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Galaxy Watch 4 vs Xiaomi S1 Active: Which Will You Choose

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a formidable piece of wearable tech that is still relevant even to this day. I have owned one since December 2021 and even after the release of the Galaxy Watch 5 in September 2022, it has been updated with the latest version, making it a fantastic device. It can be expected that the device will remain great until at least 2025 when it may no longer be supported.

So how does the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 stack up against Xiaomi S1 Active? In terms of price, both devices are priced around the same, however in terms of features, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a lot more superior winning the comparison 5-1. Here is a summary of my final results.

Smart FeaturesGalaxy Watch 4
Health FeaturesGalaxy Watch 4
Third Party AppsGalaxy Watch 4
Workout Mode AbilityGalaxy Watch 4
GPS TrackingGalaxy Watch 4
Battery LifeXiaomi S1 Active

One of the primary reasons why there is such a lopsided score is because the Galaxy Watch 4 provides features that are consistently reliable. When you are comparing specifications between the two devices, it is almost like for like, however, based on my experience, it is not the case, and the Galaxy Watch 4 is the clear winner.

In this article, I will be explaining in great detail how I arrived at these findings, and I will be detailing the reasons why the device has gained the advantage in this comparison. If you are not familiar with my articles, you should know that I do not do a comparison on specs, but rather focus on the experience of using the device and the experience that the device provides.

Smart Features : Winner Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 4, 5, 5PRO : Safety and emergency feature is more reliable than the S1 Active offers

When it comes to smart features, both devices are very strong in this category. In 2021, if I were to compare both devices, the S1 Active would have easily won. As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy Watch 4 gained all the latest updates that the Galaxy Watch 5 obtained which makes it a lot better. Here is a summary of the final results

LevelS1 ActiveGalaxy Watch 4
Final Score10/1514/15

As you can see the Galaxy Watch 4 almost gets a perfect score when it comes to smart features. Only the Apple Watch series 7, 8 and 8 Ultra has a perfect score when it comes to smart features. To gain a single point in my rating system the device must be reliable, so I am very confident that the final score is accurate and true based on my experience. I will explain next how the Galaxy Watch 4 gains the advantage over the Xiaomi S1 Active.

Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage At Basic Level

The Galaxy Watch 4 gains the advantage when it comes to locating your phone or your watch. You can directly find your phone from your watch and it works very well, but only if your phone is within the Bluetooth range. If you are not certain about the location of your phone or your watch, you can log into Google Chrome and find your device from the browser. If the device is nearby, you can ring it, or if it’s kilometers away from your location, you can lock your device in case someone tries to use contactless payment.

Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage At Intermediate Level

The Galaxy Watch 4 gets a perfect score at this level and there are a few features that the device gains a real advantage. I will quickly explain this next.

Ability to connect to emergency contact: Both devices have this feature, however I did not give the S1 Active a point is because it’s missing one crucial detail that the Galaxy Watch 4, 5, 5PRO offers, which is a secondary communication. When you trigger a SOS call, and the call ends the S1 Active does not send a text message to your emergency contact, but the Galaxy Watch 4 does. It also provides GPS coordinates incase you are in a remote area, so that’s something to be aware of incase this feature is important to you.

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Contactless Payment: Google pay is one of the most trustworthy and very reliable contactless payment methods around the world. Here in New Zealand Xiaomi pay isn’t something recognised. I did not get to test Xiaomi Pay because I dont own a master card.

Ability to make phone calls: The S1 Active does not have this ability, which is a clear advantage to the Galaxy Watch 4. There is no limitations on how many contacts to call directly from your watch. You can tap into your contacts list and make a phone call from there. only downfall is that it’s a massive battery drainer if you use the device’s speaker, so call using Bluetooth speakers or Ear buds.

Ability to Save Battery Life: Conserving battery life is one of the things a lot of Galaxy Watch owners wanted because it’s battery life (if your lucky) lasts up to 48 hours. The only problem when using this mode is that you dont get to use the devices strongest features. The S1 Active has a far superior battery life.

Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage At Advanced Level

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 gesture control
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 gesture control is exactly the same as the Galaxy Watch 4

Both devices have advanced level smart features, but the Galaxy Watch 4 still gains the advantage because it’s reliability to preform consistently Here are the features that the Galaxy Watch 4 performs very well.

Ability to quick gesture to access features: Quick gesture access is useful but requires a little practise to master. I personally found it a little tricky to use this feature, if I try to activate the feature out of 10, I would successfully activate the feature 5 times. Like I say you have to practise the gesture motion in order to effectively use it.

Ability to live stream: Live streaming to a smart home device is very new to the Galaxy Watch, which is something very similar to the Apple Watch series. Live stream works in conjunction with the Samsung smart things app. Within the smart things app you can look at all the brands and devices you can live stream to. You can live stream to your doorbell or security camera’s. I will be releasing a future article about this as it’s very tricky to get started.

Ability to provide direction: This feature is where you can use Google maps or Petal maps from your device to find a particular location. Google maps from your watch links with your mobile device. From personal experience its only useful if you are walking, and not cycling or driving that way you can pay attention to the instructions without any concerns to your safety.

Health Features : Winner Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 4, 5, 5Pro: Body composition is a very useful feature

Regarding the health features, both devices offer the same experience. This includes heart rate tracking, stress management, sleep tracking, and blood oxygen. However, the Galaxy Watch 4 has gained an advantage in a few additional features that the Xiaomi S1 Active does not have. I will list the features that the Galaxy Watch 4 has an advantage over the Xiaomi S1 Active.

Ability to measure your body mass index: The Galaxy Watch 4 is the only device that uses this type of technology to calculate your body mass index. It’s level of accuracy is questionable because it uses a direct current that shoots a signal through your body to determine your body mass index. Never the less, it’s still a great feature to have to get a good idea of your weight.

Ability to detect snoring: The Galaxy Watch 4 is also able to detect snoring when the user is sleeping. This feature is one that I use often when I sleep and what I find useful about it is that it can record the number of times the user snores, the exact time they snore, and the time of the night they snore. It should be noted that this is not a medical device, however, the data gathered from it can be quite informative. I have written an extensive article about my personal experience using this feature, so please take a look for more information

Article : How to use snore detection for Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 5, Galaxy Watch 5 PRO

Third Party App Ability : Winner Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 4, 5, 5PRO : Third party app ability is at the same level across these devices

When it comes to the ability to use third party apps, the Galaxy Watch 4 is far superior to the Xiaomi S1. In fact, only three brands, namely Apple, Garmin, and Google, have a great collection of third party apps, while everyone else is pretty much at the same level. Here is a summary of my testing results in comparison.

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FeatureS1 ActiveGalaxy Watch 4
Connection TypeBluetoothBluetooth
App Stores2/55/5
In Direct Ability0/55/5
Direct Ability1/54/5
Final Score3/1514/15

The eleven point gap between the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Xiaomi in regards to third party app ability is a true reflection of what I have seen with the two devices. I will explain why the Galaxy Watch 4 is superior to the Xiaomi S1 in a moment.

Galaxy Watch 4 App Store is Far Superior

In terms of app stores, the Galaxy Watch boasts an extensive and impressive selection of apps through the Google Play Store. This is one of the best app stores in the market, rivalling both the Apple Store and Garmin Connect. Meanwhile, the Xiaomi app store has limitations, with few apps available for download on the S1 Active device. As a result, the Xiaomi S1 Active receives a rating of 2 out of 5 for its app store. With the S1 Active you can download the app onto your device if you have a android or IOS device, if you have a HarmonyOS (Huawei) device your out of luck.

Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage via In Direct Ability

If you are not familiar with the indirect ability, it is a process where you can grant permission to a third-party app to gain access to your device’s tracking data. This is a feature that I appreciate because it allows me to leave my phone at home. When my device is within Bluetooth range, it will synchronize with my phone, and the third-party app will provide the information I require.

The Galaxy Watch 4 synchronizes instantly and updates information in real time, while the Xiaomi S1 Active does not. Recently, I conducted an experiment and discovered that the data took two days to sync. I plan to write a comprehensive article about my experience, but I think that two days to synchronize is excessive, which is why I gave the device a rating of zero out of five for its indirect ability.

Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage via Direct Ability

If you are not familiar with the direct ability, its where you can control a third party app directly from your device. The Galaxy Watch 4 really outshines the Xiaomi S1 Active in this category and it’s very stable and reliable. The S1 Active does have this ability, but it’s not quite at the same level as the Galaxy Watch 4. I downloaded a app with my device, and a lot of the time the device breaks connections with the app, and then it doesn’t work. The S1 Active deserves its rating of 1 out of 5 because my experience with the direct ability was not as positive as with the Galaxy Watch 4.

Workout Mode Ability : Winner Galaxy Watch 4

When it comes to tracking your workouts, both devices offer a lot of options and features. However, based on my recent testing, the Xiaomi S1 Active is really a device that only tracks your workouts at a basic level. I will explain the reasons why, but here is my final result after testing.

CriteriaS1 ActiveGalaxy Watch 4
SpecialitySmart AppsSmart Apps
Basic Level5/55/5
Intermediate Level1/53/5
Advanced Level0/51/5
Final Score6/159/15

The Galaxy Watch 4 Gains The Advantage at Intermediate Level

When it comes to tracking your workouts at intermediate level, the Galaxy Watch 4 is a clear winner and there are two unique features that the S1 Active does not have.

Ability to Determine Your Fitness level: The Galaxy Watch 4 can do this in two ways, which is via heart rate recovery and the 10 minute walking test to determine your V02max. When it comes to tracking your heart rate recovery, the Galaxy Watch can only doe this if you have completed a aerobic exercise and not an anaerobic activity. I have written a full article on both these features so if you would like to know more about these features and how to use it click on the following links. These features apply to the Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 PRO.

AI Coach to guide you : The AI coach are starting to become more popular now in the latest devices that’s come out. The Galaxy Watch has always had one but not quite at the same level as a Polar running program or a Huawei running program. The AI coach that the Galaxy Watch has is help you focus on staying active and not so much about improving your capacity to run. Both end goals are completely different, but from the Galaxy Watch perspective it’s a handy companion if you are doing a HIIT session. Very useful feature, I have only personally used it a few times but dont want to burn to much battery life.

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The Galaxy Watch Gains the Advantage at Advanced Level

This is completely new to me but the Galaxy Watch 4 has one advanced workout feature that the S1 Active does not have, which is the ability to connect to Bluetooth sensors. Bluetooth sensors is important to anyone who wants to improve there performance. Since the Galaxy Watch has a very strong third party app ability, you can use apps like Strava or Zwift to connect to the sensor. There is a catch when it comes to using the sensors because the Galaxy Watch is only compatible to certain brands and types of sensors. I will be doing a future article on this feature and will provide more information about this.

GPS Tracking : Winner Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 4, 5, 5PRO: GPS accuracy is at the same level across these devices. Syncs very well when using Komoot.

When it comes to GPS tracking both devices performed extremely well and there level of accuracy is very close to each other. Only a single point separates the two devices. Here is my final results for the GPS tracking.

CriteriaS1 ActiveGalaxy Watch 4
No of Tracking Sensors55
Basic Test5/55/5
Intermediate Test1/52/5
Hard Test4/54/5
Final Score10/1511/15

Where the Galaxy Watch gains the advantage is in the hard test I completed through the township. A lot of devices that I test has consistently get very low scores through this test, but the Galaxy Watch did very well. The S1 Active had 1 very big misalignment during the hard test which is why the device gained a 1 out of 5 rating. I have completed a full article on this so you can click on the article link to find more information about this. I do need to update my test results for the Galaxy Watch device as well

Battery Life : Winner Xiaomi S1 Active

Xiaomi S1 Active : App gallery is very clear especially with a large screen

When it comes to the battery life of the Xiaomi S1 Active, this particular product is the clear winner in this category. I am not a heavy user of smart features, but based on my typical usage, I am able to enjoy up to six days of battery life without GPS tracking or five days of battery life with GPS tracking. Here is a summary of my testing results.

CriteriaS1 ActiveGalaxy Watch 4
Battery Economy Without GPS Tracking2/51/5
GPS Battery Consumption Rate Per Hour5/54/5
Final Score7/105/5

The final score may seem like that both devices are very close to each other, but the two point gap that the S1 Active has over the Galaxy Watch is quite a large gap between these devices.

Battery Economy : Based on my typical usage I would consume 14% of battery with the S1 Active, whereas the Galaxy Watch it’s around 25% per day, which is a big improvement from 29% per day originally. In the end the the S1 Active is 51% more efficient than the Galaxy Watch 4 and the Galaxy Watch 5.

GPS Battery Consumption Rate : Anyone that uses GPS tracking, knows it’s a massive battery life burner. Over the years the GPS battery consumption has improved and will allows users get more days out of a single charge. Based on one hour of usage the S1 Active uses 5% per hour, which is right up there with the best devices in the market. Whereas the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 5 it’s 9% per hour, which makes the S1 Active 44% more efficient when it comes to GPS battery consumption.

If you would like to know more about both devices battery life consumption I have written a full article about this. You will see how I provide a rating for each device when I am testing. This maybe useful if battery life is essential to you before buying the device.

Final Conclusion

Music control on the S1 Active is as good as the Galaxy Watch device

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have learnt a lot about the comparison between both devices. I didn’t expect the article to be this long, but it does explain the clear gap the Galaxy Watch has over the S1 Active.

Even to this day the Galaxy Watch 4 is still a formidable device, it’s gained all of the latest updates that the Galaxy Watch 5 has, which improves the users experience . Better yet you can still gain support for your device at least until 2025.

Here in New Zealand, both devices are very close in pricing which makes the Galaxy Watch 4 very appealing. The only downside is the battery life which the S1 Active has the upper hand in this category.

Once again thank you so much for reading and if you do decide to purchase either of these devices, I hope that this article helped you feel more confident before you decide to buy. Last thing I want is for you to buy something and it didn’t quite meet your expectations. Hopefully I have cleared that up for you.