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

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

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The Samsung Galaxy Watch Active takes fitness tracking to a whole new level in the form of a robust, reilable smartwatch. If you want more features while still being able to track your fitness, this is the way to go.

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Fitness-focused smartwatch

Built-in GPS
Wireless charging
Contactless payments
Lightweight and stylish
Lacks rotating bezel
Shorter battery life
Limited third-party app support

Samsung Galaxy Fit

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When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Fit, you're getting basic fitness tracking in a compact, lightweight fitness band. You might not be getting smartwatch-like features, but for this low price, you really can't complain.

Samsung Galaxy Fit

Simple fitness tracker

Brilliant color screen
Longer battery life
Extremely compact
More affordable
No GPS
No Samsung Pay
Small screen is limiting

On the surface, this could be a relatively easy decision, especially for those who know exactly what they want from a smartwatch or fitness band. One is just a fitness tracker and another is a smartwatch — easy, right? However, there are many compelling reasons to take a good look at both of these options.

Digging deeper

Let's start with the similarities between the two. Both of these devices are equipped with automatic tracking for various activities, including walking, running, cycling, and more. Another set of features they have in common is stress, sleep, and heart rate tracking. Both screens offer the ability to touch and swipe, although it's much more challenging and limiting on the Fit's tiny screen.

Swimming enthusiasts will love the fact that both of these devices come with a 5ATM water resistance rating. Additionally, they both have a MIL-STD-810G rating, which means they've tested and passed a set of specific conditions, including drops from 4.9 feet, extreme temperatures, dust, shock/vibration, and low pressure/high altitude. Simply put, both the Watch Active and the Fit are built for durability.

Galaxy Watch ActiveGalaxy Fit
Display1.1", 360 x 360 AMOLED0.95", 120 x 240 AMOLED
Dimensions39.5 x 39.5 x 10.5mm, 25g (w/o strap)18.3 x 44.6 x 11.2mm, 24g (w/strap)
SensorsAccelerometer, HRM, gyroscope, barometerAccelerometer, gyroscope, HRM
Battery230mAh120mAh
ChargingWPC-based wirelessNFC wireless
ConnectivityBluetooth v4.2 ,Wi-Fi, NFC, GPS/GlonassBluetooth v5.0, LE only
Band colorsBlack, silver, green, rose goldBlack, silver
SoftwareTizen OSRealtime OS
Notification repliesYesYes (preset responses)

How they differ

Although they both offer the ability to touch and swipe on the screen, there are some differences in the side buttons on each device. First, the Galaxy Watch Active comes with two buttons on the right side of the watch. The top serves as a back button, but pressing and holding it can also take you right to Samsung Pay. The bottom serves as a home button, but pressing and holding it will also trigger the power off menu. When you double tap the bottom button, you'll activate Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant.

This isn't exactly the case with the Galaxy Fit. It has one side button, which is located on the left side and is rather basic in its functionality. It does serve as a back button and will take you to the previous screen. Other than that, you can long press the side button to quickly start a workout. You can also use the Galaxy Wearable app (opens in new tab) to set this shortcut to your workout of choice.

You get a handful of features on the Galaxy Watch Active that you won't find on the Fit.

Given the fact that we're comparing an advanced smartwatch and a basic fitness tracker, there's bound to be some significiant differences to sort through. For starters, you get a handful of features on the Galaxy Watch Active that you won't find on the Fit.

For example, the smartwatch option provides you with some highly sought-after features, like Samsung Pay, built-in GPS, dedicated swim tracking, third-party apps, and music storage. The Galaxy Watch Active also offers blood pressure monitoring right from your wrist, although there have been mixed reviews on the accuracy of this feature. Let's not forget that Tizen OS on the Galaxy Watch Active gives you access to limited third party apps, which is not something that's offered with realtime OS on the Fit.

When we take a closer look at the Galaxy Fit, we can safely say that it covers all the basics that any fitness tracker should, not to mention the budget-friendly price tag. You can expect up to a week of battery life, which is a lot more than the 45 hours promised by the Galaxy Watch Active. You also have the luxury of smartphone notifications — tiny ones at that — on your wirst with the Galaxy Fit, which is nice to have. At the very least, you'll be able to glance and see if you need to take out your phone or not. You can even customize preset responses for replying to notifications.

While there are some compromises to having such a compact device, its small size comes in handy quite a bit. If you're an especially active individual, you don't want to be weighed down by your fitness tracker. Fortunately, that's not going to be an issue with the Galaxy Fit. It's super lightweight, so you won't be bothered by it when you're exercising, sleeping, or going about other aspects of your daily routine.

The Galaxy Fit really shines in the fitness tracking area.

The Galaxy Fit really shines in the fitness tracking area, which should come as no surprise given it's name. In addition to the automatic workout detection, it also boasts more than 90 additional workouts that you can manually choose from the Samsung Health app (opens in new tab) and track. You'll receive inactivity reminders that'll help you remember to keep moving throughout the day.

The heart rate tracking feature can be set to your preference, whether that be all-day or the lesser "frequent" tracking option, which will save you some battery. If you're abnormally stressed, you can utilize the guided breathing exercises to calm down. Wear it to bed and it'll automatically track your sleep. Use the app to view a breakdown of the details, including light, deep, and REM sleep. While heart rate, sleep, and stress tracking are also available on the Galaxy Watch Active, these features shine a little brighter on the more basic Galaxy Fit. Plus, thanks to its small form factor, the Fit is more comfortable to wear to bed.

Final verdict

As you weigh the pros and cons, it'll most likely come down to whether you want a featured-packed smartwatch that also focuses on fitness tracking or a simple fitness band that tracks the basics for you. Both of these devices have a lot to offer, so you'll have to narrow it down what matters most to you and your wearable experience.

It's hard to deny that the Galaxy Watch Active beats the Fit in a number of different areas. If you don't mind paying double the price for double the features, then go with the more robust smartwatch. On the other hand, if you only need the basics when it comes to tracking and want something more lightweight and compact, go with the more affordable Galaxy Fit.

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.