Modern fitness smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Classic lifestyle smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch

If you want a sleek and sporty smartwatch that's packed with tech and offers reliable fitness tracking, the Active 2 is an excellent choice. You'll enjoy improved sensors along with some neat new features.

From $229 at Amazon

Pros

  • Digital rotating bezel
  • Built-in GPS
  • Running Analysis, VO2 Max
  • ECG, blood pressure monitoring
  • Optional LTE

Cons

  • Price goes up with LTE
  • Faster battery drain with LTE, GPS, etc.

For those who are seeking a traditional smartwatch with a sophisticated design that's suitable for all occasions, the Galaxy Watch is an ideal option. You'll have plenty of innovative features and decent fitness tracking, too.

From $219 at Amazon

Pros

  • Physical rotating bezel
  • Built-in GPS
  • Multi-day battery life
  • Sophisticated design
  • Optional LTE

Cons

  • A bit heavy and bulky
  • Fewer exercise modes

Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs. Galaxy Watch Different strokes for different folks

While the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the Galaxy Watch couldn't look more different, you can expect some similarities with these two Samsung smartwatches. This shouldn't come as a big surprise given that they're made by the same company and they both run on Tizen OS. The prices are quite similar, so choosing between the two will come down to what type of experience you're looking for with your device.

Is your top priority to have a lightweight fitness smartwatch with accurate tracking and all the latest features? If this sounds like you, you're probably going to lean toward the Galaxy Watch Active 2. Perhaps you were hoping for a more traditional wearable experience. If you want a device that's focused on providing you with essential smartwatch features, you might prefer the Galaxy Watch.

You'll have it all with the Galaxy Watch Active 2

Galaxy Watch Active 2 Source: Android Central Pictured: Galaxy Watch Active 2

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the newer device, which means you're going to get some improvements and upgrades that the Galaxy Watch simply can't match. Some of the new features the Active 2 offers include an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature for detecting an irregular heartbeat, an avanced accelerometer, a more accurate LED-based heart rate monitor, and improved GPS. You'll also have access to blood pressure readings with the Samsung Health Monitor app.

The latest update brings many other key features to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. For starters, you can now measure VO2 max, which indicates the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during intense activity. This is useful in determining your overall fitness and performance capacity so that you can further improve your endurance. There's also the new Running Analysis feature that's designed to help you improve your form, become a better runner, and avoid injuries.

Galaxy Watch Active2 Galaxy Watch
Display 1.2-inch AMOLED (40 mm)
1.4-inch AMOLED (44 mm)
1.2-inch AMOLED (42 mm)
1.3-inch AMOLED (46 mm)
Dimensions 40 x 40 x 10.9mm(40 mm)
44 x 44 x 10.9mm (44 mm)
41.9 x 45.7 x 12.7 mm (42 mm)
46 x 49 x 13 mm (46 mm)
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, LTE (select models) Bluetooth4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, LTE (select models)
Water resistance Up to 50m Up to 50m
Battery 247mAh (40 mm)
340mAh (44 mm)
270mAh (42 mm)
472 mAh (46 mm)
Sensors HRM, electrocardiogram (ECG), accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor HRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor
Operating System Tizen Tizen
Notifications ✔️ ✔️
Built-in GPS ✔️ ✔️
Samsung Pay ✔️ ✔️
Electrocardiogram ✔️
Blood pressure monitoring ✔️
Wireless Charging ✔️ ✔️
Optional LTE ✔️ ✔️

Another improvement with this update is access to the Fall Detection feature. As soon as a potential fall is detected during an activity, you'll have the option to send a SOS notification to up to four pre-assigned contacts. You'll also enjoy smoother on-wrist communication. Rather than having to use your phone when you receive a notification, you can now view photos emoticons right on your wrist. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 will now automatically display your chat history rather than a single new message.

One thing that these wearables have in common is that they both offer optional LTE connectivity. This means you'll be able to handle calls, send and receive texts, and stream music without having to be near your phone. The Active 2 is more advanced in this department as you have a more interactive experience from your wrist. Whether you're liking a tweet or watching a YouTube clip, you'll be able to do more in terms of interaction with your content.

Both smartwatches offer fitness tracking, including automatic activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and sleep tracking

Both smartwatches offer fitness tracking, including automatic activity tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. However, if you're looking to go further with health and fitness features, the Active 2 is the better choice. For starters, the Running Coach feature is improved. It monitors your pace in real-time and offers mid-route feedback by tracking your precise location through GPS and accelerometer. You can also expect to receive these readings faster thanks to the improved sensors.

While you get to enjoy a rotating bezel for easy navigation on both of these wearables, they each function differently. The Active 2 boasts a new, innovative bezel that's fully digital. The black border surrounding the display is a touch-sensitive strip that allows you to scroll through menus by simply running your finger over it. This is an adjustment, especially if you're used to a physical bezel found in the Galaxy Watch. Once you get the hang of it, though, you'll probably never want to look back. You can't argue that it provides a cleaner, less bulky appearance without the extra moving parts, too.

The Galaxy Watch proves that size matters

Samsung Galaxy watchSource: Android Central Pictured: Galaxy Watch, 46 mm and 42 mm

The Galaxy Watch is available in 42mm and 46mm. Unless you've got a giant wrist that needs the larger size, it's hard to imagine the 46mm model being comfortable. It weighs in at a whopping 63g, which is more than twice the weight of the 44mm aluminum Active 2 model at just 30g. No matter which size you pick, the Galaxy Watch gives off a more masculine vibe. It has a heavy-duty feel, which makes sense given the military-grade durability rating. The color options include silver, midnight black, and rose gold. You can always swap out the watch bands as you see fit.

One of the advantages of these larger models is that both of them offer bigger batteries. This means that you can expect longer battery life in return. The 46mm model promises to last up to seven days, while the 42mm model should last up to four days. Again, you'll want to bear in mind that this all depends on how you use your watch. You might be able to stretch it to the full amount if you don't utilize the more battery-consuming features too often.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2Source: Android Central Pictured: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2, 40 mm and 44 mm

On the other hand, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is available in 40mm and 44mm. You can choose between an aluminum model with a fluoroelastomer band and a stainless steel model with a leather strap. The aluminum model comes in aqua black, cloud silver, and rose gold. The stainless steel model keeps things traditional with black, silver, and gold. As usual, these watch bands are interchangeable.

Being that these two options are smaller than the sizes offered by the Galaxy Watch, the batteries are also smaller. The number of days you'll be able to get out of each will vary based on numerous factors. If you're using the LTE model, you can automatically expect the battery to drain faster. The same logic applies if you'll be a frequent user of GPS along with the always-on display. Of course, there are battery-saving techniques you can try. Nevertheless, you should prepare to charge the Active 2 every couple of days or so.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs. Galaxy Watch Which should you buy?

Either of these wearables will prove to be a great investment, but it's true they cater to entirely different audiences. If it's a full-blown fitness experience you want from your smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the obvious choice. You'll have the new ECG feature that'll alert you of irregular heartbeat, improved sensors, GPS, Running Analysis, VO2 Max, and blood-pressure monitoring. Plus, you can automatically track several activities: running, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing machine, elliptical machine, and dynamic workouts. If fitness is your focus, you can't go wrong with the Active 2.

If you weren't too worried about the health and fitness features to begin with, you might be better off with the more traditional smartwatch experience that the Galaxy Watch offers. While this wearable can also provide you with plenty of health and fitness metrics—it's simply not the primary focus of the device. If your main priorities include LTE connectivity, GPS, Samsung Pay, music storage, and notification support in the form of a style-driven smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch will win you over.

Modern fitness smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Fitness and technology conquer

Go further with your health and fitness tracking with the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. There's no debate to be had here as this smartwatch was explicitly designed for fitness enthusiasts who want all the details on their activity.

Classic lifestyle smartwatch

Samsung Galaxy Watch

Looks and features prevail

If you're more intrigued by a smartwatch that goes with your sense of style and is also packed with a long list of helpful features, you will be more than pleased with all the Galaxy Watch has to offer.

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