OnePlus Watch vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Watch Active 2 Heart Rate Hero
Galaxy Watch Active 2 Heart Rate Hero (Image credit: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Galaxy Watch Active 2

It may not be the newest wearable out there, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still as impressive as ever. It offers advanced health/fitness tracking, built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, optional LTE connectivity, electrocardiogram (ECG), NFC payments, and more.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

Full smartwatch experience

Optional LTE
Two size options
App support
Activity/sleep tracking
More expensive
Shorter battery life

OnePlus Watch

Oneplus Watch Render

The primary reason for buying the OnePlus Watch is the affordable price tag. If you're new to wearables, it could be what you're looking for. It has GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/sleep tracking, and other useful features. However, it falls short in terms of smartwatch perks.

OnePlus Watch

Falls short of a smartwatch

Built-in GPS
Heart rate + blood oxygen monitoring
14 days of battery life
Music storage
Activity/sleep tracking
RTOS limits smartwatch features
Lacks NFC, LTE

OnePlus Watch vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Similar in appearance only

While many Android smartwatches tend to look alike, it's almost uncanny how similar in appearance the OnePlus Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 are. Considering how popular the Watch Active 2 has been for the last two years, this isn't all that surprising. However, it's important to note that most similarities end there.

The OnePlus Watch is a stunning wearable with long battery life, which is a great starting point for a new smartwatch. Unfortunately, it lacks some key features that make a smartwatch smart. The good news is that the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 fills in all the gaps left behind by the OnePlus Watch. Not only is it full of activity and health tracking perks, but you also get some excellent smartwatch features.

The OnePlus Watch is a letdown in some important areas

OnePlus Watch review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

One look at the OnePlus Watch, and you can see that it offers an attractive design that's not cutting any corners. You get a gorgeous 46mm stainless steel case and a 1.39-inch AMOLED display. You also get a flexible fluoroelastomer strap compatible with 22mm interchangeable bands. So whenever you feel like changing up the look or feel of your watch, simply swap out your OnePlus Watchband.

If you've used a smartwatch before, you know that most of them run on an operating system such as Wear OS or Tizen OS. The OnePlus Watch strays from this path and runs RTOS, which stands for real-time operating system. Other devices such as Amazfit have used RTOS, but it's not the most popular choice these days. Unlike Amazfit, the OnePlus Watch cannot pair with iOS.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 OnePlus WatchSamsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Display1.39 inch AMOLED1.2-inch or 1.4-inch Super AMOLED
Dimensions46.4 × 46.4 × 10.9mm40 x 40 x 10.9mm44 x 44 x 10.9mm
SensorsHRM, acceleration sensor, gyroscope, geomagnetic sensor, SpO2, air pressure sensor, capacitance sensor, ambient light sensorHRM, accelerometer, electrocardiogram (ECG), gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, blood pressure monitor
Battery life14 days2 days (varies by model)
Water-resistance5ATM + IP685ATM+ IP68 / MIL-STD-810G
Onboard GPS✔️✔️
Mobile payments✔️
Optional LTE✔️

If you're not familiar with how RTOS works, it uses pre-determined time constraints when executing tasks, like launching apps and taking heart-rate measurements. In other operating systems, it's not uncommon for watches to lag due to the extra effort required to execute tasks. The good news is that RTOS leads to snappy, fluid performance without too many slowdowns. OnePlus says it decided to go with a real-time operating system so the watch would offer longer battery life.

Perhaps one of the biggest Oneplus Watch bummers is the lack of third-party app support.

As you can see, there are some benefits to a watch running RTOS. With that said, every system has its drawbacks. In the case of the OnePlus Watch, smartwatch features are much more limited. Perhaps one of the biggest Oneplus Watch bummers is the lack of third-party app support. You'll also see that notification support isn't what it should be. For example, a notification that's already been cleared on your phone tends to still show up on your watch.

Despite missing some important marks, the OnePlus Watch quickly sold out after it was announced. If you want to enjoy the main benefit of RTOS — 14 days of battery life — the OnePlus Watch may be a good fit for you. As long as you understand that you won't get the full smartwatch experience, you shouldn't be too disappointed.

Aside from extended battery life, the OnePlus Watch has other nice features, including built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, factivity/sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring, music storage, and mic/speaker support for Bluetooth calls. Unfortunately, it may have a mic and speaker, but you don't get a voice assistant. The OnePlus Watch doesn't have an always-on display, either. Finally, you won't have support for NFC payments.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 checks all the right boxes

Galaxy Watch Active 2

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

Whether or not you're an avid smartwatch user, you've probably heard of the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. It's been around for nearly two years, and it's still one of the most talked-about wearables on the market. It has all the essentials and more, including built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, advanced health/fitness tracking, Samsung Pay, and optional LTE connectivity.

The watch comes in both a 40mm and 44mm case. If you opt for a standard Bluetooth model, it will come in an aluminum case. The LTE models come in a stainless steel case. Both variants offer a crisp AMOLED display and a digital rotating bezel for smooth navigation. You'll also appreciate that Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 bands are compatible with 20mm interchangeable straps.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 is equipped with a more accurate LED-based heart-rate monitor.

Samsung states that the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is equipped with a more accurate LED-based heart-rate monitor, an advanced accelerometer, and improved GPS accuracy. These are just a few reasons it's one of the best smartwatches for fitness. It runs on Tizen OS, so you'll have an all-around smooth experience. It may not be a Wear OS watch like the new Galaxy Watch 4, but it's still very efficient.

You'll find other useful features on the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2. For example, it has an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, which can detect irregular heartbeats that may signify a more serious condition. After completing the one-time calibration with a cuff-based blood pressure monitor, it can also provide blood pressure readings.

We'd be remiss not to mention the Running Analysis feature, designed to help you become a better runner. You'll also be able to work on improving your form. The Watch Active 2 can measure VO2 max, which indicates the maximum amount of oxygen you can use during intense activity. This is instrumental in determining your fitness and performance capacity while helping you increase your endurance.

It's not the newest model in the Galaxy Watch lineup, but the Active 2 still has plenty to offer. More importantly, Samsung is still committed to providing essential updates to this watch. The most recent update brings some of the Galaxy Watch 4 features over to the Active 2. For example, users will now have access to advanced fall detection, which will send an SOS notification to your pre-selected contacts if a fall is detected.

If you're someone who enjoys customizing your wearable, you'll appreciate that this update also brings new watch faces to the mix. Additionally, a new Group Challenge feature lets users add their friends and family members to a Challenge. You can either come together as a team or compete against one another.

OnePlus Watch vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which should you buy?

When the time comes to choose between the two, you'll want to consider a few key factors. Cost is often one of the main concerns. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a bit more expensive than the OnePlus Watch, so that's something to think about. The primary selling point of the OnePlus Watch is its stellar battery life. If you don't want to be bothered with frequent charging, this might be the right option for you. Just remember that you're not getting the full smartwatch experience due to RTOS and the lack of app support.

If you don't mind spending a bit of extra money for the full smartwatch experience, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is the better pick. The only major drawback is more frequent charging, which some users may be able to live with. The OnePlus Watch may have copied the Active 2's design, but it doesn't measure up to the real thing. In addition to a robust health and fitness tracking suite, you also get optional LTE connectivity, NFC payments, app support, and more.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.