Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to get audio and visual accessibility features

Samsung announced today that its forthcoming One UI Watch 4.5 update will add new accessibility features to its Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic smartwatches. The settings will essentially allow users to adjust audio and visual settings, including color adjustments and rebalancing stereo audio.

For users who may have a hard time distinguishing colors, the update will allow them to tweak the display with various color filters. Samsung is also introducing settings so users can increase contrast to make fonts more readable, disable transparency and blur effects, and remove any animations.

One UI Watch 4.5 adds color filters to help people who have a hard time differentiating colors.
Image: Samsung

People who are hard of hearing will be able to adjust the balance between left and right audio outputs to a Bluetooth headset. However, Samsung says in the fine print that this feature will not work during phone calls. The company will also let you extend how long touchscreen taps last and disable repeated taps, and the update allows users to decide how long volume controls and notifications appear on the screen.

As for settings, Samsung is consolidating accessibility options into one menu so they’re easier to find. If there’s a feature you commonly use, you can also forgo the menu entirely and program a shortcut to the watch’s home button. Speaking of streamlining menus, Samsung will let you create a “favorites list” of your preferred watch faces for faster access.

Samsung’s Galaxy Watches are getting full QWERTY keyboards.
Image: Samsung

To make typing on an itty bitty smartwatch display easier, the Galaxy Watches will add new writing inputs to their QWERTY keyboards, like swipe to type, handwriting, and dictation. Samsung says the new keyboard will let users easily switch between those different input methods, depending on what’s most convenient for them moment-to-moment. For instance, if you’re dictating a text aloud, you can then switch to handwriting for extra privacy.

Lastly, the Galaxy Watch lineup will get dual-SIM support – provided it’s paired to a dual-SIM Galaxy phone. If so, you can set which is your preferred SIM card, and that’ll be automatically synced with the watch. That way, users can make and take calls from two separate numbers.

Dual-SIM support is also coming in the One UI Watch 4.5 update.
Image: Samsung

Samsung says One UI Watch 4.5 is slated for the third quarter of this year and will also be available on any future Galaxy Watch series. Or, cough cough, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. The company generally holds an Unpacked event in late summer, and that’s historically been when Samsung unveils any new smartwatches before they ship in the fall. That, combined with the several Galaxy Watch 5 leaks we’ve seen, would suggest that the wait for One UI Watch 4.5 won’t be too long.

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