We conducted a hands-on test to see if the Google Assistant for Galaxy Watch 4 is a significant improvement after its delayed introduction.

The finest voice assistant finally arrived on what is still the best Wear OS smartwatch after nearly a year of waiting. Samsung’s Bixby is the only hands-free voice control system that has been available from your wrist since the release of the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic.

This was not ideal for people who were deeply ingrained in Google’s smart home environment, but now you can experience the full-fat Google Assistant right on your wrist. Has the wait been worthwhile? We used hands-on research to discover.

Video Google Assistant for Galaxy Watch 4 hands-on Setup process and pitfalls Google Assistant for Galaxy Watch 4: What can you do? How does it compare to Google Assistant on Wear OS 2.0? VIDEO GALAXY WATCH 4 HANDS-ON WITH GOOGLE ASSISTANT Subscribe to 9to5Google on YouTube for more videos


Unfortunately, you can’t merely go to your Galaxy Watch 4 or Watch 4 Classic and toggle the Assistant. To get things up and running properly, some effort must be put out. On your Galaxy Watch 4, you must first go download the Google Assistant from there.

You might notice that the shop listing instructs you to update rather than to install, which is a little odd. This suggests that Wear OS 3.0 already has a number of requirements in place, and this only turns on the feature. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure of this. Its size of about 11MB makes it quite tiny and shouldn’t have an impact on your device’s storage.

When you launch the newly installed Assistant app, a setup wizard on your smartphone will prompt you to complete before the feature on your wrist can be used. If your Google Account has Voice Match enabled, you can move through the procedure fast and easily. You don’t need to do anything extra if you’re content utilizing the Hey Google or Okay, Google wake instructions.

By going to Settings andgt; Advanced features andgt; Customize keys andgt; Press and hold, you can enable rapid Google Assistant activation with the Watch 4 side buttons. If you prefer the new Assistant option over the standard wake-up command, you can enable it by giving your smartwatch’s upper side button a lengthy press.

If you have used Bixby in the past, we advise turning off the Voice wake-up feature if you plan to utilize it on your smartwatch. Although it’s not totally evident to us, removing the alternative voice assistant seems to have improved speech recognition and speed because some voice commands can be difficult to detect if Bixby voice activation is on.


Galaxy Watch 4 running Google Assistant hands-on

The good news is that you can do anything you can normally do with a Google Assistant-connected device from your wrist. That includes managing smart home technology, establishing alarms, sending messages, making calls, and much more.

The Galaxy Watch 4 has more information than previous Wear OS devices and is cosmetically superior to anything else. It’s undoubtedly a scaled-down version of the Assistant experience you’ll receive on smartphones and tablets.

If you ask Maps for directions, you’ll see a tiny representation of the route, and if you ask the age of your favorite Hollywood actor, you’ll get more information and perhaps even a picture. In terms of the Assistant, it is nothing revolutionary, but this expansion makes the user experience consistent across devices.


Galaxy Watch 4 running Google Assistant hands-on

Google has boldly said that the Galaxy Watch 4’s Assistant offers faster response times than ever. We have found that to not be the case. Yes, Assistant outcomes are undoubtedly more data-rich, and rich responses are more aesthetically pleasing. On the TicWatch Pro 3 running Wear OS 2.34, however, the speeds are comparatively similar but without the extra aesthetic components.

We put the system to the test by utilizing a variety of typical requests, including getting the weather report, setting an alarm, getting the results of some simple searches, getting some driving instructions, and even sending an SMS message to a contact.

The older TicWatch Pro actually held up in the majority of situations and in a few of occasions was able to answer typical queries quicker than the Galaxy Watch 4. That’s disheartening to say the least, but based on our limited testing, it appears that the Galaxy Watch 4 hangs when processing voice instructions, similar to the Nest Hub series.

During our hands-on experience, it seemed to take longer to start the Google Assistant on the Galaxy Watch 4 as each word or phrase showed on screen. Of course, in the previous version of Wear OS, you sometimes have to interact with the display to go from one command to another. As a result, the Watch 4 has a slight edge because you can issue commands completely hands-free.

Uncomfortably, you receive no visual or aural feedback when you issue a repeat command, such as trying to set an alarm for the same time as one that has already been set. We were frequently left perplexed since it seemed like the Watch was having trouble registering the exact request made of the Assistant. In reality, it had only stopped a subsequent action from occurring.

The voice recognition speeds improved slightly after disabling Bixby’s Voice wake-up feature, but not enough for the Galaxy Watch 4 to be noticeably speedier than earlier Wear OS iterations. We’re hopeful that Samsung and Google will release upgrades that will be better because the early claims about performance improvements are simply untrue.

However, the majority of individuals don’t care about a few extra seconds here and there. While the addition of the Google Assistant to the greatest Wear OS watch available is a far larger deal. Although Bixby is a good substitute, it is unable to respond to inquiries that require Google’s robust Search. At least now you have another choice available to you.

Let’s hoping the next Pixel Watch has speedier on-device processing. To put it simply, it’s fine. For the time being, however, this is the only option to use the long-awaited full-fat Google Assistant on a watch.

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