When Google and Samsung announced Clothing OS 3 last year, I had lots of questions almost how well Google services would run on Samsung hardware. Of Google’due south expansive suite of apps, I was most curious about Google Banana. The but catch was it wasn’t bachelor when the Milky way Watch 4 lineup launched — and in that location were only vague promises as to when it would actually be available. But yesterday, Google Assistant finally arrived on the Milky way Scout 4, and after a few hours of playing effectually with information technology, I’yard cautiously optimistic.
Google Assistant was already a feature on older Wearable Os 2 watches. It simply wasn’t great. Considering Wear Os 2 watches struggled with underpowered hardware, Google Assistant was often laggy and never fully lived up to its potential. Request for more than the virtually basic queries was a crapshoot. Meanwhile, Samsung’due south Tizen watches had snappy performance merely only offered up Bixby. And Bixby… is Bixby. Despite Samsung’s efforts, information technology’s just not as useful as other digital assistants. All this to say: once the Google Banana was bachelor for the Galaxy Lookout four, I installed information technology as fast equally humanly possible.
Installing Google Assistant
Setting upward Google Assistant on the Galaxy Sentinel iv isn’t hard. The only affair you have to do is make sure your phone and watch are running the latest software. Once that’s done, launch the Google Play Store app on your wrist. You can then either search for “Google Banana” or scroll down to My Apps. Either way, you should see a button that reads “Assistant Update.” After that, follow the prompts to activate Google Banana on your phone.
It’southward at this indicate that yous can either opt in or out of Voice Match, which allows Assistant to create a personalized voice model on your device. You lot’ll also see a bulletin alerting you that if you lot elect to have the watch listen for the “Hey Google” wake phrase, it’ll impact battery life. (More than on this in a bit.)
You can also take the extra stride of reprogramming the lookout’s home fundamental (the one with the red trim in the upper right) to launch Google Assistant instead of Bixby. To do that:
- Open the
- Under the Habitation Key card, y’all can either plan Assistant to launch via a
press and hold.
After that, y’all tin take a page from Marie Kondo’south book, give thanks Bixby for its service, and wish it well in its future endeavors. (You lot can’t, nevertheless, fully uninstall Bixby. I tried.)
Good performance, terrible battery
Broadly speaking, Google Banana on the Milky way Sentry 4 is the best information technology’south always been on a Wearable OS watch. However, that’s a low bar, and it’s non all rainbows and butterflies.
The main affair is that Google Banana is much faster on the Galaxy Scout 4. That’due south non surprising given this watch has a more powerful processor than every other Wear Bone watch you lot tin currently buy. The Banana understood my commands, whether it was to message my husband, set a timer, or tell me whether it was going to pelting today. I also didn’t accept to wait with aside breath for Google Assistant to procedure things. Fifty-fifty if it botched a control — which all digital administration occasionally practice — it did so chop-chop. That said, the watch does have to be awake for any voice command to register.
Betwixt Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 and Siri on my Apple Watch Series 7, I’d say the performance is quite similar. Both are quick to wake, understand the bulk of my mumbling, and take about the same amount of fourth dimension to answer queries. However, Assistant has a slight edge when it comes to delivering useful search results. For example, I asked both Assistant and Siri to find me the closest car repair store. While Google Banana was able to recommend nearby shops that were highly rated and like shooting fish in a barrel to get to, Siri found me one repair shop with no ratings and several parking garages.
Information technology’d nearly be perfect if information technology weren’t for the fact that enabling Google Assistant has been a major bombardment bleed in the short time I’ve been using it. While testing the feature, I had the always-on display enabled and the sentry listening for the “Hey Google” trigger in the groundwork. After nigh ii hours, it went from fully charged to 80 percent. At this rate, I’ll exist lucky to make information technology to bedtime. With the same settings enabled on the Series 7, for the same period of time and use, I’yard only down to 92 percent. I can’t say it’s a shock, simply it’s disappointing nonetheless.
While information technology took a while for Google Assistant to arrive, now that information technology has, the majority of Google’s services are available equally apps on the Galaxy Scout 4. In addition to Banana, apps like Gboard, Google Pay, Google Maps, and YouTube Music can all be downloaded directly from the Play Store. Meanwhile, Google Home and Google Wallet are prepare to arrive later this year. Agenda is still missing from the bunch, just by and large, Android users don’t
to stick with Samsung’due south preinstalled apps if they don’t want to anymore.
Ultimately, with Google Assistant, I tin can actually run into myself using a digital assistant on a Samsung smartwatch. That’s a offset. Information technology was also a much more enjoyable experience than Assistant on Wear OS ii. So while I can see users opting to stay on Samsung Pay or choosing Spotify over YouTube Music, Google Banana makes more sense for all just the most diehard Bixby fans. Information technology’s hard to say how much of this experience will apply to the forthcoming Pixel Watch — though I’one thousand optimistic that the good operation here will translate. I’chiliad also hopeful that Samsung might effigy out how to brand its next-gen smartwatches more ability-efficient. Only in the concurrently, I wish Galaxy Watch four owners didn’t have to take worse battery life in substitution for a good digital assistant.
Photography past Victoria Vocal / The Verge