Galaxy Watch vs Active 2 – Which One Is Best?

galaxy watch vs active 2

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (literally translated as ‘tristar electronics’), founded January 13, 1969, is a South Korean multinational electronics company with its headquarters located in the Yeongtong District of Suwon.

The world’s largest and leading manufacturer of consumer electronics according to revenue. Samsung Electronics is also the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones and smartphones, which began with its original Samsung Solstice and later its Samsung Galaxy series.

On September 23, 2013, Samsung jumped on the smartwatch bandwagon introducing the Gear smartwatch that was Android compatible. Followed by the Gear 2, launched on February 22, 2014.

The next Galaxy upgrade in the series was Gear Live, released June 25, 2014, and its innovation was as the first wireless smartwatch. On November 7, 2014, the Gear S was launched, improving on some features of its predecessor, though it was not wireless and the Android operating system offered in Gear was replaced in this model with Tizen.

The following year on October 2, 2015, Gear S2 came on the scene. Also a wireless smartwatch in addition to Bluetooth and cellular connectivity. In 2016, you can choose from Gear S3’s three models depending on if you wanted cellular or Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection and memory capacity was increased from the previous model of 4GB/512 MB RAM to 4GB/768 MB RAM.

In 2017, the Samsung Gear Sport was launched and introduced incorporating GPS capability for sports enthusiasts like walkers, runners and bicyclists.

As we continue to see Samsung deliver upgraded smartwatch after upgraded smartwatch that is jam-packed with numerous features to meet the market trends for fitness/health tracking plus many other non-fitness related conveniences that people want to have access to sitting right on their wrists.

With busy lives, people do not want to be bogged down carrying multiple devices when they are on the go. Hands-free is the operating word when it comes to electronic devices nowadays. The expression “good things come in small packages” underlies all things that make smartwatches. The value offered from such a small item is actually inverted and makes it attractive for active people.

With upgrades, both inside and out, sometimes you have to give up one thing found in one smartwatch in order to get something even better found in another one. You want to know that you can rely on getting what you paid for, especially if you are putting down a significant amount of money.

It is important to know what features are truly important as they will be designated as the non-negotiable aspects you must have because they will uplift those areas of your life that are so important and immediate in your busy life.

Some features may seem fun to have on hand, and at the same time become inconvenient to manage or may even interfere with the flow of accessing other features that are your mainstay. So it is really important to become familiar with each model and check out how they really fare after they come out of the box.

To ease any difficulty you may be facing in making the right choice, in this review we have researched Samsung’s Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Active 2 smartwatches for your convenience, in order to ease your decision-making process to find the device that is best suited for your needs and lifestyle.

Breaking It Down

We are going to review and compare this manufacturer’s two current Galaxy smartwatch models. We will do this by identifying their features and specs; highlighting what we find helpful and not so helpful. Bring to your attention what these models offer or do not offer so you have a comprehensive understanding of both smartwatches.

Then we will see if these smartwatches truly stand up to the standards and expectations of the health/fitness enthusiast. We will conclude by choosing which one we believe is the better choice and why.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch was released on August 24, 2018, and this smartwatch comes in two sizes (42mm and 46mm) and three colors. Its strength is rated military standard, making it a rugged smartwatch that can endure rougher outdoor conditions.

The Galaxy Watch displays the traditional analog watch face that looks sophisticated with its circular silver and black appearance. This watch looks and feels like a high-end watch so you can wear it in the gym, at the office or going out on for dinner.

The rotating bezel provides you easy menu navigation as well as a mix of elegance and ease of appearance on your wrist.

Specifications for the 46 mm model:

  • Display: 1.3″ (33 mm) SAMOLED touch
  • Resolution: 360 x 360 pixels
  • Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
  • Size: 46 mm x 49 mm x 13 mm
  • Weight without strap: 63 g
  • Strap size: 22 mm
  • Battery: 472 mAh (up to 7 days on a single charge for typical use)
  • Colors: Silver

Specifications for the 42 mm model:

  • Display: 1.2″ (30 mm) SAMOLED touch
  • Resolution: 360 x 360 pixels
  • Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
  • Size: 41.9 mm x 45.7 mm x 12.7 mm
  • Weight without strap: 49 g
  • Strap size: 20 mm
  • Battery: 270 mAh (up to 4 days on a single charge for typical use)
  • Colors: Midnight Black, Rose Gold

Operating System

Tizen

Included in Box

  • Galaxy watch
  • The additional strap (Large and Small included)
  • Wireless charging dock,
  • Travel adaptor
  • Quick start guide
  • User manual
  • Warranty: 1-year standard parts and labor (US only)

Connectivity

  • 3G/LTE with eSIM (Galaxy Watch LTE-Version only)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • NFC
  • A-GPS, GLONASS

Sensors

  • MEMS Accelerometer
  • MEM Gyroscope
  • MEMS Barometer
  • Electro-optical sensor (for heart rate monitoring)
  • A photodetector (for ambient light)

Memory

LTE version: 1.5 GiB RAM + 4 GiB flash memory
Bluetooth version: 768 MiB RAM + 4 GiB flash memory

Compatibility

Android and iOS smartphones via Bluetooth connection

Bixby

Samsung has a proprietary voice service called Bixby that responds to prompt the app to activate features and provide information. To optimize its usefulness, the smartwatch must be connected to Wi-Fi.

Be certain the Galaxy Watch’s microphone is clear of any obstruction. Research to confirm this app is available in your region.

Water-resistant

5ATM + IP68. Do not expose the device to high-pressure water.

Exercise

Offers a choice of 39+ workouts. Track your activities throughout the day. Check on your step progress. Keeps track when you switch activities.

Tracking

Balance your mind and body with the sleep cycle tracking, heart rate, auto activity and movement reminders, calorie tracking, guided meditation, and breathing exercises for stress management.

Notifications

View your appointments before heading out for a workout. Check out texts and messages.

Smart Home Access

Controls your Home IoT devices (TV, robot vacuum cleaner, air conditioner, etc.) as you see fit. Manage all your connected home devices from your wrist even when you’re not home. Plus, you can get the details of a security camera alert from the SmartThings app on your Galaxy Watch.

Appearance

Choose from the many stylish watch faces that hardly look digital. Plus, there is an assortment of interchangeable bands to mix and match up with your fashion sense.

PROS

  • Set up is easy
  • Battery – the lifespan of the battery is advertised to be 4-7 days depending on the size of this smartwatch. The lifespan will vary according to the features that you regular access on this device. For example, frequency of notifications, updates, use of screen brightness, always-on in active mode, GPS, etc.
  • Durability – This smartwatch can take the bumps and bangs of daily life, working out and going out in rougher conditions. The display glass is pretty scratch resistant and you can always opt for a tempered glass protector.
  • Excellent fitness tracking – reliably and accurately tracks workouts, distance ran/walked/rode, calories burned, heart rate, etc.
  • Physical rotating bezel
  • Built-in GPS
  • Aesthetics – visually appealing to the eye. Looks classic and elegant which makes it adaptable to different fashion styles.
  • With Bluetooth connection, you can make calls and text.
  • Includes an altimeter and barometer, which are perfect features for hikers.
  • Samsung Health app pairs with the Galaxy Watch is a fitness and health app that optimizes the workout experience. It gathers all of the recorded metrics into one easy to read location. View your steps, average heart rate, and minutes active.
  • While asleep, this device will monitor your sleep patterns and highlight your light sleep, deep, and time awake.
  • Samsung Pay offers the additional hands-free convenience of leaving your wallet in the car or at home. While out on a run you can stop on the way to pick up a snack or drink and pay via Samsung Pay app.
  • Hands-free convenience all around

CONS

  • There is a dearth of third-party apps
  • Limited iOS support for iPhone users
  • Auto monitoring is not reliable while in motion
  • Inaccurate and unreliable heart rate and fitness trackers, delayed by at least 2 days
  • Delay in displaying readings
  • Voice to text is slower, words are missed
  • Bixby functions are very slow in responding
  • Available apps are much fewer in comparison to other operating systems
  • Missing major Android apps that are commonly used
  • Delay in notifications appearing on the device
  • Does not offer the option to type using hand-drawn characters
  • Battery life – a significant gap between the actual lifespan compared to the advertised lifespan. If worn at night to track sleep the battery will not last more than a day.
  • A bit heavy and bulky
  • Fewer exercise modes than other models

Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Active 2 Watch was released in September 2019. This smartwatch comes in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) and three colors. The Galaxy Watch Active2 is made from aluminum or stainless steel making it light enough to wear anywhere comfortably.

The 44mm may last longer than the 40mm model. Depending on usage will determine the average expected performance.

A minor upgrade to its predecessor, Samsung restored the rotating bezel and made it bigger. This is a refined version of the sporty smartwatch with its minimalist and modern appearance that makes it appealing to both men and women.

This smartwatch can take on the rigors of any run. It comes with additional features which also edges up the price. It is more suited for Android phone users, with some function limitations for iPhone users if they really want this device.

Specifications for the 44 mm model:

  • Screen Size: 1.4″ (34 mm)
  • Display: 360 x 360 pixels Super AMOLED
  • Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
  • Size: 44 mm x 44 mm x 10.9 mm
  • Weight without strap: 30 g
  • Strap size: 20 mm
  • Battery: 340 mAh
  • Colors: Silver, Black, Gold

Specifications for the 40 mm model:

  • Screen size: 1.2″ (30 mm)
  • Display: 360 x 360 pixels Super AMOLED
  • Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass DX+
  • Size: 40 mm x 40 mm x 10.9 mm
  • Weight without strap: 26 g
  • Strap size: 20 mm
  • Battery: 247 mAh
  • Colors: Silver, Black, Gold

Operating System


Tizen

Connectivity

  • 3G/LTE with eSIM (Galaxy Watch LTE-Version only)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • NFC
  • A-GPS, GLONASS

Sensors

  • MEMS Accelerometer
  • MEMS Gyroscope
  • MEMS Barometer
  • Electro-optical sensor (for heart rate monitoring)
  • Electrocardiogram ECG (for heart rate monitoring)
  • A photodetector (for ambient light)

Memory


1.5 GiB RAM + 4 GiB flash memory
Bluetooth version: 768 MiB RAM + 4 GiB flash memory

Tracking


Galaxy Watch Active 2 will track your heart rate and automatically alert you so that you will know if it has detected a high or low heart rate;

Quality Sleep


Tracks your sleep time as well as your activity with Galaxy Watch Active 2’s built-in sleep tracker. Gain clear insights to guide you to establish better sleeping patterns

Stress Management


Manage your stress levels more effectively by utilizing the integrated calm app.

Coaching


This device includes advanced sensors to smartly coach you to achieve your run goals and help you make the best choices to reach your fitness goals.

Music


Audio Playing Format includes the following:
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, AMR, AWB, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA.

Samsung Pay


Requires connection via LTE, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Compatible with select cards, carriers, Samsung devices, and non-Samsung Android phones and with NFC-type payment terminals.

The first five Samsung pay transactions made after the initial setup does not require reconnection to a network.

Samsung Pay is not offered on iOS smartphones.

Appearance


An assortment of watch faces, bands, and finishes to choose from that will go along with your fashion sense.

Battery


This device offers a battery that lasts up to 5 days on a single charge. If there are no outlets nearby, you can access a bit of charging on the go from your compatible Galaxy phone thanks to the wireless power share works by utilizing Qi-compatible Samsung devices.

Bluetooth


Galaxy Watch Active2 includes two connectivity forms: Bluetooth, and LTE. The LTE version can be a standalone phone without needing the phone to be nearby. LTE connectivity allows a user to call, text, pay, stream music, or stream video without needing the smartphone to be in the vicinity.

Bixby


LTE or Bluetooth connection to the phone will be required in order to access most Bixby voice functions. Initial set up is required for LTE version standalone use.

Qi Compatibility


This smartwatch is Qi-compatible. There is no guarantee that it will work effectively with non-Samsung Qi devices. The speed and power efficiency of the charge depends on the device and cases or covers may restrict the charge.

PROS

  • Digital rotating bezel
  • Built-in GPS
  • Improved sensors
  • Optional LTE
  • Great digital haptic dial control
  • 2-day battery life
  • Attractive minimalist design

CONS

  • The price goes up with LTE
  • ECG features not available
  • Faster battery drain with LTE, GPS, etc.
  • Considerably expensive with only a few added features

Winner – AND ITS A TIE!

Final Verdict

As we went through this vetting process with both smartwatches exploring their features and what lifestyles each watch supports we realize that in some ways we are comparing apples and oranges.

Galaxy watch – For those who are seeking a traditional smartwatch with a sophisticated design that’s suitable for all occasions, the Galaxy Watch is an ideal option. Offering an assortment of innovative features and reliable fitness tracking.

Active 2 – If you want a sleek and sporty smartwatch that’s packed with tech and offers reliable fitness tracking, the Active 2 is an excellent choice with its improved sensors and other desired new features.

Both watches are offering many of the same features highlighting the one distinction – a sense of style – we encourage you to figure out which of these watches have most of what you are seeking and what you can do without.

We hope that you have found this review article to be helpful in your research process in finding the best smartwatch that will support our lifestyle.

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