Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Review

Verdict

Worthy successor to the Samsung Gear Sport, featuring an attractive design and exciting new features for the price.

Advantages

  • Good tracking of data-rich exercises
  • Looks small and expensive
  • Good width of the smart watch feature (if not deep)
  • Very bright screen

The inconvenients

  • Few useful applications
  • Battery life is only passable
  • Missing on Samsung’s control panel

Key specifications

  • Price of the opinion: $189
  • Exynos 9110 chipset at 1.15 GHz
  • 768 MB of RAM
  • 4GB of storage
  • 40 mm aluminum housing
  • 20mm quick-release silicone straps
  • Swimming test up to 5ATM
  • IP68 certified
  • MIL-STD-810G tested
  • GPS, Glonass, Beidou and Galileo
  • Monitoring heart rate and blood pressure
  • Circular AMOLED display 1.1 inches 360×360
  • Tizen OS 4.0 with a user interface

What is the Samsung Galaxy Active Watch?

When a company publishes an “active” watch or phone, you tend to expect something sturdy or big. Samsung has transformed this concept with its Galaxy Watch Active.

It has exercise tracking features like GPS and a heart rate sensor, but it’s much smaller and smoother than the standard Galaxy Watch.

The look is better, no contest. If you want a round version of a Apple Watch 4, the Galaxy Watch Active is getting closer. However, two of the main attractions of Samsung’s Galaxy watches are also lacking: the battery lasts no longer and the rotary control dial is missing.

These are big losses, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is still a successful and friendly laptop.

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Samsung Galaxy Active Watch – Design

Most of Samsung’s portable clothes look like watches are pretty masculine. They have big faces, big glasses, and they mimic the style of traditional watches.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is different. Its design is inspired by the Apple Watch, not an old Omega.

There are no numbers on its sides, just a border of about 7 mm beyond the screen, and then a burst of metal. Most manufacturers other than Apple tend to favor steel to make the shell of a smart watch of this type, but the Galaxy Watch Active is aluminum.

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Steel is harder, less likely to scratch, but aluminum is also lighter. I would bet that Samsung mainly uses aluminum to reduce costs rather than weight. But for the moment at least, my Galaxy Watch Active is still beautiful. There are no visible scratches after a few weeks of use.

The strap is more mixed. You can easily remove the bracelet from the Watch Active because it is held in place with standard 20mm bar mounts. The default bracelet is silicone soft to the touch. It’s not the most extensible, but it looks great.

I am not at all convinced by the style of strap clasp that Samsung seems to want to use in all its new portable devices.

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In a way, it looks a lot like a normal watch bracelet, but you have to tuck the end piece down under the other half. This may seem clear, but it is more tedious and less comfortable than a conventional style.

If I was going to wear the Galaxy Watch Active for next year, I would consider replacing it.

The design, in general, has its advantages. Since it is much smaller than something like Garmin Fenix ​​5 PlusActive does not move as much when you run. It feels more comfortable on your wrist.

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As different as the overall appearance is, the control style is arguably the biggest difference between the Active and the Samsung Galaxy Watch standard. The original is equipped with a clicky rotating bezel used to navigate the interface. The Active does not do it – just a touch screen and a few buttons.

Here is the problem; the software still seems to have been designed for the control of the telescope. Application icons form a ring around the edge of the screen and animations always rotate clockwise or counterclockwise, even if you swipe left or right instead of moving.

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The shape of the screen has little to do with the operation of the interface and it’s a shame. But where would the rotating bezel go? It should be tiny, and you do not tend to find such spectacular engineering in watches as affordable.

I find the operation of the watch a little tricky. The Galaxy Watch Active screen is also a little smaller than the standard Galaxy Watch, at 1.1 inches (versus 1.2 or 1.3 inches depending on the model), but the resolution is the same as 360 x 360 pixels . It’s a lot for such a small circle, so the display looks sharp, unless you look exceptionally close.

The brightness is also brilliant and more important. You can adjust the brightness manually, but there is also a mode that automatically reduces it when the brightness is low. At most, the active watch is extremely clear even in direct sunlight. At this price, only a transflective screen similar to a Garmin Vivoctive 3 it will look brighter during the day.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Fitness Tracking

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active has excellent fitness tracking equipment. The integrated full GPS lets you run without your phone and no data lost, as well as a heart rate sensor on the back of the watch. It even has a barometric altimeter, which determines the number of stairs that you climb each day when you follow your path passively.

This watch is lost if you just treat it as a basic tracker. The active watch shows its interest when you manually start a tracked exercise.

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As standard, you have to slide three times from right to left of the home screen to reach the screen that allows you to start, for example, an analysis. However, you can move these widget screens into the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone.

While you are running, Watch Active displays the usual statistics of the GPS runner’s watch, such as pace, heart rate, distance and calories. Just slide the touch screen to browse these pages of statistics. The rotating bezel did not fail me here, as these glumes look pretty natural.

The watch will automatically pause if you stop to rest as well, and turn on again if you move again.

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All data from your exercise is found in the Samsung Health app, and tracking of the location and heart rate is relatively accurate. The heart rate readings are similar to those of the much more expensive Garmin Fenix ​​5 Plus. Maps followed by GPS were accurate, with no “black dots” in the reading.

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The map with which you end up has a big blue line that represents the track followed, which makes it possible to hide the slight alterations or the slightly displaced readings. But I am more than satisfied with what the Galaxy Watch Active is offering at the price.

What can he do outside the race? The list of proposed activities is huge, but most outdoor activities can rely on the same measures as the race: distance, speed and heart rate. Swimming is a little different because it uses sensors to determine the number of lengths and the total distance.

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The Samsung Galaxy Active Watch is water resistant up to 5 ATM, so you can wear it at the pool or in the shower.

I would classify this as an excellent tracker for regular exercise. But if you are serious enough, a Garmin is probably a better choice. This is not because of the accuracy of the data, but of their treatment by Garmin. The Garmin Connect app allows you to dig deeper into the data more easily. The high-end Garmin Forerunners series offers useful statistics such as mid-year performance scores and heart rate recovery figures.

You are also primarily linked to Samsung Health with a Galaxy Watch Active. The application only allows you to log in automatically with Strava.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Applications and Features

There is another impressive extra at the Active. It allows you to store music on the watch itself and connect directly to a Bluetooth headset for playback.

You only have 1.5 GB of space on the initial 4 GB, but it’s better than nothing. GPS and music (or podcasts, if that’s your preference), reading means really a watch that allows you to run without a phone.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active is also a smartwatch, but not with so many apps. You can install additional apps from the Galaxy Wearable app on your phone (or directly on your watch). There is much more than what you will find for a Fitbit Versa, but the question is whether many, if any, software will probably be as useful.

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There are controller applications for Philips Hue lamps, your Nest Thermostat and some card applications. But I’m not sure that I use anything in the long run. There is nothing that is useful here.

All the best items are already installed, including neat extras like Spotify and the Weather app.

Samsung is showing some commitment to making sure that the Galaxy Watch series looks like a smartwatch platform rather than a tracker with added fluff. The Active has a microphone and the Bixby Digital Assistant. It may be the worst digital assistant in the world, but you can still use it for useful things on a watch. You can ask Bixby the weather, set an alarm or send an SMS to someone.

It must be connected to your phone to work, but voice recognition is strong enough to make the experience enjoyable. A quick double press on the Bixby active lower side button.

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch also has Samsung Pay, which you wake up by long pressing the top button. You link your card to Pay and can then use the watch to pay for items, as you would with a contactless card. However, fewer UK banks support it than Google Pay or Apple Pay. At the time of writing, Nationwide, Coop and HSBC are in attendance, but Barclays, Halifax and Lloyds are not.

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Check the Samsung Pay website for the latest supported banks.

Of course, the watch can receive notifications. These allow you to retweet tweets directly from the dial, view entire strings of WhatsApp messages, and reply to them with predefined messages or emojis. This is a pretty strong notification management system, which is a big step forward compared to simpler trackers like the Fitbit Inspire HR.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active does everything I want from a smartwatch, although that may not be true for everyone.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active – Battery Life

Ready for bad news? The Active only has one 230mAh battery, smaller than the 270mAh of the 42mm Galaxy Watch, and in another league than the 472mAh of the 46mm version.

About five days of real battery life was one of my favorite pieces of the 46mm Galaxy Watch. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active lasts about two days before needing to be recharged.

Judging by my experience using it as a runner, it should last long enough for a four-hour marathon.

The battery life is good, but we are too close to the territory of the standard smartwatch for my taste. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active also takes a long time to recharge, more than two hours.

It uses a small charger that rests on its underside, without a real handle beyond a magnet. I did not like this style in the past because too often, the watch tends to slip. However, here the magnet seems powerful enough to hold it in place, even if it is not on a flat surface.

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Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active lacks two of the best pieces of the original watch. It does not have a rotating bezel and the life of its battery is only passable.

But it’s not an instant failure. It’s probably the most beautiful Samsung watch to date, but it has retained the same essential features as the larger models, while costing up to $ 100 less.

While it requires more maintenance and a little more maneuvering than the standard Galaxy Watch, but it is a formidable rival compared to the Android Wear watches and the bands of the Fitbit Versa series.

Verdict

It may be lacking two of the best features of the Galaxy Watch, but the Active remains a charming hybrid for fitness and smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Review
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The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active has excellent fitness tracking equipment. The integrated full GPS lets you run without your phone and without losing data, as well as a heart rate sensor on the back of the watch. It even has a barometric altimeter, which determines the number of stairs you climb each day as you passively follow your path.

Editor's Rating:
4
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