Skip to main content

It's complicated: Why watch faces suck on the Galaxy Watch 4 right now

CEED by Almarinov from Facer ($1.99)

There's always a bumpy transition, and you better buckle up for this one.

After waiting and waiting and waiting, my Galaxy Watch 4 is finally on my wrist! I've been breaking it in over the last 48 hours, finding the cracks and crannies where problems are sneaking through that squeaky clean look Samsung showed off at Unpacked.

Most of my grievances are the usual stumbling blocks of a new generation — the senseless lack of Google Assistant, notifications still take too many taps, and the lack of non-Samsung tiles — but the most irksome problem smacks me in the face every time I lift the watch to my eye line. Watch faces on Wear OS have long been diverse and customizable, but once you step outside Samsung's curated collection, you're going to find plentiful frustrations.

Actually, even with Samsung's watch faces, there are frustrations.

Now, don't get me wrong, Samsung actually makes some pretty great watch faces. I'm fond of the My Photo+ face, which allows you to set a picture, clock style, and then up to four Complications, but our own Chris Wedel and Tshaka Armstrong prefer Digital Dashboard with its distinct color palettes and five Complications. Samsung's watch faces you edit in the Galaxy Wearable app; long-pressing the face and tapping "Customize" does nothing on my Galaxy Watch 4, doesn't even open the customization page in the companion app. Customizing the watch face on a larger screen makes the process easier, but it also means when your phone isn't nearby, you can't change anything about your watch face.

Most watch faces allow you to pick from a variety of color styles, then set each Complication from the list. There's just one problem: You can't choose from the full complication list. While some general Complications are there, you're still missing popular options like App Shortcuts, Google Pay, and third-party Complications. Even worse, most of the Google-based Complications you can use are glorified shortcuts: you can't set it to show a specific Google Fit goal or stat, it'll just show the name and open the app when you tap it.

MyPhoto+ by Samsung with a Tapet background

Even with these... complications, the experience with Samsung's watch faces is much better than the Complications SNAFU 3rd party watch faces face right now. You cannot customize third-party faces in the Galaxy Wearable app, and some of the complications are just broken.

I just want a watch face with working HR and a Google Keep shortcut. And right now, that's impossible.

Some of this is quite likely due to the fact that most watch faces aren't updated for the Wear OS 3 platform yet — and they're designed to interface with Google Fit rather than Samsung Health — but it's a frustration that could've been solved had Google and Samsung collaborated better with each other and with developers to ensure that more watch faces would work at launch.

Nevertheless, heart rate is broken on pretty much any non-Samsung watch face; some faces will show no data while others will show a BPM that's inaccurate or current regardless of the update interval you have in Samsung Health. I finally took the plunge into Facer during my search for a watch face that worked, but I was eventually forced back to the Samsung faces because of the slow, inaccurate heart rate in any complicated face. (Most Facer faces work quite well outside health functions, and I was very pleased with the animated Star Wars face I stumbled across.)

Broken or missing Complications were even more of a problem on my favorite Wear 2.0 watch face and one highlighted by Google itself in Wear's Watch Faces section: Looks Watch Faces for Wear OS by Google, by utswo Studios. From my Moto 360 days up until the Fossil Gen 5e I sported this spring, the Quoti watch face remained my steadfast favorite because I could set album art as the background and then the current song info in the complication for a wonderful watch face for music addicts like myself.

Quoti was one of the first face packs I installed on my Watch 4, and once I got Quoti set, I went to Customize it as per my usual. There were two problems: there were no Background options at all anymore, and even the Media controller Complication only works half the time. Well, it'll show the song title if you set the version with one wide complication, but tapping it may or may not pause the music, now will it open the media controller; instead, you'll have to tap that ridiculously tiny music note bobbing at the bottom of the face. Also, heart rate didn't work at all, and the step count only updated every 10 minutes or so.

How Quoti is supposed to look, from the Fossil Gen 5e

Looks Watch Faces hasn't been updated since 2017, so I don't necessarily blame the watch face itself (though seriously, utswo, get on it), but I do blame Google for presenting an old, half-broken watch face collection front and center to users who are new to Wear OS. It's one users are more likely to try given that it's one of the few actually, 100% free watch face packs out there. Google needs to be paying more attention when trying to show that Wear OS has actually straightened up and finally gotten its shit together this time.

Even many watch faces that have been updated this month to support Wear OS 3 are seeing Complication issues in regards to health data, though. Unfortunately, that means this could very well be a bug we'll need to wait for Samsung and Google to patch.

Star Wars | Dynamic by Ernest Karchmit from Facer (Free)

For now, I'm okay with sticking to Facer and Samsung watch faces while I wait for this to be resolved, because the Galaxy Watch 4 is the fastest, smoothest smartwatch I've ever used, and 100% worthy of its title as the best Android smartwatch. It's so nice to tap an app icon and have it appear in a second rather than almost timing out the screen while it tries to load and render. I'm not a fan of the BIA analysis (Jerry's right, it's way too easy to sway with just a glass or two of water before a reading), but having the Sleep graph actually on my wrist rather than having to dig out my phone is nice, especially as I grapple with sleep scores in the 40-60 range most nights.

Off to New York this week for the Qualcomm Sound event; it'll be both my first actual press event and my first time in NYC in about 14 years. Wish me luck and tweet me your NYC pizza recommendations!

— Ara

Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

Google Pay on Wear OS expands again, is now available in 37 countries

More people will be able to use their Wear OS watch for payments. Update, Sept 8 (5:30 p.m. ET) : Google Pay support expands to more countries. What you need to know Google Pay is getting expanded support in more countries. 16 additional countries will support contactless payments on the Galaxy Watch 4. The expanded support will also come to older Wear OS smartwatches "in the coming weeks." With the launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 , Google has highlighted some of the new app experiences that will come with the new Wear OS 3 update. Google Pay is among the apps that are getting a redesign based on Material You, but Google also announced that it's expanding support for more countries. As it stands, Google Pay only supports a handful of countries for contactless payments on Wear OS. Google is now adding 16 additional countries to the list, which include the following: Belgium Brazil Chile Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Finland Hong Kong Ireland New Zeal

How to watch England vs India: Live stream Fourth Test cricket online

Having bounced back from defeat with an impressive win in the third Test at Headingley, Joe Root's men will be hoping they can now forge an advantage as the series moves to London - watch every ball of this fourth Test with our England vs India live stream guide below. England managed to dismiss India for just 78 on Day 1 in a scintillating bowling display, but there was even better to come from the hosts' top-order batting, with all of the top three managing to notch up half-centuries in their first innings. Skipper Root meanwhile continued his extraordinary 2021 form, clocking up yet another three-figure score. With a buoyant home side now hoping to carry on where they left off, India captain Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri must unravel how their attack was so routinely undone with the new ball last time out. Kohli himself will also need to do more leading from the front, with the normally reliably prolific batsman having scored no more than 55 during any inni

How to watch the Djokovic vs Medvedev: Live stream the US Open 2021 final o

History beckons for Novak Djokovic as the Serbian legend goes in search of two significant tennis records in this afternoon's grand finale at Flushing Meadows. Read on to find out how to get a 2021 US Open live stream and watch Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev online no matter where you are in the world. A win here for the 34-year old would see him overtake eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles won, with all three veterans currently tied at 20 wins a piece. Victory in New York this afternoon would also see Djokovic complete the first male calendar slam in the Open Era. Aiming to make a piece of history of his own but stopping Djokovic is Russian star Daniil Medvedev who will be looking to finally claim his first slam title. The 25-year-old world no.2 has been in some of the best form of his career in the Big Apple having given up just a single set on his way to today's final. The match marks Medvedev's second major showdown

How to watch the Raducanu vs Fernandez: Live stream the US Open 2021 final

It's a battle of the teens at Flushing Meadows this evening as two youngsters who have stunned the tennis world go head-to-head - read on to find out how to get a 2021 US Open live stream and watch Emma Raducanu vs Leylah Fernandez online no matter where you are in the world. The last time the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium was contested by two players yet to reach their 20s was when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis to take the title back in 1999 in a match that signalled a new era for the women's game. While both players in that match were something of a known quantity - Hingis was already world no.1 - both of today's finalists' trailblazing journeys to today's clash has come as something of a bolt out of the blue. Britain's Emma Raducanu had to go through the qualifying stage on her incredible route to this showdown, yet has yet to lose a set so far in the tournament. The 18-year-old now stands on the brink of becoming the first British woman