The Active 2 has an Exynos dual-core chipset, the same as its predecessor - and the original Galaxy Watch, for that matter - but at 1. Enough for plenty of songs and apps most of which take up barely a megabyte apiece , but not leaving much room for bigger, bolder software.
There are other new integrations Samsung is championing - like taking a photo on a phone with the Samsung Wearables app and creating an algorithmically-chosen color-and-pattern watch face design. The exercise modes generally work fine for the cardio-related routines, but struggle with those defined by motion.
The smartwatch also connected effortlessly with Bluetooth headphones, which made it easier to hear the Active 2's occasional vocal updates on our workout progress. Listening to music was more of a chore, especially when connected to an iPhone, for which adding music is a multi-step process. Syncing up a Spotify account is easy enough, though the frequent alerts and notifications momentarily muted audio, with multiple disruptions per song.
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is IPrated for water and dust resistance, and can survive being submerged up to 5 meters in liquid and getting a little grimy. The watch also has an ECG electrocardiogram , which can be used to detect the electrical activity and rhythm of your heart.
It's a feature we've already seen on the Apple Watch 4 and upwards, and can be used to detect the likes of atrial fibrillation. However, while the hardware is present here, the feature isn't available at launch, as Samsung needs approval for its use in each country.
As such we haven't been able to test this. With typical use, our Active 2 lasted through two full days. That battery life diminishes with lots of activity: playing music or running the GPS through those workouts, say can drain capacity at a more rapid pace.
The actual capacity of the 40mm model is mAh, slightly larger than the mAh of its predecessor. This is especially true for lovers of the original Galaxy Watch who were wary of a dial-less watch. Likewise, any serious fans of Wear OS might be unimpressed by the smaller app library.
Read our full Apple Watch 3 review. Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review. David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture — and where they overlap and change our lives.
His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts. In the fall of , Samsung updated both its Galaxy Watch 3 and the Watch Active 2 with some new features and performance improvements. The rather large update brought ECG monitoring, fall detection, deeper running analysis, Vo2 Max measurement, as well as improving connectivity.
The Watch Active 2 also saw some improvements to battery life and overall performance with the update. In January , Samsung also made the Galaxy Watch Active 2 the first device to the new SmartThings Find feature for tracking down the watch should you lose it. In November fall detection was improved, along with even more watch faces. In addition to those updates, Samsung brought changes to the Group Challenge feature by allowing users to add friends and family members to be added to a challenge to work as a team or to go against one another.
With all of its capabilities, the Galaxy Watch Active has battery life fitting a smartwatch rather than a fitness band. Keeping automatic workout tracking, GPS, frequent heart rate monitoring and always-on display turned on aka, everything the Watch Active 2 was good for two days of battery life.
That's really good for everything you're getting, and frankly, the Watch Active 2 is a bit too big to comfortably wear to bed anyway so I'm guessing most people will simply charge it at night. If you're going to take advantage of sleep tracking, you'll have no issue keeping the watch charged using quick minute top-ups while you're going through your morning routine. You can turn off the always-on display and get at least another half-day of battery life, and tweak a few other settings to push past the three-day mark if you need to.
The review has been updated to reflect the latest performance after these updates. GPS tracking isn't as consistent as a phone, which hardcore runners and bikers will find endlessly bothersome. Running outdoors, it was well within the usual margin of error in terms of distance and pace. It was also consistent from run to run, although I found Strava's auto-pause and auto-resume which are off by default to be really bad and not worth turning on after regularly having large chunks of distance missed after taking a break as short as 10 seconds waiting to cross a street.
I noticed in particular that running in the city, with tall buildings and periods without a direct view of the sky, the Watch Active 2 wasn't able to hold a signal as well as my phone which on its own already struggles in these situations.
You can understand this just considering the size of the watch, but it points out that the Watch Active 2 still isn't going to be a go-to replacement for dedicated and more expensive running or cycling watches. If you stay in only Samsung's apps, things are great — but third-party fitness apps are questionable. There's also an interesting lack of understanding from the operating system that another app is tracking a workout because despite Strava being full-screen, actively tracking a run and using GPS, the built-in Samsung Health workout detection often but not always still triggers and produces duplicate notifications and workout tracking.
That automatic Samsung Health tracking is really useful, but it needs to be able to recognize when to take a back seat to another app doing tracking. And this leads us into a general discussion about Samsung's software and app ecosystem. The Strava app does work and sync with Strava, but it's incredibly basic and lacks the fluidity and smoothness of the Samsung Health services. And as noted, it can have its own hiccups. It's not surprising that Strava, like just about every other app on the Galaxy Store, is 2.
MapMyRun and Endomondo apps are also available, which is good to see, though their user ratings are equally rough. It's also wonderful that the Watch Active 2 has Bluetooth to connect headphones and a Spotify integration that lets you load playlists onto the watch for full phone-free activities — a big deal for many. Thankfully you can manually load music files if you're truly committed, but I really like the convenience of having my YouTube Music playlists on all of my devices and that's just straight-up not possible on the Watch Active 2.
I'm sure Spotify is great, but I'm not giving up my preferred music app everywhere else just so I can listen to my music via my watch a few hours a week. Having poor or no apps for Samsung wearables is, ultimately, the fault of the companies and not Samsung. But it just speaks to the issues Samsung faces in trying to grow its wearable ecosystem when it makes some of the most popular non-Apple smartwatches and it can't get big names to make solid apps — or in many cases make an app at all — for its platform.
And if you can't get an app you need, or the app you need doesn't work well, it can dramatically affect your Samsung wearable experience. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 sits in a unique space due to its ability to be a full-fledged smartwatch without really looking like one, and at the same time, have more health features than many fitness trackers.
If you prefer a smartwatch that looks more like a traditional watch and want to retain many of the features of the Watch Active 2, then consider picking up the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. As a more traditional-looking watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 offers a physical rotating bezel as an option for navigating the watch interface over the capacitive option on the Watch Active 2. You will still have the ECG monitoring, GPS, and other fitness features too, but the overall size may be less comfortable when working out.
However, if you are looking for a device that is more fitness-focused rather than a smartwatch, then you may prefer the Garmin Vivosmart 4 — not to mention it's also going to cost you less money. Since this is a fitness-first device, it has the more traditional fitness band design but packing in a lot of great health features. You'll have heart rate monitoring, sleep, and blood oxygen tracking, but you won't have GPS or the advanced features of the Watch Active 2 like ECG monitoring.
If you're looking for a full-featured smartwatch, and fitness tracking abilities are also high on your list of needs, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 needs to be in your consideration. The Watch Active is incredibly useful for daily activity tracking, workout tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking — and my quibbles over its less-than-stellar GPS performance is really only an issue for fastidious runners and bikers.
Beyond fitness, you get a full suite of smartwatch capabilities — just configure it to do as much, or as little, as you want. The only disappointing part of the software experience is just how bad third-party apps and services are. The Watch Active 2 does a fantastic job of combining smartwatch and fitness tracker, in both hardware and capabilities. The Watch Active 2's hardware is excellent, and its relatively neutral look can easily be adapted to your style with the band s of your choice.
The capacitive bezel nearly replicates the functionality of Samsung's physical rotating bezels, and it integrates perfectly into the software. And as we all expect, the 1. Battery life also bests pretty much every Wear OS watch out there, with two full days even using every feature, and three days if you take battery precautions. While the other options may have smaller screens and fewer capabilities, with some missing GPS, they have the upside of being small and inexpensive. But the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a full-featured smartwatch that also happens to be a really good fitness tracker while doing a great job of not having that "fitness" look.
It's easily worth the money. Not to mention some health features that you won't find on most other smartwatches. This article was originally published in November It was updated in December with the following changes. Android Central Android Central. Home Wearables. For Strong, sleek and beautiful hardware Incredible display Super-useful capacitive bezel Great core software experience Good daily auto activity tracking day battery life.
Image 1 of 5. Image 2 of 5. Image 3 of 5. Image 4 of 5. Image 5 of 5. Image 1 of 4. Image 2 of 4. Image 3 of 4. Image 4 of 4. Chris Wedel. See all comments Is the silver actually silver? Some of the pictures on Samsung's site make it look almost blue. Debating between the silver and the aqua black color. I also have the same question. Is it actually silver like the first watch active? If not, I guess i'll wait for the active 2 LTE.
When will the LTE model be available? It is definitely silver. All of the photos in the review here are of the silver one. Yeah its hard to tell though. It seems very reflective so it 'absorbs' some of the colors. Between the silver an aqua black, which do you think you would choose? I personally enjoy the silver. Thank you for the response! I've seen a few reviews that had issues with GPS, though I also read that there was an update released today that contains multiple GPS fixes.
Will you be providing an update with whether that fixes the issues you've experienced? Indeed the update came today. I actually prefer the Galaxy watch Looks great and works also great.. Has speaker for calls and wireless charging And now available for discounted price I have always used wear os..
But very frustrating Lot of lags and bad battery life But the galaxy watch works superb with my Note 10 plus Instant notifications Can answer calls on my watch.. Speaker is clear and loud Battery life is 3 days
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Meet the next generation Galaxy Watch Active. All fitness watches track data. Watch Active stands apart – it's a fitness watch that actively gives. The lightweight, yet durable Galaxy Watch Active understands the way you work out. With auto workout tracking, you'll have the power to reach new goals. Plus a. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active watch. Announced Feb Features ″ display, Exynos chipset, mAh battery, 4 GB storage, MB RAM, MIL-STDG.