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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Samsung One UI Watch 4.5 Update Adding ‘Full Typing Experience’

A photo of the Galaxy Watch 4

The Galaxy Watch 4 will get some much-needed accessibility features sometime this summer.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Just as rumors have ramped up about the next batch of Samsung wearables, the company announces an update en route to the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic. One UI Watch 4.5 will be available soon as an over-the-air software update for the only Android smartwatches worth buying. The new features bring more usability for folks with accessibility needs, though it also adds a more effortless typing experience on the watch’s tiny circular screen. New watch face customization options also allow you to switch between watch faces depending on your mood.

A photo of Samsung's new accessibility features

Samsung will offer new visibility enhancement features for accessible users in the smartwatch’s settings panel.
Image: Samsung

If you have difficulty distinguishing between hues, Samsung’s One UI Watch 4.5 update will add the ability to adjust the display colors and increase contrast so that graphics and fonts are easier to see. The watch’s settings panel will have an option to reduce transparency and blur effects on images displayed and disable animations from appearing on screen.

If you use a Bluetooth headset with the smartwatch, the update will also enable you to adjust the sound balance without digging into the Android settings panel on your smartphone.

For folks who require added support for touch inputs, One UI Watch 4.5 will allow you to extend the duration for screen tap interaction with a setting called Tap duration. You can toggle that on to help disable repeated touch inputs, and there’s even a testing ability available to adjust it as you need. Additionally, Samsung will allow you to adjust how long oft-accessed functions, like volume and notifications, are on screen before disappearing.

A screenshot of Samsung's touch input options

A peek at Samsung’s Touch input options.
Image: Samsung

A smartwatch with “a full typing experience”

In addition to its accessibility features, Samsung has improved the input methodology on its smartwatch by adding what it calls “a full typing experience.” From the screenshots that Samsung provided Gizmodo, it appears you’ll be able to switch between input methods as you’re typing something out. On the current version of Samsung’s Watch software, you can only choose one input method for responding to a message. But after the One UI Watch 4.5 update, you’ll be able to swipe between the virtual keyboard, finger handwriting, and dictation concurrently.

photo of a QWERTY keyboard on Galaxy watch

Screenshot: Samsung

Watch faces are also getting some aid with the software update. Now you can create a favorites list of sorts so you can swap between them based on your needs. It could prove helpful for folks like myself, who tend to swap out the background and the complications I need between the work days and the weekend. (Now, if only I could set a schedule to have the smartwatch automatically switch watch faces on its own.) You can save watch faces for quick access, so you don’t have to navigate through the Galaxy Wear app on your Android device to get things set up the way you like.

Lastly, if you’re juggling two phone numbers, One UI Watch 4.5 will allow you to manage them through the watch. The software is getting support for dual SIM configurations. The watch will prompt you to switch between numbers when making calls or sending a text message, so you don’t have to bother whipping out your phone.

Samsung says the Galaxy One UI Watch 4.5 will be available for the Galaxy Watch 4, Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, and upcoming Galaxy Watches. It’ll arrive sometime in the third quarter of this year, which could mean any time this summer.

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