a few extras like calendar and messages. More are likely to arrive as Wear OS 3 continues to evolve, but the point is not every app has a tile. You could also just swipe with your finger instead, making the bezel effectively cosmetic.

The Classic, with its satisfying clicking bezel, has a display that’s inset. It makes swipes sometimes a little trickier to pull off. But there is a big bezel advantage, I discovered: When swimming, that physical dial is easier to control when wet than the touch display.

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Animals and animals: Lots of animated watch faces on the Watch 4.


Scott Stein/CNET

The watch faces are beautiful (mostly)

I love Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 watch faces. Many are animated and adorable. There are a couple of weird ones: AR Emoji and Bitmoji watch faces try to put cute avatars of me on the watch, but I found them grating — I don’t use Apple’s Memoji watch faces much either. There are a good number of customizations on most of them, but not all. Some are fitness-focused, and some have cool optional complication layouts (like clock face widgets for apps).

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The AR Emoji watch face… not as wild about it (but OK, it’s kind of fun).


Scott Stein/CNET

Disappointingly, many of the best animated watch faces don’t have complication add-on options, so you’ll use them at the expense of helpful bits of info like weather or battery life. Google’s Wear OS faces make an appearance, too. These seem like the best watch faces I’ve ever seen on an Android watch, and it’s still a great sign for what Google and Samsung’s new platform can do. I’d like a few more complication add-on options, though.

The only assistant is Bixby

Hello, Bixby. I guess we meet again.

Samsung’s voice assistant returns, and it’s assigned to one of the Watch 4 buttons by default (the top one, a long press summons it). You can’t access Google Assistant as an option, which is something I was convinced would be on the Watch 4. I was wrong. (You can swap out Bixby with a Power Off shortcut, but that’s it for that long-press button reassigning.)

Plans may change; right now, Bixby is the only assistant. Again, the watch doesn’t arrive until the end of the month. It’s built on Wear OS, and Google’s apps can be downloaded onto the Watch 4. But I’m concerned about not having Google Assistant. Google Assistant is a big part of how a watch can be connected to a phone (or common Google apps), and it feels like a big loss not to have it right now. I actually use voice commands quite a bit on watches like the Apple Watch because they’re easier to pull off in a pinch, hands-free. It’s also particularly weird because Fitbit now has Google Assistant support on its voice-connected devices.

I’ve only used the Galaxy Watch 4 with a Samsung phone right now, but how this will work with other Android phones remains a big question. Then again, Samsung had Bixby on its previous Android-connected Galaxy watches, too.

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I’m totally embarrassed by my body analysis readings via electrical impedance on Samsung’s newest sensor.


Scott Stein/CNET

Samsung’s new body analysis sensor is easy to use, but it’s stressing me out

To get information from the electrical impedance-based body sensor, you touch two fingers to the watch buttons for 15 seconds and stay still, completing a circuit while the watch measures a mild current passed through the body. It’s a bit like doing an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) reading for heart rate, except faster. It produces readouts of body mass index, skeletal muscle mass, water weight and body fat percentage. It estimates actual numbers, and also pinpoints each on a little range from green (low) to red (high).

I felt somewhat hit over the head with numbers. Mine were all bad. I know my weight is high, and I know my BMI. The rest seemed really concerning, too. The problem was, I had no idea what to do next. Samsung Health doesn’t currently serve up any guidance on whether to see a doctor, how to make healthy choices or even how concerning the results are. I just got more stressed, and kept rechecking, and then questioned my life choices. Ideally, you want health sensors to guide you forward, not send you curling up into a ball. It’s a common concern with how all fitness trackers and health watches seem to be flooding the zone with more data without figuring out how to help you with that data, or even advise on how accurate it is.

Samsung requires Android owners to install the Samsung Health app on Android phones to use these features, though.

It’s very early days, and also, I don’t even know yet how accurate these numbers are. Deep breaths.

Snore tracking: Keep your phone by your bedside

Samsung’s sleep tracking on the watch uses a phone microphone to check for snoring as an add-on extra, which I tried to do the first night… and failed. I use a CPAP anyway, which means I shouldn’t snore. But I also use a fan near my bed for white noise. I tried to sleep for a while without the CPAP, and still didn’t get any snore readings.

Then I realized I needed to keep the phone connected to a charger at night for the readings to collect. Night 2, I slept for a while without the CPAP and got a snore reading at last.

But it’s weird: First, it only showed one instance of snoring (did I stop after that?). It’s presented as an audio recording on the Samsung Health app, which means yes, your phone is listening to you and sometimes recording you at night.

Second, what does snore awareness even do for me? Snoring is pretty common, and snoring is not always an indicator of sleep apnea, which is what I need a CPAP machine for. The rest of the sleep tracking’s measurements of light, deep and REM sleep, and its assigned sleep score, seem to have nothing to do with the snore detection. It’s a very odd new feature that I don’t know what to do with… unless I just wanted hard proof that I snore.

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Blood oxygen measurements happen overnight… not always sure what to make of this either (the continuous readings aren’t necessarily accurate, either).


Scott Stein/CNET

Blood oxygen measurements are recorded overnight if you toggle this in Samsung Health settings (snore detection is also a toggled setting). Blood oxygen measurements on watches aren’t medically precise, so I find they all vary way more than a standard pulse oximeter you’d wear on your finger. Maybe it could help determine if there’s a massive drop in blood oxygen? Again, hard to judge its use.

Blood pressure doesn’t yet work in the US, plus it needs Samsung phone (so does EKG)

Samsung has a way to check blood pressure on its watches using the optical heart-rate sensor, but it requires calibration against a blood pressure cuff. It’s cleared for use in a number of countries along with the EKG, but not yet in the US. On my review model, I was able to check my stress level… which is basically the non-FDA-cleared version of the blood pressure functions. It didn’t do much other than map my supposed stress on a color gradient, from green to red.

Also: you need a Samsung phone and the Samsung Health Monitor app to use EKG and blood pressure features. It’s a shame they’re not available across Android yet; maybe that will change someday.

Battery life? Expect two days or less

The Galaxy Watch 4, in its 44mm size, lasted me about a day and a half on my first full charge and use. I started using it at 2 p.m. on my first day and it lasted until late at night on the next day. I didn’t have the display always on, but I did have continuous heart rate on. If I used the always-on display, battery life would be even less.

I’ve been sleeping with the Galaxy Watch 4 on, and am wearing it all the time. I won’t have real thoughts on battery life for a week or so, but so far it doesn’t seem like it would ever make it to three days.

And also: I’m using the larger models of the Galaxy Watch 4. On the smaller versions, battery life is likely less good. The smaller Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 had a hard time with battery life when CNET’s Lexy Savvides pushed it hard with the always-on display, GPS, music playback and other connected functions. 

I’m only a few days into trying these out, and my full impressions are coming in a future review. It’s clear that this is the next big phase for Android watches, but it’s not clear yet whether this is the perfect time to hop on board.

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iQOO Neo 6 VS Poco F4: We compare the specs, both will SURPRISE – HT Tech

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iQOO Neo 6 vs Poco F4: Both these Snapdragon 870 smartphones under Rs. 30000 are tempting, but which is better?

iQOO Neo 6 or Poco F4? Of late, the smartphone space under Rs. 30000 has seen two strong offerings from these fairly young brands. iQOO, which is a subdivision of Vivo, announced the iQOO Neo 6 last month as its most affordable offering with the Snapdragon 870 chipset, promising better gaming experiences and an overall midrange collection of specifications. The iQOO Neo 6 comes with a decent set of cameras too and is currently one of the most exciting phones money can buy at this price.

However, Poco has the same idea and it manages to offer its Poco F4 at a much lower price. Launched just hours ago, the Poco F4 has almost the same kind of spec sheet as the iQOO Neo 6, save for minor differences. In essence, this is a rival to the iQOO Neo 6 and if you are wanting to spend that much money on a performance smartphone for around Rs. 30000, it does add to the confusion. After all, both look good on paper.

Since we have reviewed both of the smartphones lately, we put both of these against each other and here is what we think.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Design

While both the smartphones have distinct designs to flaunt, it is the Poco F4 that pulls the lead with its glass rear panel. The Poco F4 feels better built, especially with its fit and finish. That’s not to say the iQOO Neo 6 is poorly built but the phone’s plastic unibody design is not as desirable. 

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Display

Honestly, both these smartphones are equal when it comes to the display specs. Both phones have a 6.67-inch FHD+ E4 AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz and higher touch sample rates. No in-display fingerprint scanner on either of these.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Performance

The same Snapdragon 870 chip powers both the Poco F4 and iQOO Neo 6. Hence, it is your pick. The Snapdragon 870 is a stable chipset that delivers high on performance, especially in terms of thermal stability and throttling. You will be able to play all the high-end games such as COD Mobile and Apex Legends Mobile at high graphics settings with ease.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Software

This is where your preference matters. Poco uses Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 interface based on Android 12 whereas the iQOO neo 6 uses Vivo’s FunTouch OS 12 based on Android 12. Both custom skins are full of customisation features and pre-loaded apps. Both brands promise three years of OS updates.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Cameras

Both the Poco F4 and iQOO neo 6 feature a triple camera setup on the rear – a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The Poco F4 has a 16MP selfie camera while the iQOO Neo 6 has a 32MP camera

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Battery

The iQOO Neo 6 on paper has a bigger 4700mAh battery compared to the 4500mAh battery on the Poco F4. The iQOO Neo 6 offers a 80W fast charging solution while the Poco F4 has a 67W fast charging. 

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Price

This is where the Poco F4 takes a mega lead. Starting at 27,999 for the base 6GB/128GB storage, the F4 is cheaper. The 8GB/128GB variant costs Rs. 29,999 whereas the 12GB/256GB variant comes with a price of Rs. 33,999. The iQOO Neo 6 starts at Rs. 29,999 for the base variant with 8GB/128GB variant.

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Technical issue temporarily stops Canadian Forces Snowbirds from flight performances

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OTTAWA — The Department of National Defence says the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will be unable to fly in planned air shows and flypasts until a technical issue is resolved.

That means performances next Wednesday in the Moncton, N.B., area will be cancelled while technicians work to get the team back in the air for Canada Day in Ottawa.

The department says in a news release the issue relates to a device that sets the timing for the deployment of the parachute during the ejection sequence.

It says during routine maintenance, technicians discovered the tool may not be calibrated accurately and the parachutes will now be retested and repacked to ensure proper timing for their activation in the event of an emergency.

It’s not known how long it will take to fix the issue, but the release says the Royal Canadian Air Force is working with experts and a third-party aviation contractor to get the team back in the air as soon as it is safe to do so.

It adds Air Force experts have determined there is no link between the 2020 crash in Kamloops, B.C., that killed Capt. Jenn Casey — which occurred after a bird flew into an engine — and the current issue with the parachute device.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2022.

 

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Vergecast: M2 MacBook Pro review, Solana's crypto phone, and this week's tech news – The Verge

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Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel, editor-at-large David Pierce, and managing editor Alex Cranz discuss the week in tech news with the reporters and editors covering the biggest stories.

On today’s episode, Nilay and Alex chat with Verge senior reviewer Monica Chin about her review of Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip. Though the chassis is still the same as the previous model, the changes that come with the new M2 processor are significant. Apple has yet to release their redesigned M2 MacBook Air, so should you wait before buying the Pro? Monica shares her thoughts.

For the rest of the show, we change up the crew. Alex and David lead the discussion with Verge deputy editor Dan Seifert about the state of streaming — with Netflix cutting 300 jobs after losing subscribers and an overall lack of innovation and new features within all the streaming apps.

In the final segment, we focus on the gadget coverage we’re known for. We found out more about Nothing’s first phone, were introduced to Solana’s crypto phone, and Dan is starting to enjoy using the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 six months after its launch.

There’s a whole lot more in between all of that, so listen here or in your preferred podcast player for the full show.

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