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Will Wear OS 3 Companion apps upgrade your experience?

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Fossil Wear OS 3 companion application Source: Fossil, Google Play Store

Wear OS 3 is expected to start rolling out to eligible devices in “mid to second half of 2022”, and while we anxiously await for smartwatches to receive the update, we have new information about the latest watches supporting dedicated Companion applications. Future smartwatches could support branded companion apps, enabling new customization features, functionality, and more.

According to Google, Wear OS 3 smartwatches aren’t compatible with the original Wear OS application. It’s unclear why the new operating system isn’t supported, and we have no information on whether they’ll work in the future. We don’t think smartwatches will be supported any time soon, as most manufacturers have already created their own version of the companion app, and other OEMs are currently working on one, including Google itself (via 9to5Google).

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Fossil is the latest company to develop such an application, and it says that the app will “support our WearOS watches getting the WearOS 3 update later this year.” The company is also said to be working closely with Google to collaborate and deliver the “best possible user experience.”

“Part of the flow, features, function, and more in the new app are a bit influenced by meeting requirements for our whole portfolio of connected watches. As part of this, we’re working closely with Google designers to collectively deliver the best possible user experience for all users.”

A lot of users are currently complaining about the lack of features, and removed functionality, and Fossil is having a tough time convincing users. The new version 5.0 companion app was released alongside the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid last month, and the new users seemingly dislike the new design and layout.

Will a dedicated Companion help Wear OS?

Google Wear OS application
WearOS application by Google
Source: Google

The standard Wear OS app was great to teach new users how the watch worked, and it was also excellent for changing a few settings and watch faces, but it wasn’t used often, and that made it an unnecessary app. Samsung, Mobvoi, and a few other companies have already created their Companion applications, and they appear to work great. They let users change every aspect of their smartwatches, including watch faces, settings, and other functions that would not otherwise be available in the traditional WearOS application by Google.

The fact that even Google is reportedly working on a separate app to work alongside its upcoming Google Pixel Watch says a lot, and it will likely become the new norm, moving forward. It’s unclear what other features these companion apps might offer, but it’s clear that it’ll help tone down and improve the user experience in the long term. Companies will be able to brand these as services, offering unique watch faces, features, health measurement tools, and more, and there’s also a potential for a subscription service – letting users access more data.

While many might dislike the thought of these, I think it’s a good thing, and it lets companies take more control over their own devices. The experience could be tailored better; we’ve seen that this works surprisingly well with Samsung smartwatches. If Samsung’s success is any indication, we’re hopeful that Fossil, and many other companies are taking notes, and coming up with similar strategies.

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Using a single companion app could also reduce the clutter of Android applications that users sometimes need to use to get the most out of their devices. For instance, some users may use the health measurement tools and integrations in the companion app, but others may choose to use a third-party service. Having the option to do both is excellent, and we hope to see it in the future.

There are only a handful of Wear OS 3-supported smartwatches on the market today. The list includes the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, the recently announced Montblanc Summit 3, and a few other devices from Mobvoi.

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Smartwatches

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

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An image with Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic placed next to each other Source: Pocketnow

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Over the past couple of months, the Samsung Galaxy Watch was circling the web with a Pro suffix attached to its name, and at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event on August 10, 2022, we found out why. Alongside the newly released foldables, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, the Korean OEM introduced new additions to its wearable lineup, Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. While Watch 5 is an iterative upgrade over its predecessor, Watch 5 Pro is a move against Garmin that sees Samsung shift into a category it hasn’t tackled before. But the change means giving up on the niceties of Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for a more sport-oriented look and feel.

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Now, the top-of-the-line hardware no longer features a rotating bezel, and if you’re part of the equation that considers it a must-have, you might wonder how last year’s model stacks up against this year’s best wearable from Samsung. Hence, this article compares the $449 Galaxy Watch 5 Pro against the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, which starts at $349, to see which of the two might be the wearable to choose.


Product Image of Black Titanium Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Increased Endurance

Do you need a fitness-focused smart wearable that will ensure you’re able to track your activity levels without worrying about battery life? The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has many new features and a design geared to the rugged lifestyle making it worth considering for outdoor activities.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Traditional Design

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the device for those looking to own a traditional-looking timepiece that does more than meets the eye. It’s one of the best smartwatches for Android users.


Design and Display

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You’ll see many similarities if you put the spec sheets for Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic next to each other. Still, their designs aren’t on that list, irrespective of the closeness in the two wearables’ dimensions.

The newer model, as mentioned earlier, gives up on the rotating bezel in favor of a capacitive one. But seeing its fitness-oriented marketing, the decision makes sense to me. The wearable even has its display inlaid, i.e., at a greater depth, making it harder for rocks and other hazards to cause any damage. And if some do make it there, the new Sapphire Crystal material will keep major scratches at bay.

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Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also has a slightly inlaid look due to the physical bezel which comes up, but it does have the older Corning Gorilla Glass DX solution, which might not hold up as well as Sapphire. The other noticeable change in the designs is the case material. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic uses Stainless Steel while Galaxy Watch 5 Pro goes the way of Titanium, a lighter material that might be more durable in some cases.

Apart from these elements’ visual differences, the two wearables remain pretty similar. They feature 1.36-inch displays — the smaller 42mm Classic has a 1.19-inch screen — and come with an IP68 rating and other environmental protection certifications like 5ATM and a MIL-STD-810 rating (Watch 5 series has an improved 810H rating versus the 810G on Watch 4 series). There’s the same 20mm band support and proprietary puck-based wireless charging, though [the newer generation has some improvements].

Health and Software Features

Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Lifestyle Image Source: Samsung

The two devices’ health and wellness capabilities share a lot of hardware. Still, Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has the added advantage of its infrared-based body temperature sensor and larger BioActive sensor. Samsung says with the new curvier back panel on Watch 5 Pro and the larger-sized 3-in-1 sensor, the wearable can provide more accurate results when it performs Blood-Oxygen monitoring, Body Composition analysis, and more.

Nevertheless, suppose the wellness aspect doesn’t hold that much of a priority in your wishlist. In that case, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic will hold up just fine as it comes with everything except the newer temperature sensor. Samsung offering the wearable next to the latest models is also something to keep in mind.

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When Galaxy Watch 5 Pro becomes available on August 26, the software — OneUI Watch 4.5 based on Wear OS 3.5 — running on it should be similar to the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. But the Pro does feature some additions that might not trickle down, namely support for GPX files and Trackback, which can trace back the steps you took on a trail.

Performance and Battery

Samsung Exynos w290 5nm chip

As I wrote in my Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 comparison, the processor sees no change or upgrades; This means the Exynos W920 in Galaxy Watch 4 Classic also powers the newer Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Hence, moving between applications, notifications, and the variety of tiles that provide data should remain the same. The bezel-based movements of the Classic will likely feel more seamless and enjoyable to use.

an image showing the thickness of Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Source: Pocketnow Video

However, while performance and swapping between screens will remain the same, Watch 5 Pro boasts a tremendous increase in battery life that will positively affect any user’s experience. Samsung claims the new wearable can work for 80 hours on a single charge before you’ll need to take it off. Not only that, there’s even support for new faster wireless charging. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic talked up a 40-hour endurance, but its charging speeds were slower.

Verdict

multiple galaxy watch 5 pro placed on watch holders Source: Pocketnow Video

With that, we come to the verdict on choosing between the two wearables. Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has some new features that make it relative to the $800 Garmin wearables on the market. Whether it will stack up to the competition is unknown at this point. Still, it has a bigger battery and a rugged aspect, making it a great fitness wearable. The fact that it comes in at $449 is also positive — almost half of its planned competition costs.

On the other hand, I believe Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is for a different type of consumer. It’s for those who spend their time within the concrete construct and not as much in the wild.

Hence, if you’re okay with your fitness metrics not coming from the latest hardware but still being good enough and don’t mind the slower charging, the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is still a great buy in 2022. But if you’re looking to get something more out of your wearable, especially if you enjoy trekking on trails, the Watch 5 Pro boasts battery life and extra software-based convenience to consider buying it.

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Which Galaxy Watch will you be pairing with your smartphone this time? Let us know with a comment below.


Product Image of Black Titanium Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Increased Endurance

Do you need a fitness-focused smart wearable that will ensure you’re able to track your activity levels without worrying about battery life? The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro has many new features and a design geared to the rugged lifestyle making it worth considering for outdoor activities.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Traditional Design

Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is the device for those looking to own a traditional-looking timepiece that does more than meets the eye. It’s one of the best smartwatches for Android users.


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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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Galaxy Watch 5 Colors Source: Samsung

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Riding on the coattails of success the Galaxy Watch 4 series brought to its wearables department, at its Galaxy Unpacked Event on August 10, 2022, Samsung unveiled two new smartwatches, Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. While the latter showcases a spin-off into a new market segment for the lineup with its design and hardware, the basic model comes with iterative upgrades making the package more comprehensive for its starting price of $279.99.

If you’re on an older wearable like the Galaxy Watch Active and are planning on getting an upgrade, in this article, we pit the Galaxy Watch 5 against the Galaxy Watch 4 to see whether the new one warrants the extra cash.

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Product Image of Sapphire Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Minor Refresh

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 features iterative changes that improve the package sold previously. This is the best option to consider if you’re looking for a reasonably priced WearOS-based smartwatch. It comes with improved battery life and faster-charging capabilities.

Galaxy Watch 4 in Black

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Predecessor

Galaxy Watch 4 is the device to pick if you’re looking for a fitness-centric smartwatch that doesn’t hurt your wallet. At $249, its assortment of features and assurance of quality make it worth buying.


Design and Display

Galaxy Watch 4 | It doesn’t look much different.

Off the bat, the design changes between Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 are minimal. The aluminum frame and flat glass display remain identical on both devices, and even the overall dimensions don’t feature any change. But for those with razor-sharp eyes, you will notice an increased curve on the back of the smartwatch. The OEM states this change in design promotes better health tracking as the larger BioActive sensor can now come in contact with more surface area.

Except for this, the only other noteworthy changes are the availability of the new Sapphire colorway and Sapphire Crystal covering for the screen. The latter is 1.6 times harder than the Corning solution implemented on Galaxy Watch 4.

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Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4 remain available in 40mm and 44mm case sizes, housing 1.2-inch and 1.4-inch AMOLED displays, respectively. And yes, the display is still surrounded by the thick touch capacitive bezel. The wearable also continues to support traditional 20mm bands, and its durability rating doesn’t see a change, as it maintains its IP68, 5 ATM, and MIL-STD ratings.

Health Features

Galaxy Watch 5 Body Composition Analysis Source: Samsung

Regarding health and wellness tracking, Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 does boast some improvements. These would be its improved BioActive sensor which, combined with increased contact, is said to provide more accurate results, and an infrared-based temperature sensor. Samsung says the new hardware even enables more personalized sleep tracking and exercise data. Nevertheless, their wearable already did a great job tracking these metrics, and we can’t wait to test how much better the new readings will be!

Fortunately for those eyeing the last generation, except for the lack of the temperature sensor, Galaxy Watch 4 covers most of the bases that the Galaxy Watch 5 steps upon; keep this in mind when comparing the two devices for your use case.

Performance and Battery

image showcasing the app drawer on Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Galaxy Watch 5 in Graphite
Source: Pocketnow

The performance variance between the two wearables should remain close to nil as they feature an identical Exynos W920. During my time with Galaxy Watch 4, the SoC continued to handle applications and tasks without much of a hitch. Even the RAM and internal storage on Galaxy Watch 5 match the 1.5 GB RAM and 16 GB of Galaxy Watch 4.

With the software and most hardware components remaining similar, the number of differences that keep the two generations apart is far and few. Still, there is one change that will significantly impact your user experience: faster charging.

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I mentioned in my comparison of Apple Watch Series 7 and Galaxy Watch 4 that even though Series 7 had worse endurance, the short period required to charge to 100% was part of why I went back to using it. In the case of Galaxy Watch 4, the device had enough power to last a day of use, but it took almost two hours to go from 0 to 100% when I did need to find a charger. This, in my books, was a huge bummer.

Galaxy Watch 5 seems to address this issue and further improve battery-related aspects with its support for faster wireless charging and a 13% larger cell. Samsung states the wearable will now last 40 hours on a single charge — it noted this last year, but Galaxy Watch 4 never hit the mark — and charge up to 45% in 30 minutes. The change is a significant upgrade, and I can’t wait to test the new watch to see whether there’s a marked upgrade when it hits the streets near the end of August.

Do you need an upgrade, or should you stick to Galaxy Watch 4?

So, with that breakdown, we come to the question of whether you need a Galaxy Watch 5 or if you should pick Galaxy Watch 4, which should be available at lower prices. And I think choosing the Galaxy Watch 5 should be a no-brainer if you’re going the pre-order route.

Samsung often features a variety of deals that make the cost of ownership significantly lesser, and in 2022 the situation isn’t any different. This time Samsung’s Wireless Charger Duo is included as a freebie, and with an eligible trade-in, you’ll be able to score a $75 discount on the retail price of $279.99. In addition, there’s the $50 Samsung Credit which you can put towards accessories like an additional band.

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Suppose you’re going to wait out the pre-order period and then look for the wearables at a discount. In that case, the situation becomes one where you need to analyze it case by case. But we can tell you this; Galaxy Watch 5 features some meaningful upgrades, but if you’re able to score Galaxy Watch 4 for a low price, you can’t go wrong with choosing it as your smartwatch.

What are your thoughts on Galaxy Watch 5? Is it an iterative upgrade that you purchase, or will you wait for better deals on its predecessor? Let us know with a comment below.


Product Image of Sapphire Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Minor Refresh

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 features iterative changes that improve the package sold previously. It is the best option to consider if you’re looking for a reasonably priced WearOS-based smartwatch, and it promises improved battery life and faster-charging capabilities.

Galaxy Watch 4 in Black

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Predecessor

Galaxy Watch 4 is the device to pick if you’re looking for a fitness-centric smartwatch that doesn’t hurt your wallet. At $249, its assortment of features and assurance of quality make it worth buying.

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Best deals today: Apple’s 24-inch iMac, the ASUS TUF Dash 15, and more

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24-inch iMac

Apple iMac 2021

Today’s best deals start with Apple’s 24-inch iMac, which is currently listed for $1,450. This will get you a new 8GB RAM and 256GB model with an Apple M1 chip under the hood. Savings will not appear immediately, as you will only be able to see the latest $100 savings at checkout, which means that you will be able to purchase your new Mac for $1,350. The best part is that you get three different color options to choose from, as the Yellow, Purple, and Orange variants are receiving the same treatment.

If you want more options, you can get a more affordable 2020 Apple Mac mini with twice as much storage. It is currently listed for $869, but you can take this Mac home for just $750 after getting $119 savings at checkout. The Mac mini has the same Apple M1 processor and 8GB RAM as the 24-inch iMac. Still, this option is more affordable considering that you won’t receive a monitor, keyboard, or anything other than the Mac and a power cord in the box.

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Finally, you can also consider a smaller 21.5-inch iMac that sells for $900 after receiving an 18 percent discount that translates to $200 savings. This model has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD storage.

Apple 24-inch iMac Product Box Image

24-inch Apple iMac

Get your hands on a new 24-inch iMac that comes with everything you need to start working on your new Mac. The latest M1-powered iMac includes color-matching Magic Mouse with Magic Keyboard and more.

ASUS TUF Dash 15

ASUS TUF Dash 15 Long Source: ASUS

If you’re looking for a more portable option that’s also intended for serious gaming, you can check out the ASUS TUF Dash 15 Gaming Laptop that now sells for $1,070 after seeing an 18 percent discount. This model comes with a large 15.6-inch FHD display with 144Hz refresh rates. Further, you get an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage, and GeForce RTX 3060 graphics under the hood. Or get a more affordable ASUS TUF Gaming F15 Gaming Laptop that comes with an Intel Core i5 processor, GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, 8GB RAM, and 512GB for $670 after a 13 percent discount.

And suppose you’re more interested in power and tons of storage space. In that case, you can check out the iBUYPOWER Pro Gaming PC Computer Desktop that comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 480GB SSD, plus 1TB HDD storage, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 graphics for $1,100 after a very compelling 19 percent discount that will help you keep $250 in your wallet.

ASUS TUF Dash 15

ASUS TUF Dash 15

The ASUS TUF Dash 15 is a great option for gamers who want to take their gaming sessions on the go. It features a large display with 144Hz refresh rates, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, an Intel Core i7 processor, and tons of power under the hood for a very affordable price tag.

AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro Long Source: Apple

Apple’s AirPods Pro are still some of Apple’s best truly wireless earphones on the market, so it is only logical to get them on this list, especially considering that they are now available for $180 after picking up a 28 percent discount that will help you save $69. These amazing earphones feature ANC, Transparency Mode, and other great features. Plus, you get more than 24 hours of battery life with the MagSafe Charging Case.

Of course, you can also opt for more affordable options, including the OnePlus Buds Pro, which now sell for $110 after seeing a 27 percent discount. These wireless earbuds come with smart adaptive noise cancelation, an IP55 rating, and up to 38 hours of battery life. Or get the higher-end Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds that now sell for $160 after receiving a $30 discount. And if that’s still too much for your budget, you can also check out Apple’s Beat Studio Buds that go for $100 after a $50 discount.

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Apple AirPods Pro Product Box Image

Apple AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro will deliver amazing sound quality, and tons of amazing features, including active noise cancelation, Transparency Mode, Spatial Audio, Adaptive EQ, and more, for less than $200.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

Garmin fenix 6 Pro Long Source: Garmin

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is also on sale, and you can get yours for $485 after the latest 19 percent discount, which translates to $114.99 savings. This amazing multisport watch features mapping, music, pace guidance, Pulse OX sensors, and more amazing features for those who live active lives.

However, you don’t have to pay that much for a new smartwatch, as you can also go for a more affordable Garmin Venu that sells for $230 after a $120 discount representing 34 percent savings. Or get the Garmin Forerunner 935 for the same $230 and save $90. However, I’d personally go for the Garmin Forerunner 245 that currently sells for $241 after picking up a 31 percent discount that will get you more than $100 savings.


Garmin Fenix 6 Pro

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro comes with a rugged and sophisticated design that features an always-on 1.3-inch sunlight-readable display with bezels in stainless steel, titanium, or diamond-like carbon coating, enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring, and other amazing features.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk Long Source: Sandisk

Finally, we have the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD selling for as low as $105 after a recent 30 percent discount that will help you keep $45 in your pocket on the 500GB storage option. However, the best savings come with the 1TB model that now sells for $129 after an insane 48 percent discount that will get you $120.99 savings. Or get twice as much storage space with the 2TB model for $230 after a 50 percent discount.

However, you can also consider going for a more affordable option, which comes as the Samsung T7 Shield 1TB portable SSD that sells for just $100 after receiving a 38 percent discount, which translates to $60 savings. And you can get twice as much storage space for $200, representing $90 savings. And if you want even more storage space, check out the WD 6TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive that sells for $130 after a $60 discount.

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SanDisk Portable SSD

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

Get more storage space for your smartphone, laptop, tablet, camera, and more with the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, a portable and resistant SSD that will help you keep your information safe.

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