IME...the backup should be faster than the clone, if I remember correctly. I don't backup data files...I merely make duplicate copies and store them on other drives which are seldom used. Windows and programs installed are the substance of my efforts.
Even 20 years...I've never seen a backup take 4 hours. As SD noted...the partition/size and the contents may have something to do with your situation.
Windows 10 pro, Intel Core i5-6500 CPU @ 3.20GHz, 16 GB ram, 1 tb SSD
Sounds like we have a similar approach to Macrium.
There are numerous factors that might affect the backup time. Mine generally take about 10 minutes. Image backup file size varies between 11-14 GB.
I try to make it as simple as possible. I use Macrium free, thus no incremental backup option.
My OS partition size is 40 GB. The rest of the drive is partitioned for for data storage, including portable software that is run from there. I try to use portable whenever possible. Using portables in this way makes the image backups smaller, and the restore process simpler as well because there is less to update when getting the restored partition back up to speed, not to mention restoring a smaller backup file is faster as well, again, generally around 10 minutes.
I'm sure having a SSD helps in this regard.
I have several internal hard drives, incrementally syncing the data to them with backup software, creating redundant backups.
You can easlly use Disk Management to shrink the OS volume to any size you deem appropriate. The used space on my 40 GB OS partition is 22.4 GB.