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.

$280 at Amazon

Pros

  • Digital touch bezel
  • Improved sensors
  • Optional LTE

Cons

  • Price goes up with LTE
  • ECG feature not available yet
  • 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.

$318 at Amazon

Pros

  • Physical rotating bezel
  • Multiple days of battery life
  • Sophisticated design

Cons

  • A bit heavy and bulky
  • Fewer exercise modes
  • More expensive

While the Galaxy Watch Active 2 and the Galaxy Watch couldn't look more different, you can expect some similarities with these two smartwatches. This shouldn't come as a big surprise given that they're both Samsung wearables running on Tizen OS. 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. On the other hand, you might be hoping for a more traditional wearable experience. If you want one that's focused on providing you with essential smartwatch features, you might prefer the Galaxy Watch.

Making Comparisons

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, advanced accelerometer, more accurate LED-based heart rate monitor, and improved GPS.

Another new feature is My Style, which lets you create customized watch faces based on the color scheme of your outfit by taking a photo with your phone. Speaking of pictures, when your watch is paired with your Galaxy smartphone, the Watch Camera Controller allows you to take pictures, record videos, preview footage, and more, right from your wrist.

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 ✔️
Wireless Charging ✔️ ✔️
Optional LTE ✔️ (select models) ✔️ (select models)

With that said, both of these wearables 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 a bit more advanced in this department as you have a more interactive experience from your wrist. Whether you're liking a tweet or watching a quick YouTube clip, you'll be able to do a bit more in terms of interaction with your content.

Both smartwatches offer fitness tracking, including automatic activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and more. 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 like the Galaxy Watch has. 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.

Size matters

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

You'll also notice that both the Active 2 and the Galaxy Watch come in two different sizes along with various color choices. The Active 2 is available in 40 mm and 44 mm. 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.

Being that these two options are smaller than the ones available in the Galaxy Watch, the battery is also smaller. The number of days you'll be able to get out of each is going to 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.

Pictured: Galaxy Watch, 46 mm and 42 mm

Alternatively, the Galaxy Watch is available in 42 mm and 46 mm. Unless you've got a giant wrist that needs the larger size, it's hard to imagine this model being comfortable. It weighs in at a whopping 63g, which is more than twice the weight of the aluminum 44 mm Active 2 model at just 30g. No matter which size you pick, the Galaxy Watch gives off a more masculine vibe. Color options include silver, midnight black, and rose gold. In classic Samsung fashion, you can swap out the band that comes with it if it doesn't spark joy.

You'll get a bigger battery with both of these models, which means you can expect a longer battery life in return. The 46 mm model promises to last up to 7 days while the 42 mm model should last up to 4 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.

Decisions, decisions

Either of these wearables are great investments, but it's true they cater to 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, upgraded sensors, and the newly refined Running Coach feature. Plus, you can automatically track a total of seven 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 view the health and fitness features as a bonus that you weren't too worried about to begin with, you might be better off with the more traditional smartwatch experience that the Galaxy Watch offers. Don't misunderstand, this wearable can deliver you with plenty of health- and fitness-related metrics, it's just not the primary focus of the device. If your main priorities include LTE connectivity, Samsung Pay, music storage, notification support, and built-in GPS in 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.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.