Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Review – Price and Specs

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Estimated read time: 10 minutes

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a sleek design. It features sleep-tracking, workout-tracking, decent battery life and a FDA-approved ECG sensor for diagnosing atrial fibrillation.

Samsung wins by miles in the smartwatch industry with this fashionable design. This makes the smartwatch wearable even while you are not working-out.

A more preferable option could be the samsung Galaxy Watch 3 that features the Galaxy watch Active 2 design, along with a rotating bezel.

If you have the Watch Active 2, though, be sure to update it. It supports the advanced running metrics, trip detection and on-demand VO2 Max readings found on the Galaxy Watch 3.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs Galaxy Watch 3

Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs Galaxy Watch 3

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is an all rounder kind of smartwatch used for multiple places. While the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is better fitted for fitness tracking.

Our Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 face-off answers several important questions about whether this year’s pricier lifestyle smartwatch or last year’s workout-focused one is better for you. Be sure to check it out before buying.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Price

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 comes in three colors and two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. Both are available as Bluetooth/Wi-Fi only models, or with LTE connectivity (through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon).

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 bluetooth version cost $249 and $269 for the 40mm and 44mm models respectively. While the 40mm and 44mm of the LTE models cost $399 and $419 respectively.

Bluetooth/Wi-Fi models come in Aqua Black, Cloud Silver, and Pink Gold. While the LTE models are available in black, gold, and silver.

An Under Armour special edition of the watch has MapMyRun integration at the forefront. It cost $279 for the 40mm and $299 for the 44 mm model, and is only available with Bluetooth and in black.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Design

Design

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 to most is the best looking smartwatch in the market. It is stylish and elegant with a leather band and comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes just like the Apple Watch Series 5. However, the Samsung round display has a more traditional look as opposed by the Apple’s square shaped smartwatch.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a lovely fit and finish. The band is comfortable enough to wear to bed and doesn’t irritate the skin or slide around while running.

When it comes to watch face design, the Watch Active 2 now offers more customized options. All you have to do is take a photo with the Galaxy Watch app and then choose from patterned watch faces in complementary colors. However, Samsung appears to be taking a page from Fossil-owned Kate Spade’s smartwatches, which offer similarly fun features for making your watch face more personal.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Display

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 sports an always-on display feature. This feature can be turned off, allowing the screen to display only when you raise your wrist if you choose to extend battery life.

The biggest change in the new watch’s display is the addition of the digital rotating bezel. Older Samsung smartwatches let you navigate around the watch by physically turning the bezels, but Samsung ditched that feature in the Galaxy Watch Active. The second-gen model brings a digital approximation of that navigational tool. You can use your fingertip to slide around the edge of the display, allowing you to page through the widgets to the right of the watch face or scroll down a page. This is slightly faster than simply swiping or scrolling, but it can also be too sensitive and overshoot how far you were trying to go.

Overall, the digital rotating bezel is neither a selling point nor a detraction. You can use it if you want, or forget it exists.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 ECG app

ECG app

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 features an ECG (electrocardiogram) sensor that helps to track the heart activities.

Though it didn’t work on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 for over a year, the ECG monitor now works for users. Be sure to update your watch’s software to start taking ECG readings.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Fitness features

Fitness features

Run-coaching was added to the Galaxy Watch Active 2 by Samsung. The feature lets you choose from seven programs for improving endurance or boosting speed. The instructions are vocal, via the watch’s speaker or through a pair of Bluetooth headphones. And there will also be a vibration when you need to speed up or slow down.

The 40-minute workout included a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 alerts you to decreace your speed at start-up if you start too fast and vice versa.

I wish Samsung’s automatic workout-tracking was as fully-featured as Apple’s, but it’s useful when you forgot to log a 15-minute outdoor walk or hop on the bike without launching a workout first. For an outdoor run, the watch will automatically start tracking after 10 minutes, but all you can see are time elapsed, mileage, calories burned and total step count. There’s also no option to stop or pause the workout; you just have to wait for it to end.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 Sleep tracking

Like the original Galaxy Watch Active, the Active 2 tracks your sleep, which won’t completely kill your battery. (More on that in a minute.) I wore the watch to bed for almost a week, and I found the breakdown of light, REM and deep sleep to be as interesting as it is in Fitbit’s sleep-tracking dashboard.

Unfortunately, the watch’s native sleep-tracking wasn’t as accurate as I had hoped. One night, the watch told me I fell asleep after 3 a.m., when I definitely went to bed closer to midnight. I have a knack for falling asleep instantly and staying there, so I’m not sure why the watch pegged my bedtime so late. On another evening, I put the watch in Goodnight mode to turn off the always-on display and then hit the sack. The next morning, the sleep widget on the watch itself reported my sleep accurately, but the data wouldn’t sync to the Samsung Health app.

With some fine-tuning, the Galaxy Watch Active 2’s sleep-tracking could be more useful. For now, it lags behind the Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Charge 3, but ahead of Apple Watch (which lacks sleep-tracking) and watches based on Google’s Wear OS, which can pull data from third-party sleep-tracking apps but can’t track your sleep on their own.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Apps

Apps

Samsung’s Tizen OS app store doesn’t offer as many options as the Apple Watch, though Samsung is working to make apps more useful. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 brings Twitter support for tweeting, liking and retweeting directly on your wrist. You can also watch YouTube clips. Unfortunately, neither of these are ideal use cases for a smartwatch. Watching YouTube on a small watch screen is pointless, and I’m not the kind of person who feels compelled to compose tweets on her wrist (or scroll through Twitter on a smartwatch at all). There are some apps that are perfect for smartwatches — maps, messaging, fitness — and Samsung leaned into two that aren’t.

But Tizen OS does have some big names that are useful, including Spotify, which supports offline music storage for Premium subscribers (this is exclusive to Samsung; Wear OS and Apple Watch lack offline Spotify). Strava and Under Armour’s suite of health and fitness apps (MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Endomondo) are also included.

Battery life

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 can last about two-and-a-half days on a charge, in my testing of the Bluetooth model. That drops to about 48 hours with workouts, and 24 hours when you keep the always-on display turned on. That’s slightly longer than the Apple Watch Series 5, which lasts about 18 hours with its always-on display. (Samsung says the LTE version lasts about 24 to 36 hours on a charge, depending on which size watch you buy, but I didn’t get a chance to test an LTE model.)

I track my runs with high-precision location accuracy turned on, too, which has a huge impact on battery life. A 40-minute run drained the battery from 40% to 15%.

However, these are all factors you can control if battery life is the most important feature to you. The always-on display and some of the workout features are obvious battery drains, but they don’t have to be.

I wish the watch would charge more quickly, though. A 30-minute charge only juiced up the watch to 39%, and close to an hour and a half to fully charge it back up. That’s fine if you charge it overnight, but not ideal if you need to quickly charge in the morning before a workout.

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Specification

GENERAL INFORMATION
Model nameGalaxy Watch Active 2 (40mm)
Model typeWearable
ColorsSliver (Sliver)
Black (Black)
Gold (Gold)
Silver (Silver)
Black (Black)
Pink (Pink)
Announced2019, August
Released2019, September
PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS
DimensionsWatch: 40 x 40 x 10.9 mm
Weights26g
37g
IP rating5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
OPERATING SYSTEM
Operating systemTizen Based Wearable OS 4.0
NETWORKS
Networks4G
eSIM supportYes
DISPLAY
KindMain Display
TechnologyCircular Super AMOLED
Size1.2 inch / 30.48 mm
Resolution/ 360×360 pixels
Pixel density364 PPI
Screen to body ratio%
PROCESSORS
Related model number(s)SM-R825F
ChipsetExynos 9110
Clock SpeedDual-Core @ 1.15 GHz
CoresDual-Core
GPUMali-T720
MEMORY
RAM/ROM sizes768 MB RAM with 4 GB ROM

1.5 GB RAM with 4 GB ROM
SENSORS
AccelerometerYes
Gyro sensorYes
BarometerYes
HRMYes
Ambient LightYes
CONNECTIVITY
Location technologyBeiDou
GPS
Glonass
NFCYes
Bluetooth Version5.0
BATTERY
Standard battery capacity247mAh
Removable batteryNo
Wireless fast chargingYes

Should I Buy It

Buy it if you:

  • Love Samsung products.
  • Are in need of a decent android smartwatch.
  • Want a smartwatch with decent display and apps.
  • Desire a smartwatch with fashionable design.
  • Love smartwatches with simple navigation.
  • Require a decent smartwatch to aid in your workouts.
  • Can afford an expensive smartwatch.
  • Want a smartwatch that fits perfectly and feel comfortable around the wrist.

The Final Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 blows Wear OS watches away, and proves the company is serious about catching up with Apple. With lengthier battery life, functional FDA-cleared health features, more big-name apps, and Fitbit-level sleep-tracking, the Galaxy Watch lineup could actually make Apple take notice.

For now, Samsung still lags behind, but at least the company is trying. If you’re looking for an Android smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the one worth buying.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 Video Review


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