• Saturday, August 24, 2019

INTRO

Together with the flagship phones, the Galaxy S10 series and the Galaxy Fold, Samsung released another smartwatch that not too many people focused on. That was the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, and today it’s here with us. Enjoy this review and don’t forget to like our video and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Galaxy Watch Active is the successor to the Samsung Gear Sport, which means that its primary function is to track exercises, movement, calories spent, heart-rate etc. Even if you don’t exercise, it can serve as your everyday smartwatch through which you can read your notifications, track time and weather conditions, set alarms and many more features that we’ll talk about in more detail further down the line. Let’s take a closer look at the design.

As opposed to previous Samsung devices that we’ve tested, the Galaxy Watch Active is much lighter. It weighs only 25 grams, which is only 5 grams more than the Xiaomi Mi Band 3.

Around the edges, sadly, there isn’t a rotating bezel, due to which it is slightly smaller than the last year’s Galaxy Watch. This feature is exactly what made Samsung’s smartwatches recognizable, which is why we’re a little bit sad to see it go from this device.

Glass that covers the display in curved towards the edges, however, the panel doesn’t stretch all the way to the edge – there in a few millimeter bezel around the screen. The housing is made of brushed aluminum and it’s available in black, grey, pink and dark blue color options.

On the right side there are two hardware buttons, as before. The top one in essentially the back button, while the lower one is the home button.

The silicon band comes in two sizes, and since this is a 20mm band, you can find a whole array of metal, leather and nylon bands that will fit this watch.

Inside the box, that is significantly smaller than previous watches had, we get user manuals, a longer strap and a magnetic charger.

SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH ACTIVE SCREEN

The display of the Galaxy Watch Active measures 1.1” in diameter. This is a Super AMOLED screen that shows the resolution of 360 x 360 pixels. Samsung smartwatches usually come with the pixel density of 302 PPI, which means that this watch has slightly better pixel saturation than the predecessors, but this is invisible to the naked eye.

What you will notice, however, is that the contents are perfectly sharp and have very vibrant colors. Sunlight legibility is very good, however, without the rotating bezel it might be hard to use this watch, because once you cover the display with your finger, you can’t see exactly what you’re doing.

HARDVER AND OS

The watch is powered by Samsung-built chip which they made for various IoT devices, however, at the moment it’s only implemented into Samsung Galaxy Watch and Samsung Galaxy Active smartwatches. It contains two Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.15 GHz, and since this is a smartwatch, it doesn’t really need more than this. The chipset is built on a more recent 10nm manufacturing process. It is paired with 4GB of internal storage memory and 768MB of RAM. As this watch has its own memory, you can store music and photos on it, however, 4GB is not too much storage. The system takes up around 1.5GB which means that you’ll be left with 2.5GB of storage memory.

While we’re at the software, this watch works on Tizen 4.0 OS for wearable devices, which is nothing new since the previous watches had the same platform. What is new in the One UI interface that Samsung has brought to all Gear and Galaxy watches, Galaxy Watch Active included. This interface has brought many new features to the watch most of which are purely aesthetic, so we have the new design of icons, new transitions, new watch faces, faster panel as well as certain exercise tracking improvements.

Settings are now made much simpler – you can find the options you search for much easier, and there is also a daily heart shaped briefing through which you can see all your daily movement, exercises and spent calories. Sleep mode can be turned off, while earlier it was constantly working.

As this is a sports watch, we should talk a little about its exercise tracking capabilities, which Samsung usually does quite well. Inside the interface, there are around 30 different exercise patterns ready to track your exercises, but if your exercises aren’t here, there’s nothing to worry about because you can choose adopted exercise option. In this mode, the watch will track you heart rate and spot repetitive movement so that you can still see your calorie consumption.

The sensor keeps track of your heart rate permanently, so after workout you have a clear insight into your workout routine.

If by any chance you’re interested in how this watch works paired with a non-Samsung phone, the answer is – great. You’ll have to install several applications though – Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Accessory Device and Watch Active plugin, and if you want to track everything on your phone too, than you’ll also have to install Samsung Health app. This watch can be connected to iPhones as well, albeit with iPhone 5 and newer.

CONNECTIVITY

Samsung Galaxy Watch is equipped with several connectivity options, but not cellular. For example, last year’s Galaxy Watch had eSIM chip. This model connects with the phone via Bluetooth or via passive wireless network. By default, they connect via Bluetooth, however, if they both recognize the same passive wireless network, they will connect via the network in order to reduce battery consumption.

If you, for example, play music through Bluetooth from your phone while you’re driving, this watch will be a perfect addition because you’ll be able to control your music player directly from your wrist. An NFC chip is also implemented into the watch.

SAMSUNG GALAXY WATCH ACTIVE BATTERY

A smartwatch should innately last as long as possible on a single charge, because one of the things we always do is carry it with us. What is the 230 mAh battery capable of?

It all depends of how you use it. If you plan on playing games, tracking exercises, answering calls and sending messages, it won’t last much longer than a day, but if you’re a bit more power conscious person that will turn off always on functionality, GPS, and use the watch for simple tasks exclusively, than you can expect up to 5 days of autonomy. In the system there is the Power Saver option which can adapt to your needs, so if you wish to turn off all options other than the clock, the watch could last up to a month, but to be honest, we didn’t really have the time to test this. For us, the battery lasted around 2 days, which is quite alright.

The watch charges through a small Qi wireless charger which has a magnet built in so the watch sticks to the surface of the charger. In order to charge up the 230 mAh battery from 0-100%, it takes 2 hours, which is quite a lot taking into account its capacity. It is what it is though!

FINAL WORDS / VERDICT

Galaxy Watch Active is without a doubt a functional watch that will be a great exercise tracker as well as a regular watch. On the other hand, it costs pretty much the same as the 46mm Galaxy Watch that has all the same features together with the rotating bezel. The Galaxy Watch is about twice as heavy though, which makes it not as comfortable to train with, so if you’re buying a fitness tracker, you should choose the Galaxy Watch Active. Make sure to check out our Samsung Galaxy Watch review, which is linked in the description, if you’re not sure which one to buy.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Full Specifications

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Superb AMOLED display
Interactive OS that is fluid in operation
Accuracy in exercise tracking
Good autonomy if not in demanding use
We do not like the design personally
No rotating head
Charging time
Galaxy Watch is a much better choice for the same price