The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 smartwatch launched again in 2019, and it is nonetheless a massively vital a part of the Galaxy Watch vary.
Even although the corporate has since launched the Galaxy Watch 3, the older Active 2 has just lately obtained lots of its flagship’s greatest options together with ECG, blood strain monitoring and improved sports activities monitoring options. It’s nonetheless probably the greatest smartwatches for Android customers, extra so than much more latest Wear OS smartwatches.
That’s why we have updated our evaluate of the Active 2. After two years, a bunch of latest options and an enormous drop in worth â is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 really a greater buy than ever?
Read on to search out out.
Update: This evaluate was first revealed in October 2019. It’s been utterly overhauled in March 2021 primarily based on a sequence of latest options launched. The star ranking has remained unchanged.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Price and competitors
And that makes the Active 2 a critically fascinating proposition. In phrases of worth, the 40mm mannequin of the Active 2 (with Bluetooth solely) is priced at Â£269, whereas the bigger 44mm mannequin is available in at Â£269.
That means it has innovative well being options, unisex sizing and a sport centered design â at a mid-range worth. And it is usually discounted by retailers. At the time of writing the Active 2 44mm is out there on Amazon for simply Â£199.99, which is an unimaginable worth for the set of options.
If you need LTE/4G connectivity, that pushes the value as much as Â£399. That’s accessible for each fashions. There’s even an Under Armour version, simply so as to add to the variety of choices on provide.
So how does that stack up?
Taking its full worth, it’s miles cheaper than the Galaxy Watch 3 regardless of providing almost the identical options. It’s additionally cheaper than the ECG-offering Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense. It’s additionally a greater smartwatch than the Fitbit Versa 3 and Sense, though Samsung Health is no-where close to as robust.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Design
If you desire a Samsung smartwatch, however you don’t need one thing that is seems to be cumbersome on the wrist, the Active is what you go for. Unlike the primary instalment, Samsung determined to supply the Active 2 in 40mm and 44mm sizes.
This matches the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE for dimension, and it means these with smaller wrists have a alternative that ought to provide a comfortable match.
Whichever dimension you go for, you are getting a watch with a streamlined design, no massive bezel and a softer, round body that lives much more discreetly on the wrist.
It’s nonetheless acquired a prime notch 1.2-inch AMOLED touchscreen show, which remains to be probably the greatest shows you may discover on a smartwatch. It’s a touchscreen, however that is aided by the signature rotating bezel, which is used to scroll by way of menus with out having to stab on the small display screen together with your finger. It was returned to the Active 2 after being omitted from the unique Active, and we’re massive followers.
The case has a barely extra elegant really feel to it, whereas the grill on the aspect now signifies we have now a speaker to play with. The design of the sensor array on the again has modified, too, however we’ll get extra into why that may be later.
You additionally get a swappable snug sporty silicone strap, which is appropriate for getting sweaty. This is critical, as a result of the Galaxy Watch 3 solely comes with a leather-based choice regardless of having a full suite of health monitoring.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Fitness monitoring
The health monitoring was a little bit of a shock hit for us on the primary Active. It does not do something we have not already seen on different health monitoring smartwatches or devoted health trackers. But it is all packaged collectively in a very nice manner that can make you extra intrigued to depend your steps and customarily be on the transfer extra.
Your consideration can be instantly drawn to the heart-shaped riff on the Apple Watch rings, which is a swipe away from the primary watch display screen. The concept is to replenish all three segments of that coronary heart by burning energy, clocking up exercise minutes and logging hours you’ve got remained lively for through the day.
Is it as participating as Apple’s health monitoring UI? Maybe not, nevertheless it does the identical job and it does provide a fast approach to verify your progress by way of the day.
The extra spectacular side is what Samsung has accomplished with the occasions while you grow to be inactive. Like different trackers, it focuses on protecting you shifting each hour of the day. If you have not, it’s going to inform you by flashing up an animation and immediate a sequence of quick workout routines you are able to do to alter that. When you rise up after staying inactive for some time, it’s going to congratulate you on deciding to make a transfer.
It’s all the identical good things we acquired on the primary Active and we’re glad it is nonetheless as efficient in protecting us lively all through the day, and never only for that lunchtime fitness center exercise.
Step monitoring in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (left) and Garmin health tracker (proper)
As far as accuracy is anxious, we put it up in opposition to health monitoring options on a Garmin watch, and above is a snapshot of the sort of knowledge we obtained. There was normally round a 100 step distinction between the 2 trackers, which is superb going.
These two trackers are by no means going to ship an identical numbers, since they use completely different algorithms to interpret the movement sensors measuring your motion through the day, however there was by no means something within the step monitoring knowledge that prompt the Active 2 was wildly off the mark for us.
The Samsung’s calorie burn knowledge was additionally dependable, and consistent with comparisons with Fitbit and Apple Watch testing.
When you are not shifting, the Active 2 is an honest sleep tracker. Sleep monitoring is finished mechanically, and its potential to do this has come on leaps and bounds from the early days. Like your steps, sleep knowledge is saved contained in the Samsung Health telephone app. You can view final evening’s sleep by going to the Samsung Health display screen in your watch, too.
However, we think about you may be going to the telephone app to see how you bought on. From there, you see knowledge like Total Sleep Time on a graph, together with points like effectivity.
The on-board coronary heart price monitor also can produce sleep stage knowledge, although often we have been met with a message that our watch could not get a constant coronary heart price studying, so this was normally left clean.
Sleep monitoring in contrast: Samsung (left), Garmin (centre) and Withings (proper)
We used it in opposition to the identical Garmin health tracker and the Withings Sleep monitor, and, usually, discovered that the Active 2 produced fairly constant outcomes with these two different gadgets.
It served up comparable occasions once we’d fallen asleep and woken up, and it was an identical story for length. The core sleep monitoring numbers regarded good, although the Active 2 lacks in providing extra actionable insights.
It’s nonetheless a extra full sleep monitoring providing than Apple’s in 2021, though watchOS does have third celebration apps price taking part in with. However, it does not evaluate with the expertise
While the Galaxy Wearable app is the place you possibly can tinker with watch settings and do issues like entry the app retailer, you want Samsung Health downloaded too to trace your well being and health progress.
Our ideas about Samsung Health have not actually modified. On the floor, it seems to be like a pleasant app, however utilizing it nonetheless feels a bit archaic and discovering the information you care about is way much less intuitive than, say, within the Fitbit companion app.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Sports monitoring
When you stick the phrase ‘Active’ in your title, you are saying that you simply’re constructed for getting sweaty with. In the case of this smartwatch, it is acquired just about every thing it is advisable get your by way of a HIIT exercise or your weekend coaching run.
Built-in GPS, a coronary heart price monitor, a swim-proof design and swim-tracking. The 40mm model is a greater match for exercises than the Galaxy Watch, in our eyes, and the expertise of utilizing it within the fitness center or on an journey hasn’t dramatically modified. That has its good and unhealthy factors.
Read this: Understanding the working stats in your smartwatch
Let’s begin with the nice factors. As far the precise sports activities monitoring is anxious, it is very easy to do. Swipe to the exercise monitoring display screen on the watch, discover your exercise and get monitoring.
The real-time metrics are straightforward to view on the crisp show, you might have entry to your music controls and you may hit the bodily button to cease the session, then hit the Finish to sync it.
The downside comes when it is advisable evaluate the information in a while the watch. Samsung makes it just about not possible to find the place that info lies after the preliminary exercise abstract. It’s there, however you need to work to search out it. Workout summaries needs to be higher introduced on the Active.
Run monitoring in contrast: Samsung (left and centre) and Garmin Forerunner 945 (proper)
The pattern outside run knowledge above reveals that the Active reported a barely longer run (0.3 miles longer) than one tracked by the Garmin Forerunner 945 â however nicely inside a suitable error margin.
For swimming, it recorded an extended exercise than the Form Swim Goggles, however measured the identical distance. Again, spectacular accuracy within the pool.
Another side of sports activities monitoring is just letting the watch detect while you’re understanding with the automated train recognition. We tried this out with a number of rowing machine periods, and we discovered it was profitable in recognising the exercise.
Generally, although, it will add a few further minutes onto the session, and it solely data exercise length and calorie info, nothing else.
It’s definitely a pleasant characteristic to have, and is extra helpful for while you’re out strolling, however you probably have the prospect to manually monitor, then undoubtedly take that choice.
And because the launch, Samsung has introduced over options it launched on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
You now get entry to superior working metrics like floor contact stability and vertical oscillation that you simply’d normally want a further sensor to generate. It additionally supplies VO2 Max scores to get a greater sense of you present degree of health.
There’s nearly the correct stability in efficiency and options, that ought to fulfill most searching for a smartwatch that behaves like a reliable sports activities watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Heart price accuracy
Heart price monitoring in contrast: Samsung (left and centre) and Polar H10 chest strap monitor (proper)
If you look in the back of the Active 2, the make-up of the guts price monitor seems to be very completely different to the one on the primary. That’s because of the heart-centric options which have now began to roll out on the Active 2.
Right now, the optical sensor is there to supply steady coronary heart price monitoring through the day, stress monitoring and knowledge from exercises. For each day readings, it was fairly in keeping with what we picked up with the guts price monitor packed into the Forerunner 945.
We additionally slipped on a Polar H10 coronary heart price monitor chest strap to see how these resting measurements formed up, and we have been fairly glad with what we acquired right here.
It’s throughout exercises, as at all times, the place we have been most intrigued to see how the sensor fared. Could it deal with issues when the depth went up a notch? The reply to that query is, largely, sure.
Our manner of testing this was to leap on a treadmill with a chest strap paired to a sports activities watch and undergo half-hour of working intervals. That manner, we might clearly see how the Active 2’s sensor dealt with the sudden drops and spikes, as we slowed down, rested and picked up the tempo once more.
What we discovered is that common coronary heart price and max coronary heart price readings tended to be 5BPM larger on the Active 2 in comparison with a chest strap. Looking on the graphs, the wrist-based sensor took a little bit longer to get again up recuperate from the remainder durations.
Heart price zones have been usually constant, however, like plenty of coronary heart price displays in watches, it is not going to provide the supremely correct story of your most intense exercises.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: ECG and blood strain monitoring
Blood strain monitoring and ECG has simply rolled out onto the Active 2, filtering down from the flagship after clearing regulators within the US and Europe. It’s nonetheless not worldwide, however is rolling out fairly shortly.
This is an enormous addition, because it brings the Active 2 into the identical dialog because the Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense as a well being watch â however at a far lower cost.
But it is not fairly so simple as simply slapping the watch on and taking a studying. First, to make the most of the characteristic you may must have a Samsung smartphone, because it requires the Samsung Health Monitor app.
And then, additionally, you will want a blood strain cuff to validate the readings, which should repeated each month.
Blood strain monitoring
The calibration course of is fairly easy, nevertheless it’s price placing a while apart to get every thing up and working. After that is accomplished, you possibly can launch the Samsung Health Monitor app in your watch and take studying a bit such as you’d take an on the spot coronary heart price studying.
After calibrating, we took quite a few readings with the Active 2 after which with the blood strain monitor. While knowledge wasn’t 100% an identical, systolic numbers, diastolic numbers have been at most 1-2 out from the cuff monitor.
That Samsung Health Monitor app can also be the place you now discover the flexibility to take ECG readings, which has permitted in over 30 nations together with the US and UK.
Much just like the ECG sensor on the Apple Watch, this extra correct methodology of coronary heart price monitoring can classify your coronary heart price and detect indicators of the guts price irregularity atrial fibrillation.
ECG in contrast: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 (left and centre) and Apple Watch Series 6 (proper)
After the 30-second studying the place you may want to position your finger excessive bodily button on the watch and it’ll generate a studying. The info is synced to the Samsung Health Monitor app the place you possibly can view readings by classification and consider traits.
You also can share the information in PDF kind. From an accuracy viewpoint, we in contrast it to the guts price monitoring on our blood strain monitor and the Apple Watch Series 6. There was a most of 1bpm distinction between the three gadgets.
Along with ECG and blood strain monitoring, Samsung has now additionally delivered fall detection characteristic that may establish when customers have taken a severe fall and doubtlessly set off alerts and alarms. Again, it is a characteristic that seeks to reflect what the Apple Watch is able to, nevertheless it’s additionally one other characteristic you may have to attend for.
As a well being monitoring machine, it is not solely matching what Apple can provide, it is also providing extra and it is doing it for much less.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Smartwatch options
We’ve spoken lots in regards to the Active 2’s well being and health monitoring prowess, nevertheless it’s a smartwatch at coronary heart, bringing all the good things Samsung has accomplished with its platform and squeezing all of it right into a smaller body.
The Active 2 nonetheless runs on the corporate’s personal Tizen OS, bringing all these smartwatch staples like notifications, music controls and streaming, the flexibility to obtain apps, fee help and LTE connectivity â you probably have the suitable mannequin.
Samsung’s working system sits someplace in between Apple’s watchOS and Google’s Wear OS. It’s not fairly as slick as what Apple gives, nevertheless it’s a giant step up from Google’s.
It may not have the identical variety of apps or software program to name upon, nevertheless it works so a lot better. If you are an Android telephone consumer, you are getting a greater expertise paired to a Samsung smartwatch than a Wear OS one.
Getting to unread notifications is only a swipe away, with a small dot on the primary watch face display screen used because the indicator for unread ones. It’s a pleasant method the place you are not having that major display screen flooded with notifications flying in.
You can reply to notifications with easy default messages, typing out a message with the digital keyboard or leaving a voice message. Samsung has additionally introduced over the good reply characteristic from the Galaxy Watch 3 and the flexibility to view your chat historical past. You can now additionally view photographs in messages too.
Most of the time, it is simply sufficient to have the ability to see the notification, scroll right down to learn the whole message after which dismiss. But you do not less than have the choice of responding in a number of methods.
Spreading info you care about most throughout devoted screens works nicely, and the returning bezel is nice to have again for navigating the round app drawer.
There’s a very good assortment of watch faces on board right here, too, letting you retain issues easy or fill your time-telling display screen together with your health knowledge or the present climate situations. If you need extra, you may want to go to the Galaxy Store, which does not dwell on the watch prefer it does on the Apple Watch or Google’s Wear watches.
That’s no unhealthy factor although as searching watch faces and apps is simpler to do on an even bigger display screen. Speaking of apps, it is nonetheless a little bit of a blended bag by way of what you get right here. And a good quantity of the apps price cash. We get it, the builders must make that dough, nevertheless it looks as if there are extra paid for apps right here than on different platforms.
Then there’s Bixby. Ah, Bixby. Samsung’s reply to Siri and Alexa simply wasn’t excellent on the primary Active and there is nonetheless a debate over how helpful it’s on a smartwatch. When you retain questions easy, Bixby is greater than adept at dealing with your queries. If you are hoping for one thing with extra context or extra of a forwards and backwards, then sadly you are out of luck right here.
Apps do stay one of many weaker points of Samsung’s Tizen OS, however, on the entire, it gives a greater expertise than Wear and is slowly however absolutely changing into an honest various to Apple’s watchOS.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Battery life
We actually did not just like the battery life on the primary Active. It was round a day and half â perhaps two, at a push, in the event you put the ability saving mode into use.
For the Active 2, there are actually after all two fashions to choose from. The 44mm Active 2 packs in a 340mAh battery, whereas the 40mm watch we examined carries a smaller 247mAh battery.
In our expertise the battery life will max out at two days. And once more, you may must lean on that energy saving mode to make that occur. There’s additionally a Watch Only mode that can push issues additional, however will inevitably limit the options you may make use of.
If you are monitoring exercises, have the complete complement of smartwatch options working and have that display screen on good and vivid, 3-4 days appears very unrealistic.
It does really feel like there’s a slight enchancment in its endurance, however not an quantity that can dramatically change the way in which you utilize the Active 2. It’s adequate, however we might prefer to see it go longer.
In phrases of charging, it is the identical little charging puck that the again of the watch will magnetically clip into place to energy up. It’ll take about 1.5-2 hours to completely cost up from 0-100%. So, not precisely speedy, however just about consistent with different smartwatches.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 has obtained a heap of latest options that make it a critically glorious smartwatch in 2021. Its mixture of worth, compact sporty construct and respectable well being options put it on the prime desk of smartwatch choices, with loads of offers accessible. Samsung Health remains to be lower than Garmin and Fitbit ranges, and the app choice pales compared to Apple â however this might be the most effective decide for Android customers.
- Still a stunning smartwatch to put on
- Rotating bezel
- Feature-packed for the value
- ECG and blood strain
- Samsung Health lags rivals
- Battery life wanting rivals
- Could it quickly get replaced?