Samsung galaxy watch active lte

Samsung galaxy watch active lte DEFAULT

Samsung Active2 LTE 44mm - Black


The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 is designed to help you learn more so you can achieve more. It goes beyond tracking steps and calories to offer actionable insights on everything from your running style to your heart rate.⁶ Secured to a luxurious leather strap, its premium stainless-steel body includes a red ring that lets you know it is an LTE device. It’s perfect for wearing to the office, the pool, or the gym. And with LTE connection, you can call, text, and pay all from your watch so you can leave your phone behind.

Auto Workout Tracking/Advanced Run Coaching
Get more out of every movement with the Galaxy Watch Active2. Its advanced sensors keep your pace and offer coaching on six components (like asymmetry and contact time) that can improve your running form and may even help prevent injury. It automatically tracks your most popular activities, from cycling to swimming. You can also manually start tracking additional exercises, so your watch is working harder for you.

All-New Lightweight Design
With a thin, light design, Galaxy Watch Active2 is fit for any time and for any occasion, from working out to sleeping in. The Super AMOLED display is all screen from edge to edge. The touch bezel allows you to easily navigate with a quick turn, touch or tap. Available in chic aluminum or stylish stainless steel and with a variety of faces, bands and finishes, there's a Galaxy Watch Active2 for any style.

LTE Connectivity
With LTE connectivity,⁷ you can leave your phone behind. Call, text, pay¹ or stream Spotify or YouTube right from your wrist; and receive all of your notifications quickly and discreetly.

Advanced health monitoring
Galaxy Watch Active2’s advanced health monitoring offers valuable insights into your fitness, wellness and heart health. Evaluate overall endurance during outdoor running with real-time feedback on VO2 max, the maximum amount of oxygen consumption. Get better insights about your heart rate with the next evolution of sensors, ensuring you are always within your target zone during workouts. Use your Galaxy Watch Active2 to record ECG (electrocardiogram) levels for 30 seconds, monitoring your heart rhythm and checking for signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a common form of irregular heart rhythm. Your watch can also notify an emergency contact and share your location if it detects a hard fall during your workout.

Sleep and Stress monitoring
Recharging is key to reaching your goals. Galaxy Watch Active2's built-in sleep tracker offers more accurate data to help you achieve a better night's rest- no app download required. It also helps monitor your stress level and the integrated Calm app offers interactive meditation and breathing guides to help you re-center.

App Access/Notifications
Galaxy Watch Active2 puts texts, notifications and seamlessly integrated apps right your wrist. Stream Spotify playlists, search YouTube or get a quick translation on Google. Without touching your phone, you can make and take calls with the built-in mic and speaker, or your Galaxy Buds. When you get a text, see full chat history and images without an extra tap, and respond without breaking your stride via voice or customizable replies.

Multiday battery
The Galaxy Watch Active2's long-lasting battery can go for more than a day⁴ on a single charge. And if you do need a sudden boost, simply place it on the back of a compatible Galaxy phone⁵ with Wireless PowerShare for a quick recharge.

Samsung Pay
Leave your wallet at home; Samsung Pay¹ is right at your wrist with Galaxy Watch Active2. NFC compatibility makes Samsung Pay accepted at most standard checkouts.

Customizable Watch Face
With customizable faces, you can find a look to match your mood, occasion or outfit. With your paired phone, simply take a photo of your latest outfit and Galaxy Watch Active2 will offer faces that complement your colors and patterns.

Android Compatibility
Galaxy Watch Active2 pairs seamlessly with Android devices.

Compatibility: Samsung, other Android: Android 5.0 or higher & RAM 1.5GB above.²

Includes: Galaxy Watch Active2, Wireless Charger, QSG (Quick Start Guide).

¹Samsung Pay is not available on iOS smartphones.
²Compatible with select Bluetooth-capable smart phones. Galaxy Watch Active2-supported features may vary by carrier and compatible device. For a list of compatible smart phones and features, please visit For best results, connect with compatible Samsung Galaxy smart phones.
⁴44mm version lasts longer than 40mm version. Average expected performance based on typical use. Results may vary.
⁵Works with Qi compatible Samsung devices (compatibility with non-Samsung Qi devices not guaranteed); speed and power efficiency of charge varies by device and may be restricted by cases or covers.
⁶This device and related software are not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.
⁷4G LTE standalone connectivity only available on Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 LTE version. Standalone voice calling on LTE version requires initial pairing with eligible Samsung Galaxy device and separate qualifying wireless plan. Your carrier may not support standalone voice calling, or support may be available only in certain areas. Please check with your carrier for more information regarding wireless service plan for cellular service. Standalone functionality limited if paired phone is not powered on or connected to a wireless network.

Android Compatible

Compatible with all Android devices


A wireless technology used for exchanging data


Product is able to resist the penetration of water to some degree.

Two Way Communication

Allows communication between two people or two groups.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 review: time for a change

Five years since the first Apple Watch and a full seven years on from Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, we know what a smartwatch is. We know that it’s not going to replace your smartphone anytime soon, that it will need to be charged every day or two, and that its best functions are for fitness tracking and seeing notifications when your phone isn’t in your hand.

Samsung’s latest smartwatch, the $399-and-up Galaxy Watch 3, does not do anything to change those expectations. In fact, there isn’t much difference between the Galaxy Watch 3 and any smartwatch that’s come out in the past few years — at least in terms of core functionality. If you’ve managed to ignore or avoid smartwatches for the past half-decade, the Watch 3 isn’t going to change your mind or win you over.

None of that is to say the Galaxy Watch 3 is a bad smartwatch or even a bad product. On the contrary, the Watch 3 fulfills the definition and expectations that we’ve accepted for smartwatches perfectly adequately. It does the things we expect a smartwatch to do — track your activity and provide quick access to notifications — just fine. And if you’re an Android (or even better, a Samsung) phone owner looking for a new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3 is a fine pick.

Design and hardware

The Galaxy Watch 3 follows Samsung’s tradition of making a smartwatch look similar to a traditional watch, complete with a round face. In fact, the design is almost identical to the Gear S3 Classic from 2016: a round face with two round pushers on the side. Compared to the Galaxy Watch, its closest predecessor, the Watch 3 has a less sporty, dressier design that seems to be meant for more everyday wear as opposed to a dedicated running watch.

The Watch 3 is also slightly smaller and lighter than the Galaxy Watch. But make no mistake, this is not a small watch. I’ve been testing the larger 45mm variant, and it’s big and thick on my average-sized wrists. Those with small wrists will also likely find the 41mm version too big to wear. If you like big watches, you’ll be happy here, but if you’re looking for something sleeker and smaller, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a better choice.

Samsung did increase the size of the display on the 45mm version to 1.4 inches, which is actually quite large and makes the watch look even bigger on the wrist. (The 41mm version has the same 1.2-inch screen as the 40mm Watch Active 2 and 42mm Galaxy Watch.) It’s a bright, colorful display with a sharp resolution that’s easy to see both indoors and out. My only issue is that it can be hard to see the screen through polarized sunglasses, requiring me to turn my arm awkwardly or lift my shades to check the time. It also has a full-color always-on function so you can read the time without touching the watch or waving your arm around, as all smartwatches should.

You can get either size watch in Bluetooth-only or LTE-equipped versions for a reasonable $50 more; I’ve been testing the Bluetooth model and haven’t had any major issues with it staying connected to my Galaxy S20.

Perhaps the best advantage of the Watch 3 over the Active line is its physically rotating bezel, which you can use to scroll through the interface. It’s extremely satisfying and easy to use, and it’s the best way to navigate a smartwatch that I’ve tried. I much prefer it to the touch-sensitive bezel on the Active and Active 2.

The face of the watch isn’t flush like on the Active models, however. Its bezel is raised, which makes it harder to easily swipe through the interface on the screen. It does provide a bit of protection from bumps and dings on the screen, but it also makes the watch thicker overall.

As Samsung’s most expensive smartwatch, the Watch 3 has nicer materials and build quality than the Active line. It features stainless steel instead of aluminum, metal pushers instead of plastic, Gorilla Glass DX on top of the display, an 810G mil spec durability rating, and 5ATM of water resistance. Tolerances are tight, the buttons are satisfying, and the overall construction befits the Watch 3’s higher price tag. An even more expensive titanium model will also be available in the future.

In the box is a leather strap instead of the usual rubber options, which further indicates that this watch is meant for everyday use more than at the gym. The strap isn’t particularly high-quality leather, but it’s comfortable to wear. You can easily change it out to a rubber one (20mm for the smaller version, 22mm for the larger model) for more active uses.

An area that Samsung could certainly improve is the vibration motor. Unlike the Apple Watch’s informative clicks and taps, the Watch 3’s vibrations are buzzy and annoying, with little variance to differentiate a new message from an incoming call or hourly chime. Samsung’s phones have gotten much better haptics in recent years; it really should bring that system to the wearables, too.


Like the last few generations of Samsung smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 3 has a fast interface that’s easy to quickly swipe or scroll through. The Watch 3 has the same processor as the Active 2, but the RAM has been slightly increased to 1GB total. It also has twice as much storage (8GB) for saving music playlists directly to the watch.

Compared to a Wear OS watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 is much faster and easier to use, with performance on par with recent Apple Watch models. It still can take a few beats to launch a third-party app (which you probably won’t be doing often; more on that later), but Samsung’s own apps and the widgets load quickly and provide most of the info you’re likely to need.

Samsung claims “up to two days” of battery life, but in my tests, it was kicking the bucket at around a day and a half, sooner if it was a particularly active day with workout tracking. You can extend the battery life by disabling the always-on display and enabling battery-saving modes that dumb down the features, but doing that also defeats the purpose of wearing a smartwatch.

Overall, this is a watch that you’ll still be charging every day or so. That makes it hard to use for sleep tracking since the most convenient time to charge it is when you’re sleeping. Charging the watch is also still a slow process, taking up to two hours to fully fill the battery. Fast charging is a feature that’s been game-changing on smartphones for years, but it hasn’t yet come to smartwatches.


Samsung’s watches all use its in-house Tizen operating system, which hasn’t changed much in the past few years. Not that it’s really had to — its design works well on the constrained size of a smartwatch screen, and the layout of widgets and notifications is easy to parse. The messaging app will now display pictures and emoji as well as the conversation history on incoming messages. There are also a couple of new gesture controls: silencing alarms or incoming calls with a shake of your wrist or opening and closing your fist to answer a call. Both worked in my tests, surprisingly.

Where Samsung continues to struggle is in app support. There’s no native mapping app on the Watch 3, and the options available in Samsung’s app store are terrible. If you don’t keep all of your to-dos in Samsung’s Reminders app and instead use another service, you won’t likely find an app to manage them on the Watch 3. I could keep going, but the point is that if you’re looking for a specific app, chances are you won’t find it for the Watch 3, and you’ll spend most of your time using the apps that are preloaded on the watch.

On the positive side, those apps are mostly comprehensive (outside of the lack of a mapping app, as mentioned). There’s calendar, weather, Outlook for email, messages, Spotify (including the ability to download playlists offline), Samsung Health for fitness tracking, timer, stopwatch, alarms, world clock, voice recorder, Samsung Pay for mobile payments, and so on.

If you are using a Samsung phone, you likely have all of the necessary phone apps to make the Watch 3 work out of the box. If you’re using any other Android phone, be prepared to install about half a dozen apps and services to use all of the features on the Watch 3, including fitness tracking and mobile payments. It’s a hassle, and Samsung really should consolidate these down to a single app. (If you’re hoping to use the Watch 3 with an iPhone, my suggestion is: don’t. The messaging experience is poor, and the watch will just do fewer things than when it’s connected to an Android device. Just get an Apple Watch.)

In terms of watchface options, Samsung does a number of things well and falls short in others. There are a few good options on the Watch 3 out of the box, including new riffs on Apple’s Infograph face that lets you customize an analog or digital face with a bunch of informational complications, and there’s a new animated weather face that automatically updates itself based on the time and your location. The Galaxy Apps store also has thousands of third-party watchfaces you can download and install.

But the vast majority of those third-party watchfaces are low quality — I spent the better part of an hour just scrolling through the store’s options to find something that matched my tastes — and the customization options on Samsung’s own watchfaces are limited to predetermined complications. Inexplicably, some faces give you more complication options than others, and there’s no support for third-party complications, so it’s tough to find an option that matches both your aesthetic preferences and what information you want it to display.

Finally, while both Google’s Wear OS and the Apple Watch have relatively fast and competent voice assistants built in, which are useful for transcribing messages, setting timers, controlling smart home gadgets, and so on without having to touch the watch, the Galaxy Watch 3 relies on Samsung’s Bixby assistant. Bixby, in case you somehow haven’t heard, is terrible, with slow, inconsistent responses and limited capabilities. An example: I often use voice commands to set timers on my smartwatch when cooking, but when I ask Bixby to set a two-minute timer, it often takes 20 seconds to process the request and start the timer, which doesn’t help when I need precise timing. It’s often just faster and easier to skip the voice commands on the Watch 3 entirely.

Fitness tracking

Though the Watch 3 is clearly designed for more everyday use as opposed to the fitness-focused Active line, it still comes with a handful of new fitness tracking features. In addition to the usual activity tracking, automatic workout detection, and heart rate monitoring, the Watch 3 now has enhanced sleep tracking, blood oxygen (SpO2) monitoring, and VO2 Max reporting. It also has a feature to automatically call an emergency contact when a fall is detected, like the Apple Watch.

I am not a fitness guru, so I am not the best judge of how reliable Samsung’s fitness tracking is, but prior models have been widely criticized for inaccurate reporting. I did have some trouble getting the blood oxygen monitoring function to work — it failed to get a reading on my SpO2 levels about 50 percent of the time — and the step counting was consistently 20 to 25 percent lower than the Fitbit Inspire HR I wore at the same time.

The updated sleep tracking features were also less than helpful. Samsung now tries to provide a “score” to better judge how effective your sleep was, based on how much time it detects you were in each sleep stage. In my tests, it did a mostly good job at automatically determining when I went to sleep and when I woke up, but my sleep quality was never rated above a 50, despite the Inspire HR I wore on the opposite wrist consistently scoring my sleep in the high 80s. Sleep tracking is far from an exact science, and wearable devices like this are missing a lot of the necessary context for what impacts the quality of your sleep, which means they shouldn’t really be relied on for any serious diagnosing. And finally, the Watch 3 is just too big and cumbersome for me to sleep comfortably with it on. I’m sure there are some people who will be fine with it, but I much prefer a smaller bracelet or ring device for this purpose.

If it feels like I spent the majority of this review comparing how the Galaxy Watch 3 is different or the same as prior watches. That’s because there really isn’t that much new to cover here. Samsung has refined some aspects of its smartwatches, and the Watch 3 is nicer to wear and a better device than the Galaxy Watch it replaces. But it still falls short in a handful of areas and doesn’t really change the smartwatch experience. This isn’t a generational leap forward by any means.

The other thing you have to consider is the price: at $399 to start, the Watch 3 is a full $150 more expensive than the Active 2 for what amounts to largely the same functionality. It does have the stainless steel body and rotating bezels, but those may or may not be worth the extra expense for you.

Hopefully, Samsung’s next watch will provide a more substantial improvement over what we experience now, whether that’s through significantly better battery life, additional capabilities, or something else that I haven’t even thought of. But until that arrives, Samsung makes fine smartwatches, and the Galaxy Watch 3 is the finest of them all.

Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: A sleek smartwatch that's better value than the Galaxy Watch 3

It took a year, but Samsung's Galaxy Watch Active 2 finally gets ECG, just like the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Sense and Samsung's latest Galaxy Watch 3. The $249 (£249, AU$549) Galaxy Watch Active 2 launched in 2019 but its flagship health feature wasn't turned on yet. Now the ECG app has received FDA clearance in the US and you can find it in the new Samsung Health Monitor app.

The Active 2 has a bright, circular AMOLED touchscreen, comes in two sizes (40mm and 44mm) and has a Bluetooth or LTE option. It has improved heart-rate tracking over the original Galaxy Watch Active and is compatible with Android and iOS, although you don't get all the features if you pair with an iPhone. The watch also has built-in GPS, so you won't need to take your phone with you on runs to track distance and route details.

Read more:Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Samsung aims for the ultimate Android watch

I've been wearing the smaller 40mm Bluetooth Active 2 to track my workouts and my sleep, and I've been impressed with the results. For anyone new to the world of Samsung smartwatches or coming from the first Galaxy Watch and looking for a slimmer alternative, it has plenty to offer. Thanks to the new aluminum and stainless-steel finishes, plus additional health-tracking features, the Active 2 is much more comparable to the Apple Watch Series 6 than earlier Samsung watches.

The bezel is back

The original Galaxy Watch, released in 2018, had a physical rotating bezel you could turn to change settings. I found it highly addictive because it gave a satisfying "click" when you turned it and it was a faster way to navigate than relying on the touchscreen alone. This year's Galaxy Watch Active lost the bezel and you had to use the screen and buttons instead.

Samsung must have listened to my cries, as the Active 2 gives you the best of both worlds. Instead of a physical dial, you run your finger around the edge of the screen to scroll through menus with the touch bezel. Haptic feedback makes it (almost) feel like a real dial, although sometimes it took me an extra try or two to get it to register my touch. The Active 2 I received for review didn't come with the touch bezel activated, so you may need to go into the settings, find the advanced section and switch it on.

After a few days of wear, I'm impressed with how Samsung has improved the fit and feel of the watch over previous generations. The 40mm version fits nicely on my smaller wrist and the metal finish looks premium compared with the first Galaxy Watch Active. The aluminum version is available in black, silver or pink gold with a synthetic rubber strap, while the stainless-steel version comes in a silver, black or gold finish, with a leather band. The LTE version is only available in stainless steel.

The color AMOLED screen is bright and easy to see in direct sun, as long as you have the brightness cranked up to its maximum. And now the Active 2 uses Gorilla Glass DX Plus instead of Gorilla Glass 3, which means it should stand up to more bumps and scratches than its predecessor. It's rated IP68 or 5ATM for water resistance, the same as before.

Fitness tracking adds finesse

If you've used any previous Galaxy Watch there will be no surprises here when it comes to fitness tracking. You can still track over 39 workouts and see the breakdown of your data in the Samsung Health app or directly on the watch face itself. I still don't think the Samsung Health app presents your data as nicely as competitors like Fitbit do (it's just so much easier to visually interpret your workout data in the Fitbit app, for example).

The Active 2 gets an updated running coach, which gives you audio and visual cues through seven different running programs, from light jogging to endurance running.

It sounds great in theory. But on my run I was surprised at how well it worked, as long as you can get past hearing the robotic Bixby voice. Connect some Bluetooth earbuds and you'll be able to hear the guide in your ear, alongside any music you might have playing, or you can use the watch speaker to hear the prompts.

The coach tells you to speed up or slow down based on your current pace and it even gives you semimotivational comments ranging from, "How are you feeling?" to, "Try to smile if you can," which was equally infuriating and hilarious during the home stretch of my run.

Would I use it more than once or twice? Probably not in its current state. What I liked most was being able to hear my average heart rate and my pace after every mile, but I would want to be able to change the voice and customize the prompts it gave me to make it really helpful.

While the running coach may be a take-it-or-leave-it feature, I found the most useful fitness feature was actually the improved heart rate monitor. With a total of eight LEDs on the back to measure your pulse, the heart rate monitor is now more accurate during workouts than the original Galaxy Watch Active, which only had four LEDs. I'm a big fan of monitoring my heart rate during cardio-based exercises such as spin class or running and found the readings on the Active 2 updated much faster during a workout than the previous version. I haven't yet tested the watch against a chest strap monitor to compare results.

As of September 2020, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 has received an update to give it some of the same features as the newer Galaxy Watch 3: advanced running metrics, a measure of VO2 max and trip detection.

On top of the existing exercises the previous watch could autodetect, like running and cycling, the Active 2 adds swimming to the mix, bringing the total number of workouts it can autodetect to seven. Like the first Active, it does stress tracking and sleep tracking. The Active 2 also now has menstrual tracking and you can log your cycle from the Samsung Health app. And to help motivate you to meet your exercise goals each day, the Active 2 encourages you to close each segment of a heart graphic, like the ring-based system used on the Apple Watch.

It's difficult to avoid comparisons to the Apple Watch when it comes to other heart-related features. Not only does the Active 2 now have high and low heart rate detection like Apple's smartwatch (you'll need to have the HR monitor set to continuous measurement for this to work), it also has a built-in ECG to detect potential signs of atrial fibrillation (aFib). The ECG has finally received FDA-clearance as of September 2020 and I'll be updating this review once I've had a chance to test it out fully. Note that the ECG app is only available if you tie your Active 2 to a Samsung Galaxy phone. Sorry, iPhone users, you'll have to stick to the Apple Watch or a Fitbit Sense if you want ECG.

Like its newer sibling, the original Galaxy Watch Active launched with a feature that wasn't turned on at the time of release, the blood pressure monitor. Although it is now available through the company's My BP app, it's not yet FDA-cleared. Blood pressure monitoring results are still currently in beta and these measurements are used as part of a study with the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

A fully fledged smartwatch with some quirks

Now that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 offers an LTE version (from $379, £249 or AU$799) you'll be able to get calls and send messages on the go. Just like with the earlier Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch Active, you can customize which notifications come through from your phone, regardless of whether you have a Bluetooth or LTE version.

All the versions of the Active 2 now offer closer integration with third-party apps like Twitter and YouTube, so you can interact with tweets or watch videos. Although I'm not quite sure of why you would ever want to watch videos on such a small screen, it's definitely a party trick. Subscribers to Spotify's premium tier can also store songs on the watch for offline listening, or stream over LTE. A built-in speaker means you can now listen to music or take calls without needing Bluetooth earbuds. 

I really like the wide variety of watch faces available in the Galaxy Wearable app and you can download more from the Galaxy Store. But being able to snap a photo of your outfit and match your watch face to the colors of your shirt using the My Style feature is probably my favorite way to customize the look of the Active 2.

Samsung's Tizen OS, which the watch runs on, also feels slightly more responsive than on previous versions. You can still customize placement of apps and widgets.

It still did take me time to work out where some features are hiding, like the running coach for example, and I think the largest font size on the watch might still be too small for some people. I also found that the Bixby assistant started up of its own volition a few times, without any voice prompts or any button presses. It's a mystery as to why this happens -- sometimes it's during a workout, other times it's when I've been using the touch bezel.

Bixby aside, what I appreciate the most about the software on the Active 2 is an under-the-hood upgrade that makes it easier to transition back and forth between apps on your watch and your phone. You'll be able to use a single sign-on, so if you're logged into Spotify or Twitter on your phone, for example, that login will carry over to your watch.

Battery life will depend on the size you choose as the 44mm watch has a larger-capacity battery, and how much you use features like the always-on display and LTE. Unfortunately I didn't have the LTE version to test, so I can't tell you how much using a cellular connection will affect battery life.

But I can tell you that with normal use, getting notifications, changing watch faces, tracking an indoor workout and tracking sleep, I managed to get a day and a half from the 40mm Bluetooth watch before it needed a charge. I also noticed on a different day, when I had the display set to always-on during a workout, using the running coach with GPS and listening to downloaded music from Spotify over Bluetooth, the battery went from 40% to just 14% in 30 minutes. So do bear in mind this watch isn't invincible. If you have a Galaxy phone like the S20 Plus or Note 20 Ultra that offers wireless power sharing, you can charge the watch from the back of your phone (although it is slow).

The Active 2 also has Samsung Pay, although using it to tap and pay will only work at NFC-based terminals.

Better value than the newer Watch 3

Thanks to its sleek design, health features like the ECG and trip detection, plus an LTE option, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 feels like a full smartwatch that can take you from work to play without missing a beat. With software updates over the past year since launch, the Active 2 shares many of the same features with the Watch 3 which makes it a great buy for those on a tighter budget.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is best for Android users who want a smartwatch that offers a lot of customization and great exercise tracking options. For iPhone users, it's still not as good an option as the Apple Watch overall because you're more restricted in how you can respond to notifications (and you don't get ECG), but it's cheaper than the newer Apple Watch SE and Series 6.

Note that CNET may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Smartwatch specs compared

Galaxy Watch Active 2Galaxy Watch ActiveApple Watch Series 5Fitbit Versa 2
Display typeCircular AMOLEDCircular AMOLEDSquare LTPO OLED RetinaSquare AMOLED
Watch size40 or 44mm39.5mm40 or 44mm1.4-inch display
ConnectivityLTE option, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFCBluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFCLTE option, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFCBluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC
GPSYesYesYesConnected GPS
Always-on displayYesYesYesYes
ECGYes (not yet active)NoYesNo
Water resistanceIP68/5ATMIP68/5ATM50m50m
Price (Bluetooth)40mm: $249 (See it at Amazon)$200 (See it at Amazon)40mm: $399 (See it at Amazon) $200 (See it at Amazon)

44mm: $269 (See it at Amazon)N/A44mm: $429 (See it at Amazon)N/A
Price (LTE)40mm: $379N/A40mm: $499 (See it at Amazon) N/A

44mm: $399N/A44mm: $529 (See it at Amazon)N/A

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4 has never been cheaper

If you've been thinking of getting a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 — the model formerly given the Active moniker, not the Classic one — you may want to check out Amazon's Deal of the Day. Over the next 20 hours or so, the website is selling the wearable bundled with a fast charging wireless charger for up to 26 percent less than its original price. The bundles are even cheaper than the watches alone, and yes, the deal includes both 40mm and 44mm smartwatches in various colors, as well as both Bluetooth-only and LTE models. 

Buy Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 at Amazon - $230 to $310

The 40mm Bluetooth-only version bundled with a wireless charger will set you back $230, or $80 less its usual price. Meanwhile, its 44mm counterpart is now on sale for $260 instead of its usual retail price of $340. If you want the the capability to call, text and stream on the smartwatch without your phone, you'll need to get the LTE version. The 40mm LTE bundle is currently priced at $280, down $80 its typical retail price, while the 44mm LTE bundle is also listed at $80 less for $310 instead of $390. 

In our Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review, we said the devices are still the best smartwatches around. They're the first models to run the new "Wear OS powered by Samsung," which allows you to download apps from the Play Store directly to your wrist. While the Classic has a spinning bezel and the non-Classic models don't, both versions feature upgraded biometric sensors, a body composition scanner and improved sleep tracking. The watches also come with gesture controls that let you answer or dismiss calls by flicking your wrist or lifting your arm. 

Samsung just released a much pricier Thom Browne Edition Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. But if you'd rather not pay $799 for a smartwatch, head over to Amazon for the limited-time sale.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.


Active lte samsung galaxy watch


2-Minute review

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is barely an upgrade on its predecessor, which came out earlier in 2020 but lacked the rotating bezel that made its beefier sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Watch, such a hit. But the refined version of Samsung’s sporty smartwatch comes with a digital bezel and a few other tricks to become the best wearable in the company’s lineup.

The similarities to its predecessor are probably for the best – the Active 2 retains its predecessor’s slimmer, minimal, modern look. It’s almost certainly a more broadly-appealing setup than the Galaxy Watch’s girthy form, akin to the more 'masculine' style of traditional watches. 

It’s manageable and rigorous enough to take on runs, yet packing enough features and capabilities to rival the Apple Watch 6. But the Active 2’s extra features come at a literal cost – it’s nominally pricier than its predecessor, shrinking the watch’s affordability edge over Apple’s watches. 

Still, the Active 2 is a solid choice for consumers on the hunt for a smartwatch to take on runs and into the office, especially for Android users outside the iOS ecosystem. Yes, it can be used with an iPhone, but with limited functionality - and for the same price you could pick up the new Apple Watch SE or an older Apple Watch.

Price analysis

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is out now, starting at $279.99 / £269 for the 40mm version or $299 / £289 / AU$549 for the 44mm version. The 40mm model isn't available in Australia.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is also available in an LTE model in stainless steel, which in the US is offered through Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon. In the UK and Australia you can buy this version outright, at £399 / AU$749 for the 40mm version and £419 / AU$799 for the 44mm one.

That launch price puts it between the Apple Watch 5 and the now-discounted Apple Watch 3 - which, while not reaching the high cost of the latest Apple smartwatch, still offers firm competition. 

But if you wanted most of the functionality of the Active 2 and to save a bit of money, you could opt for...the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active. While the extra features - digital haptic dial, LTE availability, and extra workout features - are nice extras, they probably aren’t worth the price jump.

Design and display

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a dead ringer for its predecessor - the 40mm version, anyway, since the new smartwatch is also available in 44mm, which is more manageable than the Galaxy Watch’s hefty 46mm bigger model.

As it stands, both options are pretty light, starting at 26g for the smaller aluminum (without a strap) and 30g for the larger - present but not weighty when worn during a run.

Like the original Active, the basic Watch Active 2 has an aluminum body. It comes in cloud silver, aqua black and pink gold colors. You can also get it in stainless steel (which is what the LTE model comes in) for a higher price, which comes in silver, black and gold.

The cheaper model comes with a rubberized Fluoroelastomer band, which you’ll recognize if you’ve ever worn an Apple Watch - material that felt natural through casual and sweaty activity, and would be fine worn sunup to sundown (and beyond).

If you want a classier look and feel, you can opt for the heavier (by about 11g) stainless steel body with a leather strap - but you can also swap out any Samsung-sold or aftermarket 20mm band if you so desire.

In either case, the watch’s back has a heart rate monitor with eight photodiodes - double the amount of its predecessor. In our tests it gave reasonably accurate readings.

The two side buttons are also the same as before - a ‘back’ button on top, which is now outlined in some case colors, and a ‘home’ button below, which brings up your apps. While double-tapping the latter brings up Samsung’s smart assistant Bixby by default, you can (and should) set it to something more useful, such as a shortcut to a frequent favorite.

The Active 2’s 360 x 360 resolution Super AMOLED screen is slightly (as in, 0.1 inches) expanded to 1.2-inches over its predecessor for the smaller 40mm model - meaning less bezel this time around - while the larger 44mm option has a 1.4-inch screen of the same resolution.

That’s about standard for smartwatches, and it’s enough screen real estate to filter through essential information, though sorting through any text meatier than a notification (like, say, an email) is a chore.

Most of Samsung’s first-party apps are optimized for this tiny display, but some third-party options are as audacious as they are spectacularly unsuccessful. By which we mean: we downloaded a YouTube-watching app on a lark, and it went about as expected.

Thankfully, the new digital dial makes navigating around menus a lot more precise. Yes, it’s not as exact or as satisfying as the tactile bezel wheel on the original Galaxy Watch, but it’s the next best thing, with a vibrating tic every time you switch to the next app or setting. 

It’s a lot less loose than swiping on the screen, which you can still do if you prefer. In fact, swiping is the only control method when you boot up the watch, as Samsung bafflingly didn’t turn on the digital dial by default.

The dial is worth trying out for ease of use - plus, it keeps your finger on the outer edge of the screen, and out of the way. It’s obviously something that crowns also do (like on the sides of Apple Watches), but it’s nice to see a touch-based alternative method of navigation done well.

Performance and software

The Active 2 has an Exynos 9110 dual-core chipset, the same as its predecessor - and the original Galaxy Watch, for that matter - but at 1.15Ghz, it’s fast enough. The smartwatch’s 768MB of RAM is fine for switching in and out of apps, though that’s upgraded to 1.5GB for the LTE model.

That’s enough power to zoom around the interface, though we still wish Samsung had been able to fit more than 4GB of storage in there - especially since, once the operating system and baseline apps have been loaded up, you’re left with 1.5GB to fiddle with. Enough for plenty of songs and apps (most of which take up barely a megabyte apiece), but not leaving much room for bigger, bolder software.

Like its predecessor, the Active 2 runs on Samsung’s One UI overlay over Samsung’s trusty Tizen operating system, and not much has changed since the original Active. The rotating dial makes it noticeably easier to sift through apps on your home page or notifications on the main ‘watch face’ screen, though it will take a little getting used to for precision navigation (i.e. not zooming past the right stop).

There are other new integrations Samsung is championing - like taking a photo on a phone with the Samsung Wearables app and creating an algorithmically-chosen color-and-pattern watch face design. Ostensibly, this is to sync your Active 2 with whatever you’re wearing, but you could also snap photos of a particular hue or natural color, if you fancy.

Unfortunately, Tizen hasn’t gotten much in the way of third-party app support in the interim since the original Active. Aside from flashlights, calorie counters and run-mapping, you’re likely relying on first-party apps to carry most of your interactivity. Tizen is still behind Apple watchOS and even Wear OS in this regard.

The included apps are still useful, though iOS users still won’t be able to access all the best benefits, like replying to messages or interacting with email beyond notifications. Some things have improved - Find My Phone now buzzes your iPhone even if Do Not Disturb is on - but you simply won’t get the full functionality of the watch without an Android phone.


The Watch Active 2’s fitness apps and features haven’t changed much: there’s still 39 workout-tracking modes, like running, walking, cycling and swimming. 

The exercise modes generally work fine for the cardio-related routines, but struggle with those defined by motion.

The ‘Crunches’ mode, for example, only counted reps when the hand (and thus the Active 2) was extended far over the knees...meaning anyone performing a crunch with arms crossed over their chest is out of luck. It’s an odd specificity that extends to other workouts, like Arm Extensions and Jumping Jacks, which were similarly finicky.

But we didn’t have any problems when taking the Active 2 for a jog, where it tracked our runs and gently vibrated when it sensed we’d stopped moving and might be done with the workout (or was just telling us to wrap up our break). The smartwatch also connected effortlessly with Bluetooth headphones, which made it easier to hear the Active 2's occasional vocal updates on our workout progress.

Listening to music was more of a chore, especially when connected to an iPhone, for which adding music is a multi-step process. Syncing up a Spotify account is easy enough, though the frequent alerts and notifications momentarily muted audio, with multiple disruptions per song. It’s odd, especially when a non-interruption feature seems like such a logical addition for a workout mode.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is IP68-rated for water and dust resistance, and can survive being submerged up to 5 meters in liquid and getting a little grimy. There’s even a ‘water lock’ mode that disables touchscreen functionality and vibrates to shake out excess water.

The watch also has an ECG (electrocardiogram), which can be used to detect the electrical activity and rhythm of your heart. It's a feature we've already seen on the Apple Watch 4 and 5 and can be used to detect the likes of atrial fibrillation.

However, while the hardware is present here, the feature isn't available at launch, as Samsung needs approval for its use in each country. As such we haven't been able to test this.

Battery life

If anything lives up to Samsung’s claims about the Galaxy Watch Active 2, it’s battery life. With typical use, our Active 2 lasted through two full days. While that’s not quite the four days that our original Galaxy Watch survived for, it’s more than can be said of the Apple Watch line.

That battery life diminishes with lots of activity: playing music or running the GPS (through those workouts, say) can drain capacity at a more rapid pace. It all depends how much you use it, and there’s a battery-saving setting (switching on grayscale, switching off Wi-Fi) to eke out more life between charges.

The actual capacity of the 40mm model is 247mAh, slightly larger than the 230mAh of its predecessor. The 44mm’s 340mAh capacity might give it the edge over its smaller sibling (the only one we tested), though that’s also powering a larger screen.

Who it’s for

Android phone owners looking to pick up a quality smartwatch from a known brand should consider the Active 2 - especially if they’re, well, active. This is especially true for lovers of the original Galaxy Watch who were wary of a dial-less watch. And since we might never get a Samsung Galaxy Watch 2, this might be the closest we’ll get. 

Who it’s not for

Anyone locked into Apple’s iOS ecosystem won’t get the most out of this smartwatch, and with a still-competitive Apple Watch 3 on the market, it’s tough to recommend what’s undeniably an inferior wearable OS. Likewise, any serious fans of Wear OS might be unimpressed by the smaller app library.


Apple Watch 3

As we’ve said repeatedly, the Apple Watch 3 is identically priced, proven, and likely discounted even more during deals seasons. watchOS is more robust and beloved for good reason. While you’ll miss out on the Active 2’s haptic dial and demonstrably better battery, the tighter integration with iOS is more compelling.

Read our full Apple Watch 3 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

We’ve made the case throughout this review, but the original Watch Active has most of the bells and loses out on few of the new whistles in its successor. You’ll still get a quality smartwatch to take on runs and into the office - but at a lower price (which is primed to drop more during deals seasons).

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active review



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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Specs

Processor: Exynos W920
Software: Wear OS + One UI Wach
Sensors: Samsung BioActive Sensor (PPG+ECG+BIA)
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE (optional), NFC
Memory: 1.5GB RAM + 16GB
Durability:  5ATM + IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Smartphone compatibility: Android 6.0 or higher
Battery life: 40 hours

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 feels familiar, yet different, and I mean that in the best way possible. It looks like a Galaxy Watch, but this iteration is sharper and more sophisticated. The software works like Tizen, but the new Google Wear OS platform is pragmatic and precise. 

Samsung ditched the ‘Active’ branding for its latest lineup, instead pitching a sporty-looking Galaxy Watch 4 as the company’s flagship and a ‘Classic’ version that carries on the luxurious characteristics of last year’s Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

The Galaxy Watch 4 packs a 3-in-1 health sensor for measuring heart rate, taking ECGs and reading body composition — it's the first major smartwatch to offer bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Do I sense the Apple Watch 7 getting nervous?

There's no question the Galaxy Watch 4 is best smartwatch yet for people with Samsung smartphones. Read this Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review to find out why.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 price and availability

Both the standard Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are available for purchase as of August 27, 2021.

The Galaxy Watch 4 starts at $249.99 for the 40mm Bluetooth model and $299.99 for the 40mm LTE model. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic starts at $349.99 for the 42mm Bluetooth model and $399.99 for the 42mm LTE model.

Be sure to check our guide on how to set up your Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 once you get yours.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic: What’s different?

Galaxy Watch 4Galaxy Watch 4 Classic
Starting price$249.99$349.99
Size options40mm/44mm42mm/46mm
Dimensions40mm:40.4 x 39.3 x 9.8 mm; 44mm: 44.4 x 43.3 x 9.8 mm42mm: 41.5 x 41.5 x 11.2 mm; 46mm: 45.5 x 45.5 x 11.0 mm
Weight40mm: 0.91 ounces 44mm: 1.06 ounces42mm: 1.64 ounces 46mm: 1.83 ounces
Battery capacity40mm: 247mAh; 44mm: 361mAh42mm: 247mAh; 46mm: 361mAh
Color optionsBlack, Silver, Pink Gold, GreenBlack, Silver

Our dedicated guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic covers all the differences (and similarities) between the two smartwatch versions.

Let’s get this out of the way — the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic are identical on the inside. From the new Wear OS software and Samsung’s One UI skin to the 3-in-1 health sensor and expansive watch face collection, you’ll get the same software experience. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic features fancier materials such as stainless steel case, leather straps and the physical rotating bezel. Think of it like the Apple Watch’s ‘Edition’ line. Except the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic is far more affordable than the Apple Watch Edition models, which are typically made from high-end materials like ceramic and titanium. Though it costs $100 more than the standard Galaxy Watch 4 Classic, it’s starting price is still less expensive than the entry-level Apple Watch 6.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Design

Both versions of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 feature a redesigned frame that allows for gapless transition from the smartwatch chassis to the straps. The uniform set of crown buttons also sport an oblong shape, rather than one protruding round crown accompanied by a flush side button.

Despite these subtle changes, the Galaxy Watch 4 pays homage to the Galaxy Watch models of the past. The Galaxy Watch 4 Classic gets the rotating bezel, which is both a handy navigation tool and excellent fidget spinner. Since the original Samsung Galaxy Watch debuted the bezel, it’s become as iconic to the product as the S Pen is — err, was? — to the Galaxy Note smartphone.

So as someone who’s used the Galaxy Watch 3 more recently than the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, adjusting to a capacitive version of the bezel on the baseline Galaxy Watch 4 took time. But minus the mechanism, the smartwatch is a lot slimmer, making for a modern gadget that won’t be mistaken for a traditional timepiece.

I’d still wear it from the gym to dinner, though, especially in the Silver or Pink Gold options. That’s just my taste. I also appreciate the Green version that’s color-matched to the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, but it only comes in the 44mm size. I prefer the 40mm model for my wrist size, though my male colleague tried on the 46mm Galaxy Watch 4 Classic and enjoyed the look of the larger display. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Wear OS pros and cons

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s software provides the best experience I’ve ever had using Wear OS, period. Although smartwatches with the old Wear OS have fooled me before — working fine at first until glitches start oozing out — the Galaxy Watch 4 doesn't falter. I will say the software still feels very Tizen-esque, but it’s a good thing. Finding my rhythm took no time, letting me switch between apps and menus and setting pages seamlessly. 

The rotating tiles are obvious remnants of Tizen, plus Samsung Pay and Samsung Health still take priority. Beyond that, Google’s new app cloud (which looks a lot like watchOS, but it’s convenient so who cares?) is loaded with Google’s programs. That said, the selection is a bit limited right now. There's no Google Assistant yet, for example.

You do get Google Maps, though. Having it on my wrist helps me get around easily, whether I'm walking in the city or driving in the suburbs. Check out more of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Wear OS features I'm enjoying so far.

Complementing Wear OS, One UI Watch makes the Galaxy Watch 4 a more active member of the Samsung device ecosystem. The software skin transition settings and tools from a Galaxy smartphone to a Galaxy smartwatch, and vice versa, automatically. One UI Watch also leverages an expansive watch face library, complete with a proprietary editing suite for developers. Bubbly numbers, animal animations and color-coordinated complications that remind me of Android 12 are some of my frequent face choices.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Body composition analysis

Samsung developed a new health sensor for the Galaxy Watch 4. It combines heart rate monitoring (PPG), an electrocardiogram reader (ECG) and bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) for a 3-in-1 sensor that sits closer to the skin than the individual health sensors in the previous Galaxy Watch.

Of those, BIA is the big news. Similar to what you’ll find on the best smart scales, BIA sends a weak electric current through your body to analyze body fat percentage, body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, bone mass, body water percentage and more. Taking a BIA reading is quick, but you’ll need to hold your fingers against the crown buttons for about 15 seconds without those fingers resting on the skin next to your smartwatch. It’s a little awkward, so we made a guide on how to use Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to measure body composition.

When used properly, body composition analysis can help you understand how changes you make to your diet or activity impacts your internal makeup — not just your weight. But there are caveats. For one, it's generally not recommended that people with pacemakers or people who are pregnant use BIA. While many smart scales have a mode that disables BIA. Samsung simply says those who shouldn't use it, shouldn't use it. 

Then there's concerns about the metrics gathered from BIA possibly perpetuating body dysmorphia. Samsung simply says the measurements might not be accurate for those under 20 years old, but doesn't appear to put a true age restriction on the feature.

I don't feel it appropriate to share the intimate details of my body makeup with the internet, but I will note the discrepancies with measurements. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's readings did not match my Wyze Scale's. The measurements were as much as 5% off for metics like body fat perfect. It's hard to say which device is more accurate without seeing a doctor, but I probably wouldn't use either as my north star for wellness goals. And again, if you're pregnant, have a pacemaker or battle body dysmorphia, I'd encourage you to seek out professional medical advice before buying this smartwatch.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 review: Activity tracking

Over the course of one week, I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to track a variety of workouts indoors and outdoors. I started with weightlifting, and while the watch lets you track individual types of movement (ie. arm curls, bench press, lateral raises, pull-ups) I stuck with the catch-all circuit training option. The Apple Watch has a few more options when it comes to tracking different sports, but the Galaxy Watch 4 has more niche selections. You'll likely need to add workout types from the Samsung Health app on your smartphone, though — the preset list isn't extensive.

When it came to yoga, I sensed my calorie count ran high, but I recognized my heart rate updated more quickly than it did on the Galaxy Watch 3. For a workout where your heart rate stays in a shorter range than, say, cardio, the frequent refresh is helpful for seeing how certain poses impact my body.

I couldn't monitor my wrist as closely while cycling as I could in downward dog. Luckily, the Galaxy Watch 4 provides audible and vibration updates on mileage, plus a brief activity summary every 30 minutes. Again, I think the watch's calorie count is too generous, but the GPS mapped my reliable 10-mile route well.

The Galaxy Watch 4's automatic workout tracking is similarly successful. Juggling my 90-pound dog, phone, keys and sometimes a coffee, I often forget to launch a walk workout. A buzz on wrist let me know when the Galaxy Watch 4 detects my walk and picks up tracking from when I left my apartment. It also has a useful auto-pause function, so my dog's need to say hi to every passerby doesn't result in me recording a 35-minute mile.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Sleep and stress tracking

Samsung improved sleep tracking metrics for its latest smartwatch. Blood oxygen is measured once a minute overnight on the Galaxy Watch 4, compared to once every 30 minutes on the Galaxy Watch 3. More SpO2 readings could mean more insight on rest quality, especially for those with conditions like sleep apnea. When you sleep next to a compatible smartphone, the sounds of your snores get tracked, too. 

I'm a quiet sleeper, but I do often wake up for an hour at a time in the early morning. In these instances, the Galaxy Watch 4 would record two separate sleeps, but show me the total time asleep in the morning recap. 

Another recovery tool, the Galaxy Watch 4’s stress app shows your stress levels. I stayed in the green, which means not too stressed, but the smartwatch still gave me the option to launch a breathing session. The Fitbit Sense takes a more convincing approach to stress monitoring and management, though it’s encouraging to see Samsung’s watch catching up.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Battery life

As much as I’d like to call the battery life a let down (some rumors hinted at a week-long battery life,) it’s a far cry from a dealbreaker. Samsung estimates the Galaxy Watch 4 can last 40 hours with regular use. It said something similar last year, but as I cover in my guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 3, with GPS, activity tracking and the always-on display enabled, I needed to charge every 24 hours.

Daily charging is just the norm for most mobile devices we use every day. Sure, many great smartwatches and many of the best fitness trackers last several days without a charge. But as long as you’re not disappearing into the woods for a week, I wouldn’t get caught up on the difference between 40 hours and a day. 

I wish the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 battery life was more consistent, though. I found some days the watch needed to be charged more often than 24 hours. 

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Verdict

With design updates, refreshed software and a breakout BIA system, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is by no means an incremental upgrade. And all at a lower price, I might add.

But sometimes, when you make many changes at once, there's more chances for individual changes to fall short. The battery life could be more consistent, and Wear OS is missing some key features at launch. I'm also hesitant to celebrate the benefits of wrist-based body composition analysis for the number of people the feature might be unsafe for. 

Instead, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4's success comes down to integrating as obnoxiously well with Galaxy devices as the Apple Watch does with the greater Apple ecosystem. If masters a convenience that's been absent for Samsung's users, letting all the other chips fall in place.

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at [email protected]


Now discussing:

After using the Galaxy Note 10 Plus for a couple of months and then getting the chance to try out the new Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, I figured I should try out Samsung's latest smartwatch. The new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 was released late last year and after a week with the LTE model, I can't believe I waited so long to test one out.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 was released about six months after the Galaxy Watch Active, but several improvements made it clear the Watch Active 2 was the only version Samsung should have released in Improvements included two size options, an LTE variant, improved sensors, slightly larger display, newer version of Bluetooth, audio Running Coach, and touch-based rotating bezel navigation option.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus Star Wars Special Edition hands-on: The dark side of the force is strong

I never tried out the Galaxy Watch Active so I cannot offer any personal experiences with the improvements, but as I understand it the software has been updated on the original model to match the Active 2 user experience so hardware is the defining improvement. I purchased the 44mm variant with LTE support in stainless steel black. There was a $30 discount on the Samsung website, making the price $ The WiFi model is available for $ with different color options and an aluminum watch body.


The Galaxy Watch Active 2 LTE model is composed of stainless steel, glass, and high-quality plastic. It is much sleeker than the Galaxy Watch with a glass display that curves down into the sides of the watch. There is no spinning bezel on the Watch Active 2 as that is mimicked with a digital bezel that you activate by rotating your finger around the outside of the display.

In the past, the Galaxy Watch and Gear Frontier S3 were pretty chunky big watches so it is awesome to have a large brilliant display in a body that is comfortable to wear for long periods and looks great. It's much easier to sleep with the Watch Active 2, even the larger 44mm stainless steel model.

Top ZDNET Reviews

There are two physical buttons on the right side with the upper button serving as a back button and the lower one as a home button. There are mic openings on the right and top with a speaker opening on the left side. While you won't want to listen to music for long periods on the speaker, it is great for phone calls and for those times when you don't have headphones around.

There is a comfortable optical heart rate monitor on the back that seems to do well when compared to GPS sports watches. Standard 20mm bands can be used with the Galaxy Watch Active 2. A black leather band was included in the box, but there was no silicone band. Since the watch is focused on serious activity, I'm not sure why there wasn't also a silicone band in the box. I had a couple of 20mm bands lying around so I've been using them when running with the Watch Active 2. It's quick and easy to swap out the band.

Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 with LTE include:

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos GHz dual-core/li>
  • Display: inch x pixels resolution Super AMOLED, Gorilla Glass DX+
  • Operating system: Tizen OS and OneUI Watch version
  • RAM: GB for the LTE model
  • Storage: 4 GB of internal storage
  • Wireless technology: LTE, NFC, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth , and GPS/Glonass
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, barometer, gyro, heart rate, ambient light
  • Other features: IP68 and 5 ATM dust and water-resistant, MIL-STDG rated, integrated microphone and speaker
  • Battery: mAh battery with wireless charging dock
  • Dimensions: 44 x 44 x mm and 44 grams (44mm stainless steel model)

The last Samsung watch I wore was the Galaxy Watch (see our full review), so it has been a real joy to carry around a smaller watch that is mm thinner and 19 grams lighter. The smooth, elegant design also makes it a much more comfortable watch to wear and it is still large enough to give me a wonderful big screen watch experience.

Since I've been testing the larger 44mm with LTE radio inside, it is expected I can go two days before charging. I've been able to charge it up, track six to seven hours of sleep, go for a minute run, wear the watch all day, and then track another night of sleep. Using Spotify to play music, keeping the display always on, and heavy use of LTE in stand-alone mode will chew up battery too. I typically keep the watch face always on during my working day and then tap to turn it off to the lift-and-twist mode activation.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: Everything the original Active should have been

The Watch Active 2 comes with a wireless charging cable, but you can also use a Galaxy phone with Wireless Powershare to top it off if needed. I typically charge it up when writing ZDNet articles at night since I'm just sitting at my desk and there is no activity to track at the time.

Watch software

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 continues to run Tizen and it is fully optimized for the round wearable experience. Buttons, screen swipes and taps, and the digital rotating bezel are all used to navigate around on the watch. The top back button can be pressed and held to open Samsung Pay. A double-press of the bottom home button can launch Bixby, or be set by you for another function, in the settings. A press and hold of the home button lets you power off the watch or turn on touch sensitivity.

Swipe down from the watch face to see your basic connection status and battery life with access to six quick controls. By default these include toggles for power saving mode, airplane mode, ringtone management, do not disturb, always-on display, and brightness levels. Swipe over to view more control buttons, including one to access all the settings.

Settings are available for the watch faces, sound and vibration, display, advanced options, connections, apps, security, account, accessibility, general, battery, and about. You can also scroll to the bottom to connect to another phone, including an iPhone.

Swipe from left to right to see your notifications from the watch face. Go from right to left to start viewing all of the widgets you select and setup. You can also slide your finger around the outer edge of the display to activate the digital rotating bezel to scroll. It takes a bit of practice but is fun to navigate too.

There is an incredible number of optional watch faces included in the Galaxy Store. Watch faces are one area of the Galaxy Watch Active 2 that beats all other smartwatches I have ever tested and honestly people do use their watch for the time so having custom options is a great thing.

The automatic activity tracking is another area that I enjoy on the Galaxy Watch Active 2. I walk about a mile between my office and the train station and usually, these walks are never tracked, except for the steps. The Watch Active 2 categorizes these as walk so I can easily see and track the efforts there in Samsung Health. I know that Apple now has this capability for some activities as well, but Samsung continues to improve its tracking.

Many people give Samsung flack for Bixby, but the more I use it on Samsung devices the more useful I find it. It has been accurate for me and answers most of my queries in a timely fashion, even over an LTE connection in standalone mode.

The Galaxy Watch options are often overlooked because there are not as many apps available as there are on the Apple Watch. Over the years I have discovered I use very few additional apps on my watches as they are used for essential functions. Apps I have installed on the Galaxy Watch Active 2 include Arccos Golf, Strava, MS Outlook, camera controller, and Uber. Samsung Health, Spotify, and other apps are loaded by default and the only apps I would like to see are Nest and OneNote/Evernote.

Smartphone software

The Galaxy Wearable application has undergone some major improvements since I last used it. You can fully set up and manage your Galaxy Watch Active 2 on the phone and then have those settings, apps, watch faces, and more sync to the watch. You can set up Samsung Pay, Bixby, LTE service, and more using the smartphone application. You can even reorder the widgets that appear next to the watch face.

If you are interested in the fitness aspects of the Watch Active 2 then you should also have the Samsung Health application that shows you all of the data captured by the Watch Active 2. There are items to show your steps, hydration, exercise, sleep details, heart rate, stress, and more. You can view trends over time in Samsung Health and even sync the data to Strava or Technogym.

How is the Galaxy Watch Active 2 different than the Apple Watch 5?

Now that I've used both watches (see Jason Cipriani's Apple Watch Series 5 review), I prefer the Watch Active 2 for the following reasons:

  • LTE without limits: Unlike the Apple Watch, the Galaxy Watch Active is fully standalone for LTE capability so you do not need a phone at all to use it for calls, texting, or other internet services such as streaming Spotify music directly to the watch via cellular networks.
  • Sleep tracking
  • Stress tracking
  • User interface with digital rotating bezel
  • A vast number of watch face options in the Galaxy Store

Two things the Apple Watch Series 5 has that are missing on the Watch Active 2 are ECG and fall detection. However, the Watch Active 2 hardware is capable of both and these features are slated to come in a software update that could be released at any time.

Daily usage experiences and conclusions

I ran with the Galaxy Watch Active 2, Polar Vantage V, and Garmin Forerunner The Galaxy Watch Active 2 did not have all of the custom data options as the dedicated GPS watches, but it tracked GPS and heart rate well. It is good for the casual athlete who wants a great smartwatch and I may keep wearing it while using my GPS sports watches just for workouts.

I like hearing the status of my progress on my Bluetooth earbuds while running but found the coaching options too limited to help me out much. Again, a casual athlete may find the coaching options for about six different types of running to be useful.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 may not be returned because I love being able to use it for quick calls and texts without having to pull out my phone. Unlike other watches, I can scroll and view entire long messages and emails all on this big, gorgeous Super AMOLED display.

However, I currently have a major issue with LTE on T-Mobile. The watch works fine for outgoing calls and texts or incoming calls and texts when paired to my phone. However, incoming calls and texts with a DIGITS line on T-Mobile is broken. I've been troubleshooting this with T-Mobile for more than three days and am ready to give up and forget the Watch Active 2. It really shouldn't be this hard, but apparently T-Mobile has problems provisioning things properly. I'm not blaming Samsung for this failure since I had this working before on my Gear S3 Frontier, but T-Mobile needs to be better if it wants to sell the LTE version of this watch.

The smartphone app has been very useful in setting up the watch how I like and in helping me explore apps and watch faces. Samsung has created a great ecosystem here with Galaxy phones and extremely capable watch options with the Galaxy Watch Active 2 being my favorite watch from Samsung.

The hardware is stunning and I love the look and feel of the 44mm black stainless steel model on my wrist. It is easy to swap out bands and it is very comfortable for me to wear all the time. The watch faces are also fun to change daily and you can spend years trying them all out.


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